Home Projects for 2018 and our Plan Moving Forward


If you’ve been following this blog (or my instagram) for any period of time, you’ve seen a lot of pictures of my house. This past fall, you saw the reveal of my little Logan’s pink nursery, and if you go way back, you saw my redesign of my other daughter’s big girl room when she turned three. I also showed you a glimpse of my holiday decor in our formal living room last month. There are rooms in my house however, that I have not shown you. These are the “other rooms.”

My kitchen and family room for example, have never been featured on the blog. They are the rooms in our house that just are not where I would like them to be from a design standpoint. Ironically, they’re the rooms in our house where we spend the most amount of time.

It should be known that this home, while I do love it, is not our forever home. I’m a huge fan of so many aspects of this house, but the location is not one I want to stay in forever. We also are not going to get a ton for this house when we go to resell. The value has increased since we bought it almost five years ago, and I’m sure when we go to sell, we will be getting even more than it’s valued at now, but we have to be careful with what we invest in this house. While I want it to be functional for our family, and enjoy living in it, spending too much on the wrong things will just never return the money we’d put out.

That being said, here is what I am thinking in terms of short-term and long-term plans for these “other rooms.” Let’s start with the living room.

The Living Room


Problem Areas

Don’t get me started on the texture of our ceilings. No, it is not popcorn. It’s some kind of rough plaster that can only be covered with skim-coating, which is expensive and labor intensive. It is not one of the things we will be investing in for this house. However, we would like to eventually add some recessed lighting in this room. While it seems to get good light in this picture, it is actually a pretty dark room most of the day and lamps (plus that random ceiling fan off to the side) just aren’t cutting it.

Our sofa, love seat, chair and ottoman were lovingly given to us by my parents from their old rental home in Florida. While the leather has been great for having young kids (spills are easily wiped up), this would not be my choice for living room furniture.  New furniture is not in the budget for this year, but it is definitely on the list for future purchases.

I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking when making decisions for this room when we bought it. I was nine months pregnant with Riley at the time, so maybe I can blame it on that. But between the yellow walls, camel-colored leather furniture, and beige carpeting, this room literally glows yellow during the day.

Just for a point of reference, this is what this room looked like when we moved in:


You can see why I may have reached for a bright yellow when painting these walls. Talk about a cave! That wood paneling, by the way, was like painting an actual tree. It was so rough and porous, it took five or six coats of paint to cover it. But it’s all we could afford at the time.

A little more background for those of you who care: This room was added on by the previous owners. The cased opening from the kitchen was actually the back doors leading to the backyard, and the opening behind the bar was the back window. So once upon a time, our kitchen received natural light. Not so much the case anymore. (More on that later).

What’s Staying


In terms of what we actually plan to keep in this room, the coffee table is new this year, as well as the table lamps. We will also keep Riley’s play table and chairs for as long as we need it, and the framed artwork above (which is serving as inspiration for the rest of the room).  Those red roman shades- really Leah, red?- were bought for two reasons. 1) They’re thermal, and that window behind that sofa can be a bit drafty. And 2) they’re blackout- to block the glare when watching tv. But I am not a red girl. I really don’t know what I was thinking there. I would like to get one long roman shade- either white linen or bamboo, to go across that back window, and matching ones for the back doors.

Everything else, in time, will be replaced. The end tables are random because we got rid of our other one in our garage sale last summer and needed something in its place. But they will both be replaced. (I may keep the nesting tables on the left, but we’ll see).

This Year’s Plan


All we’re focusing on this year is the walls in this room. That much we know for sure. After loving her for years, I’m finally channeling my inner Joanna Gaines and adding some shiplap to our house. We will be covering the remaining walls with 1/4 inch drywall and painting them a pale gray.  I do not have an exact color picked out yet, so if you have any suggestions on pretty grays, let me know!

Inspiration for the Living Room

I really love the cool tones of this living room below, as well as the window treatments.  When we do eventually purchase a sofa, I will probably aim for a darker color than this, as we (and by we, I mean the girls and myself) are a messy family. But this general color pallet lends itself to fun accent colors if we like, but it is also calm and classic. Note the roman shade and white curtain combo- one of my favorite looks. 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Studio McGee

So shiplap like this will be on the back wall with the windows, but we will have regular drywall on the remaining three walls. Hardwoods in this room would be nice someday, but with little kids, our carpet has worked great.

Magnolia House

I would really like to have a functional cabinet and cute vignette like Ginny MacDonald’s on the left, here.

PicMonkey Image.jpg

Right now we have this stupid cabinet bump out from the kitchen (it currently holds our microwave) that ideally, I would like to get rid of.


And now, onto the Kitchen:


So this is my miniature kitchen. Literally, this is it. A kitchen this size might be suitable for a rental property, or somewhere you will stay for a weeklong vacation, but living with this amount of storage and counter space is not the easiest thing. You should have seen my mom, mother-in-law, and myself trying to work in here together on Christmas Day.  I talk a lot about my storage solutions in my online course, Organize It, but let me cut to the chase on our kitchen ideas.

Kitchen upgrades are pricey, but usually good investments. We’ve thought a lot about this kitchen and I think we have a safe plan on what to upgrade and where to spend our money here.


Long-term, we would like to add more cabinets along the adjacent wall, install new countertops and backsplash, and replace the vent hood above the stove.


However, with the budget we’re working with this year, we will only be painting our existing cabinets and adding a fresh new color to the walls. This room, as I mentioned before, has no real access to natural light. It was definitely the darkest room in the house. With the recessed lighting we added last month, I feel like I can finally see in this kitchen. This has allowed me to actually look at this peachy beige wall color and remember we do not live in the 90’s anymore. Refreshing the walls and cabinets in here should really help to accentuate what light we do get in here and make the space look larger.

Inspiration for the Kitchen

This kitchen below is similar to ours in the color of the hardwoods and the fact that our appliances are also white. The white walls in this kitchen make me think about doing white walls in our kitchen verses pale gray, which I originally had imagined.

Apartment Therapy

I like the crisp white and black look of this kitchen below. I probably will not do subway tile when we’re ready for backsplash in here. I am leaning more toward a glass mosaic tile for our kitchen.

SS Life + Style

And Finally, the Laundry Room


We started work on our laundry room this past fall by getting a new washer and dryer (these were actually given to us), adding shelving, and painting the walls white. My plan has always been to add wallpaper to this room- on the same wall as the washer and dryer, but I have not landed on a decision for paper. Because the door to this room is usually open to the kitchen, I wanted to get my kitchen colors nailed down before deciding on a wallpaper in here. Therefore, this will probably be the project we save for last this year, but will probably be the most fun to finally complete.

Our 2018 Theme

You might call this “The Year of Walls” for the Hallahans. Adding a shiplap wall, adding drywall, painting our kitchen walls and cabinets, and adding wallpaper to the laundry room- it’s a lot of projects that should set us up nicely for the next round of design whenever we have the money to pull it off. While this year’s projects will drastically change the look of our house, nothing we’re doing is really that expensive.

I’ll be keeping you all up-to-date on progress for these projects, as well as writing out some how-to’s. In the mean time, what projects would you like to complete this year in your home? I’m excited to chew away at these rooms little-by-little until they are as pretty as the other completed rooms in our house. Here’s to a happy and productive 2018 for us all!

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