Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 3, 2017

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

Happy New Year!  I'm so excited for 2017, but I wanted to look back at 2016 one more time.  2015 was a rough one, so last year Hubby and I decided to make some big life changes.  We bought a 30 foot sailboat, made downtime a priority, and focused on our health and wellness - even Szuka decided to make "chill more" a resolution: 

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

But we're not the kind of people who can sit still for too long, so we also tackled a ton of fun projects!  Here are my 16 favorite projects from 2016: 

The DIY Felt Tomte

This December I decorated the lakehouse with a chic, wintry look but it was the DIY felt tomtes I made for the holidays that really made me smile.  For some reason making these - even looking at photos of them - makes me giggle hysterically.  I made them with Hubby one afternoon and I don't think I have ever had more fun creating something.  I hope you loved them too!

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

Seriously, I cannot keep a straight face...

The Modern + Colorful Home Office Makeover

After a decade and two degrees, I said goodbye to my beloved DIY treadle sewing machine desk.  But I wasn't sad for long because we replaced it with this gorgeous, DIY solid walnut waterfall desk!  With matching white chairs and lamps, Hubby and I can now enjoy the office together.  Putting the teal velvet chair in here and finally sewing up some turquoise tweed drapes really finished the room, but we're not done.  This year we have big plans for the closet nook... 

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The DIY Gem Stone Soap

I had this DIY project on my to-do list for too long, so I finally made my own gem stone soaps.  I ordered another set of supplies (linked in my post) and am making my third batch soon!  These turned out so beautifully and were so, so easy.  This year I want to experiment with some more DIY soap ideas...

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Lake View for the Living Room

Why did we ever block the living room windows with the sofa?  Why did no one stop us?  Sometimes we make poor life choices.  We dipped deep into our kitchen reno fund to fix that problem and splurged on a massive cream leather sofa and rearranged the living room.  Now we can cozy up on the sofa and watch the lake and enjoy the crackling of the fireplace.  It sounds ridiculous to write this, but this new living room arrangement really changed our lives - it made me feel more relaxed, I think because I can absorb more of the calming effect of the water on a daily basis.  And I really needed that calmness!

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The DIY Welded Fire Pit

We finally capitalized on our lake view outside, too, by building a modern welded fire pit.  We enjoyed summer sunsets so much more now that the fire pit area isn't a sad disaster!  This year we hope to tackle the gardens and chip away at our other exterior projects.

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Sailboat Interior Makeover

Not only did we vow to spend more time looking at the water, we spent more time in and on Lake Superior this year too.  We went swimming and canoeing more than the other years living here combined, plus we bought a sailboat!  We didn't launch until August but we still had a blast and I can't wait for May so we can start the sailing season.  Our boat already has a fresh new look (see the before here) but we still have a little work to do (it's like a house: there's always a DIY project to do).  We truly didn't anticipate just how much work owning a boat would be, but it will all be worth it when we can finally moor out on our bay this spring and summer.  I will feel so fancy, that's for sure.   

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The DIY Ice Dyed Pillows

Although I love how the whole boat interior turned out, the ice dyed pillows I made were the star of the show.  I used my favorite ice dye technique (remember these ice dyed napkins?) and dyed some gorgeous linen.  Then my Mom and I sewed up some simple pillows - and we shared the step-by-step tutorial for sewing pillows with zipper so you can make some too!  From linens to jeans, I experimented a lot with dyeing and I have more dye projects on the list for this year.    


The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Turquoise Guesthouse Door + Trim

Every year we have a long list of outdoor projects we want to tackle, but with such a short season to enjoy the lake, we only check off a tiny fraction of what we intend to accomplish.  Sometimes it's frustrating how slowly we're making progress outside - and in some ways we actually made our exterior worse (another story for another day).  We did paint the guesthouse trim and door a cheery turquoise, which I have loved because I can see the guesthouse from the living areas in the main house, so I enjoy that pop of aqua every day.  Drool.  

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Long Overdue Guest Room Makeover

Inside the guesthouse, we still need to update the bathroom, replace the sauna floor and benches, and finish a few crafty projects, but let's celebrate the fact that we have a functioning guest space now - after three years!  Plus I have a spot for my black and white painting and marimekko pillows (being boat-broke inspired a whole new commitment to using what we have, lol).  

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Mid-Century Modern Inspired Bathroom Reno

We finally finished the bathroom - YAY!  It was such a nightmare, so it was extra special to finally see all of the pieces come together.  I wish the lighting would have been better because my photos don't do the room justice; it's so much glowier and richer in person, with way more warmth and sparkle.  I'll try re-taking them soon, to share how finishes have held up.  Spoiler alter: I still love the turquoise sinks...

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The DIY Fabric Clothespin Holder Bag

I love sewing with my Mom but we don't get together and sew as often as I'd like because life gets in the way.  This was such a fun day and every time I hang out my laundry, I think of the time we spent together - which is one of the main reasons I love making things (see also: boat-broke).  
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The No Carve Pumpkin Ideas

I don't normally do Halloween crafts but I felt inspired to decorate some no carve pumpkins this year.  Although I love how my Pyrex-inspired pumpkin looked, this black and white rhinestone version was my favorite.  Surprisingly, BOTH pumpkins ended up in my top 9 most-liked photos on Instagram.  I guess I had better start thinking about next year's Halloween decor...  

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Budget-Friendly Kitchen Makeover at Mom's

One of my favorite projects wasn't even at my house!  Mom and I poured our blood, sweat, and tears into giving her sad kitchen the cheapest makeover ever, to buy her a little time while she saves for a renovation.  The reveal post has the links to all of the DIY projects, including the tulip table makeover, the neat trick we did to update her brass hardware, and the cute dog bowl stand we made with hairpin legs - we even refinished her counters!  Seeing my Mom so happy with the end result definitely made my year!  Her house needs a lot of TLC so hopefully we can work together on a few more projects this year...

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The DIY Painted Vinyl Floors 

After years of scrubbing the dirt out of the scratches in our cream-colored vinyl floors, I put away the scrub brush and just painted them dark grey!  Genius.  This is a perfect way to not only freshen up the kitchen (we had to delay our renovations another year), but also test out darker floors for the real-deal reno.  I have to say, I'm loving it...  

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Wreath Topped Carrot Cake

Last year I shared way more recipes, including a lot of sugar-free and low sugar options.  I've had requests to share more - and include some dinner ideas - so I plan to do that (I'm so happy you like those posts!).  I've enjoyed writing and photographing recipe posts but my favorite food post has to be my wreath topped carrot cake, largely because it was shared on the Good Housekeeping Instagram feed and that was so surreal. 

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

The Years of Turquoise Dyed Hair

Year after year, readers ask me to open up and share more personal posts.  I've been asked numerous times to chat about being voluntarily child-free, what I'm doing with my PhD, how exactly I lost 50 pounds, why I'm a feminist, and other personal topics.  I really struggle with sharing really personal details because Internet logic seems to be, "if you've put it out there, it's fair game for tearing apart," but I'm working on it because although I love a good DIY post, I tend to skim + pin projects and room makeovers on the blogs I read.  It's the personal essays that I really enjoy and read with enthusiasm.  In 2016 I did share a few more photos of myself (exhibits A, B, and C) - which was another reader request - and I talked about my hair.  That's something, right?  Super shallow and not the kind of meaty topic I've been asked to tackle, but it was a big step to publish so many photos of myself.  I really like to stay behind the camera, so baby steps...     
The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

This year I promise to write more personal posts!  I'm also striving to improve my photography game, tackle more projects just for fun, and try to wrangle some more giveaways for you so you can all win some fab freebies. 

The Best 16 Posts of 2016 on Dans le Lakehouse

2017 will see Hubby and I tackling way more projects, big and small, but before we dive back in, I wanted to thank you all for stopping by the lakehouse to read and share my blog posts.  Your comments and helpful suggestions make my day and I love sharing my projects and room makeovers with you.


I wish you all nothing but the best in 2017!  I hope your year is filled with happiness and lots of DIY.

P.S. Check out my round ups from previous years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011!
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13 comments

  1. Happy New Year Tanya! I'm always amazed by how much you accomplish, and the breadth of your diy/deco wizardry! I wish I could say that you have motivated me to get more done in my home ... but you sure give me lots of ideas! :0)

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    1. I think everyone feels like they never accomplish enough. It's only when you make a list like this that you look back and say, "oh hey, yeah, I DID do some stuff," lol. Happy New Year to you too, Patricia!

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  2. I loveeeee your mum's kitchen! I dunno how I missed that post!

    Pretty amazing to be featured on the Good Housekeeping insta feed!!!! YAY!

    Happy New Year!!! 2017 is going to be great!

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    1. So happy you like the kitchen makeover - it was so fun decorating with a totally different color palette! 2017 IS going to be great - and we HAVE to finally get together for a cup of coffee. Thanks again for sharing my photo on your Instagram :)

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    2. Yass absolutely!!! we will plan! :D

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  3. Great round-up Tanya! As usual in awe of your many accomplishments ;-) I have enjoyed your blog for the past couple of years and I agree with you that it's hard for bloggers to maintain their privacy limits, since we readers feel like they get to know bloggers through the parts of their lives they share, and are curious for more. But please know that we'll continue to read and enjoy Dans le Lakehouse whatever you share with the world, or keep to yourself. Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Noelle, Happy New Year to you too! Thanks so much for your kind words. I definitely understand that curiosity for more, because I feel it too. I'm also craving more authenticity and less of the glossiness in the blogs I read - I have always been drawn to blogging because I want to see how people really live and decorate. I'm hoping to bring back some more messiness to Dans le Lakehouse this year!

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  4. It's fun looking back on all the things you've tackled.
    Happy new year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too! Over the years, I've sort of stopped making resolutions and started taking stock of the last year instead. It's a nice way to appreciate things instead of always looking toward the next thing.

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  5. Great approach. Another thing I thought about later and looking back at your projects of last year, the sailboat, your fire pit, taking charge of your health; its seems that you made 2016 the year of taking hold of your life and living more intentionally- taking advantage of your lake view, spending more time outdoors, embracing winter, sailing, lakeside fires and feeling well- everyone would do well to follow suit.

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    1. Yes, "living intentionally" - that's a good way to put it. It is really an ongoing process, I have learned. But I really am trying to focus on the things that are important because I can so easily get bogged down in the things that are not. Family issues on my side have made life very, very difficult so I've been wanting to eek out as much joy and happiness as I can from the moments in between.

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  6. I am a recent follower, don't remember what other thing I read got me to yours. I also love teal so reading your blog is a happy thing. I enjoyed your year at a glance since I found out about some more of your posts. We live in Duluth and would be fun to meet for coffee if you ever get down here. We cruised for many years on our 30 foot Allied Seawind ketch sailboat and only sold it last spring. Lots of time and trips on Lake Superior and eventually a number of years getting us as far as Trinidad and Venezuela. We now have an 18 foot Buccaneer day sailer to get out on the water. PS. In full honesty I don't like coffee...but would meet up and consume a different beverage. :)

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    1. Hi Denette,
      Thanks so much for your comment. Wow, you have sailed so far I'm so jealous! Those must have been incredible trips. You're inspiring me. I won't LOVE to meet up in Duluth one day. We don't travel there much in the winter but in the spring and summer we definitely visit Duluth more often. Feel free to email me: tanya@danslelakehouse.com so I can send you a message the next time I'm in the area. And if you ever come to Thunder Bay or Grand Portage, coffee (or something) is on me!

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