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11 Years of Blogging and The Best of Shine Your Light

I can hardly believe it but 11 years ago today I published my first blog post ever!

Our three kids were all in elementary school at the time and it seemed everyone we knew that was our age was upgrading their homes, when we decided to sell our big house and buy a smaller fixer upper in the same town.  For sure everyone who knew us thought we had lost our minds or gone bankrupt, but we really just wanted to get out from underneath a big mortgage and have more financial freedom to do things with our kids while they were growing up. 

It didn’t hurt that I had been following the likes of The Inspired Room, Nesting Place and many other amazing blogs that have come and gone through the years, and I was completely smitten with the idea of buying a house that needed some love and it doing it ourselves. In fact I rejected buying a few perfectly nice houses because they didn’t need any work!

The house we bought was absolutely slathered with peach and dusty rose paint, from the walls to the fireplace to the garage and the unfinished basement, and who can forget those lovely baloney countertops that I tried to decorate around for 9 years!!! This house was in pretty good shape, just a bit outdated, and it absolutely invited me to take risks and do my own thing to it! Trading our last lovely home with the big fancy kitchen and two fireplaces for this fixer upper was such a blessing in disguise; I have loved the process even when it’s taken longer than I ever anticipated to get from all the befores to the afters.

Here are a few of my all time favorite projects.


Fireplace Makeover

Orange oak and peach painted brick before.

An 80s era fireplace gets a dramatic makeover

For this project Mark and I lowered and rebuilt the mantle, and then I added new moulding and crown, tiled the surround and hearth, and installed new doors on the bookcases. 

See the whole fireplace remodel from start to finish here!

Painted Garage Steps

One of the most simple upgrades to our house was the garage steps! Friends and family often enter the house through our garage and this is what they used to see.  Nice, right?

One of my first projects here was to paint those grimy steps and walls and make that entrance a little welcoming (2010)! They went green in 2014, and it’s about that time for a fresh new color! Can you believe what a difference a little floor paint can make?!

Painted Garage Stairs

 painted “welcome” steps |  green painted steps


Wall of Bookcases

Early on in my woodworking career, I took on this wall of bookcases that spans a doorway and I still love this project so much! Here is the before (but after we had lived in the house for a while and I had already painted over the peach in here :)).

Below, in progress. The right of the doorway is comprised of 3 Ikea Billy bookcases; the other side of the doorway is narrow so I built a bookcase from scratch and then installed a header with crown moulding across the entire wall (only to realize years later that the crown was hung upside down! You live you learn!)

DIY Built In Bookcases

And after, stuffed with books – one of my favorite spots in our house.

Ikea Billy bookcases are built into a living room creating an entire library wall.

I recently ordered doors for the bottom shelves like I added to the bookcases next to the fireplace above, so a bit of a makeover of this wall is on the 2021 to-do list! See the cabinet door project here.


Backyard, Deck and Natural Stone Fire Pit

This project has taken several years to come together, starting with cutting back the forest of trees that reached the house and making space for a backyard for our kids to play in. 

I added the pea stone patio and built a natural stone fire pit, 

DIY pea stone patio with Adirondack chairs around a fire pit

and last year we tore off the old rotting deck and had a Trex deck with corner stairs installed.

Trex decking

We spend all our time out here in the warmer months, from coffee on the patio, meals and working on the deck and often back to the fire pit at night. Our now-college aged kids LOVE hanging out at the fire pit with their friends and this is their favorite pick of all my projects!

Corner Deck Steps

See more of the deck and patio makeover here.

Hardwood Floors

I have to dedicate a post to this subject but this is one of the most dramatic before and afters! Here’s the kitchen floor before – two layers of vinyl flooring (and you thought I was exaggerating about this house being slathered with peach paint, didn’t you? HA!) The floor wasn’t quite as bad as this picture portrays, but it was definitely in the orange family!  

And now after having hardwoods installed in the kitchen (white oak to match the adjacent rooms) and stained 50/50 Minwax Special Walnut and Classic Gray:

That luscious 80s tile – with lots of cracks and brown grout for good measure…..

…and after! More on this project soon. We can’t believe the difference!!

Newly Installed Hardwood Floors On The Diagonal


Kitchen Remodel

I dreamed about remodeling this kitchen since the first time I laid eyes on it! So much potential!

Kitchen before renovating

After almost a decade, we finally tackled this project by demoing it ourselves with the help of some great friends, then hiring pros to install the cabinetry and finish carpentry, electrical, plumbing and the installation of the floors. 

Demolition of a kitchen

It was so much fun to bring my vision to life!

Gallery Wall In Kitchen

I know you don’t miss me talking about these beauties!! Seriously – the exact color of Oscar Meyer baloney!

Ahhh much better!

Light and bright kitchen reveal

See the full kitchen reveal here!

We have a couple exciting projects on the horizon this year – our new front door and side lights will be installed in April (we ordered it last August and thanks to the pandemic it’s taken this long!) and we’re also going to tackle our bathrooms. Can’t wait to share the process with you! 


Thank you for following along here – some of you since the beginning!

I’m so lucky to have literally the kindest readers EVER and I love hearing that something you read on Shine Your Light inspired a project in your own home! I’m so glad you’re part of this little corner of the interwebs! Cheers to 11 years of figuring stuff out and making the most of our abodes together!

Spinach Fruit Salad With Warm Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese
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Kristin salazar

Friday 12th of March 2021

So glad we found each other through blogging! I love looking back at all of your amazing DIY projects, you are so talented. Happy Anniversary! xo

Cassie Bustamante

Friday 12th of March 2021

Aaaaw, what a fun look back! I think I've been here following from almost the beginning!!!


Thursday 11th of March 2021

Congratulations on your 11th blogging anniversary, Lisa!🥂 I've enjoyed following you on this journey and hey, you've done A LOT! ! Your home is beautiful! I can't get enough of that pretty kitchen! 😍