Every year I round up the best posts of the year from Dans le Lakehouse (see them all here), but 2020 was… how do we even describe this year? It was stressful and difficult, so I really wanted Dans le Lakehouse to remain a place where you could come to escape. After doomscrolling through the news each day, I’d hop on Instagram or check out my favorite blogs to unwind for a minute – only to be inundated with post after post about stressed everyone was and I didn’t find that comforting, it just made me feel more stressed. But then there were content creators who just went on their merry way, dropping tens upon tens of thousands of dollars in massive renovations (at a time when they really shouldn’t have let people into their homes – and also at a time when millions of people were really feeling the pinch). That didn’t sit well with me either!
So, I decided to create content I wanted to see: fun, light-hearted, easy on the eyes and budget, with some interesting stories to help distract me!
How I Tried to Use Dans le Lakehouse to Help:
I was very intentional with my content creation this year. While my own bigger projects were sidelined due to a fear of the unknown, I also intentionally re-focused on smaller, more affordable projects you could tackle. Around the house, I did a lot of budget-friendly things! I also dug into my archives rounded up 20+ Budget Friendly Renovation Projects for anyone wanting to make a space feel homier on a tiny budget.
Plus I shared more smaller, stress-relieving projects that might be fun for kids and adults alike. Knowing a lot of parents were homeschooling and at a loss for how to keep kids occupied, I rounded up some ideas from my archives (like 10+ DIY Art Tutorials, 15 Beautiful Handmade Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day, and 15+ Easy Crafts Kids Can Make That Adults Will Love Too) for easy access! I firmly believe in art and creating as stress relief and a tool for healing. I was blown away by the positive reaction and lost track of the private messages I received from families who had excitedly tried my projects (the alcohol ink was a huge hit).
I also shared more personal stories I thought you might enjoy reading, like my sailing misadventures or my seemingly endless chicken stories and chick photos.
I don’t want you to think I sailed through 2020 unscathed. I struggled too. But as much as I share personal things around here, I didn’t think it was fair to heap my burdens on you. My job as a content creator is to deliver content that uplifts and educates and inspires and entertains and I took that job very seriously! I hope you enjoyed stopping by the lakehouse. I appreciate each and every one of you and really love the conversations we have via email, social media, and in the comments section.
I want to thank you for reading Dans le Lakehouse. I wish nothing but good things for you, in 2021 and beyond.
Without further ado, here are my top 20 posts from 2020! It was really difficult to narrow them down because I tackled a LOT of smaller projects and crafts in 2020.
My Two Print Features!
2020 started off pretty well and I had some really amazing news, like my house being featured in print in TWO magazines: Better Homes & Gardens and then Good Housekeeping! (Click here to read about the BH&G feature and click here to read about the Good Housekeeping feature). I’m cheating with this list already, and lumping those two announcements in as one 😉
This was a simple idea – not even really a hack or DIY project. I didn’t even add a plywood top, like I did when I created my DIY IKEA Fauxdenza. But the idea to line my narrow hallway with these inexpensive plastic shoe storage cabinets was my best idea ever. We gained SO MUCH storage in a space I didn’t think was wide enough, and now it’s much easier to access my hats and mitts and scarves – which has made winter just that teeny tiny bit more bearable.
I’m really proud of this tutorial for how to sew a corner – it’s super thorough with lots of photos – and you can use it to sew lots of linens: table cloths, tea towels, table runners. It’s a good beginner tutorial with lots of tips for getting started sewing.
I rarely produce Valentine’s Day content, because it’s not really my jam, but I was inspired to make these easy (and super affordable) DIY wood burned spoons so they have to make this list because a Valentine project is such an anomaly (I also made some DIY alcohol ink Valentine’s Day cards)!
I’m not the best egg decorator – I’ve only recently gotten into doing it at all! But I loved how these abstract painted eggs turned out and it was so cool that Elle Decor featured them! I also made naturally dyed eggs with blueberries last year and those turned out really gorgeous too.
I was always hoarding my driftwood for a larger project but this year I felt inspired and made three different DIY projects with it (this DIY driftwood wreath, my DIY driftwood wall hanging, and my DIY driftwood egg cups). This DIY driftwood wreath was one of my fave posts this year because it liberated me from my driftwood hoarding mindset – plus that little plaque I made from leftover Lexan turned out really well.
Two Batches of Baby Chick Photos:
Seeing baby chick photos brought a lot of people a lot of joy, so I happily snapped and shared dozens! Here’s Baby Chicks Vol 1 and Baby Chicks Vol 2. I also shared how this second batch of chicks grew up in Instagram stories, so you could watch their progress. I hope seeing these chicks brightened up your day! I just ordered another batch of chicks and I can’t wait to share them with you again – I plan to take a photo a day for six weeks so you can really get an accurate picture of how quickly they grow into chickens!
My favorite project was tackling my Mom’s dining room makeover. Luckily I had all of my brand collaborations fulfilled before the pandemic – except for one. The biggest one! Sadly the brand that had promised a dining room table and chairs backed out of our contract, but luckily we found a really gorgeous vintage dining table and chair (with a perfectly sized matching credenza) for only $500. I refreshed the table with a magic trick (no sanding or stripping) and recovered the chairs. Click here to see the before/after makeover and find links to all of the DIY projects – including the tutorial for how to hang wallpaper.
Not content to leave the adjoining living room as-is, Mom and I updated the living room as well, with a creamy white wall paint, matching soft blue/grey/green ceiling to coordinate with the dining room, and a bold blue chalk painted fireplace wall. I’m glad we spent a little time updating the living room too because it made decorating her apartment for the holidays even more fun.
Sewing can be sew (haha) rewarding, so I have been trying to share really in depth tutorials to help you get started! This one, for how to sew a pillow, used my own ice dyed fabric and I love how both the tutorial and the pillow turned out.
We also gave Mom’s stairwell a really bold makeover! I showed you an easy trick for installing a stair runner and showed off the transformative power of paint with a mind boggling before/after of her rental apartment’s stairwell. It was a budget-friendly project and we used what Mom had, along with some bold color-blocked paint and a new runner.
I had the idea for this concrete and amethyst bowl in my head for so many years, so finally making it felt really good! It also sparked a couple of visits to a local Amethyst mine which was a lot of fun. If you missed those, you can find two Story Highlights in my Instagram profile (Amethyst 1 & Amethyst 2) and I also put together this fun Instagram Reel!
It was really nice to refresh my home office with a new slat wall right before Hubby started using it full-time as well. He worked from home for many months and I was so grateful for that. He’s back on site now and I miss sharing my office space with him.
I loved making these DIY cold frame garden beds because burning wood is my favorite hobby. “Victory gardens” were such a trend this year; so many people got into keeping chickens and gardening and other homesteading activities – even if it was a small backyard or balcony garden! We already had chickens, so I tried my hand at gardening. The results were mixed, lol, but I learned a lot and am excited to get a jump on the season with these DIY cold frame garden beds. If you’ve never seen me in my full firefighter bunker gear, it’s worth clicking over just for that 😉
What I was really craving this year were more short stories. So I shared the kind of stories I wanted to read: magazine length (my attention span was so short because of stress lol) and interesting! I still have nightmares about sailing: the other night I dreamt our neighbor was clearing snow off the lake (?) but the ice wasn’t frozen because our boat was still here. I hopped off to warn him, and as I did the boat sank to the bottom of the lake! While our adventures were scary, I enjoyed sharing them with you! I love writing, and sometimes it’s so nice to write so freely like this!
I still have to show you my secret for stripping paint of wood so it just glides right off. But I did have a chance to at least show you photos of the new kitchen cabinet color, and I will put together the tutorials for that transformation soon…
After giving my Mom’s dining room a makeover, I had the chance to give my dining room a makeover thanks to generous gifted items from Article and Ruggable. Working with brands, sometimes the timing is just totally out of my control and I wished I could have lined up something for when I did my Mom’s makeover. Between you and me, I had actually been in talks with Article to work with them on my Mom’s dining room after the first brand pulled out, but then by the time we got things settled, I was done the makeover! But everything worked out – Mom loves the vintage furniture we found. And I decided to incorporate the Article furniture in my home instead – and I LOVE my new dining room and its softer, more casual and coastal vibe. This is the direction my style is headed – although I’ll never give up vintage and mid-century completely – because I’m craving more effortless decor.
I made a lot of Christmas tree ornaments after my Mom decided she’d like a tree – it was difficult to choose which one I liked the most, but it might have been these DIY alcohol ink ornaments. I love alcohol ink projects, they always turn out.
I opened up this year and talked about why Hubby and I don’t exchange gifts. So many of you related to that post! I’ve been asked to share more personal stories like this so if there’s every anything I’ve said that has piqued your curiosity and you want to know more, ask away…
Last, but not least, these DIY wood trees were a super cool project! I was so excited to see that quite a few readers immediately made them (I LOVE when you show me photos!), so these were definitely a hit.
Thanks again for reading along and Happy New Year!