My Life The Blog The Victorian House

A Look Back at 2016

Last year, my intention was to focus. To quote myself:

I’m entertaining this novel idea. It’s called “start a room, finish a room.” I know! Here’s the thing. Every single room in this house is going to be in need of at least some minor repair by the time our house has been completely rewired. But once that’s done! The house is all ours again to do whatever we want with! (I am maybe just the teensiest bit excited about the prospect. Can you tell?) Of course, we’ll have spent all of our dollars on colorful tubes of metal and plastic that hide in our walls by then, but hey.

And guess what. I did this! We finished rewiring the second and third floors (as much as we’re doing for right now). And I started and finished the den, our bedroom, our closet, the entryway, hallway, and stairs, a porch, a sandbox/fort for the kids, and a bathroom with my hand-painted tumbling blocks floor!

The Den

Den / Family Room / TV Room (Before)

Family Den | Making it Lovely's One Room Challenge Den

This total hodgepodge of a room finally got the attention it deserved. The prettiest blue walls, comfy new chairs, and 6′ long insects on the wall. Naturally.

Our Bedroom

Bedroom with Quincy Bed

Bedroom with Ceiling Fan | Making it Lovely's One Room Challenge Bedroom

Maybe my favorite room in the house? Until the library is completely done, at least. Then they can duke it out for the title.

Our Closet


Making it Lovely's Closet

Excuse me, it’s a “dressing room.” Much fancier sounding. It has a sink and everything. (This house has quirks.)

The Entryway


Oak-Paneled Victorian Staircase and Front Entry with Curved Window | Making it Lovely, One Room Challenge

I had made changes to the entryway over time, but 2016 was the year I got all of the finishing touches in.


Hallway Ceiling, Second Floor, with Conduit for Electrical Rewiring

Pink roman shade from The Shade Store, Farrow & Ball Tourbillon Wallpaper, Schoolhouse Electric brass light | Making it Lovely, One Room Challenge

Oh, wallpapered hallway. You give me all the heart eyes. This hallway has been through some major changes, you guys.


Stairs and Floor After Pulling Up Carpet

Antelope Print Stair Runner Rug | Making it Lovely, One Room Challenge

That antelope runner on the stairs is giving the wallpaper a run for its money. 😍

A Porch

Back Porch, Before

Back Porch, Overhead Shot | Making it Lovely

An easy update! See ya, overstuffed old furniture. Hello, sleek seating and a little bistro table. String lights make it magical at night.

A Sandbox/Fort

Sandbox and Play Area, Before

Play Area by the Back Door

The kids were so into this one. A sandbox with a built-in fort and a pea gravel surround gives them tons of options for play.

The Bathroom w/Hand-Painted Floor

Third Floor Bathroom with Pink

Hand-Painted Bathroom Floor | Making it Lovely, One Room Challenge

That floor took days to execute, but I love it. Sadly, we may have to demo the bathroom. See below (and cue the tears… and open checkbook).

It was a good year for the house! Mostly! Looking good, old lady. Please stop with the plumbing issues though, OK?

I worked on the blog itself, too. There was a full redesign last year, and while I was upgrading my server over the past week, I was working hard behind the scenes to add new features. There will be a shop section with links for everything we’ve used here in our home, there are beautiful new large feature images, the archives are beautifully laid out, and I’m updating the house tour. The site got a few other tweaks and the logo got a new inline version, and there are lots of little things left to do, but overall the site is feeling good.

(Someone sent me a message, excited that the sledding chickens in the header were gone, but that’s only because they’ve moved to the sidebar. Sorry! I like adding in those little illustrations too much to let them go completely. Perhaps my swan lady will make a return at some point too?)

Making it Lovely

One of my favorite posts of the year was ‘A Night In.’ I don’t take photos of the house all that often at night, but it’s so cozy and warm! I’ve already made one big change to that space, too. New chairs for the library! I’ll share more next week.

Nicole Balch, at home | Making it Lovely

So what’s next for 2017? Well, we made a nice hole in the ceiling of our second floor bathroom yesterday. We just figured, hey. It’s been a couple of months since all of our walls and ceilings were in good shape. What should we rip open!? (We are investigating the leak that we discovered in November. It’s not looking good.)

But there are two rooms in the works besides the bathroom curveball that this house sent our way. They’re going to be good! Thank you, as always, for being here. Onward, 2017!

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  • Lisa
    January 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I love everything you’ve done and can’t wait to see what you do this year!

  • AshleyM
    January 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    It’s all so …lovely!! Glad you and your house had a good year! Question for you…I am active duty military living in Germany. The furniture here is so different than what we can find in the states. Am I crazy to want to sell a lot of our furniture before we move and buy new (stuff I love) and take that back to the States, even when I don’t know what our future home/homes will look like?

  • Marty@A Stroll Thru Life
    January 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    This home is unbelievable and your restoration is amazing and stunning. I am always inspired.

  • Heather
    January 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Wow! it looks great (and I feel like such a slacker!) You’re definitely an inspiration, and if I accomplished a portion of that I’d be psyched! Your rugs look great…it’s nice to see them in the rooms. I find them so hard to shop for. Would you consider a post on your favorite rug sources (although I know you have throughout). One thing I did accomplish this year was to get my son that cute red bed from Target that you showed early this year. So, thanks so much for that. Happy New Year!

  • cherise
    January 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

    It IS lovely!! We have an early 1900’s four square along the shores of west Michigan. We to have a lot of the original oak woodwork and I so love your inspiring rooms!

  • Alana
    January 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    It’s great to see it all as a body of work. SO much done!!! Beautiful rooms everywhere. <3

  • Antonina Neo
    January 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    You are very inspirational figure.
    Keep it on!

  • Rebecca Long Pyper
    January 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    You are doing such a fabulous job with your beautiful home. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Emily Clark-Nimz
    January 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I love the redesign! Everything looks great. I would also love it if there was a section just for all the Honor Rolls that you do. There are always great links, but sometimes I don’t get the emails for those (not sure why since I get everything else.)

  • Amy Knight
    January 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I love the sledding chickens and the other illustrations. Keep them coming!

  • Alison K T
    January 13, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Hi! Lovely post, just as I’d expect. I’m especially obsessed with the matching shirts you and your son are wearing in the first image! Where can I get my hands on a set of my own for me and my little bug?

  • Gretchen
    January 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Everything looks so pretty and fresh! If 2016 was this fabulous, can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!