How Do We Like It Now? Take 5

We do a lot of DIY projects, buy a lot of new products, and make a lot of decorating decisions here on the blog. However, we don’t always take the time to check in on the status of these updates years after living with them with honest home product reviews.Honest home decor reviews

Do we still love them? Would we do anything differently? Any advice for next time around?

This is a series that provides us with the chance to take a stroll down memory lane while providing you guys with the real talk on how these purchases are holding up after lots of daily wear and tear.

Rookie Reviews from the Past

Our DIY & Home Product Reviews

So let’s get right to it. Our honest home product reviews of prominent pieces in each of our homes.

Casey’s ReviewsHome product reviews around our houses

Bar Stools (8 out of 10)Kitchen bar stools review

If you read our last “how do we like it now?” post, then you’ll remember how I gave our bar stools a pretty terrible review. While they looked great, they were so damn uncomfortable. Sitting on them was like torture, so I gave them a pitiful rating of 3 out of 10 and vowed to find new stools.

I’m happy to report I found new stools! I got these stools about 6 months ago and I really like them. They were a great price, the style fits well with the rest of our home, and the best part….they’re super comfortable! Yay, finally stools I actually want to sit on! The cream color is really pretty and I like the light wood leg. I wouldn’t say they’re super high-quality (hence the reason I’m giving them an 8), but they definitely get the job done for a great price.

Kitchen stools

And I know someone is going to ask, so I will tell you now. We use these furniture feet on all the chair legs in our home to protect our wood floors. They don’t fall off like normal pads you put on the bottom of a chair. Our floor is protected from scratches thanks to these babies! Highly recommend if you have wood floors.

Jewelry Dresser (10 out of 10)Jewelry dresser

Last year, I ditched my standing jewelry cabinet and replaced it with a jewelry drawer. I majorly purged my jewelry, purchased this amazing jewelry organizer, and designated a drawer in our dresser for all of my goodies. I am still in love with this setup! It’s tucked away, stays neat, and is still super organized.Organized jewelry drawer

I was worried that I wouldn’t have room for new jewelry, but honestly, I don’t ever buy jewelry. I pretty much wear the same thing over and over. Which brings me to another random thing I wanted to chat about. I get sooooo many DMs on Instagram asking about the 2 dainty necklaces I wear just about every day. It’s actually one necklace with 2 layers and it’s made by Freida Rothman. Unfortunately, they don’t sell this exact one anymore, but all of her necklaces are gorgeous (like this one and this one) if you’re looking for a good everyday piece (or gift)!

Dyson Fan (10 out of 10)Dyson fan and air purifier

You guys know how much I love my Dyson vacuum (I pretty much gushed about it in this blog post), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I scooped up another Dyson product…this fan and air purifier. I had a killer sinus infection that knocked me out for about 6 weeks early this year and I finally went to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. After doing lots of tests, it turns out I’m allergic to dust mites and ragweed. I never thought I had any allergies, so this was news to me!Dyson fan on auto

He highly recommended this air purifier to help with the air quality in your home. Guys, it’s awesome. You can use it as a fan (which we haven’t been doing because it’s so dang cold), or you can just leave it on auto. If anything “bad” happens in the air, it will turn on to a higher power to purify the air as quickly as it can. This thing goes off like crazy whenever I spray hair spray (just shows you how many chemicals are in it…yikes!) and whenever we’re cooking. Dyson air purifier in the bedroom

We keep it in our bedroom so we get the cleanest air back there while sleeping. I definitely recommend for anyone, but especially if you have allergies or pets!

Kitchen Runner (7 out of 10)Jute kitchen runner

Another new purchase I haven’t blogged about is this kitchen runner. I used to have this one from West Elm, but a bowl of dropped berries ruined it for good. That’s what you get for putting a light rug in your kitchen. My bad. I vowed to get a cheap rug that could take some wear and tear and this is the runner I landed on.Jute runner in the kitchen

I love the color, the size, the price…all great! But it has frayed in a couple of spots. Nothing too terrible or noticeable, but I, of course, notice it. Still, you can’t go wrong with a natural fiber rug in a high traffic area. They’re durable and inexpensive!

Double Trash Can (7 out of 10)Recycle mail immediately

Our building added recycling last year (yay!) so we had to upgrade our trash can to sort things better. I found this double trash can on Amazon and it has been wonderful! We originally had 2 separate trash cans, but it was just way too much clutter in our kitchen. This wider one is really sleek and doesn’t look terrible on our island.

The only reason I’m docking a few points is because it can sometimes be hard to get the trash bags in there. They sometimes fall down, so you have to really get it in there good. A mild nuisance, but I can’t give it a perfect review because of that!

Bridget’s Reviews

Bridget enjoying a cup of coffee in her home

Mudroom Tile (10 out of 10)

I took you guys through the process of making over our mudroom a little over a year ago, but haven’t talked much about the mudroom since. Honestly, we haven’t done much to this room since the heavy renovations wrapped up. One day I have dreams of making it a true mudroom, complete with cubbies or some type of storage system.

But for now, just having a place to drop our groceries, boots, winter gear, or even set up a mini DIY workshop during the winter, has been AH-MAZING.

mudroom tile reviewBut even though this space is far from “finished”, I did want to report back on how I feel about the tile after living with it for a while. Long story short, I’m SO happy with this decision and would choose this tile over and over and over again. I love the color and texture, but most importantly, I love how much this tile hides.

tile from floor and decorFrom watermarks to dust, this mudroom sees lots of wear and tear and you would never know thanks to the tile! Not only is the tile holding up beautifully, but it somehow does such a phenomenal job hiding the “dirt”, weather, and general busy-ness it sees on an everyday basis. A perfect score from me.

Black Painted Doors (8 out of 10)black doors over time

Another part of the mudroom that deserves a spot in this series is my decision to paint the doors in our mudroom Sherwin Williams’ Tricorn Black. Like I just mentioned, this mudroom sees a lot of normal wear and tear. But the mudroom has seen plenty of extra DIY dust, dirt, and general commotion thanks to the kitchen and bath renovation.
painting doors tricorn blackAlthough I absolutely LOVE our black doors and would make this same decision again in a heartbeat, it is worth noting that black doors show everything. From dust to scratches, the doors don’t hide much. Usually wiping the doors down a time or two is all I need to do in order to get the black doors looking fresh again. But this extra maintenance is definitely worth considering before you take the plunge! To me, the extra cleaning is still well worth the look, BUT this may not be the case for everyone. Be sure to think this through before choosing a super dark color!

Monitor in the Nursery (4 out of 10)installing a baby monitor

I started out absolutely loving this monitor, which is why I’m extra sad to report that this product didn’t stand the test of time. I shared how we mounted this baby monitor in the nursery and loved that it came with the equipment to hide the cords on this device so easily!
baby monitor reviewBut fast forward a little over a year, and I’m far less impressed with this monitor… so much so that I would not recommend it to a friend. When Ben was a newborn, the battery for the monitor screen that we kept in our room didn’t last throughout the night without being charged. Often times it would wake us up in the middle of the night beeping because it needed to be charged. Strike one.
installing a baby monitorStrike two isn’t that big of a deal, but I also didn’t love the fact that this monitor didn’t have the time displayed on the screen. Maybe none of them do… I’m not really sure? But sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night hearing Ben crying through the monitor and when I glanced to see what he was up to, I always wished that the screen said the time on it. Again, not that big of a deal, but a convenience factor that I wished for more times than I can count.
Neutral crib in nursery
Strike three came when the monitor screen completely died and would no longer accept a charge! Sadly, this happened right after the year warranty was up so there was nothing we could do except buy a new monitor (which is still on our to-do list). We tried everything to get it to work but still… nothing! Although I want to love this product because it started out so strong, it’s, unfortunately, one product that I would not personally recommend to others. Maybe others have had a better experience?

Bamboo Shades in the Nursery/Bedroom (10 out of 10)

And while we’re on the topic of sleep, let’s chat about the bamboo shades we installed in both the nursery and our master bedroom.

I give these shades a solid 10 out of 10 because of the ease of installation, the price point, and their effectiveness. The bamboo shades are the only shades we close in both rooms and have never have a problem with the amount of coverage in the morning. Granted, we are not people who need our rooms pitch black, but I really do think the bamboo shades do a great job blocking out most of the sunlight, without making the room feel like a dark cave.

bamboo shades in a nurseryI would install these again and again if needed.

Dining Room Table (9.5 out of 10)dining room table review

Rounding out today’s list is our dining room table from Article. We’ve had it for almost a year and a half and love everything about it.
dining room article tableThe only reason that this item didn’t get a perfect score is super minor and possibly only a “problem” for our dining room’s setup. There’s a slight gloss on the top of the table, which is probably a good thing because I’m assuming it’s a layer to protect the table. But this slight gloss reflects the light from the large picture window in front of it, so it shows some fingerprints, smudges, or leftover spills when the sun is shining on it.
article dining room table
I understand this is not a big deal. But in honor of keeping it real, I did want to share this tidbit for others who may be purchasing the table. Would I choose this table again? Absolutely… because I genuinely love it (and especially love that it can be extended to seat 10 people!!).

How Do We Like It Now?

So there you have it, a full recap of how these DIY projects, home decor items, and general design decisions are holding up in our homes over time. We hope this series gives you a little insight into what we love and what we would do slightly differently next time around! If there’s a specific item you would like to see included in the future, let us know and we’ll add it to our list!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.