So sorry to everyone who requested an update on this sooner! We first shared our new house to-do list back in May and later updated it at the end of July, so this check-in is well overdue. But one fun thing about going longer than you meant to before updating a list is getting to cross things off like crazy. Picture me grinning maniacally for a far too extended period like the people in this video who think they’re getting their photos taken while the camera’s really on video mode.
These posts came about when people asked us how we organize all the stuff that we have on our to-do list and we explained that we basically have one long run-on document that we update as we go. They said “share it!” and I said “aight, boo” and now we update it every few months, just to see where we’re going and to take a moment to appreciate what we’ve accomplished. I love lists like this because even when it feels like we’re all over the place and some projects are taking forever, seeing nearly 90 things crossed off after five and a half months of living here is pretty dang exciting. And addicting. Just looking at this list makes us want to dive into about five more projects simultaneously.
- The Front Yard (20% Complete) -
Remove the trees that are dead/decaying/diseased beyond repair (an arborist and a home inspector helped confirm which ones should go) Get all exterior siding and trim repainted (there’s peeling paint, some rot, etc) Dig up all the quickly spreading ground cover(we still have some mulch beds to tackle, but the parts we graded and seeded are groundcover free) Aerate, level, and seed the yard
- Make planting beds up front and mulch and plant them
- Transplant some of the crowded/overlapping boxwoods on either side of the portico (around the back or into other planting beds out front?)
- Redo old cracked concrete walkway from the driveway to the front door (add curves and pretty planting beds on both sides)
- Add some nice hard-scaping around the front (we’re so inspired by this house’s landscaping – so we’d love to add some raised stone beds)
- Plant a few green dwarf maples (it’s our favorite thing that we planted one at our previous house – you can see it in this post under the window on the right)
- Add low curved brick borders on either side of the driveway wired with lights (some of the houses nearby have ‘em and we love them)
- Get the driveway paved
- The Portico (25% Complete) -
Repaint the portico and sidelights (peeling paint = everywhere) Paint the front door
- Arch the portico ceiling (it’s low and one house up the street has an arched ceiling with a gorgeous hanging lantern)
- Add a few planters, a new double-wide door mat, new porch lighting, etc
- The Garage (3% Complete) -
Change out the tiny/rusty light over the garage doors(we attempted this, hence the 3% ranking, but we’re not sold on it, so we might return/replace it)
- Repaint garage doors and add some nice hardware to beef them up
- Add a pergola over the double garage doors with vines creeping over it
- Finish the interior of the garage with drywall to create a workshop on one side and storage around the perimeter (add pegboards, shelving for paint and tools, etc)
- Reuse kitchen cabinets in the garage (they’re dinged up in a bunch of spots around the doors and frames, but would be great for the garage)
- Redo the four steps that lead from the garage to the kitchen (remove old carpeting and paint them? rebuild them completely?)
- Build a box on casters for scrap wood storage in the garage (we need a system to keep it from being all over the place)
- Maybe we should get old lockers and paint them fun colors and remove some of the doors for storage? (love these!)
- Possibly add plumbing for a utility sink out there (we’ve always wanted one in our “workshop”)
- The Foyer (70% Complete) –
Remove the doors that block the flow into the kitchen (and the pretty view out the back windows that will someday be french doors) Paint blue trim, doors, and sidelights
Remove wallpaper and repaint the walls Replace the old foyer light Turn the extra toy closet in the foyer into a craft and toy closet for Clara
- Repaint the foyer ceiling
- Replace tile? (only if it’s unsalvageable – there are a few areas where it’s pretty beat up)
- Turn the other foyer closet into a shoe/coat closet with some functional built-ins
- The Stairs (90% Complete) -
Remove the old carpet from the wood stairs Paint blue railing spindles and trim Stain the top rails dark to match the runner Paint the walls and ceiling Paint the stair risers Install new striped runner with a rug pad under it
- Hang some art
- Possibly hang a big chandelier overhead since the ceiling is so lofted above the top of the stairs
- The Half Bathroom (35% Complete) –
Remove wallpaper Repaint all blue trim (and door) Upgrade door hardware & hinges Paint walls New mirror (something larger and higher – John can only see up to his shoulders now) Paint vanity (use odor blocking primer) Upgrade lighting Replace leaky faucet
- Replace vanity & seashell sink (Phase 2) Note: We like to live with kitchens and bathrooms (and give them smaller budget-friendly updates) for at least a year before doing any major gut-jobs or renovations (this helps us get a better feel for how we use the space, and allows us to save our pennies for something thoughtful that we won’t regret (more on that here)
- Replace unsalvageable tile floor? (Phase 2)
- Here’s a shocker since this house is covered with old wallpaper, but we’re actually flirting with adding some cool new wallpaper since there’s no tub/shower in there (grass cloth? something charming like this or this?). Could be fun! Or a tiled accent wall could be fun. (Phase 2)
- The Dining Room (7% Complete) -
Clean and reseal the wood floors
- Upgrade built-ins (remove scrolly tops? build up to ceiling? paint white?)
- Paint all of the blue trim
the wallpaper(I’m about halfway done, hence the half-crossed off line)
- Repaint the walls
- Upgrade lighting and curtains
furniture, a rug (?) and art
- The Living Room (10% Complete) -
Clean and re-seal the wood floors Prime and paint the bright pink walls Take down the old curtains Whitewash the brick fireplace wall
- Prime and paint the thick woodwork that wraps around the bottom half of the room’s walls (we LOVE it, and think it’ll be gorgeous in white)
- Figure out window treatments (bamboo blinds + curtains? printed roman shades?)
- Add more recessed lights to evenly light the room (there are just three near the fireplace)
- Turn the overhead beams into a coffered ceiling (like this)
- Build/find a nice big built-in-looking cabinet that holds the TV?
- Get gas logs after we save up our bucks (Phase 2)
- Add stacked stone or built-in molding around the fireplace? (Phase 2)
- The Office (7% Complete) -
Take down the old curtains Clean and re-seal the wood floors
- Paint walls and trim and ceiling (don’t mind that little white table in the middle of everything, we were using that to shoot something)
- Add a double desk work area somewhere – perhaps coming out from the middle of the left wall like a peninsula (or the right wall between the windows)?
- Bring in storage (bookcase, file cabinet, etc) – possibly cool build-ins around the bay window?
- Add curtains/window treatments
- Hang art & create a brainstorm-zone on the walls (bulletin board? chalkboard?)
- Add two large potted plants (lemon trees? fiddle leaf figs?) in front of the two front-facing windows
- The Kitchen (7% Complete) -
Take down the old curtains Remove the wallpaper Remove shelves thank flank the sink windowand add shelves there Move the cabinet over the fridge forward so it’s accessible Get a table for the eat-in area
- Paint the walls
- Update the old kitchen lights
- Paint the pantry door and the door to the garage
- Prime and paint the woodwork and trim
- Paint the cabinets (they’re too beat up to keep forever, but they’ll eventually end up in the garage when we do a full kitchen reno)
- Remove almond microwave over stove and add an inexpensive vent (put microwave in pantry?)
- Convert giant triple window behind table into french doors leading onto the deck
- Open the wall between the kitchen & living room and add built-ins on either side (sort of like the dining room built-ins in our last house)
- Full kitchen reno for Phase 2 (replace the faux brick vinyl floors, damaged cabinets, laminate counters, old broken appliances, etc)
- Perhaps try our hand at heated floors under some fresh tile (that might spill into the foyer and hall bath if we can’t salvage that tile)
- Organize the pantry with pull out drawers and bins and containers (and replace the door with frosted glass?)
- Amp up the “command center” area across from the triple windows
- Paint the new kitchen french doors and door to the sunroom (black? charcoal? soft turquoise? white?)
- The Sunroom-Turned-Veranda (80% Complete) -
Rip up old carpet and padding Permanently remove the broken base heater Convert sunroom to an open covered porch with new columns and no more sliders (many of the sliders are bad and the posts are rotten) Loft the ceiling Add beadboard to the ceiling and paint it soft blue Redo the electrical to get two fans in there Paint all the trim, window trim, walls, and the french door into the living room Retile the floor with outdoor-safe stone to upgrade the old concrete floors so they’re less slick, more level, and less stained
- Add sconces to the posts around the room
- Build a box to hide the wires that creep down the brick wall near the french door
- Furnish the room with deck-friendly outdoor furniture
- Build a brick outdoor fireplace off of the sunroom after we open it up? Kind of like this, but different…
- The Master Bedroom (15% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods Repaint all of the cream trim and doors white
Add faux wood blinds to all windows for privacy/light blocking
Repaint the walls
- Repaint the ceiling (or even plank it or wallpaper it like this for texture?)
- Add built-ins along the entire bed wall (with an integrated window seat, hidden storage, and a nook for the bed to tuck into)
- Add a ceiling light fixture (there’s nothing in there)
- Bring in art, curtains, etc.
- The Master Bedroom Sink Nook (50% Complete) -
Rip up the carpet in sink area (we didn’t put hardwoods there because we eventually want to tile it) Replace the mirror over the sink for something bigger Paint the walls and the trim and the ceiling Stencil and seal the subfloor (to tide us over until Phase 2) Add some simple shelves to the empty side of the vanity for balance Stain/paint the vanity and add new hardware
- Phase 2 (a full reno where we knock down a wall and combine the master bathroom with this sink nook area)
- The Master Bathroom (15% Complete) -
Remove the glass shower door Bring privacy to the window with some blinds
- Remove the wallpaper
- Paint the walls and trim and ceiling
- Replace the bathroom mirror & upgrade the lights
- Completely redo the master bath down the line for Phase 2 (the fun blue hex floor tile is in rough shape and we want to expand the footprint into the sink nook area so it’s all one space (soaker tub? tiled shower as well? double sink? should be fun!)
- The Master Closet (40% Complete) -
Repaint all of the cream trim Paint the walls and ceiling Rip up the carpet and stencil the subfloor Phase 2 (we’ll either extend the tile from the bathroom or the hardwoods from the bedroom into here, just have to decide if we’re moving the door or not)
- New light fixture
- Organize/build out/pimp the entire space (we’re envisioning cabinetry with drawers, shelves, rods at different heights, etc)
-Upstairs Hallway (60% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods Repaint all of the blue trim and doors glossy white Get all new hinges and door knobs (they’re not only bright brass, many of them are rusted/corroded so they can’t just be sprayed) Upgrade to a Nest thermostat (we hear nothing but great things about them, and John is drooling for one) Stain/paint the bannister and posts
- Paint the walls and ceiling
- Replace the old hallway lights (or paint existing ones? not sure)
- Convert hallway linen closet into built-in open shelves or cabinets with shelves over them (sort of like this?)
- Add crown molding
- Add thick wood wainscoting (like we have in the kitchen and living room) to the upstairs hallway to break up the long space?
- Clara’s Room (50% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods Repaint all of the blue trim and doors Add window blinds & curtains Paint the walls and ceiling Make a canopy wall for Clara’s bed (with lights) Paint the door to her closet bright pink Add crown molding
- Hang art & bring in things like her play kitchen when the crib moves to the nursery
- Make entire wall of built-ins somewhere?
- Build a bench seat in Clara’s deep sloped ceiling-ed closet nook with beadboard or shaker shingles on the ceiling and wallpaper on the back wall (we want it to feel like a little playhouse within her room)
- Add a ceiling light fixture (boo! there’s nothing in there!)
- Future Nursery (10% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods Repaint all of the mauve trim and doors Add wood blinds (for light blocking)and hang curtains
- Furnish the room (we’re going to hold off on major decorating decisions until we find out what this bun of ours is in early December)
- Repaint the walls and ceiling
- Add crown molding
- Add a ceiling light fixture (boo! there’s nothing in there!)
- The Guest Bedroom / Craft Room (10% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods Repaint all of the cream trim and doors
- Paint the walls and ceiling
- Bring in
a bed anda dresser/desk that can accommodate my sewing machine & crafting stuff so this room can multi-task (it has the prettiest view/light – I’d love to creep in there and sew/paint on Sunday afternoons)
- Organize and build out some craft/gift wrap shelving in the closet (lots of shelves and bins, etc)
- Add crown molding
- Add a ceiling light fixture (nope, there’s nothing in there either!)
- The Hall Bathroom (5% Complete) -
the door andtrim
- Paint the walls and ceiling
- Replace the faucets and mirrors and lights for a mini-update (Phase 1)
- A complete redo is in order (Phase 2) since the old tile is stained/cracked and the tub & fixtures leak. Maybe we’ll do herringbone slate? Marble? Extra long rectangles of tile like this?
- Laundry Nook (10% Complete) -
Remove old carpeting and install hardwoods
- Lay a more washer-proof flooring under the appliances like tile (we ended the hardwoods right in front of them so we could use something more water-safe in there)
- Completely redo the nook (new doors for noise control, updated energy star appliances, new counter, new cabinets – or more cabs if we re-use the existing ones)
- Add a swanky tile backsplash and some great art/lighting (I want to make it a fun little surprise jewel box at the end of the hallway)
- Unfinished Storage Room (0% Complete) -
- This will serve as an awesomely large storage room for a while (we have no current need for additional finished rooms), but down the line we’d love to finish it – maybe as a movie room / bunk room for older kiddos? This’ll be waaay down the line, but we dream of:
- Adding drywall
- Getting flooring
- Adding lighting
- Possibly enlarging the windows to let in more light
- Building out the closets (so there’s still some storage under the eaves)
- Furnishing the space with built in beds, a TV, a big sectional for lounging, etc – wahoo!
- General Whole House Ideas (7% Complete) -
- Slowly upgrade all lights in the house to LEDs to save energy
- Replace all of the gold/wallpapered/off-white switchplates and outlets in the house (we’ve replaced around 15% of them so far)
- Upgrade to nicer frames, drapes, sheets, and curtain rods over time (they’re not cheap, but we’d love to be “grown ups” someday – even if it takes us 10 years or so to get there!)
- The Back Deck (50% Complete) -
Remove the giant oak tree that’s practically growing into the house Patch the deck hole after the tree is removed Strip and stain/seal the entire deck Replace any rotten/ warped boards as we go
- Add double wide stairs off the back of the deck that line up with the new french doors that we’ll add off of the kitchen
- Possibly build a pergola for more architecture and shade off of the back of house where the future kitchen french doors will be (square to the sunroom)?
- Build outdoor furniture like a table or lounge chairs for the deck
- The Backyard (15% Complete) -
Remove random slate pieces from the backyard Aerate or level the yard
Seed the yard in the fall Plant large holly bushes for privacy from the other houses that our wooded lot backs up to
- Transplant a few things for a better layout, like the pretty peony bushes in the middle of nowhere (not pictured)
- Reseed again in the spring/fall
- Build a fun wooden playhouse for Clara
- Plant an edible garden (not sure what the deer won’t eat, so I’ll have to do some research)
- Build a swing set
- Redo the old cracked concrete walkway between the garage and the deck
- Add more privacy plantings around the rest of the yard – tiered trees, bushes, and flowers (we plan to save up for these and add more each year)
- Build some raised planters and hardscaping
- Possibly add a patio area somewhere around the deck?
- Make a wooden teepee in the corner of the backyard with Clara and then plant some vines to grow around it to make a cool little hideaway (like this)
- Build an air conditioner cover with wood boards like this
Thankfully the journey is a lot more exciting than the destination is for us (more on that here), so if our list makes your brain fog up: 1) sorry about that, and 2) we’re a weird breed of human who actually loves stuff like this (we upgraded our house for fun for years well before this ever became a job of ours). We’ve also learned that taking things one day/project/victory at a time keeps us from getting too overwhelmed, so if you’re wondering how we choose what to do next or how we avoid getting overwhelmed, we just do whatever sounds fun and whatever works with our current budget (barring anything that needs to be moved to the top of the list for safety or other extreme-urgency reasons). We also jump around a lot, which seems to keep our momentum up. For example, right now we’re:
- halfway done peeling wallpaper in the dining room
- just getting our Phase 1 kitchen makeover rolling
- contemplating wall colors for the hall bathroom upstairs and the guest room
- beginning to brainstorm what we want in our office to make it functional for two people (and to add a lot more storage/work space)
So that’s what’s next on the agenda. How do you organize your house-related to-do lists? Do you use your smart phone? A good old fashioned notepad? Is it all up here (points to head)?
Since a bunch of you guys have requested more details on what layout changes we’re pondering and what paint colors we’re currently leaning towards, we thought we’d share a giant brain dump about what’s flying around in our heads at the moments (which will change as we go I’m sure!). Y’all ready for this? Lots o’ words. Lots o’ diagrams. Lots o’ links. Please fasten your blog-reading seatbelts and be sure that your desk chair is in its upright and locked position.
This is what the first floor looked like when we bought our house (we’ve since removed the three sets of the double doors off of the kitchen).
But here’s what we’re thinking we’d love to do over time with the first floor.
- Widen the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room for easier flow
- Create a wide centered doorway between the kitchen and living room with built-ins around it (sort of like the opening between the office and dining room in our last house)
- Change kitchen layout from U-shaped with a peninsula to an L-shaped area with an island (and add french doors to the eat-in area that lead to the deck)
- You can’t see this change in the floor plan, but we’d eventually love to convert the sunroom to an open covered porch with new columns and no more sliders (many of the sliders are bad and the posts are rotten) – we’re envisioning something like this
As for the second floor, this is what it looks like now.
And we’ve thought about changing things up like this.
- The most major layout change will be opening up the sink nook and the bathroom area in our master to create one big bathroom instead of having two single sinks separated by a wall
- In the hallway between the nursery and the master there’s a double doored linen closet that we’d love to open up to make a built-in nook in the hallway, sort of like this (but with concealed cabinetry on the bottom and nice built-in shelves on top)
- You’ll notice there’s a door added to the end of the hallway where the laundry nook is. We briefly considered adding that to make it a legit room, but we actually think it’ll close things off more (and it will be weird to have to walk through a room to get to another room when we finish the unfinished storage area) so for now we’re unsold and plan to keep it open.
- And of course eventually we want to drywall the unfinished storage space to create a bunkroom/movie room that we think could come in handy for older kiddos and their friends.
As for color scheme ideas, here are a few swatches (they’re all Benjamin Moore) that we’ve been loving lately. They wouldn’t all be wall colors, so some might be the color of a bathroom vanity or a piece of furniture or even the color of a ceiling or another “accent” spot (like the back wall of Clara’s play-closet). *This is a first-thought paint palette (meaning there will be accessories, art, fabric with many other tones in it – and it’ll most likely evolve as we go).
We think colors like Knoxville Gray or Black Pepper could be awesomely dramatic in the dining room with crisp white trim and built-ins, while many of the lighter neutrals will go in living and bathroom spaces and some of the deeper mid-tones might end up in bedrooms (we like the idea of Sea Star or Sparrow in our bedroom with lots of white furniture and linens). The brighter pops of color like Moroccan Spice, Milano Red, and Spotswood Teal are just for accents (like a piece of furniture, a bathroom vanity, or even a mirror or frame – most likely in a white or neutral painted room).
It’s fun to see how the new swatches compare to our first house’s palette (which was almost entirely tan, cream, and soft blue-gray)…
… and our second house’s color scheme (which had a bit more boldness like deep teal walls along with softer gray, pink, and taupe ones).
We feel like this palette will be a nice blend of our previous homes (more traditional and warmer than our last house’s palette with a lot of the neutral and classic feeling that our first house had, but with more happy hits of color). We’re excited that among the soft neutrals and rich moody hues there are also some warm accent colors like red and coral. We think we’ll like the mix of the warm colors (tan, coral, red, brown) with the cool tones that we’ve always been known to love (like blue, green, and gray). It’s also nice to have classic white trim and doors, mocha hardwoods, and gray slate flooring to temper things and keep things classy (Stay Classy San Diego!) as we go.
And now I’ll end this brain dump with some inspiration images that I’ve been pinning like crazy when it comes to the “vibe” of this house:
- a dark tailored bedroom like this might be nice
- we can’t wait to whitewash the brick in the living room like this
- we’d love an airy and open kitchen vibe like this (especially once we add our future french doors and built-ins)
- a dark dining room with bright white built-ins like this (maybe more navy like our swatches?) could be fun
- some chic wallpaper like this somewhere (maybe in the half bath downstairs) would be awesome
- this office feeling would be cool (love the wall of built-ins and the floating table for meetings/laptops)
- we’d like to make a nice cozy TV room and bunk-room like this in the unfinished storage space a while down the road
- this might be a pipe dream, but how boss would a closet full of built-ins like this be?
- this could be a fun look (wallpaper + wainscoating) in the foyer or the upstairs hallway someday
*update: here’s why we don’t post these photos on our blog instead of linking to them
We’re still working on just getting things back to a non-blue-trim-and-wallpapered state, so nearly all of those more major room transformations are probably a ways down the pipeline (big builds and furniture/fabric purchases will mean saving our pennies each time, so they’ll definitely be spaced out between cheaper and easier things over the next few years). But It should be fun to see where we actually end up down the line. And to have this post to look back on so we can see how close – or how incredibly off – these early predictions of ours are.
Oh and I thought it might help to say that since these are all half-formed first-thoughts, if you have specific questions about what will go where or how we’ll accomplish a certain future project, chances are we haven’t thought it through yet… but when we do we’ll just mumble about it to our beanie babies. Just kidding, you know we’ll blog all about it!