Does anyone else hate those episodes of TV shows that are basically just mishmashes of old scenes, framed by the characters sitting around and reminiscing?
“Year in Review” type blog posts can feel a bit like that to me… which might be why it’s felt like pulling teeth for me to write this post.
Wow. That is seriously the worst introduction ever. Here, please read this post that I didn’t really want to write. Enjoy!
So this is where I tell you that at first, I wasn’t really feeling the whole reliving last year, rehashing the past, but my feelings began to change as I started combing through a year’s worth of blog posts and memories.
You guys, 2016 was a heck of a year!
I did not start 2016 strong.
We knew we would be selling our house and moving at some point, but we didn’t know when, and the suspense had long since lost its sparkle. I was dutifully trudging through a checklist of projects to complete before we could list our home, none of which made particularly interesting blog content, and just feeling generally down.
Once 2016 picked up, however, around the end of April, it was a roller coaster all the way through the end of the year. We sold our home, found a new one, and moved by the beginning of June, and ever since, I’ve been up to my elbows with DIY and decorating projects over here and always, always trying to find that elusive balance between life and work, ambition and contentment.
If you’ve been a loyal reader of The Gathered Home for a while, I hope you’ll still enjoy this “highlights reel” of my favorite moments of 2016. And if you weren’t along for the ride the first time along, then please consider this a “backstory” episode…
The Biggest Change award goes to our move at the beginning of June, which neatly divided our year into two parts, the one where we lived an hour+ from Bryan’s job in The Gathered Home 1.0…
… and the one where we live 15 minutes away from his work and 5 minutes away from family in The Gathered Home 2.0.
And even though the first photo is sunny, and the second is a bit dreary (although I think the snow is fabulous!), the difference in my mood in the two halves of the year is the complete opposite. I went from a fog of anxiety, stress, and depression, to absolutely loving life, and – keeping it real – still dealing with my anxiety, but much less of it.
I am so grateful for our first home and have tons of awesome memories there, but I don’t miss it at all. I am completely in love with our new home and new area! It’s not at all what I was originally dreaming (you can read more about that here when I first shared our new home), but it’s absolutely perfect for us!
Right before we put our house on the market, I put the “finishing” touches on our living room, which had been a work in progress for the three years we lived there.
It started out as a dark box with popcorn ceilings and vertical blinds.
I scraped the popcorn ceilings, repainted the room twice (eventually settling on a sage gray), and thrifted and DIYed my little heart out, eventually ending up with a space that felt warm and glamorous.
My Favorite and Yours
The Internet is a funny place. Sometimes I publish a post or project that I am completely in love with, and it’s met with crickets.
So it’s always nice when you guys seem to love something as much as I do! My Wes Anderson-Inspired Pink Kitchen Makeover was definitely my favorite project of 2016, and it was also the most-commented post for the year here on the blog.
I know pink walls in the kitchen are definitely not for everyone, but I’m still loving them!
If I had to choose one project that made the biggest change in our home, it would be the DIY black and white tile backsplash in the kitchen! I was able to complete it in one afternoon, with about $20 worth of vinyl (yes, VINYL) and it made such a huge impact in the way I feel about our kitchen.
However, the post where I shared how I made this DIY Faux Roman Shade in the kitchen didn’t seem to get very much traction. Maybe I was just sharing too many kitchen posts in a row (my bad!), but it was one of the least-commented posts of 2016.
I’m not complaining at all – you guys, I’m ashamed to admit I’m not a faithful blog commenter – I just thought it was kind of funny because it was another of my favorite projects.
But I’ve gotta say… I think the Best Gif Award has to go to this one I made for my DIY Mini Abstract Canvas Ornaments. I was so sad to pack these away! Maybe I need to create an itty bitty gallery wall?
I had fun finding the most-liked photos/projects across the main social media platforms I use. Instagram is totally my favorite place to spend time these days and you can find me there @the_gathered_home. This photo of our living room, featuring some of my favorite thrifted art pieces, is my most-liked photo of all time.
All hail the magic of green velvet!
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Couches I'm probably *not* getting tired of anytime soon… Party of one, this thrifted green velvet treasure! Because it's vintage, it sits pretty low to the ground, but I recently got some cheap new legs on Amazon that gave us a few added inches of height – super easy way to update your furniture, you guys! #thegatheredhome
Each social media account has its own style you have to learn. Instagram likes pretty photos. Facebook likes clickbait (sad but true). I personally HATE clickbait, but when I shared this “before” photo of our front library area and asked people to click over for the “after”, it went over really well!
This one was kind of a surprise to me! When I created these DIY Gilded Insect Faux Taxidermy, I wasn’t expecting the project to be quite so popular. I figured the bug factor might creep some people out, but this was definitely my most popular project of 2016 on Pinterest.
Best Craigslist Score(s)
Okay, I really tried to narrow this down, but I just had so much fun Craigslisting furniture pieces for our new home this year!
It’s really a tie between this mustard yellow tufted velvet sofa that I found for $100…
and these super-80’s leather channel-back chairs in our living room that were only $20 each!
Either way, they are both pretty beloved members of the family at this point, and I don’t expect them to be going anywhere in 2017!
2016’s Best Post
If I had to choose a BEST post for 2016 – the one that is the most helpful, the most “The Gathered Home”, it would have to be this post jam-packed with all my secrets to Craigslist shopping.
It took me ages to write this post – both in the planning stages and in actually pulling the post together – and it’s a comprehensive, no-holds-barred brain-dump of all my best tips for treasure-hunting on Craigslist!
Sometimes I start “series” here on the blog that kind of fizzle and die along the way, but I promise you, The ABC’s of Gathering isn’t going anywhere, despite a bit of a hiatus over the fall/winter.
The ABC’s of Gathering is a series full of inspiration and ideas for creating a beautiful home using gathered (vintage, thrifted, and found) finds!
In this alphabet, each letter represents one type of find or concept related to gathering, and each post contains tons of examples from some extremely talented bloggers, decorators, and designers, to give you confidence and encouragement to incorporate these types of gathered finds in your home.
These posts are incredibly time-intensive to pull together – sourcing each inspiration photo and seeking permission to use them takes quite a chunk of time – but they are some of my favorites from this past year!
You can definitely expect to see more of these in 2017… Believe it or not, I do have most of the remaining letters of the alphabet figured out!
With a capital F-U-N!
I had an absolute blast thinking up and pulling off a classic The Gathered Home April Fool’s Day prank…
Digitally “painting” the exterior of our house Barbie Dream Home pink! Now please: go ahead and forget that this is a yearly tradition, okay? April is only a few months away…
So here’s the thing: Bryan doesn’t think I’m particularly funny. I think I’m freaking hilarious. The truth is probably somewhere in between, but I do think you’ll get a good feel for my brand of humor from this post: The Anxious Person’s Guide to Surviving a Move.
At the very least, you will learn my helpful “Depressed Dog” yoga pose:
That’s A Wrap…
And that was 2016 – a rocky start, but a great finish with my best holiday home tour yet and that one big secret DIY project that I keep teasing and hope to reveal soon.
Yep, 2017 is going to be a good one, I can feel it.