Checking In On My 2023 Home Goals

At the beginning of the year, I wrote this blog post outlining all of my home goals for 2023. I love doing this because it keeps me accountable and gives you a glimpse into the content that you might see around here for the year ahead.

Our new dark green bathroom in our basement
Basement Bathroom Reveal

I was actually so pleased when I checked out my 2023 home goals list and saw that I had made a huge dent in it. Let’s take a look at what I’ve crossed off the list, what’s left to do, and the items that I’ll be postponing until next year.

Our front porch for summer 2023

2023 Home Upgrades – The Master List

  • Finish Basement – Stage One – DONE
  • Add Stairwell Accent Wall – DONE
  • Renovate Basement Bathroom – DONE
  • Organize Garage – DONE
  • Updated Landscaping – DIDN’T DO…
  • Personalize Basement – Stage Two – COMING SOON
  • Organize Storage Room, Crawlspace, & Attic – DONE

Finish The Basement (Stage One)

Our basement transformation

At the start of the year, the pros were done with their work in the basement. We had carpet, walls, and doors. However, there was still lots of DIY work to be done. I spent many weeks caulking all of the woodworking and painting the doors. I added a mural, spray painted the walls a pretty “Greige” color, and finished the reading nook. Once those pieces were all complete, we finally brought in some furniture to make it livable.

Our new basement furniture

I shared a peek at the finished product in this blog post, showcasing how it looked six months after our flood. I consider “Stage One” of our project to be complete! You can shop our entire basement right here.

Add Stairwell Accent Wall

Our new stairwell accent wall

Wow, this might just be my favorite project of 2023. This DIY project has been on my mind since we first bought our house and I’m so happy that I finally tackled it. I had to buy scaffolding to get the job done and do lots of crazy math for those angles, but it turned out beautifully. I still smile every time I walk up and down these stairs. It’s wild how much woodworking can elevate a space. You can find the detailed tutorial right here.

Renovate Basement Bathroom

Working hard in the basement

Another huge project that I tackled last spring was our basement bathroom. I redid the entire space all by myself (minus an electrician and plumber to move some things). I gutted it and removed the old tile, installed new penny tile, added beadboard to the walls, painted it all a deep green color, and then added the new vanity, toilet, and more. It is gorgeous!

Our dark green bathroom now

I don’t spend much time in our basement, but when I do I always peek in the bathroom to see all of my hard work in action. It gives off speakeasy vibes and just feels super swanky for a basement. You can see the full transformation here.

Organize Garage

Let's get this garage organized

This was the final project I tackled before taking my summer break. I spent a day clearing everything out, going through all of our tools and toys, cleaning the garage floor tiles, and creating a new system that didn’t make me want to pull my hair out! I’m so relieved that I did this project before the summertime because we are constantly going in there grabbing the kids’ scooters, toys, and water table. It’s nice knowing that the kids can safely enter the garage. You can read my best tips for organizing your garage right here.

Update Landscaping

2023 home upgrades
Landscaping in our backyard

So, this was one we planned to work on over the summer, but never got around to it. I ended up ripping out some of the bushes in the backyard with plans to replace them with new things that would thrive. Well, I never did that. Oops. Our yard is actually looking really good…very lush and beautiful.

Replacing some of the bushes in our backyard
Not a huge fan of this bush here (looks like a giant weed to me…)

However, we would eventually like to replace a few bushes and add some more plants back there.

The sod in our front yard

I also spent all summer nursing the new sod on our front lawn. Our entire yard was ripped up when we had our exterior sewer backup system installed and the new grass looks fabulous!

Covering the manhole in our front yard

I eventually want to add some faux turf to the manhole cover to camouflage it. Gotta add that one to my to-do list!

Personalize Basement (Stage Two)

Our basement transformation 6 month sin

Now that we’ve lived with the basement for about six months, I want to add some personal touches to the space. I’d love to add a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall in the stairwell, highlighting family memories, art the kids create, and more. We also have lots of space near the stairs, at the entrance to the basement, and I don’t know what needs to go there just yet. I want to add some creative elements for the kids and ensure that we have enough storage for all of their things. The fall will be all about creating the playroom of their dreams!

Organize Storage Room & Crawlspace

My best tips to declutter your storage room

This spring, I was able to cross this task off of my to-do list and it felt amazing! I got rid of lots of random junk and created a better system for all of our tools, excess paint, and seasonal items. It’s not beautiful, but it’s a hell of a lot more functional. This will constantly be a work in progress as we work to maintain our storage and keep our house streamlined. You can find more tips for organizing this tough room right here.

Yep, We’re House Hunting!

An honest review of my Castlery dining room table

Okay, so let’s get to the goods about what’s next for us. We’ve been in our home for 4.5 years and we’re finally finished renovating it from top to bottom. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our home. It has been the best place to start our family and we adore our neighbors and neighborhood. However, we’d like to move within the next one to two years, before our daughter heads to Kindergarten. When we bought our house, it was only the two of us. Now, we’ve doubled in size and would like more space for our family to spread out.

Our living room is a 2023 home upgrade

We’re not ready to move just yet, but we’ve been doing a lot of research and visiting new neighborhoods to find the ideal place for our family of four. We’ll still be staying in the Chicagoland area, but moving a bit further from the city. For privacy reasons, I don’t plan to share the areas we’re checking out. However, I’ll be sure to share more details about houses once that fun process begins! I think by early next year we’ll get more serious about looking.

Sharing more about my functional medicine experience

We would like to find another fixer-upper, in similar condition to this house when we started working on it. I’d love something that isn’t necessarily falling down, but is dated, with the need for a lot of upgrades. That way we can personalize it to our exact taste. A larger yard, a guest room, and more space for our kids to enjoy themselves would all be amazing!

Clean your sheets and towels to prep for the week ahead

As for our house, we’re taking our real estate photos and getting all of the listing paperwork ready to go with our realtor. I wanted to get exterior photos during the summertime when everything is lush and green outside. That way, if we find the perfect property, we’ll be ready to list right away! Of course, I’ll share when our house hits the market in case any of you want to scoop it up 😉

Enjoying Our Hard Work

Taking some time to be with my family

For now, we plan to have a low-key second half of 2023, enjoying the fruits of our labor. It’s been very nice not living in a construction zone for once! Don’t worry, I’m still planning on decorative and organizational projects around the house to keep you guys inspired!


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.