We’ve been blogging for 10 years. 10. YEARS! Am I shouting?! Does this make us old? Are we blogger grandparents? It’s really hard to believe – like, truly – that we’ve been typing away into this corner of the web for a decade now. Our 10 year birthday was officially a week ago, and for fun, I went back and read our very first post. It made me chuckle, but the good kind! Chuckly with me, will you? Here’s what I say:
I have an addiction to decorative pillows, gaudy photo frames, scarves, and red wine […] I tend to get very excited over rummage sale finds and the potential they have, and I know there are people out there who share that same enthusiasm. I like to think that’s why we’re starting this blog. I know we’re not alone out here. – Kim, circa 2009
After all these years, you’ve shown us that we are most definitely not alone. Not even close! (And not surprisingly, I still love red wine.) I never imagined that my hobby would lead me to this community of home lovers – of rescue pet lovers and lovers of black bedrooms and wallpaper and transom windows and, and! I mean, I wished and I hoped it would, and it did. Ten-fold. I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you for being here! Thank you for giving us inspiration and fueling our ideas and allowing us to do what we do every day. We heart you.
We thought it would be fun to choose our 10 favorite renovations from the last 10 years. Initially, I had every intention to count them down – Top 10 style! – but when I asked Scott, he said ‘no way.’ We can’t do that! Wouldn’t that be akin to choosing a favorite child? (I mean, you might have a favorite but you wouldn’t say it out loud, would you? Kidding.) So in no particular order, here we go!
1 | The Master Bedroom
The master bedroom was part of a larger 3-room renovation that also included our second floor bathroom and laundry room. It was an intense time, and it was the first time we ever hired a team of contractors to do the dirty work for us – what a treat! Our bedroom used to be the kitchen for the second floor apartment (who remembers that?!), but we ripped it out in favor of a dark, moody retreat. The back door was replaced in favor of windows, and until I dug up these photos, I had completely forgotten there used to be a partial chimney in here!
See the entire master bedroom evolution right here.
And here’s the opposite view, facing towards the entrance. That bump out on the right, below, is a drywalled chimney. And my, how easily we forget – I don’t even remember that window!
2 | The Entryway
You may have heard me say that the entryway is one of my favorite ‘rooms’ in this house. It’s true! So much love was poured into this space over the years, from ripping up the carpet to pulling staples (hundreds of them!) to priming to painting to laying down a runner. Oh, and tile! From start to finish, the entryway renovation took us many years, and it was worth every second for the ‘room’ that greets our loved ones with a hello!
See the entire entryway evolution right here.
3 | Our Tree House Kitchen
We designed and executed The Tree House kitchen in Lucy’s first 6 months of life, and although it was a sizable chunk to bite off during those early newborn days, we were so excited to get to the finish line. Luckily, we are so in love with how it turned out! Even with its small footprint, it’s packed full of function, and – maybe most importantly? – I was able to get this photo. So, you know, I can die happy now.
See the entire Tree House kitchen evolution right here.
4 | The Condo Studio
The office space, or Stu-Stu-Studio, as I liked to call it, was a tiny room in our condo. It was also the last room we completed before moving into our current Chicago home! It was a space created for me during my transition into self-employment, made even more special because I painted hundreds and hundreds of your pets in that room! It served me very well, and I’ll always be grateful that I had a space to foster my ideas and art.
5 | Lucy’s Nursery
How long does it take to talk about your baby without feeling weepy? Does that feeling ever go away? Lucy’s nursery was once our Scary Room, a room so terrifying, the door was rarely (never?) opened. But it did have one thing going for it – the beautiful original trim work (although chopped up and missing in a few places). In fact, it was the only room in our Chicago home that had any original detail remaining! We spent a lot of time matching old trim with new, installing new floors, building out a closet, and finally, it was the room we brought our sweet girl home to. Pass the tissues!
See the entire nursery evolution right here.
6 | The Garden Apartment Kitchen
When our first tenants moved out of the rental unit below us (aka, The Garden Apartment), we took that as an opportunity to repaint the walls and refresh the bathroom. But once we got started, we thought, let’s add recessed lights. And new floors. Well, shoot, maybe let’s redo the kitchen, too! Needless to say, it escalated, and it was an investment well worth it. This was our first full IKEA kitchen, and we were thrilled with how it turned out! There was a lot of reconfiguring, and although we made it smaller, it’s more usable than it ever was before!
See the entire Garden Apartment evolution right here.
7 | The Back of the House
Did you know we used to have a 3-story deck on the back of our house? It acted as the back exit for the first and second floor apartments, before we turned the first and second floor into a single family (with the second unit being repurposed as the Garden Apartment). The third level of the deck was attic access, so when we decided that the entire deck come down, we added an attic pull-down inside. Problem solved! And in the meantime, down came the deck… and with it, a big, fat facelift for the back of the house. It. Was. Massive.
See the entire exterior evolution right here.
And here’s the view before and after from our back door (which is off of the kitchen):
8 | The Tree House Sleeping Loft
The sleeping loft is the renovation we most recently completed on this list, and I’d rank it up there with my love of the entryway! We’re constantly daydreaming about the day that Lucy has sleepovers with her friends, and we can hear them giggling above our heads while we’re making dinner. The loft is the gem of our Tree House, and all it needed was fresh paint and the just right wallpaper.
See the entire Tree House sleeping loft evolution right here.
9 | The One Tail at a Time Adoption Center
We felt so fortunate to dedicate our time towards creating a welcoming Adoption Center for local Chicago pet rescue, One Tail at a Time. The project was completed with a tremendous amount of help from our insanely generous partners, and by the end of one of the most exhausting summers I can remember, we helped to turn this house into a home. Update: They’ve since added a Behavior Center, with many more initiatives on the horizon!
Who remembers the garbage sofa?
10 | Our Living Room
The living room has been more of an ever-changing process than a renovation. I mean, initially, we did made some big changes – like taking down a defunct chimney, replacing the ceiling and literally LIFTING the joists to the second floor from below, for starters! – but the last few years have been about tweaking. Resting. Tweaking again. Resting once more. After Lucy, we craved creature comforts and finally parted with our beloved navy sofa, and now it feels more like ‘us’ than ever before.
See the entire living room evolution right here.
A Question for You!
How many of you have been here from the beginning? From the last 5 years? 1 year? This year? It would absolutely make our day to hear from you in the comments below, letting us know where you’re from and what makes you, you. xx
I just started following you this year. I found you through Young House Love. I’m originally from the Chicago suburbs so that is what drew me to you. Today is my 33rd anniversary and I currently reside in Jacksonville, FL with the love of my life.
I love that. Thank you for following along!
Happy 10 year blogaversary!
I can’t remember how I found your blog but I’ve probably been reading for 5 or 6 years now. Definitely got a few things stored away from your blog for stuff we’re going to do to our house, now that we own one! The Tree house kitchen in particular for our tiny kitchen, when we get round to that one (it’s going to be a full gut job, aieee!).
How exciting!! Have so much fun, enjoy the process!
I don’t know how many years it’s been but I started reading right around the time you had the custom wall/TV unit built for your condo!
Old school! XOXO
I feel like I started following after stumbling on that post as well!!
From the beginning!????
Of course you have!!
New this year, and my jaw is on the floor with these renovations! Such beautiful work, and amazing creativity you have! I’m looking forward to following along with the next projects!
Thanks, Kim! ????
I only wish I had your time, money and energy. I left my 1300 sq. ft. ranch in southern Illinois only to move back to my hometown 60 miles north of Philadelphia to move to another college town, my hometown. First after living in the midwest and on the Mason Dixon Line, I now understand what midwestern values and southern hospitality are all about! I will retire back to the Midwest one day…no longer an east coast girl! So I inherited my parents’ house with my brother who has a gorgeous house and he easily said take money pit which basically sat idle since my father died 33 years ago. It’s a 1900 brick, no insulation, no A/C, one bathroom, knob and tube electric, etc….you get the picture. I ended up with cancer, my husband who gave up his career to move here has been laid off 3 times in the past 9 years….so I live vicariously live through your blog hoping to one day rehab this house into a home. Worst part is I want to pin so many of your photos and I can never seem to find that famous little icon on your photos? Help!
Abbe, I like to use the Pinterest browser button. Install it, and you’ll always have the ability to pin photos from sites, even if they don’t embed the “Pin It” button. Hope that helps!
Thanks, Shauna! I was going to suggest the same thing. We took the embedded ‘pin it’ button off when we redesigned the site recently, mostly to clear up some clutter.
Abbe, thank you so much for being here and for supporting us and saying hello today. We’re so grateful to have you, and our one true hope is that no matter what is happening in life, you have the comfort of home. Wishing you all the best.
I’m new to your blog as of a few days ago thanks to, The Gold Hive! I’m always looking for inspiration as we slowly renovate our 1922 bungalow just north of you guys in Milwaukee!
Love Ashley so much. Hi from Chicago!
I’ve been reading since your condo and pet painting days! Have discovered the power of caulk through you (and saying it still makes me giggle). I’ve since moved out of Chicago but I love seeing little glimpses of a city that will always have a piece of my heart. Cheers and congrats!
Ahhhhhhahahahahaha thank you for making my day. :D
I think it’s about 5 years that I’ve been following you. Western Michigan with a daughter in Chicago and a son and daughter in law who went to school in Chicago.
Hello from the left side of the lake!
Just started this year and found you via Daniel from Manhattan Nest. Even though I live in a 1940s expansion bungalow, and have no house budget, I appreciate learning and watching as others problem solve and design their spaces. You have an authentic approachable “voice” on this blog that’s relatable. My oldest graduated HS so I am in a different life stage, but I can appreciate your parenting journey too. Also, the answer is you never stop getting teary about your babies. Sorry. I was weepy all spring wondering how I had an 18 year old when I swear I was just bathing him in the sink last year? Wait, that can’t be right…
Oh, dear. Wasn’t Lucy just born THIS year? No? Ugh, my little muffin baby.
Happy Ten Year Anniversary…I am a newbie here, love all your work and creativity!
So happy you found us. ????
Happy 10 years to your blog!.
I’ve been following your blog since the beginning, I found you through the media console and living revamp that you shared on Young House Love way back in 2011. I actually made the move to Logan Square because your blog, though today I live out in Bridgeport (Chicago).
Ahhhh! Logan Square forever and ever!
New reader this year, as well. I am always drawn to older houses with smaller, more broken up spaces, and I love what you are able to do with those layouts!
But also, I am obsessed with your dogs! CC reminds me of my pit bull, and her expressions kill me – I see a little bit of my Vicky in every one.
TEN YEARS! Are you sure it’s ONLY ten? I swear I have a distinct memory of reading about your dogs at my desk in NY, which would have been 12 years ago. I seem to recall another Chicago pitbull family that hosted pack walks, and somehow you were connected? Or maybe I found you through your dog portraits? Via Young House Love…or were you ever active on Craftster forums, or Livejournal? (RIP) Anyways, I’ve been reading a LOOONG time…and it’s been very cool to be able to integrate your tips and tricks as I’ve gone through dog parenting and home buying! Congrats y’all. Your work is impeccable. Will stick around another 10 years. :)
Hahaha it does feel much longer! And then in other ways it has flown by. I think you’re remembering Two Pitties In the City! We’re actually doing a project with them right now. ????
Thank you so much!
The back of the house is amazing. I’ve not seen that before. Started following a couple of years ago. Love your style both writing and in your homes. Jenny x
Thank you! That back makeover was something else. Ooof.
I think I started following 2-3 years ago, maybe more?? I am 45, work outside the home, married, mom of 3 girls (ages 11, 8 (whose name is… Lucy!) and 5) living on the East Coast. Love your blogging style, your design aesthetic and that you love antiquing! Also follow and love your buds, Ashley, Daniel, Chris and Julia!!
Yay for all the Lucys! Who DOESN’T love antiquing?!
I found you shortly after you bought your Chicago home, but somehow lost you a few years later and couldn’t remember your names (nor blog name). Your master bedroom closet, laundry room and “scary room” made lasting impressions though so about a year ago I searched and searched until I found the pictures stuck in my head. I was converted to a loyal follower, however, when you did a crossover with Daniel Kanter. <3
I worked in Chicago in my 20s and it will forever have a warm place in my heart. (Many a party on back decks exactly like the one you removed.)
So happy for you and your success in creating this life you love!
Love your determination. Thank you! Love Daniel. Love that you’re here.
I don’t remember exactly when or how I found your blog but it was definitely in the condo days, when you had bikes mounted on the walls (right? That was your place I think?). My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary last week and we have no idea where the time went!
Yes, that was us! And happy anniversary – we just celebrated our 10 yr wedding anniversary, too!
I found your blog sometime last year, but have read through most of your posts since purchasing your current home, so I feel like I’ve been here almost all along! I love following along with your renovations for the expertise as well as thought process and perspective; I love following along with you in general for your sweet, admirable spirits and life. I own an beautiful, old home in Missouri so you give me plenty of expertise; but I’m originally from the Chicago area and spent summers on Lake Michigan as a kid, so you give me a window back into places I love! Thank you so much for starting this blog!
Aw thank you, Danielle!
I’ve been following you guys for over 5 years for sure! So happy for you and everything your site has become! Congrats!
Thank you, Tori!
10 YEARS! It definitely doesn’t feel like that long. I am fairly confident that I have been following you since the beginning. I remember your condo and all the fun projects you took on in that small space. You’ve been inspiring me for years! (And still are!) I FINALLY bought my first home and I can’t wait to renovate and document the process. (I’m thinking Instagram, what do you suggest?)
Yes, Instagram all the way! It’s such a low pressure to share the progress, plus it’s an easy way to scroll back to the beginning and see how far you’ve come.
Congrats on your first home! I hope you’re celebrating!
I’ve been following you since sometime in the summer or fall of 2010. Not quite since the beginning, but a LONG time! I’ve loved every minute: )
Wow, thank you! 2010 somehow feels like a million years ago, ha.
Congrats on 10 years! I’ve been following for so long I can’t even remember how I found you. YHL, maybe? Did they include you in their house crashing segment ages ago? I honestly don’t know. Love your blog. Love your “voice”… you guys always seem humble, intentional and appreciative, and I love that about you. I love your projects and your style. My husband and I are in our mid-30s, slowly working on our fixer upper here in rural, western PA. I love DIY projects and renovations, but my husband isn’t thrilled about them. He’s super patient, though, and humors my constant stream of ideas. And he never complains about the constant messes I make :-)
We appreciate your words so much, thank you, thank you. And thank goodness for patient husbands, haha!
I started following about 3 years ago. It showed up on my feed because of Ann Vargo ????. Although we’ve downsized and sold our house I still love the blog and all your innovations.
What a small world! So happy you’re here.
I’be been reading since the beginning and am just as surprised as y’all that it’s been 10 years! I also have two of your pet portraits!
Yay! Thank you for supporting us all these years, Rachel! I feel like I remember one of your paintings had a pale pink background… am I remembering correctly?
You have an amazing memory! Yes, the first one you did of our sweet cat Smoky had a pale pink background!
Scott is always amazed at how I can remember the pets I’ve painted. I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot… but the other was a seafoam-y background?
Omg, yes! Our dog Mack. They were the first pieces of art I hung when we moved into our new house!
Hi Kim! Ndugu’s mom here (still so grateful and lucky we have your portrait of him ????). Been following since your condo days and I think I’m with Caitlin.. might have been since your custom tv cabinet, lol. You guys seriously blow my mind with your talents and incredible style. Keep having fun and thank you for all you do and share with us. Hugs from Canada ❤️
I loved that shaggy pup. Still one of my very faves to this day. Thank you for sharing him with me.❤️
I started reading when you moved from the condo to the house. Not sure what year that was!
We moved to our current home almost exactly 6 years ago! Hard to believe.
I think I started following around the time of your kitchen renovation), although I feel like it’s been longer because I ended up reading through your archives and so have seen the older stuff!
I did the same
You’re a champion for digging into the archives. Thank you!!
I’ve been reading you since the kitchen/new back deck. I can’t remember how I found you but am so glad I did. I will find new blogs occasionally and add them to my “list” but they eventually come off the list there are only a few that are a constant and yours is one of them along with Danial of Manhattan Nest, Chris and Julia, John and Sherry, Kit from DIYDiva and Reality Daydreams
So honored. I’ll check out the other blogs you mentioned that I’m not familiar with yet, thanks!
I recently started following you after listening to an old CLJ podcasts. I love the design inspiration you provide. I reside in the DMV area and actually hope to visit Chicago later this year to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.
Happy 10 years of blogging! Your work is amazing ;-)
Yesssss! Chicago won’t disappoint. Happy (early) anniversary!
I’m in Seattle. I’ve been following since the condo…maybe I linked over from young house love? I’m not sure how I found you initially. But congrats on 10 years!
Thanks, Sally! Happy you found us. :)
I started reading a year or two ago, found your blog through Daniel Kanter (whenever he came to visit you guys at your tree house). I started following because I live in Logan Square and have been slowly renovating our 2-flat for the last 8 years. It’s fun to see you guys working on a similar house(s).
How fun!! xo
I’ve been around since you moved to the current place, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the condo. One of my earliest memories was of Scott standing on the roof removing all of the unnecessary wires that had been added to the exterior. I was amazed at all of the cables and such he’d thrown to the ground. Now when I look at a house I am checking out the ugly wires stuck to the outside and I think of Scott. Well done you two (now three!).
Ha!! One of the first things we did in our current home. So much unnecessary visual clutter!
Like a few others, I think I started reading when you created the TV-built in in your apartment. (maybe YHL mentioned it and linked to you, would make sense as I’ve been reading them for even longer). So how long would that be?Anyway, I’m glad you’re still around and posting – I’m always a bit sad when blogs I love reading begin to fizzle and eventually stop posting. I know you all (meaning all the bloggers I read) keep significant parts of your lives away from the blog and we only know a certain version of the people we read about, but I get a bit invested in your stories and lives all the same :)
Thanks, Judith. :)
I’m from NJ and have been following your blog for 1-2 years now. I found you because of CLJ and fell in! I’ve fallen back to many of your posts which are helping me renovate my first 1900’s home. Congrats on this amazing journey! I can’t wait for what another ten years brings. ????
How fun, enjoy the renovation process! It can be exhausting, but it’s always worth it in the end.
I’ve been following since 2010 *religiously* and I’ll keep following for as long as you keep writing! Your style has evolved so much and I love following along with your big renos and tiny changes too. I’m 23 now so was 14 when I first started reading you blog which seems crazy to me. I feel like my style has been influenced by yours so thank you for sharing all your amazing projects!
Awww, thanks for making our day! Thank you for sticking with us all these years!
Sooo many good projects! I think I’ve been following in the ballpark of 5 or 6 years. I actually reached out awhile back for Chicago recommendations for my vacation and went to Big Star and Violet Hour on your rec and they were both amazing.
So happy to hear this! Now you’ve got me craving tacos. And a cocktail, ha!
I think I’ve been here since right after you bought your house and you’d just finished the entryway. Man, time flies! I can’t remember how I even found you!
The entryway! xoxo
Hi from Melbourne – Australia! So happy to follow your site for at least the last 4 years. Came to your site to look for wall painting inspiration whilst designing / building our own home ( yes for dark moody wall paint!) Love love what you’re doing and thank you for sharing this with us
From Chicago to Melbourne, heeellllooooo and thank you for being here! xo
I don’t remember what the referral was, but when I started reading you were installing doors and ALL. THE. TRIM in your house. I’m note sure I knew the benefits of caulking trim before that. I grew up in mid-century and 80s contemporary houses that had unpainted trim and I’m not sure the walls were ever painted after we moved in so it never occurred to me.
WOW, I’m impressed you stuck around when all I was doing was caulking trim, lol! Thank you for hanging out with us all these years!
Not ten years following, but at least since before you moved into the new house! Congrats on the anniversary!
I have been following you since right before your move from condo to house and just love everything you all do! I was a bit sad you took some color out of your living room but I do agree that it looks a lot calmer and if it makes you feel better then who am I to judge? Thanks for sharing, cant wait to follow for another 10!
I’ve been following you for maybe 3 or 4 years; I found you when I was looking for some inspiration on how to make my (rental) living space more enjoyable for myself; since then, I’ve moved stuff around my small apartment like crazy! Over time, you’ve also become an invaluable source to learn vocabulary related to interior decoration and renovation (I’m Italian, following you from Italy), and such a good read you are!
Awwww, thank you SO much, Katia! Hello all the way from Chicago!