Warning: This is going to be a very long post full of photos, plans, and to-do lists.
I’ve never been great at posting regularly on the blog but I think 2019 is the first year that I’ve had multiple months with no posts. I’m hoping to get into a somewhat regular posting schedule (at least twice a month) for 2020 but as always, no promises!
2019 was basically bad news after bad news and because of that, we didn’t actually finish or even start on any of our 2019 projects (which were really just finishing 2018 projects). We did unexpectedly demolish our kitchen in May or June and have slowly been rebuilding it and we completely made over our dining room and added a new walk in pantry that houses all of our entertaining and serving dishes so it wasn’t an entirely unproductive year, just different than what we expected.
I’m not usually one to wish time away but I could not wait for 2019 to end and I’m ready for a more positive year in 2020 which we have dubbed our “Finish It” year. We have 8 spaces in our house that are in some state of project limbo that we have decided to finish this year. These aren’t all of our partially finished projects but I think it covers all of the “in progress” spaces on the inside of the house and one exterior area.
Here they are in no particular order (although the kitchen and dining room/pantry are the first three spaces we plan on finishing):
The kitchen is #1 on the priority list to finish after we host OG’s birthday party next weekend. We’ve come a very long way on this Phase One renovation but we still have several things to finish.
In case you’re new here or these images haven’t been burned into your brain, here are some listing photos from before we moved in:
We immediately painted all of the cabinets white and lived with that version of the kitchen for almost exactly 6 years:
Then, we decided to replace the tile to run laminate floors in the dining room through to the kitchen and found a ton of water damage and mold that went under the cabinets. We decided the best thing to do was to completely demolish the kitchen including some of the sub-floor and drywall.
Then, we very slowly started rebuilding the kitchen on a teeny tiny toddler sized shoe string budget. The last time I posted about it, it looked something like this:
We are much further along now and I’m hoping to get some current photos up soon. Here are the things that we need to do to finish:
- Drill out, install, and stain the remaining floating shelves
- Finish counter installation, including waterfalls at ends and small counter on the pantry wall
- Prime and paint ceiling
- Fix crooked faux drawer on sink cabinet
- Install, patch, sand, paint toe kicks for bases and pantry and microwave cabinets
- Finish installing, patching, sanding all trim work
- Paint all trim
- Figure out window treatment for window over sink
- Purchase, assemble, and install final cabinet for pantry wall
- Tile and grout between counter and cabinet on pantry wall using leftover penny tile
- Install outlet/switch plates.
And here is a list of “might do” items depending on how I feel about how the kitchen looks after we finish the list above. Admittedly, I love the overall concept for the kitchen but some of the pieces just aren’t coming together for me at the moment. I want to see everything above finished before I decide on any of these projects but I want to be completely open and honest and sometimes projects just don’t turn out like you thought they would or you don’t love the result as much as you thought you would.
- Apply veneer to kitchen counters (not loving the color with the green cabinets)
- Build new drawer fronts (don’t love how much of the boxes you can see or the style of the fronts)
- Paint drawers slightly darker green (major maybe; I think fixing the counters would help)
- DIY panel on dishwasher to make it blend in
The dining room was one of two spaces we started and “finished” in 2019. There are really just a few things we need to do in here for it to be completely finished.
As a refresher, here’s a listing photo:
Here’s how it sat for many years. Super inviting, I know:
And here it is now:
We replaced the floors and trim, added two doors to the wall on the right (one to the garage and one to the pantry), changed the fan to a pendant light and then to this gorgeous wood bead chandelier, added batten molding to the walls, and installed removable wallpaper. Thankfully, the “finish it” list in here is pretty small:
- Install/Paint ceiling trim
- Paint ceiling (in tandem with the kitchen ceiling)
- Paint door to garage
- Trim out cabinets
- Add curtains
- Maybe switch out faux wood blinds with something with more texture (like a woven shade or something similar – TBD)
- Spray paint HVAC register black so it doesn’t stand out so much
We also may need to reinstall one small piece of wallpaper that has started bubbling. Trying to figure out what’s happening there.
This little pantry is one of my favorite parts of our dining room makeover. I love having a place for all of my serving dishes and it’s the perfect spot to store my KitchenAid mixer. This closet used to be the home of our cats, their food, and their smelly litter box. We ripped it down to the studs thinking we’d be expanding our laundry room into this area but unfortunately, there is a plumbing stack and lots of electric that would be very expensive to move so instead we built it back up, moved the door from the hallway (which was super inconvenient) to the dining room and made it into a small butler’s-type pantry.
Here it is before:
And here it is now:
All we need to do in here is:
- Finish door frame
- Clean/Paint/Install door (need to fix one pane of glass as well)
- Install a shelf liner on the bottom shelf
- Patch/Sand/Paint base trim
Our poor bedroom has never been a priority. At some point we removed the carpet and put in new floors. We also painted it white and then navy and then we tried to remove the reach in closet that takes up a bunch of space but I guess the builder decided to tie the roof structure of our house into the closet which means it stays. Of course we didn’t know this until we took all of the drywall off and honestly we just didn’t have the motivation or energy to put new drywall up so we used tongue and groove boards painted white instead to make it a “feature.” Our new long term plan is to hopefully expand the hall bath into the closet and close it in on the bedroom side but for now, this is what we want to do:
- Finish installing small tongue & groove boards on the closet (just need one or two small boards at the very top)
- Finish painting – originally, we had planned on installing crown but have since decided not to which means I have to take the paint up to the ceiling. We’re also going to paint the tongue and groove boards navy to blend rather than stand out.
- Touch up paint the ceiling because I’m a messy painter and there are a couple of big navy spots
- Purchase and install chandelier for the bedroom – we bought a chandelier for in here but it now lives in the dining room
- Move sconces to new location – we moved our bed to the other side of our room and now that we know we love it there, we need to move our plug in sconces over.
- Patch where old sconces are currently installed
- Move couch to family room
- Build a small walk-in closet – this is a biggie. We don’t have a walk-in closet, we have two reach in closets: one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom sink area. We turned one of our bedrooms into a closet but we’d like to convert it to a home office/gym. Our master bedroom is huge and I love it but we really don’t use all of the space. I always thought we’d create a sitting area and we do have a couch in there but the dogs are the only ones who use it and that’s not often. So, we decided to sacrifice some of the bedroom space to create a closet instead. This project will have a whole to-do list of its own and will probably happen later in the year if all goes to plan.
- Build art ledge (or two) on new wall – we have so much art and this will give us a place to display some of it once we have the new wall built for the closet (the entrance to the closet will be on the far left end of the wall and will act as the entrance for the bathroom and closet.
- Bring up free standing electric fireplace from family room and put into current reach in closet “nook”
- Hook up TV – we have a tv for our room but it’s just sitting around unplugged until we have a place for it.
- Build a new bed – I love our bed but it’s dark gray which I don’t love against the dark walls. I have an idea that will really end up just being a cover for the headboard but we’ll see if it works out.
- Add a rug!
- Add a dresser under the art ledge(s) (either existing or buy new if nothing we have works)
Here’s a couple of listing photos and how it looked for way too long after we moved in. I don’t have any great pictures of what it looks like right now but hopefully I will have some soon! Here’s one little peek into the room from the hallway for now. We need to take down the Christmas tree we have in there and clean up a bunch of old boxes of my childhood stuff my mom passed off to me before I can take any more pictures.
This is probably the biggest project we’ll tackle this year (assuming we aren’t able to work on the master bathroom) but it’s one I’m most excited about. I’m even starting to consider doing some sort of wall treatment or wallpaper (WHO AM I?) but I need to get through the kitchen and dining room before I can really think about it.
*This is a major maybe. It really just depends on our finances and how expensive this project will be.
Here is a listing photo:
If you’ve been around here long enough, you might remember that back in 2017, just a few months before expecting our first child, we had our master bathroom demolished. We hadn’t been able to use it for a while after finding severe water damage that left our subfloor crumbling next to the tub. Our plan was to rip it out and just make it functional but I’m here to tell you that since it was demoed, it hasn’t been touched. Not at all. Partly because we have another full bathroom and it wasn’t a priority while navigating our lives as new parents and partly because we weren’t really sure how much we wanted to do with it. Do we just make it functional for now and do the big dream bathroom reno later? Or do we just hold off until we can do it the way we want it? To be honest, that’s still what I’m struggling with but as OG gets older it’s becoming very apparent that we need our own space back. Sharing a tiny bathroom with an entire farm’s worth of squeaky rubber animals and bath books plus our 1,200 shampoos and body washes is getting more and more aggravating.
So, at the bare minimum we’d like to try to make it functional this year and if we can do more than that, we’d love to. This is what I hope we can do this year:
- Have the old tub drain moved – we had a tub/shower combo but would like to move to just a shower for now and add in a free standing tub down the road. We were quoted $600 to re-install the existing tub and $1,800 to move the drain. Doesn’t really make sense to spend $600 for the tub now knowing we want to get rid of the combo at some point. $1,800 is a lot more but it’s better than $600 now plus $1,800 later.
- Fix vent (ours currently vents into the attic)
- Install drywall where needed
- Purchase and install new toilet where plumbing exists
- Build and tile shower – will likely use a curtain for now but would love to replace with frameless glass down the road
- Remove carpet and carpet pad in sink area
- Install new floors throughout (tile vs. vinyl)
- Make over vanity (or replace depending)
- New light fixtures
- Replace mirror (maybe)
Here are things I would love to do this year but not sure if we’ll be able to do them at this moment:
- Remove wall between toilet/shower area to make one room instead of two (depends on if it’s structural)
- Remove reach in closet (depends)
- Rough in future tub???
- Install a second sink to make a double vanity – this would likely mean replacing the existing vanity and sink
- Add a linen closet
- Move toilet
And here are some super long term wants that won’t happen this year unless we win the lottery:
- Look into possibility of raising the ceiling
- Install free standing tub
- Add a chandelier over the tub
- Add a window above the tub
- Add recessed lighting
- Marble hex tile floors
This is one of those projects that we made way worse before it got better. It was originally made up of brick pavers which we had planned on replacing with 12″x12″ pavers all the way down and through the patio area behind the garage. We ended up changing our minds on the pavers (or more accurately, I changed my mind and Kyle is thankfully very laid back) after pulling up all of the poorly laid brick pavers. We threw a bunch of mulch down just to have something but it was a weedy, muddy mess for years.
We finally started clearing out the walkway and monkey grass and we poured these 4′ x 4′ pavers and filled in with gravel.
We abandoned this area once it got cold a couple of years ago and then we just never made it a priority to get back around to it until this year.
I’m not 100% sure what I want to do here but we need to back fill more gravel near the gate and I know I want to string cafe lights to make it more inviting. I either want to do planter boxes with flowers or some sort of retaining wall situation, just not sure exactly what yet. Once it warms up we’ll start figuring out exactly what we want to do between the current walkway and the property line.
Downstairs Hall Closet
This will hopefully be a relatively quick project. When we moved in, I tore the shelves out and doors off of this closet, built a bench and a box for our shoes, and hung a couple of hooks for bags and jackets.
Great idea but it honestly just became a dumping ground so we decided to tear it all out when we were planning on expanding/opening up our laundry room.
Long story not nearly short enough, the framing in this house is weird and we’re not confident that removing the little wall between the laundry room and this closet is possible, at least not without redoing other framing and it’s really just not worth the money and time to do that. SO the closet stays but we plan on making it more of a built in cabinet where we will keep all of the food and other necessities for the pets.
I swear we have tried to finish the foyer every single year we’ve been in this house but this is the year!
This is what we’ve done so far: paint the walls gray, remove all of the trim, replace some of the trim, install new floors, switch out the door, paint the walls white, switch out the light fixture, add a mirror and entry table (which is actually a working vintage stereo). We also built a barn door to close off the laundry/closet/half bathroom.
This is what we plan to do:
- Get another new door. The one we put in is a beautiful, very old door which was painted with lead based paint. We painted over it to seal it but our dog Barley continues to scratch it and has now gotten down to the lead paint. We are going to replace it with something that fits more with the style of the house and isn’t potentially dangerous to our health.
- Maybe replace the current light fixture with a recessed light
- Patch and spot paint the ceiling where we removed a post
- Get a new barn door track (the one I bought originally isn’t long enough so the door won’t fully open)
- Get a plant stand for our snake plant
- Figure out something for the window sill that Barley can’t damage while standing on it and barking at/protecting us from other dogs, neighbors, delivery people, stray cats, her own shadow, the sound of her tail thumping the floor that she mistook for a car door, a sound that came from the tv, and/or absolutely nothing.
- Add batten trim in the foyer and down the hall because we love how it turned out in the dining room (this time with white trim and white walls above)
- Install/patch/sand/paint crown moulding
- Touch up paint
So that’s the plan! It’s hopefully going to be a big year for this house of ours and I can’t wait to finally knock some projects off the list. We also have one project on stand by in case we decide to start something new this year but I’ll talk about that more later if we decide to take it on.