Our Goals for 2021!

Kim and Scott lounge with Catfish in their in-progress Snug renovation // via Yellow Brick Home
rug | bookcase | sconce | slippers (similar)

Happy New Year, Friends

Happy new year to you! Now that one of the most bizarre and challenging years of our collective lives is behind us, we’re vowing to only look forward from here on out! We’ve never been big on ‘resolutions’ around here, but we do like to give ourselves a few goals to work toward at the beginning of each year – goals that keep us focused while giving us things to look forward to.

One year ago, we summed up our goals for the year in a word: growth. We sure did our fair share of growing, although maybe it wasn’t how we imagined it to look! In 2021, we’ll be making every intention to pause. Pause before big decisions, pause prior to taking on work, and pause when we step back to consider our impact.

Catfish's adorable squishy face // via Yellow Brick Home
sand + brass collar

In our work life, we’ve consistently pushed ourselves hard, and the last few years have been really intense (in the best possible way). This year, we’ll take time to appreciate the results of our hard work and maybe – just maybe! – take things just a little easier on ourselves. On a personal level, we’re looking forward to continue creating traditions and new memories with Lucy, and hopefully we’ll get to see her squeal with delight when she dips her toes into the ocean for the first time. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

1| Refinance + Invest

For 2020, one of our goals was to ‘Reach our Personal Financial Goals’, so this one is admittedly a touch redundant. We got the ball rolling last year, but the global pandemic had something else to say about us checking our financial goals completely off the list, so here’s to you, 2021.

As it stands now, we’ve refinanced the Two Flat out of our initial construction loan at a much better rate. Our Chicago home refinance is in the works, and should be complete within a few weeks. We’re hoping to pay additional toward our principal(s) every month so that we can eliminate our debts early-ish in life.

In addition to our mortgage refinancing, this will be the year that we buckle up and meet with a financial planner. Exciting, right? No, really! Up to this point in our grown-up lives, our investments have been (strategically?) limited to real estate. We don’t think we’ll be purchasing any more homes in the near future (cue nervous laughter), so we’d like to begin diversifying our assets to get our money working harder for us. And speaking of making our money work harder, this brings me to…

2| Make Our Home Work Harder For Us

We moved into our Chicago home almost 8 years ago. Since then we’ve been heartbroken over the loss of beloved pets, we’ve become parents to the funniest, sweetest three-year-old, we’ve both become employed full time at YBH, and we’ve purchased and renovated two additional homes. You know, just a few small changes. How is any of this relevant, you ask? Simply put, our needs have changed significantly and other projects have kept us from fully adapting to meet them.

This year, we’ll finish turning our seldom-used studio/office into a family space that works for all of us. We’ll repurpose the living room nook into the coziest snug (seen in the main photo) that will offer additional storage while maximizing lounging space. We’ll eliminate paint colors that we’re no longer in love with and the decor choices that don’t bring us joy. We’ll further dial in our smart home. This might also be the year that we finally tackle our exterior renovation. The last one is a bit of a stretch goal, but we can’t wait to see where the year takes us!

3| Design More Spaces for the Greater Good

Nothing brings us more joy than designing spaces for friends, family and non-profits. This year, we’re looking forward to continue flexing our design muscles to create spaces for people other than ourselves. We’re in contact with a few local non-profits, and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to link up with other organizations that help to improve the homes and well-being of others. It’s a goal we gave ourselves last year, and admittedly, it’s been more of a challenge to iron out the details than we ever imagined. On that note, if you’re able to put us into contact with any additional organizations in the Chicago area, please shoot us an email!

If you could describe your goals for 2021 in one word, what would it be?

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  • lak1.4.21 - 7:14 AM

    Happy New Year!  Joy!  Joy is my continued mantra this year. You see I am 16 months from retirement, I may or may not at that time, but knowing I can makes an incredible difference!  I have worked hard most of my life, now I am phasing myself out of the high stress ICU into a lower level of care, enjoying patients who can talk.  During the pandemic myself and 3 neighbor ladies (all in their 70’s & 80’s) worked to refurbish all the light fixtures in out community.  It was a grass roots effort that paid off for all, we have 18 left and will complete them in the spring.  We enjoyed it a lot, it looks great, neighbors were thrilled with their “new” lights, and it kept some elderly women and almost elderly woman busy and in touch during the pandemic.  Enjoying life through work, fun, people, and experience!  Heres to 2021ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.11.21 - 11:24 AM

      This is absolutely incredible!! You’re a light.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Rossman1.4.21 - 12:18 PM

    Great goal for 2021 and I like your word for the year. I had to re-read, but if you both work full time from home but seldom use your office, where do you do you work and are there other workspace plans?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.4.21 - 12:29 PM

      We’ve been working from the dining room table, and it’s been glorious! We get to enjoy our home more fully, plus we’re closer to the kitchen, which we didn’t realize we needed so badly (coffee refills for life)!ReplyCancel

  • Jill1.4.21 - 12:41 PM

    Great goals!
    No better goal than getting out of debt! We paid off our mortgage in May, and it continues this be one of the smartest things we have ever accomplished…particularly during a global pandemic and general economic turmoil. Living in a paid off home continues to pay off psychologically and financially. ReplyCancel

    • Scott1.4.21 - 12:55 PM

      Congrats! That’s amazing!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.4.21 - 1:50 PM

      I love this, Jill! Even more reason to light a fire beneath us.ReplyCancel

  • Nahyun Arnal1.4.21 - 2:14 PM

    Such a lovely post!! We also are trying to work towards financial freedom, while also redoing our office, building a deck, and finishing our basement.  I think our word of the year will be quality, sharing quality projects and DIY’s, spending quality time with family and friends, and having “quality” in mind when sharing and scrolling!  Can’t wait to see how you guys change your home this year! ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.4.21 - 2:29 PM

      I love this so much! I can’t wait to follow along with you in 2021!ReplyCancel

  • Amy1.4.21 - 2:24 PM

    One of my biggest goals this year is to either move into my family’s forever home or turn our classic Chicago bungalow into our forever home. Speaking of which, if you have recommendations on a good construction loan consultant or lender I’ll take them! Pretty please. ReplyCancel

  • Emily1.4.21 - 4:23 PM

    Not sure if I’ve commented before, but you should definitely check out the Chicago Tool Library!! It’s a wonderful organization (I myself am a new member) that loans out tools. They have an outstanding inventory and you may be able to avoid purchasing one-off tools by checking in with them, first. ReplyCancel

  • Meghan1.4.21 - 4:52 PM

    Getting our financial life in order was my goal for 2020 and I made so much progress! We turned our attention from making additional payments on our mortgage to investing (since our interest rate is very low we can do much better long term by investing).  I found the book The Simple Path to Wealth by Jim Colins immensely helpful and gave me the knowledge to handle my own investing.
    I look forward to following along in 2021!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.4.21 - 5:22 PM

      Oooh, I bought that book a couple months ago! Now I need to crack it open, ha. Thanks for that’s reminder, and feeling optimistic!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda1.4.21 - 6:55 PM

    It’s cliche but we’re focusing on less this year. Less stuff, less spending, less stress. Less half complete home projects- I am looking at you kitchen Reno started in July 2018…
    We’ve gotten sucked into more “stuff” collecting with spending so much time at home. We’re focusing on culling our belongings and not bringing anymore into our home. ReplyCancel

  • NT1.4.21 - 8:27 PM

    Happy 2021, Kim + Scott! Was wondering if you guys would share more about your refinancing experience? Or recommend any resources you found helpful. It’s on my list of things to look into and learn about. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.4.21 - 9:26 PM

      We have an awesome loan officer that we’ve been fortunate enough to work with for years. We trust him completely and he handles the entire process. If you’re in need of a loan officer, ask your friends and family if they can recommend anyone! Referrals are always the best.ReplyCancel

  • Nisha1.5.21 - 7:47 AM

    Happy New Year! Since you’re the DIY type, highly recommend The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing and checking out the Bogelheads group for investment advice. Watch out for the fees of financial planners and the investment vehicles they recommend, they can really add up! Hope 2021 brings joy and new adventures for you! ReplyCancel

  • Carrie1.5.21 - 11:43 AM

    I’m not good at being succinct with any goals (or anything), but my word would be organization.  Both at home and work!  I have ADHD, and a fun chronic illness that come with constant pain and fatigue, so it’s easy to let things slide.  Esp in my house because I live alone and my chaos doesn’t hurt anyone but me.  But my brain deserves structure, so as part of my self care, I’m gonna get it together!  Plus I really want to make my room of shame into a study and I can’t do that until I clean it out! ReplyCancel

  • Becca1.5.21 - 3:12 PM

    Happy New Year, Kim and Scott! What awesome goals for 2021. I’m excited to see how you tackle them! If I had to pick a word for the year it would be something like ‘engage’ – I’ve been feeling a bit passive in my life for some time (pandemic aside, though it certainly hasn’t helped!), so I’m determined to get back in amongst it. And part of that is actually taking the time to comment on the blogs of people I’ve loved and followed for years!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.11.21 - 11:25 AM

      Aw, thank you for chiming in, Becca! It means the world to us.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer1.13.21 - 1:26 PM

    I’m a list maker and goal setter, so I always love posts like this! Any tips for how to do this with a spouse who is NOT naturally jazzed by a detailed goal conversation? What actual questions are you asking yourselves and how do you find a balance between realistic goals and dreamy ones?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.13.21 - 2:58 PM

      Good question! In your case, it might be helpful to initiate the conversation by giving options. Have an idea ready of what you think worked for you, and what didn’t, and what goals you could see being achievable based on that. Then have him weigh in! And be kind to yourself by setting realistic expectations. You’ll have every year after this one to build upon it. ☺️ReplyCancel


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