Monday, January 19, 2015

The New Office

So our first project for the new year is to complete the new office space. It's not really a high priority itself, but the current office needs to be cleaned out to make room for the kid- and all that stuff needs to go somewhere. Since neither of us work from home, our office doesn't get a lot of use. It has to be a functional space to store files and officey materials, like the printer and paper, as well as all of our books. It will also hold my sewing machine, which is slowly getting more use each year, and its associated stuff.

some of the many books in the current office that need a new home

the closet in the current office is full of stuff that needs a new home

new windows looking out towards the yard

the old window between the master bedroom and sleeping porch

the door between the bedroom and sleeping porch

The Design
The space is small, so mostly it needs to be very well organized, with lots of storage and not a lot of unnecessary items. The new wall that will separate the office from the new master bathroom will be covered with bookcases with cabinets on the bottom for lots and lots of storage. We'll also have a small desk with a drawer, and hopefully a comfy chair for reading. There aren't a lot of walls, but maybe we can find room for some nice piece of real art for the walls.

1. Hardwood floor of a nice, medium tone
2. The same grey/blue wall color as the bedroom
3. Stripey drapes
4. Built-in bookcases with cabinets on the bottom
5. A small desk with a drawer
6. Comfy seating to read

The Plan
So, we're doing this one all ourselves, hopefully over the weekends and not at night through the week. We need to do minor demolition to remove the ugly paneling from the ceiling, before we can frame in the new wall that divides this space from the new master bathroom. Then we can put up new sheetrock on the walls and ceiling, and get everything painted. Next up, we'll put down a hardwood floor that's meant to look seamless with the bedroom, and will need to be leveled with a little insulation from the cold, concrete slab. Then we'll build in the bookcases along the new wall. Finally, we will add the new furniture and curtains to finish off the space. Before we move everything over from the current office space, I plan to do a hard scrub on all the things that are getting stored, to make sure everything really needs to be kept. Some things (like piles of cookbooks) need a better system to be used, other things (like my wedding dress) just need a permanent home elsewhere. My goal is to be done with this space in mid-February, and ready to move on to the next room.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Grand To-Do List

Happy New Year! I am currently trying to make plans for house projects this year, and realized that we've now lived in our new house for almost exactly 2 years. Seems like a good time to update ye olde to-do list, figure out what progress we've made and what's left to do.

The yard has come a long way, and really stands out as the best room of the house. It's almost completely landscaped with flowering shrubs that are all doing well and flower at staggered times so that something is nearly always blooming. The table and chairs have worked out really well, and the kitchen garden has been really productive so far. I'm considering it mostly finished, with only a few small additions needed. Namely, focusing on the small porch outside of the dining room.
the almost completely landscaped backyard

the small inaccessible porch
  • Re-sod lawn
  • Add some new perennials in the back
  • Hang the hammock
  • Create another seating area
  • Add curtains for the porch
  • Upgrade seating for the porch
  • Add an outdoor rug & repaint cement on the porch

Whole House
Moving inside, there are a few items to do for the whole house, so I'll list them here.
  • Refinish floors
  • Add recessed lights
  • Paint trim
  • Replace outlets
  • Get air conditioning


The newly-created mudroom is a totally blank slate that needs to be finished. This space did not exist at all until the big renovation closed in what was part of the back patio.

the future mudroom
  • Tile the floor
  • Sheetrock walls and ceiling
  • Add lights & heat
  • Add cabinets for extra kitchen storage
  • Add a bench and coat hooks
  • Replace stairs to backyard

Similarly, the halfbath is a brand-new addition that needs to be finished. This is a high priority for the near-term, and something we should be able to do mostly ourselves. This space used to be a pantry, which was nice, but less important than having a bathroom on the first floor.

future halfbath
  • Tile the floor
  • Add sheetrock and wainscoting to the walls
  • Lights and electrical
  • Finish plumbing
  • Add pedestal sink & toilet
  • Heat?

The kitchen has made a little progress, with the removal of the wall between it and the dining room. We have temporary counter space where the new peninsula will go, and we've upgraded several of the appliances. It never had great storage to start with, but we really took a hit when we lost the old pantry. Once we get to it, the full kitchen renovation will change the layout of the cabinets and add more counter space by adding a peninsula. This project needs some major electrical and plumbing work, so we're holding off on this one to save up, even though it looks pretty awful right now.

the very orange kitchen with no storage
  • Replace cabinets and counters
  • Add new recessed lights
  • Add new vent hood
  • Refinish wood floors or add tile?
  • Backsplash

Dining Room
The dining room has come a long way, with the new table and chairs and buffet, new chandelier, and open concept with the kitchen. Very little remains to be done in here.

the nearly complete dining room
  • Add door to access back porch
  • Get a rug
  • Add curtains

Fireplace Room & Stairs
The fireplace room got some attention last winter, when we rebuilt the chimney, replaced the ceiling light, and added a bookcase/liquor cabinet and a table for mail sorting, etc. The wall above the stairs was also recently repainted. It will always be our slightly awkward room, but we could do a little more to make it more attractive and functional.

view towards ugly fireplace

view towards stairs
  • Tile the fireplace
  • Replace/paint the mantel?
  • Refinish the bannister
  • Paint the stair risers
  • Add a dangling light over the stairs

Living Room
Despite being the place we spend the most awake time in the house, the living room has gotten very little attention. We added a bit of wall art, moved in the small bookcase, and got a bigger tv, but otherwise nothing has changed. [Check out my new jellies!]

the very blah living room 
  • Get new couches
  • Get a new rug
  • Add a coffee table
  • Nice leather chair

Entryway & Foyer
The entryway used to have awful wallpaper that was peeling. I removed it and repainted, and then the contractors moved the electrical to a new panel box. We bought a new lamp, which is currently resting on a box. (tres chic). We also replaced the overhead light. Otherwise, nothing has happened in here.
entryway gets temporary storage

foyer looking pretty nice
  • Retile the floor
  • Add a bench and coat hooks
  • Add a console table thing
  • Rugs and shoe mats


The Old Office/New Nursery
In case you haven't heard - I'm preggers, and we're having a boy in a couple months. So, the current office needs to become the new kid's room. It's already been painted and the outlets have been replaced. It got curtains, but they won't really work now. This is obviously a very high priority with a short timeline for completion.

the current office & future kid's room
  • Empty out office stuff
  • Get crib, dresser, rocking chair
  • Replace curtains
  • Get a rug
  • Wall art

The Green Room
The guest room is one of the most finished rooms in the house, with a bed, dresser and curtains. It also now has a tv and plant table, but the wall art keeps getting pilfered and moved to other parts of the house.

green room looking purty in the morning light
  • Get/make a headboard
  • Wall Art
  • Bedside tables
  • Rug

This bathroom hasn't gotten any attention, other than to replace the caulk and clean the skylight window (which needs to be cleaned again). Now that we're cut off from the basement bathroom, it's the only bathroom we can use. A full renovation is coming at some point, but it's pretty low on the list.
mostly untouched bathroom
  • Remove tile and wallpaper
  • Replace shower and floor tile
  • Replace pedestal sink with double vanity?
  • Turn door into pocket door?
  • Replace toilet with something more efficient
  • Replace lights

Master Bedroom
The master bedroom got some attention last winter, when I repainted the walls and trim and replaced all the outlets. We also got some new bedding, refinished my lady table and hung the snazzy tin wall art - but we still lack nightstands and could use a rug.

master bedroom still has a ways to go
  • Get nightstands
  • Make a headboard
  • Get a quilt
  • Rug
  • Remove old closet
  • Add a ceiling fan
  • Add a skylight

New Office
What used to be part of the sleeping porch, will now be our new office. It has already been closed in with new windows. This brand-new space needs a lot of work to be completed. Since this will be the place that all the office stuff goes to make room for the kid - it's a really high priority.

new office is a blank slate
  • Frame new wall between office and bathroom
  • Add sheetrock to walls and ceiling
  • Build built-in bookcases?
  • New desk
  • Hardwood or tile floor?
  • Add storage
  • Comfy chair

Old R Room/New closet and master bath
This room is changing the most. What used to be a small extra bedroom where R kept his clothes, is becoming our master bathroom and closet. Over the summer, his old closet space was turned into the new washer/dryer for upstairs, and the old sleeping porch was closed in with new windows.

the current 4th bedroom & future walk-in closet

part of the old sleeping porch and future master bathroom
  • Frame walk-in closet and new bathroom door
  • Open window into door to old sleeping porch
  • Add closet storage
  • Tile bathroom floor
  • Build shower
  • Add double vanity, toilet and tub
  • Add lots of lights and skylight

Priority list
So, in two years, we've made a mark on every room in the house, but there is still a lot to do. First up will be the new office and kid's room upstairs. If those go smoothly, we'll tackle the new half bath and mudroom downstairs, and then maybe the new master closet. By the end of the year, I hope to have also finished the entryway and fireplace. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas 2014

This year, my family came to town to celebrate Christmas with us. We started in early December to get the house all spirited up. As always - I probably went just a bit overboard, but I thought it looked nice.  

the living room with 5 new pillows

Wally seems to show up in all my pictures. This is not staged- he's just a little ham. 

the tree with its mini-skirt from last year

snow flakes and berries over the doorway

twinkliness on the mantel

the fireplace with 7 borrowed stockings, some branches and the twinkliness

one of the new pillows in the fireplace room

a gingerbread house that was made entirely by my family, of which I had no part.

my standard candles and ornaments centerpiece

a new runner I made out of fabric scraps, with a candle floating on cranberries

more of the dining room

live garland wrapped up the staircase

Because I like to document things, it occurred to me on Christmas morning that I should make a short video of the holiday. It's a shame I didn't start earlier, because we did a few cool things in the two days before Christmas that they were all in town. But here's what I've got - my second attempt at a video showing Christmas Day, and the two days after it that we shared with some of my family. Enjoy.