December Superlatives

Holy cow, is it really going to be 2012 on Sunday? December flew by. So before it scoots away for good, we like to take a moment to look back on all that we’ve done at a glance (and gather all the links in one handy place for ya). And of course we tossed in some never-before-seen stuff for kicks. This month we were all over the place as usual, but focused a lot of our time on the kitchen along with tackling a few other projects in rooms like the living room and the hallway while shoving a decent portion of holiday fun in there too. So let’s take a walk down memory lane, with yearbook-esque superlatives, shall we?

Most Improved: The three switcheroos in our living room that made a big difference (a larger rug, square ottoman, and more refined office chair).

Most Memorable: Looking back at moving day 2010 in celebration of our one year anniversary of living in this house. Oh how far we’ve come… and oh how far we still have to go.

Most Artistic: Clara, after we repurposed our old desk into a toddler-sized drawing table for her.

Most Artistic (Runner-Up): Sherry’s Dad, who sketched this owl back in the 1970’s and sent it to us so it could be framed in our hallway.

Least Artistic: Us, since doing some minor paint touch-ups in the kitchen before the counters arrived required little artistic talent. At least there was a paint brush involved.

Craftiest: The vendors at the Richmond Handmade Holiday event that we hit up (which explains why we didn’t leave empty handed).

Most Advent-urous: Our homemade advent calendar that turned an Ikea scarf hanger into an ornament-a-day countdown to Christmas.

Cheeriest: The ribbon covered stars of our 2011 Christmas card. Burger should also win the award for “Best Tongue”… if there were such an award.

Merriest (Tall Edition): Our toddler-friendly Christmas tree that’s decked out in paint swatches, ribbon, and other unbreakables (see updated photos of it here as the added advent ornaments filled things in each day).

Merriest (Short Edition): Our lil’ table-top tree that brought some sparkle into the living room, loaded up with the Pinterest Challenge ornaments that we made in November.

Brightest: Our first go at exterior holiday decorating. Hello candy cane lights, Moravian stars, big glowing lanterns, and some all-red (you know, as opposed to just red-nosed) reindeer.

Brightest (Runner-Up): The twenty-something tweaks to our hallway frame wall to bring a bit of the holiday cheer to this tiny space.

Brightest (Second Runner-Up): Our new countertops! Bright white Corian landed in Casa Petersik before we knew it. Though “landing” involved a few crazy contraptions, including this device that eliminated seams.

Most Free Spirited: Okay, it’s not really spirited – but this microwave was basically free (we bought it for $84 after selling our kitchen’s original over-the-cooktop one for $90). And working with our existing cabinets (like repurposing this one to house it) allowed for splurges in other areas – like new counters, backsplash tile, a giant wall opening, and cork floors.

Diciest: Cutting up a few leftover cabinet doors so they’d fit a few rebuilt or secondhand cabinets that we added to tweak the layout. It was a bit touch and go there for a moment, but after some pro pocket holes and some heavy duty screws, they turned out totally solid. The jury’s still out on the final result (we don’t want to jinx ourselves, so we’re waiting until all the paint is cured before saying they’re seamless).

Best Backside: Our new industrial-inspired stools for the peninsula scored for $33 a piece at a school supply site (they’re actually meant for a science lab). Geek is the new black.

Most Tedious: Little pre-painting projects in the kitchen, like recreating the windowsill, adding some toekick and trim, cleaning the sunroom, and finally picking a cabinet paint color.

Sandiest (TIE): John and the kitchen, after going on a putty-sanding-deglossing spree in preparation for priming and painting.

Biggest Tool: Our tool-tastic list of gift ideas for the DIYer in your life. Maybe it’ll help you spend some holiday cash or those lingering gift cards.

Most Date-d: Our homemade 2012 calendar (you can still download a free template of it if you want to customize a version for your family).

Most Resolute: Tossing a few 2012 resolutions out there into the world, in the hope that it’ll light a fire under us to get ’em done!

Most Transformative: Priming the cabinet doors and frames. Sing it with me: it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas a new kitchen…

Cutest Hat: Clara, who after opening this leopard print cap from my godmother on Christmas morning, refused to take it off for the rest of the day. Once we get around to posting Christmas photos on Young House Life, you’ll be seeing a lot of it. In the meantime you can check out Clara’s fun with letters and numbers here.

So there’s our last month of 2011 at a glance. Can you believe it’s about to be ’12? What did you guys eke out in December? Have you ever made a list of accomplishments to look back on? Feel free to use the comment section of this post to list what you’ve done (or just toss out a few highlights). It’s so nice to take a break from adding things to the ol’ to-do list for a second, just to look in the rear view mirror and appreciate the crossed-off tasks. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERY LAST ONE OF YA! We love you. Really. We do.

Psst- You can check out July’s superlatives here, August’s here, September’s here, October’s here, and November’s here.


  1. Cara says

    Second only to the kitchen, my favorite of your recent makeovers was your den. It was charming before but looks sophisticated now – a place kids and adults can relax.

  2. Daniela says

    This month we found out we are pregnant! best way to say goodbye to 2011! we are sure 2012 will be one of the happiest years of our lives!

    Feliz año nuevo! hugs from Mexico

  3. Julie says

    I was introduced to your site by a friend and I just want to say that you guys have been such a wonderful inspiration to me. My boyfriend and I just bought our first house in June (yay!), it’s a duplex – we rent out half and live in the other half. The house had been owned by a not so great landlord for years and the upstairs (where we live) looked like a run down overly rented apartment, thankfully the downstairs had been remodeled shortly before being put on the market.

    After buying the house, we repainted everything (EVERY wall was typical “renter’s beige”), put in a new bathroom floor, a new kitchen floor, extended the driveway behind the house to create more feasible parking, re-graded the lawn and planted grass, dug gardens surrounding the house and had glass block windows installed in the basement!

    I just want to say thank you for making me think that anything is possible when it comes to re-doing things in a house, and it’s possible to keep it affordable. Keep the great ideas coming and have a wonderful new year!

  4. says

    I see so many comments asking about things that we haven’t heard about yet. It’s crazy to think you guys are up to more than your posts have already detailed. Busy, busy! I totally understand though, sometimes we get projects done and don’t get around to sharing details until weeks later…I guess I need to work on that! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • says

      Haha, it’s best explained in this post about how things usually take a little white to prep/start/finish/shoot/write up. So we usually have a bunch of smaller projects in some stage of progress throughout the house (like curtains that need to be hemmed and then photographed and shared). It’s actually nice because if we had to complete each thing before starting another one we’d probably share a lot less since sometimes changing gears when you hit a snafu or can’t find something you need to finish a project is the only way to keep moving!


    • says

      I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who tends to bounce from project to project leaving incomplete things to rest!

  5. Ilana says

    The kitchen looks great. Are you guys considering a pot-rack? They seem to match the open and easy access style of you two. If not, where are you planning on storing all your pots/pans?

    • says

      We have a drawer under the stove that pulls out for pot storage and another big double base cabinet (next to the fridge) where we store the rest! Thankfully they all fit – even with room to spare!


  6. says

    I just fell in love with your kitchen stools all over again. Gah! Over here we finished our guest room, revamped a little mudroom nook, and spent a lot of time getting gifts ready for our neighbors and spending time with family. It has been such a wonderful month! This past week, when all of my sisters and I traveled to get together–we had some art time where we all completed an art project and then traded so we can each have something from each other.

  7. says

    Hi Sherry and John, So many great projects for December! I’m looking forward to 2012! If you are looking for an awesome Champagne punch to celebrate the new year, I just posted the one I make each year at Between Naps on the Porch. It’s super easy and always a huge hit. You can also make it without champagne so sweet Clara can join in the New Year’s celebration. :) Happy New Year to you and and all your family!

  8. Vanessa says

    Hope you guys have a great New Year and cannot wait to see all that you have in store for us in 2012! Clara looks adorable in her little hat. She has the rosey cheeks!

  9. Amanda B. says

    2011 was a slow year on the home improvement front for me, due to grad school plus working full-time. However, my mom helped me make over our master bath in just one weekend… We tore out wallpaper, scraped off ceiling texture, spackled/sanded forever, replaced the light fixture, blinds and shower curtain, and painted YHL-inspired cream-and-tan stripes! It feels like a hotel to me now, I just love it! Happy New Year, Petersiks!

  10. says

    I just did a huge recap of all we accomplished this year on my blog and it was so fun to look back and see everything! My big accomplishment this month was switching out the old Ikea bed in our guest room for a gorgeous, chunky brass bed. I’m so excited about it!

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