A Look Back at 2020


That is definitely my word for 2020. Finn and I have spent more time together than ever before (which says a lot after being in a relationship for 16 years), along with our sweetest addition, Rory. I know this year was a wild one for every person in this world and many want to forget it and start fresh in 2021. And I get it. It’s been a year of heartache and loss for many people, me included.My wedge sneakers are on black friday 2020 sale

However, I’m incredibly grateful for this year. It has been a year to slow down and spend time as a new family of three. A year to prioritize what really matters in life. A year to block out the noise and chaos of the outside world and to just focus on being together.

2020 Recap: A Year in ReviewOur kitchen after

So let’s take a closer look at my 2020 recap and all of the monumental moments and blog posts that were the highlights of this year.

Prepping for Baby (January)

Our organized laundry room

Knowing we only had a few months until our baby girl’s arrival, we jampacked a lot of projects into the beginning of the year. We started by finishing up our laundry room, making it as organized and functional as possible. And it sure has come in handy!Our new stair runner We also added a stair runner to our stairwell to make it safer and less slippery!Why we chose the Acura RDX

Along with those big DIYs, I shared my baby registry and the details on our new family-friendly SUV.

Home Office Reveal (February)Wearing a paint suit for spraying

February was allllll about our office built-ins. We spent every single weekend working on this gigantic DIY project and it was actually a blast. We learned a lot along the way and the end result is fantastic. I shared a lot of very detailed tutorials about the project and I’m happy to hear that many readers have recreated this project in their own homes. I always love when that happens!Our home office makeover

I also shared the rest of the office space including the wall mural I added and the pretty furniture that makes this space comfy and functional. I’m actually typing this in my office right now and I can’t help but look around the room and smile. It’s a fantastic little setup.

Nursery Reveal (March)

Our baby girl's nursery
Once the office was finished, it was time to focus on our efforts on the nursery.

We added built-ins. (This time we hired it out!) I wallpapered the closet; we added chair rail; and I found furniture that worked so well in the space.

Here’s the final reveal of the space and here is the big before and after with all of the sources.Our baby shower

In March, we also had my baby shower. This was actually the week before the pandemic really started and it was the last time we saw many of those important people in our lives. It seems wild that we had such a big get together just a week before this craziness began!

Welcome Rory (April)

Come meet baby Rory
With COVID in full swing, we hunkered down for the rest of March and into April, doing our best to stay as safe as possible. Even though my due date was May 5th, little Miss Rory decided to make her debut on April 11th. It was a wonderful birth and I shared the entire story in this blog post. Meet our Daughter, AuroraI can’t read that post without tears thinking back on that wonderful day. I am so happy that it is forever documented here on the blog.

Oh, and I also shared this pregnancy video chronicling the many months leading up to Rory’s debut.

Maternity Leave (May)

Hello, world I'm Aurora, 2020 recap
I ended up taking a five week maternity leave, which, in hindsight, wasn’t long enough, and I didn’t post during the month of May. My mom lived with us during that month, helping with Rory, and she was a godsend. Three exhausted adults taking care of this tiny preemie baby…it was quite a month!Newborn photos of baby Rory

During some of my free time, I got a head start on blog content, writing about what I packed for the hospital and this post about the first 8 weeks of Rory’s life.

I also shared one of my favorite videos ever…this one of us dancing every week while pregnant. It’s so fun to watch my belly grow and the room change over all of those months. (Although, I’ll admit, after hearing that song so many times, I never want to dance to it again!)

And I worked on this video showcasing the transformation of our home after one year of living here.

Jan’s Downsizing Journey (June)

Jan's downsizing journey
Not only did Jan help with Rory during my maternity leave, but she also wrote three blog posts documenting her downsizing journey. It really resonated with readers and I received so many emails and comments asking for “More Janimal!”. If you want to check out her posts you can find part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

Guest Room Budget Bathroom (July)


My first big DIY project, postpartum, was our guest bathroom. I decided to give it a facelift on a budget and I only spent $586. I painted the tile floor, painted the vanity, swapped out the light and mirrors, and accessorized the space to give it a new life. That project was really cathartic for me because it made me feel like myself again, even if I was squeezing painting into short nap times. Not to mention, you guys loved the makeover series and it prompted me to paint two more tile floors in our house.2020 recap: Missing my Meme

The end of July was hard for our family as we lost my grandmother. She was always there for me during my infertility journey and pregnancy and was overjoyed when Rory was welcomed into this world. I’m so grateful she finally got to see me become a mother. Unfortunately, due to COVID, she never got to officially meet Rory. But we FaceTimed a lot and she got to “meet” her that way – and oh how she loved her!

Basement Bathroom (August)

Finn's new simple wood shelves in the basement
Finn used my office while I was out on maternity leave, but I kicked him out by July and told him to set up shop in the basement. He did just that and actually created a pretty nice home office setup. (I even DIY’ed him some shelves to display lots of photos of his baby girl.)

With Finn spending so much time in the basement, I decided to give the basement bathroom some much-needed TLC. I, once again, stenciled the tile floor, painted the vanity, and even replaced the strange “window to nowhere” with inexpensive shelves. I was pleasantly surprised by how great this space turned out. Although I’ll admit, I never use this bathroom. But it is nice to look at and I know Finn appreciates his new space!

Kitchen Kickoff (September)

Family photo before kitchen renovation
September kicked off our biggest project ever…the kitchen! I shared all of the before photos of the space and started my bi-weekly series sharing every tiny detail about this overwhelming process. Our team ripped out the old kitchen at the end of September, which meant we were forced to get creative with our temporary kitchen setup downstairs.

Before fall officially began, I shared a look back at our spring and summer seasons (mostly documenting Rory’s first months!) in the above video.

More Bathroom Projects (October)

While the crew worked away in the kitchen, I was able to get some projects done upstairs.

I ended up creating a few videos for Rust-Oleum…including how to paint a shower and a tutorial on painting tile floors.

These projects were fun (and challenging) and kept me DIY’ing even when our house was in total shambles from the kitchen remodel.Our new cloe tile in the shower

I also revealed our first-floor bathroom where we had our contractors re-tile the shower.  I still haven’t used that new shower. Ha!

Gift Guide Reveal (November)

Adding a butcher block to our kitchen island
By November, our kitchen was almost done and we were able to move back upstairs, while we waited for our appliances to arrive. This felt fantastic after a few months of living with lots of dust and chaos.

And I was even able to paint the walls a pretty sage green.

Before the holiday season kicked off, I shared our fall video with a behind-the-scenes look at our family. Our 2020 holiday gift guide

I kept our annual tradition alive with our 5th annual holiday gift guide. The feedback from this year’s guide has been amazing and I can’t thank you enough for all of the support!

Kitchen Reveal (December)

Thank you for your support during our kitchen renovation
Finally, this past month, I revealed our kitchen! In one of my favorite blog posts ever, I was able to showcase the dramatic before and after of this large space. You were incredibly kind throughout the entire process and it was the best feeling hitting publish on that reveal post. We are in love with the space and it feels good having it done before the end of the year!

What Will 2021 Bring?

Our kitchen renovation reveal

When I see all of the projects we accomplished in 2020, I’m kind of dumbfounded! I was very worried about how things would go once Rory arrived, but I have been able to work and do the things I love, while also being a mom. That makes me very happy.

In the beginning of 2021, I’m excited to do some organizing and tweaking of our finished spaces, while giving our bedroom some love. Then, it’s onto outdoor planning and potentially, the main bath remodel. But we’ll see what happens. Thanks for being a part of our journey this year. I am looking forward to more good days ahead…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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