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It’s my favorite post of the year and friends, I cannot wait to talk all things house-related with you. We’ve been pretty quiet on the blog this year so some of what we’re sharing will be a first-time-ever. What I love about these posts is that we get to look back at the list and then retrospectively, see what happened. And of course, because it’s life, unexpected things pop up. Only a few weeks after sharing the 2019 renovation plans post, the company Brett worked for unexpectedly closed their doors. With him being the main income source for the house at the time, it put a lot of our plans on hold. After the company closed, we decided to reevaluate our plans and discussed taking out a home equity loan. Thankfully, he found a job fairly quickly and was back to work in April. Since we decided to move forward with the home equity loan, we put the projects on hold until the application was approved and the paperwork in hand – which ultimately meant that renovations were on hold from the end of February to the first week of June. When I think about our accomplishments with that little caveat thrown into the mix, I’m even more proud of all the work that we achieved this past year. There were a few touch-and-go moments (of course) that had me questioning our sanity and really just needing a long nap, but overall it was a really good year. Sidenote: If you want the live, exclusive updates, sign up for our weekly newsletter HERE. We share all the renovation updates real-time, along with behind-the-scenes planning thoughts and other random musings.  To catch up on the full post of 2019 renovation/remodel plans, click here. And to read the 2019 landscaping plans, click here. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Basement

What was planned: Frame in the mancave + closet

Mancave – Before

What actually happened: Brett was so excited to get this space up and running. It quickly turned into his favorite spot, especially during the hot days of summer. Also, with his new job, he works from home quite a bite more and added in a little office corner that’s not pictured.

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

Mancave – After (hunting season just ended so excuse the mess! :-P)

Yay / nay? Big Yay!

The Guest Bathroom

What was planned: Clean up the guest bathroom walls. What actually happened: Well, nothing. Although every time I go into that room I see the “defects” they haven’t ticked me off enough to actually do something about it. And, as you’ll see below, we have had other things to do so this once again was dropped off the list. Maybe next year? 😛 Yay / nay? One big fat ‘nay’.

The Laundry Room

What was planned: Make the laundry room/mudroom more functional What actually happened: Again, nothing. Similar to the bathroom, this space is working. With the garage finished, I’m definitely starting to notice things that could make it more functional, but we have other projects higher on the priority list. We’ve also thrown out the idea of completely redoing this room so we might wait until that happens to make any changes. Yay / nay? That’s a nay.

The Pantry

What was planned: Get the pantry up and running.

unfinished pantry in north country nest home

Panty – Before

What actually happened: It only took a few short days to get this baby packed to the brim with #allthethings. I was in basket heaven, picking out different sizes and styles and then spent a ridiculous amount of time arranging. I cannot begin to tell you how much joy this pantry has brought me. It’s so nice to have everything in one area. Once we get the new kitchen in, I am sure I’ll be doing another walkthrough and rearranging yet again, but for now it’s working like a gem.

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

Pantry – after(ish)

Yay / nay? Absolutely YAY!

The Linen Closet

What was planned: Finish the linen closet

unfinished linen closet at north country nest home

Linen closet – before

What actually happened: For the third time, nothing… with the exception of some light organizing – this area is no longer the drop zone for anything and everything that we don’t want to see. It actually houses things that might be in a linen closet, like lightbulbs and board games.

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

Linen closet – no change 🙁

Yay / nay? Sadly, nay.

The Office

What was planned: Finish the office. What actually happened: She is done and better than ever. I have spent an obscene amount of time in the space this past year (cheers to having the best year yet in business!) and having a finished area makes it that much better. The only to-do on my list is to get a new office chair. As pretty as the one I spent months finding, it’s not that comfortable. And dare I say it (I’m cringing inside as I type these words), it’s not great for my back (Brett, you were right…). So, back to the drawing board for an office chair that looks good AND is comfortable to sit on for hours on end.

rustic home office with blue walls and shiplap

The office – after

Yay / nay? Yay!

The Garage

What was planned: Finish the garage

unfinished garage at north country nest

The garage – before

What actually happened: FRIENDS. IT’S DONE! A few things come to mind when I think back to the garage project this past year. The first is that I will never, ever do blown-in insulation again. (Of course that’s a lie, as Brett so lovingly pointed out to me when I told him this. We still have to insulate our attic, once all the projects are completed). On Brett’s list of “never want to do again” is probably installing ceiling sheetrock. All joking aside, we worked our asses off this summer to finish the inside of the garage in time for winter and it’s. done. Electrical, drywall, paint, storage, spray foam insulation on the walls, blown-in insulation in the ceiling, gas heater installed… It was A LOT. Even better, the exterior is done as well. The siding and stone work was started in September and they wrapped everything up end of November. It looks so good – I smile ear to ear every time I drive up to the house.

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

The garage – after

Yay / nay? Hell yes to the yay.

The Fireplace

What was planned: Build the fireplace

unfinished living room at north country nest

The fireplace – before

What actually happened: This baby got BUILT. We purchased the fireplace in August, built the frame in September and installed the tile in October/November. We had a little snafu with the fireplace door hinge that broke only two weeks after installation, so that put everything on hold while we waited for a new part. Thankfully, they sent a new one without any hassle and the door has been working perfectly ever since. In terms of heating, it’s been a game changer. Brett just commented the other day, “For the first time since we moved in, I can wear just a tshirt in the house during the winter and not be cold.” Friends, it’s the little things in life 😛

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

The fireplace – after

Yay / nay? Big YAY!

The Landscaping

What was planned: Remove the wood retaining wall, replace with a stone; Build a pergola and built-in bar top on the deck; Expand the garden; Plant lilacs along the fence line and remove the cut flower garden

landscaping plans for a minnesota home

Retaining wall – before

What actually happened: New retaining wall. New front porch. I’ll start out by saying that landscaping work is at the bottom of the fun list in terms of projects. It ranks right down there with the blown-in insulation. On the positive, you actually get to the see the fruits of your labor and boy does this new retaining wall and front porch make a difference. Especially with the finished siding and stone. As for the other items on the list, the garden was expanded (so many cut flowers!) lilacs were planted along the fence and we pulled out a LOT of weeds/overgrowth in that middle area. When we reevaluated the project list based on the home equity loan, the deck was moved to a ‘maybe’ and ultimately taken off the list entirely.

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

Retaining wall – after

Yay / nay? Yay for the retaining wall and front porch (I know, that one wasn’t on the list), nay for the deck.

Anything not on the list?

Well, duh. If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that we absolutely loooove adding on projects in the spur of the moment. As I already mentioned above, redoing the front porch was not on the list but it sure makes the entryway look good! Also not on the list: an entryway remodel. We decided to ditch the white built-ins and build something more functional for us and the dogs. It was a completely impromptu project that lasted a few weekends in January and February. The end result is something that both Brett and I are happy with, so that’s a win!

I tackled our master bathroom this summer (which led into fall) and did a budget-friendly refresh. For less than $200, I was able to try a few new DIY projects and completely make over the space.

The kitchen. While we haven’t technically started the renovation, we have started the planning process and purchasing of new appliances and cabinets. The goal is start the demo after the holidays. Both Brett and I are giddy with excitement – we’ll be sharing the full renovation plans on the blog soon!

Sharing all the details on the 2019 Renovation at North Country Nest - what happened, what didn't | Home renovation planning | #northcountrynest #renovationplanning #homerenovation

New kitchen area testing: hutch = new set of cabinets

A small mini-projet was ripping up all the carpet in the house, with the exception of our bedroom. We are officially a subfloor home – yay! 😛

What. A. Year. We did so much and I finally feel like our home is starting to feel like that – a home. Not just a construction zone anymore but a place that is ours. As always, this blog would not be possible without our amazing readers, so THANK YOU. I know it was a quiet one around here in 2019 but we so appreciate your support, even during the slower times. We want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – we can’t wait to share 2020 with you!

All our best,


  1. Trina

    Kell & Brett – The house looks AMAZING! I know the entry way wasn’t planned, but holy cow do I love the face lift on it! And the fireplace construction! Holy crap. I just love every part of what you got done this year! Love you both!


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