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Best of 2012 (DIY Edition)

Yesterday I shared my top twelve favorite (and completely random) posts.  Today I’m rounding up my 12 favorite DIY projects from 2012.

1.   Agate necklaces 

These turned out so pretty, even though they cost so little.  I love that Hubby helped make them, plus the slices of agate were bought from a souvenir shop on our (second) trip to Boston.  I always think of Hubs and our vacation when I wear them.  But wearing them has proven dangerous, as friends are always trying to steal them off my person (no luck yet, I move fast)!

2.  Black & white painting 

You know I love painting, but I’ve admitted I’m a bit of a hit or miss painter.  Painting something that “turns out” is always such a relief.  I really like the simplicity of this painting – it looks really striking in the stairwell, especially with the custom frame we made for it.  It ended up weirdly famous too, snagging nods of approval from Babble, Brooklyn Limestone and more.  Blog friends even made their own versions!  Apologies to the real artist I shamelessly copied.


3.  Feminist mirror makeover.  I have a hard time making the two disparate parts of my life (my PhD research and blogging about my home and DIY projects) fit together, but this project joined them for the first time.  It felt good.  Let’s do it again sometime.

4.  Hungarian poem mirror

Yes, I went on a bit of a mirror kick (another mirror makeover to come in 2013).  I really liked incorporating my love of text with a little of my Hungarian heritage into the townhouse.  Plus, I made use of a mirror I literally could not give away which also felt like an accomplishment – I love making use of what I have and finding new purposes for thingsAntiquing the mirror, stenciling the poem and building the frame were all surprisingly easy to boot!  P.S. Here are the details on how we hung it up!

5.  Antique chair makeover

A common theme around the townhouse is the project many years in the making.  After living with this inherited chair for many, many years, I was finally able to convince Hubby to give it a respectable makeover.  Now it’s much more modern and “us,” but didn’t lose too much of its heritage.  The turquoise chair makeover would have been a contender, if not for the multiple attempts to get it right.

6. Dipped leg stool

I don’t always follow or try trends.  Sometimes I dive right in.  Sometimes I’m before my time and am over something before it’s trendy (or have to constantly excuse myself for having said trendy item).  Sometimes I just ogle from the sidelines like a total nerd.  With the dipped leg project, it was exciting to give something so trendy a try (when it’s trendy), and the fact that this project was super inexpensive and worked with something we already made me happy.

7.  Retro play kitchen

This tiny, vintage themed play kitchen for my little cousin, Camilla (baby brother Jack loves it too!) was just so much fun to make and accessorize.  I hope it helps her to grow up to love DIY, decorating and vintage finds so she and I can thrift together one day!

8.  Play kitchen accessories

I turn to mush when I see miniatures (baby clothes, doll houses, tea spoons) so turning everyday objects into play kitchen accessories, and making mini tea towels and pot holders, made me “awwww” in a high pitched voice until it hurt.

9.  Cowboy table cloth

DIY is always more fun with someone, so it was really sweet when my Mom came for a crafting visit last winter.  In addition to the play kitchen accessories above, we also made this cheery table cloth (with a really detailed tutorial!) from hilarious fabric.  My Mom’s genius ideas (in this case, to alternate the pattern to make a table cloth from really narrow fabric) never cease to amaze me.

10.  Sheer sandwich curtains

Still unconvinced of my Mom’s genius?  It was her idea to add extra layers to our existing sheer curtains, with a fabric steal that cost only $2.00 a meter.  Neither fabric looked substantial enough on its own, but sandwiched together the two fabrics made the sheers look more substantial and luxurious, plus there’s more visual interest and privacy, but still lots of light flooding the tiny townhouse.  The fact that my readers immediately noticed this tiny-big change made me want to blog forever.

11.  Art Do-overs

From the bedroom triptych to the triangle abstract, no painting was safe from a round II in 2011, which is a good thing because I liked every second try the best.  Waking up to these helps me start each day with a huge grin:

12.  Basement Reveal 

After saying we’d makeover the basement in 2012 and then . . . not, for no better reason than this, just tackling what we did felt like a big deal (and not a total failure).  We painted the landing, spruced up the railing, hung my newly framed black and white painting, finally found a home for the framed bakelite brooches, painted the basement (including tricky ceiling tiles & adding textured paint to a wall), hung a gallery wall and started furniture placement.  THIS year, we will definitely finish it up – including more furniture makeovers, painting, and creative laundry room solutions.

These are my favorite 12 projects from 2012 (here’s my 11 fave from 2011)!  Did I snub a project you had liked?  Here’s the full list of DIYs (including the honorable mentions, like the houndstooth upholstered chair tutorial, Rothko inspired cardboard art, step-by-step abstract, and super simple but super striking black tray), which will be blossoming soon as we tackle more projects in 2013!

Linking up here: Between Naps on the Porch, Cowgirl Up Link Party, Tip Junkie, Elizabeth & Co, Coastal Charm Nifty Thrifty, Not Just a Housewife, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern Style, DIY by Design, French Country Cottage, Be Different Act Normal, Funky Junk Interiors, DIY Project Parade, Under the Table and Dreaming



  1. Heather Inspired
    January 3, 2013 / 2:37 pm

    Beautiful – just beautiful! Your artwork is gorgeous and I love your furniture makeovers, well done!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 3, 2013 / 10:11 pm

      Thanks Heather! I am starting to run out of wall space, but still have so many ideas for paintings! Happy new year 🙂

  2. Alyssa@Clever Nest
    January 3, 2013 / 3:27 pm

    I juat love your house, and especially your paintings! Thanks for the beautiful pictures!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 3, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks Alyssa. Your 2012 round up is chock full of beautiful inspiration and ideas!

  3. Carol@TheDesignPages
    January 3, 2013 / 9:24 pm

    Oh, I hadn't seen the basement reveal. Very beautiful. All lovely diy projects and when you put them all together it appears you were a very busy lady!!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 3, 2013 / 10:14 pm

      Haha, it does seem as though I have spent a bit of time DIYing . . . especially because this is only a sliver – just the favorites! But you have also been super busy this year! We can definitely pack a lot of ideas into 12 months, can't we?

  4. Dora
    January 4, 2013 / 12:03 am

    Your paintings are definitely my favourites 🙂 You are very talented

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 4, 2013 / 2:27 pm

      Awwww, thanks Dora! I have some new ideas for this year that will be even more DIY-able 🙂

  5. Rhan Vintage
    January 4, 2013 / 5:33 am

    Everything is fabulous, but I have to say I love the paintings and you've inspired me to get some canvases this weekend and paint. Ahhhh!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 4, 2013 / 2:27 pm

      YAY! I LOVE hearing that!! I am so happy and excited for you and hope you have a blast painting something beautiful this weekend. Have fun!!

  6. Amelia @ House Pretty
    January 4, 2013 / 8:48 pm

    Your art is SO awesome! That black and white painting is one of my the best DIY art projects I've ever seen – something I feel like I could actually do (and I swear I'm going to one of these days), but it doesn't look like a DIY piece at all! You're one talented lady!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 5, 2013 / 1:30 pm

      Thanks Amelia! Right back at you, you talented lady! I can't wait to see you make your own version – I am sure it will be gorgeous and might even take an unexpected turn into something better!!

  7. My Crafty Home Life
    January 5, 2013 / 1:22 am

    I wish I thought of those play kitchen accessories when my daughter was little. I love that. I also love gold tipped…..anything. Great projects.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 5, 2013 / 1:31 pm

      DIY kid's projects are just so adorable, aren't they?? Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Rosa @ Flutter Flutter
    January 5, 2013 / 6:11 am

    You've set a high bar for 2013! 13 DIY's in 12 months… and GO!!! 😉 Happy New Year Tanya.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 5, 2013 / 1:31 pm

      Haha, these are just the BEST ones. I have a slew of others in my DIY projects page, including more art, furniture makeovers and jewellery projects. I think I DIY too much . . .

  9. Angela @ Number Fifty-Three
    January 7, 2013 / 7:53 pm

    I always feel inspired when I visit your blog. Can't wait to see what you do in 2013!Happy New Year!Angela

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 7, 2013 / 8:13 pm

      Thanks so much Angela! I really appreciate that. I have some fun ideas for this year – more working with what I've got, some crafts, and a laundry room makeover that DOESN'T involve a new washer and dryer, lol. Gotta hide those ugly beasts!

  10. Kim @ Savvy Southern Style
    January 9, 2013 / 3:22 pm

    Contemporary is not a favorite style, but your home is amazing and looks like a magazine spread. Great projects and thanks for sharing at Wow.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 9, 2013 / 3:28 pm

      Thanks Kim! That you like my space is a high compliment from someone who doesn't typically like this kind of decor. Thanks for your kind words and for hosting such a fun link party! I'm really inspired by your other readers and am finding a few new blogs to follow.

  11. Stacy Risenmay
    January 10, 2013 / 5:34 pm

    What a beautiful home you have! I love all your projects. Everything is so colorful and fun! And bright 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 14, 2013 / 5:50 am

      Thanks you Stacy! I am definitely trying to create a space that is relaxing but cheery. And bright is possibly the biggest compliment that can be paid to a townhouse dweller (our house seriously lacks windows).

  12. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.
    January 14, 2013 / 1:54 am

    You've had a beautiful and productive year!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 14, 2013 / 5:51 am

      I am just hoping 2013 can be even MORE productive. I was out of the country for four months last year, so I have high hopes for tackling even more this year.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 15, 2013 / 9:54 pm

      Thanks so much!! I am going to check out the link right now.

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