Kyle, Ellis, and myself in a recent family portrait 2022

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It may seem like with selling the house at the end of last year that we don’t have many projects on our to do list… but you’d be wrong!

basement apartment mid remodel with couch, coffee table, kitchenette, and rocking chair

And that’s ok, because I was wrong, too. I actually thought that once we sold the house — aka, the source of most of my project to-do list and delays — that I would have more time to go back through the backlog of content that has been building up and in various stages of editing since the baby was born. My mistake was thinking time would magically present itself in easy blocks with fewer distractions. Nope! So wrong! In the months since we moved into our temporary living space while looking for our new house, that didn’t happen at ALL. Who would’ve thought that I would dive into new basement apartment projects? And stalking real estate listings daily, backlog be damned? Yup.

Kyle stands in empty basement room with low wooden ceiling and spotlight in the corner

So, I guess that’s why I’m starting this year with a post all about our 2023 plans. It may be cliché, but it’s also useful for putting it all out there. I like building in public. Sharing my intentions with you, even if I fall short sometimes, motivates me to keep goal-setting. We’ve got lots to think about in this coming year, regardless of when the next house is finally ours. And I’ve got updates on that front for you as well! So, here they all are, and I can’t wait to start putting these together for you. Some are already nearly done, so they’ll be coming to the blog sooner than you think. Let’s gooooo:

Our House and Project Goals for 2023

1. Find our new house and make the big MOVE!

This one is probably the most obvious to those of you who read about our big house sale and our search for our new home. For those that didn’t: we sold my Atlanta-area home in 2022 and are planning to move multiple states away. Which is both thrilling and challenging for our family of 3! After two road trips back and forth, we have narrowed down our search to a single area. That’s pretty huge progress, even if it doesn’t quite sound like it. We were originally looking within a two hour radius from the coast with convenient travel to Richmond, VA where my sister lives. She has a son around Ellis’s age, so the cousins can grow up together! That’s a lot of cities to cross off our search list, and we managed it in record time, with more than 20 houses and neighborhoods and realtors across the state. Lots of “close… but not quite.” We were ruthless in using our gut to say “yes” or “no” and move on.

back of a brick colonial home with sunroom that we did not end up buying

Where we stand now: we have fallen in LOVE with an old city and the older homes in it. I am blown away that instead of just remodeling, we could actually be working on a restoration. Plus, this is my first experience house hunting as a couple. K’s got a wish list and so do I, and surprise — they don’t always align. It’s a learning experience in prioritizing the needs of each person. We’re both setting our sights high on this one, though. I can’t share house details yet until we’re actually under contract and past the negotiation point (I also don’t wanna jinx it), but we had to get creative in our house search to find “the one.” It goes beyond just creating an MLS search by our realtor, so expect the nitty-gritty details in a post when we’re nearing closing. (I’ve also been sharing more specific details on Instagram to subscribers, who get more of a weekly play by play in my stories.)

wooden roof in the city that we found charming
the view looking up through a solarium

2. Share more personal updates

I’ve actually already finished writing the next post, which is more of a personal update from me to you. I’ve been struggling since Ellis was born to find my footing again, which I suppose it not that unusual. Adjusting as first-time parents is a given, right? But in my case, working for myself presented unique physical and mental challenges after a difficult pregnancy. Ellis had health challenges. So did I. After some recent revelations with my doctor, I think I’ve finally started on the path to me again. Expect details in the very next post. It’s not intended as medical advice, but I hope sharing my story may bring a little peace to someone out there. You’re not alone, and I see you. <3

Sarah Fogle sitting on her couch with coffee in hand and looking out the window with laptop sitting in front of her

3. Share some of our projects we finished before the move

We made such a swift move to sell last fall that I fell even further behind on editing new videos and posts for you. Two big ones are the backyard garden beds (strong and sturdy!) and the window plant shelves in my office (which we quickly converted back into a dining room for listing purposes). It’s strange to edit them now when other people are enjoying them instead of us! Posts that have plans tend to take more time because I like to share the blog post and video tutorial and the plans all at once. However, folks have requested both plans ahead of time, so they are already available on Spruc’d Market. Expect to see more plans over there this year with complex builds. Free plans for my library with simpler projects are coming, too!

Sarah Fogle placing houseplant in white pot on window plant shelf to showcase the DIY plant shelf build
sturdy garden beds in corner of back yard
simple shelf with legs DIY

I also had some non-plans-based projects as well, such as outfitting our hollow core doors with trim. It doesn’t take much to elevate them, and I’ll show you how. Our primary bedroom walls got a makeover (YouTube video already right here!) so I’m updating that with the written tutorial and more photos. The kitchen also got a cute update with a fun spice rack that we enjoyed for about 5 minutes before we sold. And I meant to circle back with the garage door reveal and talk more in depth about tongue and groove boards. So all of these are still coming.

(acrylic spice rack here and spice jars here)

4. Share our basement apartment makeovers

After selling the house, we moved in with family. Their 600+ square foot basement was vacant, so they let us move in and pretty much gave me free rein to DIY as I pleased. In the last few months, I’ve installed new flooring, decorated the walls, divided the areas into rooms, and have finished a buildout of a media wall in our living space. I’ve been repurposing most of the old furniture I found in storage down there, keeping these projects extremely budget-friendly. I have 3 “converting an old bookcase” posts coming your way as a result (yes, I had 3 sets of bookcases available and used them all!). It’s been a fun challenge to see what we can do that still has purpose after we leave. There’s even a tiny kitchen area with backsplash coming! Renters: these are ideas for you!

basement living space area with bare concrete floor and old furniture stored before makeover
TV wall area in progress with new LVP flooring and rug. Green painter's tape on the wall mapping out the new media wall project.
painted black media wall added to the same tv wall from previous picture with styled bookshelves.

5. Ruby progress

We’re still working on the 1946 Spartan Manor project. Conveniently, the old camper sits just outside of the garage that separates our basement apartment from the driveway. We made significant progress on protecting the frame last summer and will be installing the new subfloor before we move. Depending on the moving timeline, we’ll also be installing plumbing and electrical! K is mostly in charge of that part, and he’s been extremely busy with his day job since the move. Our focus for spring is all about the camper, so expect to see more video updates on my YouTube channel series. I’d love it if you followed along.

Sanding under Ruby trailer to restore the frame

6. Several informative video/tutorials in the works

For a long while, I’ve been wanting to compile tips and tricks of DIY basics into handy guides. Similar to how I shared these drywall tips, the first one I’m working on is a stain guide. And tons more painting tips. How to use some of my favorite tools. Different ways to reach the same goal and provide you with knowledge at your fingertips. I have a list of favorite safety gear here, so it will similarly involve products I rely on in addition to handy checklists/ebooks you can take with you. I’ve always believed that DIY is less intimidating the more you know! I figure this in-between houses stage a great time to work on these since they are not specific to a room or house.

closeup of cutting through a small opening with a scroll saw in the number 4 using a template

7. House tours!

I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to tour “showhouse” homes in the past, and for a minute, I thought I lost the footage! But I’ve found it again, and I’ve been editing to get them up on YouTube and the blog very soon. One is presented by a local magazine, and the other was a preview before the showhouse opened to the public. So, you’ll see some fun chaos behind the scenes of what it looks like to make those happen. It’s always so fun and inspiring to see! I often walk away with at least 2 new ideas I want to implement immediately. After those 2, I’ll be on the lookout for more opportunities for posts like this in the future.

Good Grit Magazine show house dining room
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Showhouse
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra show house tour

8. Perhaps another property?

Selling the house brought an incredible opportunity: I might finally be able to invest in another small house. K and I have dreamed of doing this together for a while. I love the charm of old homes, and the area we’re moving to has some gems that I’d like to save from bottom-line-obsessed flippers who would sooner cover original floors with gray LVP to save a buck. I’ve been inspired by friends like Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl (a pic from Saving Etta below!), but my plan is to start small and grow those skills. It will take time to find the right house, but we’re considering our starting point. I’ll be sure to take you along every step!

Brittany and Sarah working on Etta

Deep breath. Ok, that’s a lot of goals for 365 tiny days! But it’s also breathing room. After a few years of feeling like I have a backlog I’ll never get past, I’m starting to feel like I’m climbing out of a creative rut (backstory in the next post). I feel more me lately. I don’t really do “word of the year” goal setting (I have tried it with meh results). But I can appreciate striving for just a little bit better than the day before. The fact that I’ve written more words in the last week than I have in quite a long time is indication of renewed focus. I’ll try capitalizing on that for as long as I can. With more fun posts as we go. As I mentioned, in the next post, expect a more personal update. Then after that, we’ll talk about those window shelves. Talk soon, friends!

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  1. So excited about all of this! I can’t wait to see all the projects.

    And, my youngest just turned three. I feel like I am just getting back to me for the first time in years. I feel like folks don’t tell you that it can take time to find yourself again. Thank you for being open about your journey. I am looking forward to reading your next post.

    1. Caroline, I can totally relate! I don’t know if it’s that people haven’t told me or that I didn’t start listening until now (could be both), but I have definitely held myself up to a standard of expecting to immediately bounce back, and feeling like a failure that I didn’t (lots of comparing myself to other folks who appear to be more organized/prepared than me). I definitely elaborate in the next post which will be coming in just a few days!

  2. Sending love from the Canadian prairies. Parenting is hard, as is life in general. Combining the two is even more difficult. I cannot wait to see what life brings you next.