We’re sitting here scratching our heads, wondering how on earth another year could have passed. But the more we think about it, I guess it makes sense when we remember everywhere we’ve traveled, the projects we’ve completed, and the things we’ve accomplished. So, here’s a little (okay, maybe lengthy) 2011 wrap up for you as we reflect back on what was an amazing year.

Projects Checked Off

Organic Vegetable Garden - This summer we tried our hand at building an organic square foot garden. For a couple weekends worth of work, we were thrilled with the results, and enjoyed months of fresh herbs, kale, ichiban eggplant, and much more (including cabbage that we thought was broccoli for several months). 

Farewell Crappy B&B. Hello Guest Bedroom. - As I've done many times before, I grew restless with the slow progress of the vestibule reconfiguration and informed Alex we would be doing a quick makeover of our guest bedroom. The pink walls and cracked ceiling had helped the room earn it's nickname of the "crappy B&B." (That's what Alex and I called in it while we slept in this room for a year while our own bedroom was undergoing its renovation.) He may have fought me tooth and nail, but I know both of us, including our guests, are thrilled we took the time to check this one off the list. 

Vestibule Reconfiguration - By far the most ambitious and labor intensive project of the year, the vestibule reconfiguration involved flip flopping our front door and french doors to the way they once were years ago. But of course we couldn't use the doors we already had. No siree. We instead retrofitted an old door and two sidelights for their new home, as well as stripped all the original molding and wainscoting, and installed a new tile floor, overhead LED light, salvaged hardware and transom house numbers. Oh, and agonized over the front door color, letter slot location and creepy perverts, the color of the new doorknob, and much more. Thanks to everyone who stuck with us through this one...and the record breaking 29 posts we devoted to it. It was a doozie, but we're smitten with the finished results.

Curb Appeal 2.0 - This project goes hand in hand with the vestibule reconfiguration project, but we also worked hard to improve the curb appeal of our home this year. After completing our front stairs project several years ago, we turned our attention to other parts of our home. And during this period, the front of our house started to look a little shabby. One might say we were bringin' ghetto back due to the broken light fixture, gaping hole, and construction cone where our tree once flourished. So I nagged the city arborist for months until our replacement tree arrived, meanwhile Alex cut and replaced the beveled pane of glass in our front light. Mission accomplished. We still need to work on the planted area at the base of the tree, but that's a next year sort of thing.

Roof Work to Stop That Pesky Leak - Though we just posted about this little project the other day, it was an ongoing source of frustration and work over the last several years. We're thrilled that the leak seems to be gone...for now...but you better believe we'll be keeping our eyes on it for the foreseeable future. If all goes well, maybe I'll be able to convince Alex to fix the crack in the ceiling the roof leak caused.

Air Conditioner Condensate Trap - Yet another leak (notice a trend) occurred mid summer while my parents were visiting. It seems the condensate trap for our air conditioner had clogged, overflowed, and turned our ceiling into a makeshift water torture device. But we turned lemons into lemonade and replaced the clogged trap with a new condensate trap that promises to prevent the same sort of thing in the future. Sure it may be somewhat boring, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing we won't again come home to a "water boob" in our ceiling is priceless. 

Whole House Audio Sonos Installation - Alex's technology obsession continued (but I can't say I totally hate it) with the install of a Sonos device on our existing whole house audio solution. What does all of this mean? It means we can listen to Pandora, Spotify, our iTunes library, or any other of the many streaming internet radio stations from almost any room of the house. Cool? Absolutely. Overkill? You bet! Typical of Alex? Yep.

Oh the Places We’ll Go

Alex and I caught the travel bug years ago, and 2011 was no different. Thanks to a combination of business trips (with Alex in tow) as well as personal vacations, this year brought us to many new and exciting parts of the country and world.

New Orleans – We began the year with a trip to the Big Easy. A city that had been on our travel wish list for quite some time, we were elated when I had a business trip take me there. So Alex and I went out a couple days early to explore the city, take in the sights, and indulge in the world-renowned culinary scene. We also walked away with some significant design inspiration to boot.

Napa Valley – Ahh, one of my true loves. Again, another business trip for me, but a city that we’re drawn to time and time again. This year marked the sixth consecutive year we’ve visited wine country, and we’re never disappointed. If you’re thinking of planning a trip, you might want to check out our suggested vacation itinerary for a few of our favorite wineries and restaurants.

San Francisco – Like peas and carrots, San Francisco and Napa Valley are a beautiful marriage. We spent a day in this magnificent city on our return from Napa Valley, and once again took in the sights of china town, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the like. There’s just something majestic about the view of the Golden Gate Bridge over the San Francisco Bay.

Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) – In an unexpected turn of events, Alex and I had the good fortune of visiting Scandinavia this year when we decided to buy a new car. Thanks to Volvo’s Overseas Delivery Program, which gets you a trip to Sweden to pick up your new ride, we were off to explore a part of the world that quickly make its way on our "favorite destinations" list. The architecture, fantastic shopping and design inspiration, and above all wonderful people, make this a destination we hope to soon return to.

Fond Farewells

This year we had to bid farewell to two close people in our lives. The first was our neighbor and close friend Paul Harris. Paul, our self-proclaimed neighborhood watch, was the first person to welcome us to our home and neighborhood back in 2003. He monitored our projects, the back alley, and all goings on in a several block radius of our house. Paul was like a grandfather to us, and without him, the neighborhood isn’t and will never be the same again.

This year also marked the first time I had to say goodbye to a grandparent. My Grandpa Tony was a gentle giant, and I’ll never forget him. He was so proud of Alex and me, and all we had accomplished on the house. Christmas wasn’t the same this year without his corny jokes and lingering hugs.

We hope that both Paul and Grandpa Tony will continue to watch over our renovation project and us. We hope to make them proud.

Welcome to the World

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the next very important milestone to our year in review. After nearly a decade of project and photo accumulation, spurred on by friends’ requests to start a blog and/or show them how we did that (house project), we officially launched Old Town Home. Born on April 22, 2011, our new “baby” and pet project has been a ton of fun. We’ve “met” people from all over the world as a result of the blog, swapped ideas, and heard your feedback (even when sometimes the comments were hard to swallow). We even experienced our first foray in the world of television when we filmed a segment for the DIY Network back in July, and were interviewed for various newspapers, magazines, and online publications on subjects such as the blog, our renovation, how we leverage social media, and what our modern take on holiday decorating is. What a blast…and learning experience. We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you for joining us in our renovation adventures and misadventures, and we hope to see more of you in the New Year.

So there you have it, a highlight of what an amazing year it has been. What were some of the highlights of your 2011? Any major milestones checked of your life, travel or renovation lists?  We’ll be back next week with a lengthy discussion of our new years resolutions, and what Alex and I hope each other resolves to do in the new year. (Hint: we both may have a bit of a hoarding problem to work on.)

Here’s to health, happiness and completed house projects in 2012. See you next year!

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Comments 6


12/30/2011 at 4:10 PM
Another fun post - I just love recaps! I have so enjoyed getting to know you two & your home this year. Thanks for a great addition to my blog roll.
Thanks so much Carrie! We hope to see more of you in the New Year.
12/31/2011 at 12:23 PM
Hope your Christmas was Merry and I Hope your New Years is a blast! You're definitely my favourite DIY blog. Thanks for keeping the content real, accessible, and personal. Can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for you guys!
Awww, thanks so much Whitney! We had a very merry Christmas and hope you did too. We can't wait for another year of exciting projects in 2012, and are thrilled you'll join us for the ride. Happy New Year.
1/1/2012 at 10:30 PM
Wendy! What a fabulous year filled with so many accomplishments and lots of great memories! Wishing you the best for 2012 too! Happy New Year!
1/4/2012 at 10:05 AM
What a great year! And here's to a 2012 filled with grace, peace and home improvement (for you guys and me too!)

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