The never-ending list (in my head)

Maybe this post should be titled “My out of control compulsion with starting new projects before any project is ever completed!”

Lets go through the list of unfinished projects:

The other house: tile, electric, exterior painting and some finish items

Front porch and house siding (waiting on money that will be available once the other house is finished and can be financed)

Front walkway: cut bricks around edges and landscape

side walkway to shed that I had the boys dig up but I never finished

The interior of our house (its only been 2 years now since I painted) trim around windows and doors and base molding

Hmm that’s quite an impressive list. I think this is a sickness the inability to actually finish a project!

So what do I have planned for the near future, well it seems over the next month Dan has 3 trips planned, NY for salmon fishing, FL for business, then FL again for some other charter fishing trip. Which creates 2 scenarios, first any of the jobs that need his attention or I need his help for can not be finished. Second I am able to start a new project without coming under his wrath! And there has been one project hanging over my head for a few years that has hit its breaking point.


It is disgusting, embarrassing, stressful, gross, dirty and about 100 other negative adjectives. We redid it about about 15 years ago, tearing down all the walls and the ceiling, to make the whole upstairs 1 big bedroom. We painted it purple and put in purple carpet. As you can imagine 15 or so years later I am really tired of purple. And the carpet is just dirty and gross. Plus tearing down all those walls eliminated any little alcove that could have been used for a closet. The clutter of Dan’s clothes being EVERWHERE (and I do mean everywhere, it’s like sharing a bedroom with a super messy teenage girl) and all the other crap (fishing lures, tools, office stuff…) that gets dumped up there is just too much!

Here are a few of my dream rooms, you’ll notice how light and airy and empty they are.

Day 9 – Clean Bedroom, Better Sleep 5 Calming Bedroom Design Ideas. I love the colors and that mirror. Bedroom Design. Soothing bedroom color palette. Paint Color is Farrow & Ball Cornforth White 228. Finish is Estate Emulsion. #Bedroom #ColorPalette #GrayBedroom love!!

in contrast to my actual bedroom… (I did not clean anything up for these pics, obviously. This is really how my bedroom looks all the time.)


But no more, once Dan leaves at 5am Fri morning for NY I will be emptying out that pigsty of a bedroom, tearing up the carpet, and starting to paint. I have also talked to our contractors about coming in and building a wall (wait didn’t we tear those all down?) so that I can have a proper closet to hide all the clothes.Still waiting to hear on that estimate, normally Dan would do all our building but he’s a little too busy fishing to do such mundane work.

I will be doing another blog after this weekend to update on my progress, in the meantime don’t expect any fun girly get-togethers this weekend, I’ve got way to much work to do for any of that.

The Kitchen

Also not quite finished, but the kids have started moving in and all their clutter is really taking away from the cuteness of my design, so here are a few pics before they ruin everything. This kitchen is very retro inspired. Beth loves it, of course and Daniel is completely uninterested. What is up with these boys not getting all goo-goo over my fabulous design decisions, they’re all so indifferent, like they don’t even notice?

I still have a butcher block work area to build and a upper cabinet to hang, along with installing the trim, lights, pegboard and tiling the backsplash, argh more tile.. I’m really excited to see the lights get installed I made them myself using 2 vintage metal colanders. The light should make a cool design on the ceiling when lit up.

Here’s the kitchen before:


And here’s what it looks like now:




We actually removed that wall and the dead space up above. That upper cabinet has been painted and will be hung on a different wall. WE wanted to keep that awesome little cubby on the right, it’s a pop through to the hallway, that originally was where a telephone and phonebook would be. Now its just a fun little window you can pop your head through.


This tall cabinet was a custom built in in our other house. I had saved it hoping I could use it somewhere and it seemed like the perfect pantry cabinet for this house. A little paint and distressing and it looks way better thank it did before.


I’m putting white subway tiles up for the backsplash. I kept the awesome vintage yellow formica countertop with stainless steel edging. I love it! It is so cheery.


There are quite a few PInterest inspirations in the house, I joking called it the house that Pinterest built. The painted interior on the cabinets was Pinterest inspired as was the chalkboard paint on the inside of the cupboard doors.


After a thorough cleaning of the cabinets and even painting them we still felt like we wanted to put down shelf liner, I found a really pretty pattern that pretty much followed the blue theme. I really hate installing contact paper!


I love this metal drawer that we just discovered inside this cabinet, it’s the perfect place for potatoes or onions. I was originally planning on putting this cabinet in the basement for the laundry area, but we really needed more kitchen cabinets so I don’t know why I was thinking that.


I love the colors in this kitchen and the best part all the paints were mistints. The yellow on the walls was a diluted version of the dining room. We got a 5 gallon mistint of yellow at Menards for $25, we still have so much yellow even after the dining room and kitchen. The turquoise from the interior of the cabinets and the pale blue on the exterior were also both mistints that were only $5 each! Trying to save money where ever I can.

The bathroom

Well it’s not quite finished but I couldn’t resist showing how cute it is so far. I still need to tile around the tub, put the shelf on the top of the wainscoting and install the trim. Oh an hang the door. It’s not very private right now if you use the toilet since the front door looks right into the bathroom.

Just a reminder, this is where we started:


And this is where we ended up:


The wainscoting is definitely my favorite thing I did in the bathroom. I love that I was able to repurpose our old wood floors from our other house and I love how cool it turned out.


There were 2 lights originally here but they were dated, and not in a good way, and missing parts. I had these lights lying around my back porch, so after some cleaning, painting and rewiring I think they are adorable!


I knew I wanted to put in a pedestal sink because I love the way they look and since there is a huge built in cabinet in the bathroom more storage was unnecessary. I looked for an old pedestal sink but discovered they are several inches shorted than the new sinks. Considering the height of my kids I went with the new sink, which we bought at Home Depot. Then we found one being thrown away during a walk around our neighborhood. We were able to use the basin, but again the pedestal was shorter than the the one we purchased. We also had to switch our the faucet since the old plumbing on the faucet was not cooperating with the new plumbing Dan had installed in the bathroom. So it’s a partially vintage sink.


At the last minute I decided to paint and distress the giant built in cabinet. No matter what I did I could not get the original wood to look clean or nice. It was like the original finish had crackled than been covered with more polyurethane to seal in all the yuckiness. I am so glad I painted it, I love the way it turned out.





With the distressing you can still see the weird texture that was under the paint, but now it just looks cool instead of gross.


Those *&%$# hardwood floors

We sanded and sanded and sanded for 12 hours. Then I spent 3 days putting on polyurethane/ stain mixture (which is quite a bit more labor intensive than just a clear poly), each time it took at least 4 hours. In between coats 2 and 3 I noticed some places that were terribly rough on the floors, rough like 60 grit sandpaper rough. Due to not having a car at the house and being all alone without the proper tools I hand sanded 2 of the rooms. And did I mention it was 90 degrees with no air conditioning or fans.

Then after the 3rd coat and before the 4th and final coat (which was determined by the fact that I was leaving on vacation the following day and the whole reason we did the floors this week was so they could sit and cure while we were on vacation) I found many more rough spots and decided that the floors really needed to be buffed out.

So on the day before vacation I rented a buffer and attempted to buff out the floors, really this is better watched than read about:

Sorry about the screenshot of my arse on this video:

And finally Dan showing me how its done. When I called him and said, “how the $#%^ am I supposed to control this thing!” I’m sure he thought I was just being a wimpy little girl. But he still said he was on his way over to help me. He probably planned to school me on how to get it done. Ha!

The moral of this story, I have no idea… But it sure to hell is not that buffing out floors is an easy job! We used the buffer on Beth’s floor and on the office. In the office it took off a lot of the finish that I had spent 3 days putting down but the floors definitely did feel smoother. Dan returned the buffer and I hand sanded the living room and dining room, hand sanding was a breeze compared to that damn buffer. Then I put on the 4th and final coat, which looked fabulous when it was wet. I’ll have to wait until I return after vacation to really see how it all looks. But no matter what we are done with those damn floors! Of course, I still have that hole in the wall to repair.

Speaking of the hole in the wall, when I returned the unused sanding pads the guy behind the counter asked me how it went. Ha! I explained to him exactly how it went and he said, “Yeah, if ya don’t know what you’re doing it’s impossible to use.” Again feeling like my gender was predisposing me to not being able to use this damn machine, I explained that my husband who used to do construction for a living also couldn’t use this stupid buffer and that he even put a hole in the wall. To which the guy laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s the joke if ya don’t know what you’re doing you’ll put a hole in the wall.”


Giant Leap

Today was a huge milestone! We brought home a van load and a truck load of tools. Which means work is winding down at the other house. We had to clear stuff out because tomorrow we start sanding all the hardwood floors. We had planned on that being the last thing we did but with a trip to North Carolina coming up in a week we decided to do the floors now so they would have a week to sit undisturbed while we were out of town.

While we’re polyurethaning the floors next week I’ll still have access to the kitchen so I can get the cupboards painted.

Look at all these empty rooms!

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We also decided to pullout the 2 built in workbenches in the work shop. We just can’t stop the water problem in the basement. This area was really wet and I think moldy too. So Thomas very carefully pulled out this workbench.


And Dan not so carefully dismantled this workbench.IMG_4491

This room really needs a scrub down and some paint.IMG_4492 IMG_4493 IMG_4494

Speaking of Dan he couldn’t resist climbing the phone pole and cutting down some unnecessary wires that were going to our house.This does NOT look safe!

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The front porch saga…

Besides all the work at the new house we still have plenty of unfinished projects going on at our house. The biggest being the front porch that may never be finished. Last year Dan thought he would pay someone to build our front porch so that it would get done quickly and not be another unfinished project. What is it about us that makes even that fail?

Here’s a recap of the porch since last Oct, yes, 6 months ago, no wait that was 8 months ago…

In October Dan and the boys started tearing off the front porch in anticipation of the builders coming to build our new porch. We had hoped to have the porch built and house sided before winter.


Nov. 6 the frame was started…


Then Nov. 25 a little more was added on…


That was a long day of work. I think at this point we were optimistic that it would still be done before winter set in.


Dec. 4 must have warmed up just enough for a little bit more framing to be completed.


But then it all stalled. The bitterly cold weather rolled in and didn’t leave for many months. In Jan. we finally had our metal roof delivered. Sadly it just sat there for a few more months.


We did have to add a tarp to the porch since Dan was worried about the weather warping all the exposed framing. That tarp was the noisiest thing ever, on a  windy night, right outside our bedroom windows.


At least the snow and below freezing weather kept the mud pit that was our side yard at bay. Once everything melted we had to jump though the mud whenever we were coming or going because, of course, we could not use our front door.


Finally in March Dan couldn’t take the tarp any more and he put up tar paper instead. We also added a few sheets of plywood to the porch so we could use the front door again.


It is now June 5 and the guys have finally returned, hopefully to finish this job. They’ll at least get the floor boards down because we have all the supplies for that. We bought a bunch of great smelling cedar and we even got it all clear coated. They left halfway through but I’m hopeful they’ll return tomorrow!



We’re rounding a corner

After leaving the house the other day Thomas stated rather incredibly, “we’re almost done.” While that’s not quite true I did find it inspiring that we were at a point where that statement could even be made. I’ve been saying for while that this house is killing me. It has been a lot of work, a lot more than I thought it would be in the beginning. And it has been less than helpful for Dan and mine’s relationship. Having 2 houses under construction is a little more than we can handle apparently. I am really looking forward to having my life back. We did not meet our self imposed deadline of the end of May. Hopefully, we will make our new deadline of being done by the time we go to North Carolina. That gives us a little less than 3 weeks! Yikes!

All of the rooms are done being painted minus the kitchen, bath, basement stairwell and Beth’s ceiling. After painting 3 coats of paint on Daniel’s bedroom ceiling he mentioned that he would really like the ceiling to be dark blue. Argh! But I decided to go ahead and do 2 more coats on the ceiling so he could have what he wanted. Did I mention how much I dislike painting ceilings? I also decided to use Frog Tape’s shape tape, to get this zig-zag line. I like the way it looks but what a pain in the butt.

IMG_4366I don’t really love the colors, but I couldn’t stand to paint the room again so this is how it’s staying.IMG_4367 IMG_4365This is the original antique light fixture that was in the room. We took it down, replaced the electrical parts and cleaned it up with just soap and water but oh boy did that change it dramatically! It was brown before the cleaning (I assume from all the nicotine) now it is a really pretty silver.IMG_4368Here’s a before and after of the light fixture:IMG_4313 I also finished the living room and hallway. I love the light gray color. It is hard to find a good gray that doesn’t look too blue.IMG_4361t’s hard to tell with the shadows but it looks really nice witht eh light yellow dining room.

IMG_4360 IMG_4359This is the light that I found at the Springfield antique sale, just a little bit of paint on the base and it looks better than new. I think it looks great in the living room.

IMG_4371This is the hallway closet. I’m so jealous of all the closets in this house. They’re really just  a normal amount of closets but since my house doesn’t have even one closet it seems like a lot.IMG_4370 IMG_4369

Dan has been working hard finishing up all the electric and plumbing and getting the kitchen and bathroom drywalled. I’ll go in today to sand then it will be time to start painting those rooms.  IMG_4372We kept the original tub it just has to be shined up a little bit.

IMG_4363  IMG_4362We’ve also finished power washing the basement and have started painting on the waterproofing paint. The first coat went on yesterday, I wonder how its working against todays rain. Thomas is going to help me pick up another 5 gallons (literally, that stuff is heavy!) of the waterproofing stuff and he’s going to paint a coat on today. After that goes on we should be done with the basement. I had big plans for painting all the walls and floors but I think I’ll just leave the paint and tools and let the kids do it after they move in.IMG_4379 IMG_4376Thomas was right, we are almost done. Thank goodness!

So much painting…

There is a lot of prep that goes into painting an entire house. Especially when the house was previously owned by chain-smoking, animal-loving, hoarders that had not painted or even cleaned the house in decades. All of the walls had to be washed, that alone made a huge difference. But the sludgey brown water that constantly needed to be changed was just gross. Then every metal window frame needed to be scrubbed, it took at least an hour probably 2 or 3 for each window to wash all that nicotine off. Then all the woodwork had to be cleaned just so we could stick tape on it. After all that came peeling off the loose wallpaper that covered all the plaster walls. In some places it felt like it had been absorbed into the plaster and was not going anywhere. And in other places it peeled off in sheets. Unfortunately, just about every where it peeled off revealed large cracks in the plaster that needed to be repaired. So lots of mudding and sanding ensued on the walls and the ceiling.

I did have some help through this process, Megan came over and helped clean windows one day and Beth was in charge of her bedroom. She has done all the scraping, mudding, sanding and painting in there. While Thomas didn’t really help with the walls or windows he did scrub all the hardwood floors several times, trying to wash off the brown gunk that was left behind under the carpets. A mixture of animal remains and grime. It was completely disgusting. And while the floors still need to be sanded at least they’re not gross to walk on anymore.

So after several weeks of prepping the walls and ceiling I was finally ready to paint. As soon as the painting started my mom was there to help. Not only does she come over and help paint but she also buys me lunch. She is the best helper!

I started with 1 coat of primer on everything, then 2 coats of ceiling paint. But I could still see stains bleeding though so my dad came over and did a 3rd coat of ceiling paint in the dining room and living room. I should also mention that while I have been working on all the flat surfaces in the house, Dan has replaced all the plumbing and is now replacing all the electric. Which means all this painting is being done with no lights, or heat or air conditioning. And depending on the day we have needed all 3. Some rooms have great natural light and they are so much nicer to paint in. The office only has 1 window so its like painting in a dungeon. When we finally have lights again it will be interesting to see how that paint job really turned out!

Once the ceilings were all painted the fun finally began. The dining room and office are completely painted. Here is the dining room with it’s freshly painted creamy yellow walls. It is so bright and cheery in there.


And here is the office, one wall was painted with chalkboard paint and the rest of the walls are a grayish/blue. I can’t wait to see this room with the lights on. It’s a weird feeling painting a wall black. But I kinda love it. I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m crazy. That chalkboard wall will be a great place for Beth and Megan to work on their creations or maybe Daniel will solve some complicated programming problem. Most likely it will be full of obscene words and dirty jokes.


And Beth’s room is almost done. The walls are finished but I’m still working on her ceiling. After removing the drop ceiling in her room, I’ve had quite a lot of repair work to do on the plaster.

She chose to do 3 walls white and I wall sea-foam green. She has lots of plans for this room. After spending most of her life in a basement she is really excited about having a real bedroom with windows and closets!


I’m going away next week but once I get back home we’ll finish painting the rest of the rooms and hopefully Dan will be ready for me to start working on the kitchen and bathroom.

First Day of Demo!

Well we closed on the house Tuesdays, Wed I was by myself at the house and I got just  little work done tearing down the drop ceiling in Beth’s bedroom. But today was super productive. I had Daniel, Megan, BJ, Thomas and me all working most of the day. We almost filled the dumpster.

Thomas started on the pile of concrete bags and empty paint cans. He moved, all by himself, 3780 pounds of concrete today. It was quite the workout!. The drive way looks so much bigger with all the junk gone. I can’t wait to get that van towed away!


While Thomas was working outside I started pulling up all the nasty pee stained carpets. They were so old and thread bear that they came up easily. But thanks to all the spills and/or pee the pads were all stuck to the wood floors. Megan got there just in time to work at scraping the pads off the floors.


I then spent the rest of the day (when I wasn’t helping the boys with their projects) slowly lifting up all the tack strips and pulling all the staples out of the floor. I’m still not done, it will keep me busy for awhile tomorrow too. But I did take a picture just to prove that I was actually doing something, not just following the kids around with a camera.


Once Thomas moved inside the house he tackled a wall in the kitchen that I wanted removed. Megan jumped in and helped for a few minutes before she had to leave for work. I love this picture of them both going at it. By the time I grabbed my camera Megan was cowering in the corner, just a little scared of Thomas with a crowbar. I made her jump back in for the picture.



Bj was nice enough to come over and help even though he had school last night from 5-10pm, then he worked from 10:30pm- 6:00am, he was at the house by 10am with no sleep. He worked until 3, then only got a couple hours of sleep before he had to head back to work all night tonight.

Him and Daniel removed the very heavy cement washtub in the basement then got to work in the bathroom gutting it down to the studs.  The only thing we’re saving in the bathroom is the bathtub, hopefully it will survive the renovation.

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When it was time to start tearing out the ceiling BJ got out the heavy gear. He had his firefighter gear in his car and thought that it would do a better job of protecting him from the falling cement ceiling than having no gear at all. He looks so official in his uniform!

The kids were amazing today, they all worked hard and kept at it until we finally called it  a day. The dumpster is 3/4 of the way full and we still have a full day of demo tomorrow.



Some more outdoor pics

This is not the prettiest time of year to be buying houses. Who knows what flowers will pop up this spring and the yard is bound to look nicer once the grass fills in and there’s some color. Plus the tree in the backyard appears to be a flowering tree, maybe a Mimosa or something else.

I already told the kids the garage is mine. Finally I have a place to store all my furniture for the booth. Megan, Daniel’s girlfriend said she would just go through the garage looking for furniture she can use in the house. Smart girl that’s what would I do too.


The driveway’s a little rough but I don’t see that really causing any problems. We’ll set up a little seating area in this nook. The back yard is completely fenced in so Lil’ Ann will be coming with me to help with the demo and keep me company. Also I’m hoping the house won’t feel as spooky if she’s there to bark at everything.

IMG_3910The house is being over run by ivy. Which I LOVE, but sadly Dan says we have to tear it all down. It has ensconced the chimney and is growing through the soffit into the attic. Since it’s actually damaging the house I guess it has to go. There is actually a window under all that ivy, I’m guessing there will be much more light in that room once the ivy is gone. Speaking of soffits there’s not too much work that needs to be done on the outside of the house since it’s all brick. Except for the soffits, storm windows and garage door. Those all need to be scraped and painted. That’s the last thing on my to do list. Oh and maybe some new hand rails, those 2 x 4’s don’t really match the style of the house.

IMG_3914And finally…I love this last picture of the house. It has a face! Two eyes and a mouth. She looks a little sad right now, but I’m sure once we get her cleaned up she’ll look much happier.

IMG_3917We close on Tues and the dumpster is being delivered on Wed. I’m dropping Thomas off at COSI Wed. morning then heading straight to the house to get to the work. My first day working on the house and I’ll be all alone, unless Dan can skip work and come demo with me…The next post about the house will be after the reno starts!