The Best of 2015

I cannot believe another year has gone by…

Since the “Best of 2014,” we sold our beloved 75 year old fixer upper in the city.

And moved to an acre+ in the Texas hill country.

And despite the challenges of this past year and every day (and, naturally, there are plenty), life is sweet.

So many fabulous diy projects and decorating ideas! best of 2015

But I digress… So here’s your recap for 2015.

…I began with some meal planning tips and {free!} printables to help start the year off right and gave 10 tips for giving your home a fresh and cozy look for the New Year.  The most popular posts (of the whole year!), though, were the two parts of my decluttering series: functional storage ideas and habits for your home.

Tips for maintaining a decluttered home |

…was the month we renovated our back porch and decided to move.  I helped my father restore a gorgeous antique Swedish workbench (seriously, one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen!), and showed you what our kitchen looked like before the renovation.  Oddly enough, it was one of the more popular posts of the month!  And yes, it’s that bad…  The most popular posts, though, was how to paint stairs the easy way.

Step by step instructions on how to paint stairs - amazing transformation! #diy #tutorial

…(when I was undergoing a kitchen reno and putting the house on the market with three young children… while Mr. Pax was starting his new job in a new city – whew! exhausted just thinking about it!) was the month I shared one of the top posts of the whole year: how to build a trumeau mirror.

DIY Trumeau Mirror tutorial: step by step instructions on how to build your own |

Close behind it was our spring home tour (and I admit, it was easier to photograph the house when the whole thing had to be clean for showings!) and the reveal of our classic white kitchen.

…brought another top post for the year: where to buy affordable kitchen islands.  Everyone seemed to enjoy my posts on the easy way to waterproof outdoor furniture and a budget kitchen remodeling idea: refacing kitchen cabinets.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

…was a bit hectic… but I did manage to share my living room at the colonial, including the chalk paint makeover that I gave to some $20 brass chandeliers I found (talk about a huge money saver!).  Another favorite was 10 tips for a multi-functional laundry and mud room.

gorgeous neutral living room with blue and turquoise accents: mix of antiques, affordable pieces, and diy ideas |

…brought the 3rd most popular post of the year (after the decluttering tips from January): budgeting tips for a kitchen renovation.

awesome budgeting tips for kitchen renovations |

The summer home tour and our final before and after tour for our 1940 colonial finished off our time there beautifully.

What a lovely restoration! A 1940 colonial is made beautifully modern and functional while maintaining its original charm: get the full before and after at

…(as I frantically tried to find my hairbrush and figure out where the closest grocery store was…), I shared a 5 part series on photography: equipment, staging and composition, lighting, editing in Lightroom, and editing in Photoshop.  People tell me they’re helpful.  I also shared a look at our new home before I got my hands on it. 😉

Gorgeous interior photography can be done with affordable photography equipment - get the full scoop here with Everything You Need for Gorgeous Interior Photography |

…must have still been recovery and unpacking time for me because your favorite post was my round up of affordable elegant farmhouse lighting.  I also shared an antique dresser I made over for our bedroom.

Gorgeous antique dresser painted blue and lightly distressed: best way to paint furniture - no sanding or top coat required |

…was the start of something beautiful: you all have been so kind, so encouraging, so thoughtful…  Even though our new home doesn’t have the history or character of our 75 year old home we left, you all have never stopped encouraging me.  My fall home tour brought thousands of visits and so many sweet comments.  It was the first time I shared a full-ish look at our new house since I had begun making it “home,” and your response was overwhelming.  So thank you.  My fall sign expressed my sentiments perfectly.

I love this fall home tour! Calming neutrals and lots of texture: simple ideas and easy fall decorations |

…brought some tutorials for our fireplace makeover, including how to build your own simple mantel.  I also shared my favorite white paint and a very simple 10 minute fall wreath.

I love this fireplace makeover! Some paint, a simple mantel, and a total transformation of this formerly dated black box fireplace |

…involved the obvious: Thanksgiving tables and thankful projects.  It also marked the completion (finally!) of my half bath makeover that I started when we moved in.

gorgeous rustic, chic bathroom: gold mirror, rustic wood towel rack... perfect balance of high and low |

…was full: Christmas tour part 1 (entry, living, and family room) and part 2 (dining, kitchen, and master bedroom).  Fun tutorials: how to make cheap garland look expensive, diy angel wings, and ideas for decorating in 10 minutes or less.  My favorite, though, was my annual night time Christmas tour.  I was so honored to be joined by 25 other amazing bloggers… What a celebration it was!

What a beautiful home! Holiday eye candy: a lovely home full of twinkling Christmas lights and beautiful nighttime pictures |

And here we are.  2016 is knocking at the door, and while I am currently tempted to ignore it and try to savor these holiday moments, I am also excited.  Anticipating what is in store this upcoming year.  Awaiting all that will come.

I hope you and your family enjoy a beautiful New Year!

Thank you for reviewing this year with me… Now don’t miss these sweet friends and all their inspiring posts from this year.

The Best of 2015 Graphic

The Blissful Bee | Making Home Base | Nina Hendrick Design Co. | Maison de Pax

House by Hoff | The Happy Housie | Life on Virginia Street

So Much Better with Age | Cherished Bliss | Migonis Home | Just a Girl and Her Blog

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  1. What an exciting year you had, Rachel! I love all of your beautiful projects!

    ~Abby =)

  2. You certainly had a most beautiful year of projects and changes. I have loved all of your projects and decor in 2015 and looking forward to your in 2016. Happy New Year Rachel!!

  3. What a year!! Finishing off your old home, moving, starting over, and creating a beautiful new home in such a short period of time. I’ve loved following your progress and changes this year, Rachel, and look forward to what you share in 2016. Happy New Year, friend!

  4. Wow, you have had a tremendous year, Rachel. I honestly don’t know how you do it. I’m planning on putting your photography skills and Lightroom/Photoshop skills to use next year.
    Big hugs, Jamie

  5. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Lots of fun and exciting adventures this year,what have you got in store for next year is what i am waiting for!! Happy New Year Rachel for you and you family.

  6. Wow you’ve been a busy girl!! Loved getting to know you this year at Haven! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for 2016:)

  7. It was a big year for you all! I know you must miss your old home, but I am sure those boys love that big country yard :) I adore the chest you painted and really enjoyed your photography series as well. Thanks for all your shared–Happy New Year!

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