Ten home improvement projects I would do again

Well, I didn’t really expect to be sitting around my house writing posts this week, but alas, here I am…41 weeks pregnant. According to the doctor there are no signs that I will go into labor in the next week, so he scheduled me for an induction on Wednesday if nothing happens before then. I’m praying it doesn’t come to that though, because I really want to go into labor naturally. Pitocin is the devil.

Anyway, I’m just going to keep writing list posts that don’t require me to any actual physical labor until then. Last week I wrote about ten home improvement projects I won’t be repeating, and today is the opposite with ten home improvement projects I WILL do again.

So in no particular order…

ten home improvement projects I would do again

1. Stone walls

DIY gold sunburst mirror
I love stone walls. I actually just love natural rustic elements, all of them. I recently installed a stone wall (an airstone wall) in the guest room and think it looks pretty darn great. In the next house we won’t be doing faux stone, I’m hoping we can afford to put up a limestone accent wall in the main part of the house in addition to the stone fireplace (and stone on the exterior).


2. Open shelving

Floating Kitchen Shelving

When we raised our cabinets and added open shelving below (tutorials here and here), I wasn’t sure how I would like it. Would I be able to keep it looking nice? Would my dishes get dusty and dirty because they’re out in the open? Turns out I love the open shelving. It functions really well and breaks up at the solid wall of cabinets that you usually see in kitchens. I’m thinking in the next house we will do open shelving on the wall surrounding the kitchen sink, and cabinets on the rest (around the stove).


3. Sod


It took me SO MANY failed attempts at grass (read about them here) to finally give up and buy sod. The sod was a great decision and is what we will do in the next house, no more messing around with seed. Although we have also learned our lesson with sod….if you live in Texas, you need a sprinkler system to go with it. We don’t need or want a lot of nice grass in our yard (almost all of it will be wild), just a little patch that isn’t full of stickers and fire ants would be great.


4. Wood flooring

Acacia wood flooring

I really love our wood floors, I think they look great and are easy to keep clean. They aren’t cold like tile or gross like carpet (though I do love myself a good rug). The only change I will make in the next house is that I want the floor to be MORE rustic, the kind where you could care less if they get scratched because it just adds to the character.


5. Unique doors


I seriously love the screen door on our pantry, it just gives the space so much more personality. The the new house we will likely be doing as many unique doors as possible, plus lots of sliding barn doors (instead of pocket doors). I have also learned that I like NOT having doors wherever possible. In our new master suite there is a bedroom door and that’s it, no door to the bathroom or closet. We never use the ones we have now and I just feel like they get in the way.


6. Big porches

front porch

Okay, so this one isn’t so much a home improvement project as much as a home feature, but I had to include it. There are plenty of things about our current house I would change (like having two front doors), but our giant front porch is not one of them. Being in south Texas we are able to enjoy being outside year round, so our porch gets a ton of use (we do most our projects on it). The next house is getting lots of covered porches, the floor plan so far has it about 50% wrapped in porch.


7. Simple white trim

simple white trim

In my last post I talked about how much I hate the routed MDF trim we put in our main living areas. After realizing our mistake Adam and used plain pine 1 x 6’s for the rest of the house, and they are fantastic. They’re cost efficient, easy to clean, and simple to install. I also really like the new way we framed the doorways, it looks great and is super easy to do (at least that’s what my husband says, I just paint and caulk it). We will be using the same design in the next house.


8. Painted cabinets

How to raise your cabinets and add a shelf

I might feel differently if I had started out with nice wooden cabinets, but I really like our painted ones. We will have painted cabinets in the next house as well (since the floor and ceiling will be rustic wood). Plus Adam is building them himself (his family ran a custom cabinet shop when he was a teenager) and making paint grade cabinets is much cheaper and easier than custom wooden ones. Although this time we will spraying them instead of using a brush, and seal them much better. We’ve learned our lesson there.


9. Large single basin sink

butcher block counter with undermount sink

I get asked all the time how I like my giant basin sink, and if I miss having a double basin. Truth be told, I LOVE the single basin. It’s pretty much the best thing ever and I will definitely be repeating that decision in the next house.


10. White planked walls

dining room

I used to hate white walls. I painted every wall I ever lived with, even if it was in an apartment where I wasn’t allowed to paint. But I’ve come to appreciate them since feeling stuck with some of the wall colors I’ve chosen for this house. We planked and painted the walls in our kitchen and dining, and they are fantastic. They are easy to decorate around and give the walls a lot of personality without being overwhelming. I plan on having lots of planked walls in the next house.



I’d love to hear about any home improvement projects y’all have done that turned out better than you thought and you would do again. I’m really enjoying reading all the awesome comments on the last few posts…not only am I learning a ton, but I love getting to know everyone a little better!

Anyway, hopefully you won’t be hearing from me again for a while…the next post should be introducing our new son or daughter!

40 weeks

P.S. I want to thank everyone that voted in the Bob Vila contest last month, my penny countertop won!

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  1. Maybe you should walk while writing. Will be looking forward to seeing the new little one. Good Luck…hope it ‘s very soon.

  2. I loved hearing which projects were worth doing again!! I hope that you are able to have your little boy or girl (I’m hoping for a little lady for you :) ) before they have to induce. But either way prayers for a healthy and safe delivery!
    Amanda recently posted..Chocolate Lava Cake Semi-FailMy Profile

  3. Would you do the penny countertop again?

  4. Love the recent picture! You look BEAUTIFUL. Blessings on you as you wait for this little son or daughter… yes, my daughter is also still waiting… she says she feels like a bloated turtle (where did that analogy come from?!). Anyway, you remain in my prayers and thoughts. Blessings and peace to you and the entire clan!
    MaryCarolyn C. recently posted..Ten home improvement projects I would do againMy Profile

  5. I’m so excited for your son or daughter! I’ll definitely consistently visit your website to know more about your newest baby. :)
    Vinz Salvador recently posted..How to Find Websites Originating from Any CountryMy Profile

  6. I hope you will make separate post about new kitchen, because everyone has opinion about kitchen. And I’m also very curious ;D
    Also, you look really really beautiful. Can’t wait to “meet” the baby.

    • I plan on posting our lots of inspiration pics in the future, and the floor plan. I hadn’t considered a whole post about what I’d like in the new kitchen, but maybe I should. There is just so much to think about in there, I’m not even 100% sure what I want!
      Ashley recently posted..Top Ten Must-Haves for the Next HouseMy Profile

  7. Love all the projects and well done for winning the penny countertop it was the best so well done! Good luck with the baby!

  8. Maria from Oz says:

    My list of things I think are terrific. 1. Painted plank walls. 2. Big porches. 3. Wood floors….Oh, heck! I love them all and want them for my place! But YOU are my favourite of the lot! You look gorgeous! Me at same stage of a 41 week pregnancy looked like a moo cow with a chain saw! You know the Horizontal Fandango works well to induce labour….>winks naughtily like a teen boy< Something to do with the prostaglandins to stimulate labour. It only worked once for me. The last monster was induced, so I share your annoyance. Maybe go count the pennies and that'll bore baby so much it just pops right on out! PS. I hope Adam has recovered from his mishap!

    • Ha, yes the ‘ol Horizontal Fandango. I keep telling Adam he needs to bookend this pregnancy….he put this baby in now he needs to get it out. Nothing seems to be working though… we practically went hiking today, and NOTHING. Blah.

      Thank you for the gorgeous comment! I certainly don’t FEEL gorgeous, so it’s nice to hear :) And Adam is doing really well, still in a bit of pain (we’re pretty sure he has a few broken ribs, even though the doctor need checked) but he has been released to go back on full duty at work next month.
      Ashley recently posted..Adam’s Accident + 36 Week Pregnancy UpdateMy Profile

  9. Amber DeSadier says:

    I am new to your blog, but I have to say I LOVE what you did in your kitchen with the walls. It turned out really awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I always love your posts! I also love your planked walls. :) I wish you a soon, safe, and fast delivery. My second decided to camp out too and I was scheduled for an induction….reluctantly. For what it’s worth, it was a fast and smooth delivery. She just needed a little nudge. I wish the same for you!! ;)

  11. Hey Sweetie,

    I have to say first off that you are the most beautiful pregnant woman ever! I am sure you aren’t feeling it at the moment and wishing the baby would come, but you look gorgeous!

    I live in an apartment, but I have had to live with enough things I haven’t had a choice in to have some opinions too. . . Lol! I love wood floors as well, I had them in my last place and boy do I miss them! Besides being better looking, they are so me he easier to keep clean than carpet or even tile. I found I could easily use a Swiffer on them daily and then just clean them more deeply once in awhile. I have wall to wall carpet now and it never feels clean, even right after vacuuming. I also agree with you about painting walls a lot of colors, I went through a phase when I did own my home of wanting to paint because of so many years of not being able to in apartments, but now I appreciate the plank walls or a very neutral wall color. As you mentioned, you can decorate with whatever you like and it pops more. I also HATE tile floors. I currently have them in my bathrooms, my sunroom and the entry and kitchen areas. They are so hard and hurt my feet, knees and back. I find them hard to clean and the grout always looks yucky. They also crack easily. I also would have appreciated one flooring throughout the main area instead of it being all chopped up. I know this may sound weird, but sink and counter height in the bathrooms is a big deal to me. I hate having a counter that is really low and trying to wash my face and breaking my back in the process. In my current apartment the counters aren’t a bad height, but the faucets are placed incorrectly so they are against the back of the sink, making it terribly hard to get my hands into the stream of water. Anyway, this is my two cents for what it is worth.

    I am praying for you!


  12. Love your posts! I randomly fell upon your blog and it is now included in my laundry lists of daily reads during my breaks at work : ) I enjoy your idea for the easy door molding. Do you have a post for ceiling molding?? I suck at the traditional crown molding so I am looking for other options….?? We also have popcorn ceiling which we are just not mentally prepared to remove and tackle right now. haha Thanks again and hopefully the baby comes soon!!

  13. Zara Mann says:

    Have to admit, i’ve totally been stalking your social media for the last week trying to catch a peep of the new baby haha xD And wood floors are the BEST

  14. Could you tell us a little bit more about WHY you love your single sink? I’ve heard others say they love theirs before, but having only had double sinks I can’t wrap my mind around how you use a single sink and why it would be preferable.

    Also, do the open cabinets get dusty or did you just find it wasn’t too troublesome to wipe them off regularly?

    • Of course! The main argument I’ve heard as to why people love double basin sinks is that they can fill up one side with warm soapy water and use the other for dirty dishes/rinsing. I’ve never washed dishes like that though, I just use the sponge with soap on it, wash, and rinse. Even if I’m using a double basin sink I only use one side. I like that the single basin is so huge…I can fit anything in it, even those giant high chair trays. And you can wash a kid with no problem. I really just feel like the sink is so much more useful without that annoying wall in the middle.

      Also, the open shelves really don’t get that dusty. The dishes never do because we are always using them, and the shelves stay pretty clean….WAY cleaner than the shelves anywhere else in my house. Not really sure why.
      Ashley recently posted..We bought land!My Profile

  15. I found my way here via The Debt Myth.
    Reading your post I’ve learned that what Americans call sod, Australians call turf. Except that I’ve never seen turf in Australia come in squares. It comes in a roll that is about a foot wide and maybe 10ft long. You lay one end in the spot you want, then kick the roll to roll it out.
    I love turf. We would definitely put it down if needed. But first we would put in an underground, automatic sprinkler system!
    Jamie recently posted..Strawberry Frozen YoghurtMy Profile

  16. Dear Ashley,
    let me start with a big thank you for your posts. Especially for the ones with the pictures behind the perfect sceneries. … cos our mess looks the same… :-)
    Now down to business. What i would do again is to have white tiles and sinks,bathtub,cabinets AND a strong coloured/heavily patterned flooring. This leaves room to play.
    And for your due-due date, good luck. When my ob told me I am nowhere near starting anything, I did the following
    – swearing and walking on Friday,playing aeroplanes with son
    – going to the supermarket and spending the afternoon in the local zoo (huge, exhausting walk) on Saturday
    – spending the entire day at the playground, for lunch visiting mother-in-law on Sunday
    – having a tram ride on Monday then going to my favourite store and find a cute dress for baby – by this time my walking speed was down to zero and people laughed at me or asked me if i was feeling allright
    – doing basically nothing on Tuesday as i promised my ob i will not deliver on Wednesday (she had stuff to do) and deciding i do not deliver on Tue either (1st April)
    … she was born in the evening :-D

  17. Some fascinating ideas. I had not heard of sod before as we call it asto-turf in UK. I am involved with many projects for up cycling pre loved furniture and always looking for new an unique ideas. Not only is it fun but also can provide considerable savings with just the use of a bit of creativity. All the best with your family. Steve.
    sbfurniture recently posted..ShopMy Profile

  18. Since you have not posted I’m hoping you’re Pushing ;~) Hope it’s soon.

  19. Back from a trip and no posting from you! So hope the pushing is over and the baby joy has begun! We are still awaiting my grandson’s birth — nothing yet!!! I am ready to drive to San Antonio now on a moment’s notice…. just waiting, waiting, waiting!!! Can’t wait to see a post about your little one’s advent!
    MaryCarolyn C. recently posted..Ten home improvement projects I would do againMy Profile

  20. Jan Elizabeth says:

    I’m hoping you have a baby by now! I can’t wait to hear how things went. Have been thinking about you.

  21. Karen G. says:

    Baby here yet? :^) Hope things are going well!!

  22. Since you’ve mentioned going to San Antonio a few times…we got the stone for the exterior of our house at a place in New Braunfels called Espinoza Stone. It’s right off of I-35 and they’ve got beautiful choices from local quarries at good prices.

  23. Jan Elizabeth says:

    Just found this one as well. My list would include hardwood floors, stone chimney, tiling the backsplash, shelves for all my mason jars with ingredients in the kitchen (if we don’t have a pantry, as now), and building a murphy desk out of a door in a multi-purpose room. Things I would love to try: planked walls! I love them. I would paint cupboards and use some open shelving in the kitchen as well, I like those options.
    A tip for anyone living in a basement suite, as we are: you know the foundation wall, that makes that little ledge around the outside walls? Ours has been trimmed out. It’s got a shelf that runs along the whole thing, and molding extending down the wall under the shelf. It’s all white, and completely changes the look of the space. I would do this in any suite or in the basement of any future home I buy. It’s a fantastic, fairly inexpensive upgrade!

    • Your basement suite sounds really nice! I’ve only ever been in a few basements (no basements in Texas) but they were always so damp and dreary…yours sounds like a breath of fresh air!

  24. The sod in your yard looks really nice. My brother helped build a small community park in our neighborhood for his Eagle Scout project when we were teenagers. When I saw your yard picture, that is the first thing I thought of. What kind of sod did you use?

  25. great tips i loved your blog

  26. QUESTION – What do you mean “Seal the Painted Cabinets BETTER?
    What do you recommend using? My newly painted cabinets are getting SCRATCHED! Can see the dark wood in the scratches on the White Paint.

    • I guess I shouldn’t have said BETTER, because I didn’t actually seal them at all. When we first painted the cabinets (four years ago) I spent extra money on Sherwin Williams Duration paint because the guy said it was so great that I didn’t need to use sealer. So I didn’t. It definitely should have been sealed though, because it looks terrible…especially around the part where I have to fiddle with the baby-proof latches. When we fix the cabinets before selling I am going to give them a fresh coat of paint and seal them with a water based polyurethane. Make sure to use water based and not oil based (especially if you have white cabinets) because oil based will yellow and look terrible where water based will not.

  27. I certainly agree that sod can be one of the best home improvement projects, because it can instantly make the outside of your house look much nicer. Likewise, if you live in hot climates like Texas, then a sprinkler system is an absolute must. You mentioned that you want most of your yard to grow in wild, so that you don’t need to use a sprinkler system, which can be a smart move if you live in a moist enough climate that the grass can kind of take care of itself. I wish I could do something like that, but sadly my grass would be nothing without constant watering. How often do you water your grass?

  28. Looking forward to that kind of open shelving and big porches too! Love all the home improvement projects you have here! Unique doors are awesome too! Thanks for this Ashley, I am inspired to do something different at my home soon!
    Ron@MichiganHomes recently posted..How To Create A Gorgeous and Functional Entryway For Your HomeMy Profile

  29. Sod and a sprinkler system have been my favorite home improvement. We had a huge yard that had been severely neglected. It had that really thick razor grass, thorns, straw, and vines all over the place. There was no way that just sprinkling some grass seed and watering it multiple times a day was going to save our lawn. And it was a little too big to water with a hose, which I think is why it got so neglected. The previous owners really should have put in a sprinkler system. But we saved money on our house without those luxuries.

  30. I really wish our home builders had put down sod in our back yard. They just left it as dirt. Really bad dirt, filled with clay and construction materials. As you can assume, our grass seed attempt was a total failure. We need to put sod down and also install some kind of sprinkler line or drip system to water it next summer.

  31. Great post!! Open shelves and white walls are on top of my list. Everything definitely looks good in white!
    P.S. you are a beautiful momma :) thanks for sharing!

  32. Home modifications are changes made to adapt living spaces to meet the needs of people with physical limitations so that they can continue to live independently and safely. These modifications may include adding assistive technology or making structural changes to a home. Modifications can range from something as simple as replacing cabinet doorknobs with pull handles to full-scale construction projects that require installing wheelchair ramps and widening doorways.

  33. I’ve been wondering if we should do sod or grass for our new home. I like the idea of planting grass, but really don’t want it to fail. Did any of your sod die? What was the price difference between the two for you?

    • None of the sod died, it’s all doing really well. Or at least it will be in the spring, it looks kinda terrible right now since it’s winter. I don’t remember the exact price for grass seed or sod, but sod was more expensive. Really though, it wasn’t that much more expensive considering how many failed attempts we had at seed. When I lived in upstate New York people would seed successfully all the time, but here in Texas I would never ever seed again.

  34. We should learn how to value our home with this home improvement tips. Thanks for sharing your insights. Very inspiring post to read on!

  35. Thank you very much for sharing some solid tips!

  36. Plank white walls, butcher block countertops, painted cabinets, stone walls…everything…..are you me??
    Love your site (obviously)!

  37. Going to work on your dining room curtain idea. I’ve always sewn my own curtains, but it’s always a challenge when you have funky bay windows. The conduit and flexible tubing look like a simple, great idea, and I will be sewing tabs. Thanks!

  38. Julianne J Short says:

    I just found your blog and I love everything I’ve seen thus far. My husband I painted our kitchen cabinets. I think spraying them they would have come out better. You had mentioned next time you will use a sprayer. Is there one you would recommend?? We have lived in TX for almost 3 years and still adjusting. We bought a brick house in Waco area 2 years ago. Slowly we are doing home improvements. I’ve noticed we have very similar taste. Thanks for all your DIYs!!! Again,
    I love them all!!

  39. In the event of a power outage, you need to keep in handy a backup generator to get you back up and running. You can choose between a portable power supply and a generator for the entire house. A professional electrician can guide you in making the right decision regarding the amount of electricity your home uses and that you want to back up.

  40. I love this title! it’s nice to know that the more time consuming projects are definitely worth it, even the best looking diy can be so difficult to remove when its time for a change again, or seem to take forever and a day.

  41. Hii,

    A big thank you for your posts, I want to tell you that your kitchen looks so amazing and the walls of your house are very attractive. And I like the way you describe each thing in your post which is essential for home improvement project.

    I am planning to renovate my home and lucky I saw your post. And I must say it help me out , I got the very creative ideas. But I need your help. As my house is having that corners which look so dull. So, kindly you suggest some ideas so that I can utilize that space?

    Robert Gill

  42. Remodeling can also take on the form of revamping or adding a bathroom, redoing a kitchen, overhauling your home’s exterior for improved curb appeal, or completing an addition to increase your home’s square footage and add valuable space. Big and small changes can both have an impact and will improve the way your home looks and functions, increasing its value and making it more enjoyable for you and your family.

  43. These are some great ideas that inspire me to began my home improvement journey. The white planked walls and white trim are simple things that make a big difference. Thanks for sharing.
    Trenton recently posted..10 Crown Molding IdeasMy Profile

  44. I would love to have all of these renovations done in my own home. The rustic look has always been one of my favorites, and who doesn’t love a huge porch to relax on after a long day? Great post!
    Heather recently posted..Tips on Where to Save and Where to Splurge on Your Kitchen Remodeling ProjectMy Profile

  45. All of these home improvements tips are amazing and I would love to have in my home one is Wood flooring and another is big porches.
    Thanks for sharing these amazing ideas with us.

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