This renovation will go down in our family’s history as being one of the most memorable and life-changing DIYs we have ever accomplished. I’m so delighted to finally be able to share the big reveal!
If you’ve missed previous posts, we have been completing our laundry/mudroom renovation as part of the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge. In partnership with Better Homes & Gardens, the ORC is a celebration of creativity that brings together designers as they make over one room in eight weeks. Each week, you get to see all of the progress and watch the project unfold.
In case you’re just now joining us, you can catch up on the entire project here:
If you’ve come over from the ORC participants’ page and we’re meeting for the first time–welcome! This short video will introduce you to our family’s story and how we came to live in this fixer-upper farmhouse in rural Snohomish, Washington. You’ll also get to see the state of the mudroom when we first got the keys!
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, and I have received no compensation for sharing anything that follows. Some links within this blog may be affiliate links, and I might earn a commission if you make a purchase through that link. This usually amounts to cents, not dollars, and helps to support the projects featured on this blog. I only recommend products from companies that I have found to be trustworthy Read my full disclosure here.
WEEK EIGHT PROGRESS & CHALLENGES
Before we dive into the reveal, I don’t want to skip over everything that happened during the eighth week of our renovation work. This past week, we tackled the subway tile backsplash.
What we never could have imagined when we started this project eight weeks ago, however, was that Washington state would be experiencing an unprecedented heat wave with triple-digit temperatures that are breaking the records as the hottest ever recorded.
The forecast for tomorrow is 109° F. That is not a typo. That is insanity.
I would not, by any means, ever recommend doing renovation work in this kind of heat. Besides being uncomfortable to get work done, many products used in fixing up a space are not suitable for these kinds of temperatures.
These were exactly the conditions we experienced over the past week, and it made things especially challenging.
For starters, the grout we used is not intended for application during temperatures over 90°…but on the day we did the grout work, it was over 100°.
It was drying so fast, that it made it nearly impossible to tool the grout lines and sponge off the excess debris. We were both scrubbing as hard as we could, dripping with sweat, and racing against time.
On top of all of this going on, our fur-baby went nosing around a tree while doing his nightly patrols, and was bit or stung by something in the process. He came into the house with his eye nearly swollen shut, and this dog mama nearly lost it with worry!
The emergency vet could not take us because they were maxed out with all of the heat-related emergencies, so they had us send in photos, and then triaged over the phone with us at 11pm that night.
Some Benadryl, a cold pack, and lots of calming pets while we sat up with him for three hours to make sure he didn’t develop severe complications…today, he’s wearing the dreaded cone and things have improved quite a bit. However, we’ll need to continue the Benadryl for now until the swelling has completely gone away.
All of this is simply to say that week eight was full of craziness…BUT! We managed to finish on time, and I’m absolutely over-the-top thrilled with how everything turned out.
THE REVEAL: A RESTORATIVE JOURNEY
To truly appreciate this renovation, it helps to go back to where we started.
Like the entire house, the mudroom was an absolute disaster when we took possession. The previous residents (thoroughly disgruntled about moving out) had intentionally spread garbage throughout the entire house before they left. In this room, it was piled above my knees!
We spent a couple of months cleaning the house top to bottom before we even moved in, and we’ve been tackling projects to make it our own ever since.
Although the laundry/mudroom has always been an eye sore to me, it has also been functional and, therefore, not a high priority for our renovation budget.
So when we chose it for this season’s ORC, we knew we wanted to stick within a very tight budget and show that it doesn’t take a ton of money to make a major improvement.
If you’ve been following along on this renovation journey since Week One, then you also know that this wasn’t simply an eight-week DIY for us.
In fact, it has been 481 days since we technically started!
Originally, we had planned to complete this project during the 2020 ORC Challenge, but on the very first day we started work, we broke with our COVID symptoms. You can catch up on our family’s journey through the virus, and now, dealing with damage it has caused to my body, in this post.
The process of completing this renovation has been profound for us.
At the beginning, I wasn’t even sure we were going to be able to make it to the end, considering my ongoing post-viral health challenges.
But, at several points along the way, this renovation journey has been about a whole lot more than just making over a room in our home. It’s been about repairing and healing my soul, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully express what this process has meant to me.
When I say that this project is meaningful to us, it is a serious understatement. We will forever be grateful to the ORC organizers and supporters for what this experience has meant to our family.
Okay, let me wipe away my tears now (I get a bit emotional thinking about it all), and let’s dive into the reveal!
Fortunately, we had purchased all of our supplies before the price of lumber skyrocketed, which made this quite a budget-friendly DIY.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the finished product because all of the other shiplap in our home is the real deal. I worried that a faux treatment like this might look a bit cheesy.
Fortunately, I was wrong. It turned out beautifully, and I seriously doubt the average person would even notice that this is faux shiplap made from 1/4″ plywood.
The focal piece on this wall is certainly the set of vintage lockers for which I had hunted over a year to find.
The ten lockers provide terrific cubbies to store so much stuff, as well as shoes that would otherwise clutter up the floor. I adore them!
I chose a canvas scroll from our shop for the artwork in this space, and I love the way it adds a botanical vibe to the decor.
Our bench is also vintage, and we’ve had it for years. It fits the space so perfectly, and the pillow made by my sister, Kim, is the cherry on top of it all! That pillow was made from vintage fabric, and Kim has so many to choose from in her online shop right now!
The next spot where we went to work was the utility sink. This was a very outdated, builder-grade sink cabinet that needed a serious make-over. Talk about a transformation! Take a look at the “before”…
I removed the doors, painted the cabinet and added a decorative onlay. Then, I sewed a layered skirt from a thrifted curtain panel and some slub cotton that I had in my fabric stash, and hung it from a tension rod.
I also updated the mirror above the sink to a vintage one I’d had in my collection for several years. It is such a better fit for the space than the weird triangle-shaped one that was there before!
This entire project was completed for under $20, and boy it makes a HUGE difference to the look of the room!
After painting the utility sink cabinet, it was time to tackle all of the other cabinets in the room. This new color sure brightens up the room, and I think it looks much more in keeping with the style of our home.
But let’s stroll back down memory lane and recall the dark brown cabinets with baby blue laminate countertops from two months ago, shall we?
This long counter and cabinet area was certainly the most time consuming of all the renovation work.
I am truly so pleased with how this project turned out, and it makes me terribly excited to get started on another area. Rob…not so much. At least, not just yet. This was a lot of work, and hard work at that, so we definitely need a bit of a break from the major work. Maybe we’ll do eight weeks on and eight weeks off with the big-time renovating? We’ll see…
WHAT WE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY
I’ve always believed that hard experiences exist to teach us something, and that goes the same for renovations as well as life.
We never could have imagined the journey that this project would take and what our family would go through over the past 16 months. But, we also had a lot of take-aways from the experience…
Deadlines help with motivation.
There were so many moments over the past eight weeks when I could easily have quit. Or, at least, taken a long break from the work. It was hard on my body and challenging in many ways.The schedule helped us to stay on track in a manageable way, and I really liked doing project work this way as opposed to my usual way of working–“I’ll do it when I feel like it”.
You can accomplish a lot when you break up the tasks into smaller projects.
Breaking the work into one-week pieces, as well as giving ourselves deadlines,
really helped on the days when we would have maybe preferred to stop.
If you have the thought in your mind that, okay, I just need to check this one thing off the list today–it makes it much easier to happen than if you’re trying to focus on the entire big picture. That’s just too overwhelming. Just focus on the next thing on the to-do list is how you can keep moving forward and making progress.
Preparation is key.
Every step of the process, I would pause and reset for the next step. That included educating myself on things we were going to need to do (like watching 14 videos about installing the countertops because this was a totally new product for me), organizing the tools and supplies we would need next, and cleaning the entire project area after each previous step was completed. This made things go so much more smoothly and orderly because we weren’t working in chaos without a clue about what was coming next.
Things rarely ever go as planned, no matter how much you prepare.
While this isn’t a new life lesson for us, we found that it certainly applied to this project. I think it’s important to build some wiggle room into your expectations because, if you don’t, a small setback can end up derailing your progress.At each step of this renovation, we made sure to leave ourselves extra time to deal with unexpected things that might come up. And, sometimes, that would mean we were working right up to a deadline because we needed every extra minute. But it didn’t throw us off track, and that’s what matters.
Asking for help doesn’t mean I’m weak.
In our house, I’m the DIYer, and Rob is the helper. We’re cool with that arrangement because I love doing these kinds of projects, and Rob is always a cheerleader for the things I want to take on–even if they aren’t on the top of his own list. He would much rather do the outdoor work than the indoor projects, and that works for us.In the past, though, I did all or nearly all of the significant work when we worked on a room. But, right now, my health issues make that impossible. I had to get to a place where I was okay to ask for more help than I have in the past. But you know what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work!
This project has meant so much to us, and I hope you’ve enjoyed watching the whole thing unfold week by week.
There are many more participants in this challenge, and I encourage you to check them out and get more ideas for your next DIY.
And speaking of “next DIYs”…we’re already making lists of ideas for our next renovation project, so expect to see more on that soon. Right after we give ourselves a chance to rest and relax from all the hard work! If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay in touch!