Year One! + Master Project List

Today marks one year since we bought our house! How exiciting!

So I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite blogs is Young House Love.  They post a master list of all the projects they have done, are working on and want to do in their home. I thought it was a really great idea to have all of my house hopes and dreams in one place, so I’m taking a page out of their book and posting one. It will also serve as a way to see how much I’ve gotten done in a year’s time, between work, life and the 8 classes I’ve taken in that time. I had super high hopes to finish all the painting by the one-year mark. Haaaaaaaaa.

Starting with the top floor and working down:

master bedroom

Painted blue
Bought bed
Bought desk for vanity
Bought lamps
Replaced hardware on my bedside table
New sheets/duvet cover
Temporary “art” for over bed

To do:
Touch-up paint along ceiling line
Buy long, low dresser for wall across from bed.
Move tv to long, low dresser – maybe
Replace ugly green carpet
Replace ceiling fan – we have to push start the current one
More substantial art for over the bed
Art or mirror for over the long, low dresser

weird room


To do:
This will likely be the (distantly) future nursery so I am not doing anything else until then.

guest room


To do:
Buy matress, nightstand, dresser?
buy/make headboard
Art for walls
Window treatments
Replace ugly green carpet

upper bathroom

Bought shower curtain
Bought cute bird hooks
Bought soap pump/water glass

To do:
Replace caulk strip
Hang floating shelves above toilet
Replace shower curtain rod
Install fan

living room!

living room

removed wallpaper
skim coat of plaster on walls
bought couch!

To do:
second and third coats of paint on built-ins/doors
give the coffee table a makeover
possibly rearrange furniture
replace the fireplace
maybe re-tile over the hearth tile?
put things on the built-ins other than a bottle of resolve
make curtains (i have the fabric!)
hang curtains
replace outlet covers/switchplates

entry way

entry way/hallways


To do:
hang artwork
replace light fixtures (3)
replace doorbell (you can only hear it in the entry way)
replace rug
build out upper closets
swap lightswitches upstairs since they are backwards
replace stained glass window

dining room

dining room

changed out dimmer switch for one that worked

To do:
tear down wallpaper
either paint or replace light fixture
make/buy curtains
replace furniture with something more modern…one day.



removed wallpaper
replaced switchplates/outlets

To do:
make/install faux roman shade
replace backsplash (something pearly?)
replace countertops (butcher block, please)
put in some type of island/dresser-turned-island?
replace light fixtures


laundry room

bought rugs

To do:
clear counter of all the painting supplies

family room



To do:
clean out the year-old boxes

Powder room, I apparently have no picture.


To do:
hang shelf above toilet
hang towel ring/bar/holder/thingy

office 2


Entire plumbing torn out and replaced
Carpet ripped out
Two walls removed
One wall rebuilt
rubber matting installed
carpet is going in today
bathroom floor going in today

To do:
skim coat of plaster over burlap
paint walls/ceiling/ducts
replace wainscoting where it was removed
replace office carpet
remove/restructure office desk
change out office doorknob so we can finally have a key!
put up some sort of shelving on a far wall
replace lighting


Phew. Good thing I have the rest of my life to finish all those projects.


the basement plans

So. The basement.

Please excuse the MS Paint rendition. I haven’t had time to sit down on the laptop with Photoshop, so I just made this in a few minutes at work.

Here is floorplan of the affected areas and our plans.


The game room is not being touched, I just labeled it to give you a better idea of how everything is laid out. The grey squiggles either currently have that gross green indoor/outdoor carpet, or none (since it was ripped out). It will be replaced with carpet. Hopefully grey. The bathroom will be getting new flooring. I wanted tile, the contractor recommended vinyl…we will see.

The red lines are current walls. The red squiggles are shelves. They will all be torn down. The top half of the black squiggles is the exercise room, the bottom half is the garbage can area…it will become all exercise area and be covered with rubber matting.

Our estimate for all the repairs was pretty affordable, minus the matting. They quoted us 1700$ for the flooring and 500$ to install. He said if we found the mats cheaper, that was fine, it would still be 500$ to install. So Keith bought some for 800$ and we will install them ourselves. It can’t be that hard. (Famous last words).

We’ll also be doing the painting ourselves. They gave us a quote, but I work cheaper than that. They also probably would just paint right over the burlap and I would rather do a skim coat of plaster first.

We can officially start putting floor down on Friday (30 days since the concrete was put down). We still haven’t heard when the contractors can start, but hopefully very soon.

Eventually we’ll redo the office too but not yet. I am dying to replace that carpet/paint the wood panelling, get nicer filing cabinets, etc.


the basement – before

So the pictures I put up of the plumbing fiasco are the only basement pictures I’ve shared. I guess I should do a before post on the basement since it has changed already and will be changing more soon.

So hold on tight, because the basement is weird and you might get lost.

office 2

There is a doorway off the driveway that leads into the basement. It’s the one that the previous owners did not leave a key for and I curse them for it daily. Upon entering is the office. They used this as their business office, it used to be a one-car garage. We still use it as an office, but it is not nearly as tidy.

office 2

This is looking back toward the door, that’s the Daisy window (aka the one window in the house she can see out). She occasionally barks at her reflection. The office is really cold. There is a big gas heater in the corner by the window.

office 2

From the office, there are two doors. The door on the right leads into what we have turned into the exercise room. The door on the left leads to the furnace area.

office #1

This was another office…until one day while I was babysitting, Keith ripped the desk out.

office #1

On the other side is this weird little area in front of the bathroom.

full bath

Very tiny bathroom. There is a tub to the right, I just couldn’t fit it all in the picture.

random space, office #1 to left, mini office to right, bathroom behind

Coming out of the bathroom is another shot of the weird little (useless) area.

mini office

To the left of the bathroom leads into this office area. The plumbers ripped out that desk for us.

And directly behind me in this picture is “the hole.” It looks pretty much exactly the same. Holey.

Okay, if we jump back to the office…

office 2
and instead of taking the right door, take the left door…you see this.

back toward the stairs,

The furnace area. The room goes another few feet to the left and that is where the garbage cans live.

down basement stairs. storage ahead, game room to R.

Further on with the stairs to your back, there’s some shelving and straight ahead is some more storage.


A lot of that stuff is still in there, I really need to clean it out/dispose of all that paint.

IMG_5886Heading back out of the storage cave, the stairs are sort-of straight ahead, more shelves and to the left (that sliver of light) is the game room.

gameroom/future mancave

This is the one room of the house that I haven’t touched and have no plans to touch. It is all Keith.


Those benches are built-in. Sadly they don’t have storage. I offered to recover the cushions but Keith doesn’t care. We have a couch where those chairs are.

built in bar

And a bar. That open door at the back leads to the weird little office-y area off the hole.


See, a labrynth. And can we talk about those burlap-covered office walls for a second? Like what even? Why? how? The bathroom has it also but it is painted over and still looks bad.

The whole basement sort of seems like an afterthought. Walls are just put up whereever and the division of space makes little sense. We got an estimate for some repairs/modifications but this post has gotten too long already so I’ll be back later and give a break down of what we want to do.


blue in the face

 This past weekend I painted the bedroom. It’s a pretty huge room (16×14) but I did luck out since it looks like the ceiling had been painted pretty recently so I got to skip that horrible step. It took me about 9 hours spread out over 3 days and that doesn’t even include the trim. That has to wait. The previous paint job was very sloppily done, I even found an earwig painted into the wall! Ugh. There was a bright spot though. While removing outlet covers, I found this:


Oh hey, teeny heart wallpaper! I am very very thankful that they at least took that down. I’d take 23 earwigs on the wall before I’d want to rip down more wallpaper. Now for the fun stuff, here’s a reminder of what the room looked like when we first saw the house:



Very, very beige. I’m not into beiges/taupes/off-whites in any form, though the previous owners LOVED them, in all shades, in all rooms. My preferred neutral is grey, so room by room, I am banishing the beige.


This was the room after the first night. I felt like I was sleeping in a haunted house or squatting or something. See that white piece of wall/ceiling over the window on the right? I went back and forth for DAYS (even before I started painting) trying to decide if I wanted to leave it white and pretend it was ceiling or paint it blue and pretend it was wall. They had obviously pretended it was ceiling and it sort of drove me crazy. I thought it might look different when everything was blue so I left it momentarily and it drove me even more insane, so I painted over it the next day. I think it was the right choice.


master bedroom

That hope chest was built by Keith’s grandfather and painted by his grandmother. (It has his initials and year of birth on it, I love it!)

Also don’t mind the dog toy holding open the door, Daisy won’t play with them so we need to use them for something.

I took the pictures at 7pm, so they are a little dark (but still pretty accurate) but I LOVE IT. The room feels so peaceful and calming. The color is Martha Stewart – Washed Denim, the actual paint is Behr Premium Plus Ultra (which all my paint is and I’ve been really happy with it, paint + primer in one rules). So far I am 3/3 for loving the paints I have picked out! Guess I have a knack for paint! 😉 It makes the doors/trim pop like the beige never could and I think it even makes the green carpet look not-so-green (which is a huge plus).

My one annoyance with the whole thing was that the Home Depot guy swore up and down that I would need two gallons of paint for the room and I just barely used one! I am either really good at painting or they are scam artists. Never again buying more than one gallon at a time since I now have two untouched gallons of paint (the kitchen and bedroom). They are distinct enough colors that I don’t really want to use them in other rooms, so now I don’t know what to do with them and have 70$ of paint just sitting there. Blah. So if anyone needs a gallon of Martha Stewart – Washed Denim or Behr – Embellished Blue, I’ll give you a discount!

We still need a bed and some other furniture and I can’t stop thinking that our nightstands need some chrome lamps, but the paint is a huge improvement.

I told myself that after I painted the bedroom, I HAD to get back to the living room and the wallpaper. So that’s my next project. Blah.

befores: other bedrooms

So I showed the master bedroom before, but we have two other bedrooms up there. At the top of the stairs is this room, which I’ve been calling the green room. Because it’s green.

bedroom #1

(Reminder: not our furniture)

bedroom #1

bedroom #1

The door across the way is the master bedroom.

I can’t remember measurements, but this room is a really nice size. It will eventually be a guest room once we upgrade our bed and have a bed for it. The walls are very light green, even though they don’t come off that way. Currently it houses the wardrobe, since the door is taller. It also has stuff that should go into my bathroom but doesn’t fit. I want to paint it because I hate green but don’t have any plans for it right now. It will probably be a work in progress for a long time. We don’t have guests so who the heck needs a guest room.

The other bedroom was the only thing that gave me pause while looking at the house. You’ll see why below:

right door is bedroom #1, left #2

The green room is on the right here, the funky bedroom is straight ahead. (I just realized that those two prints are now in the dining room. Why they took them off the upstairs wall and put them in the dining room right before they moved…?)

bedroom #2 aka keith's new closet


bedroom #2


bedroom #2


This room is currently used as a closet-of-sorts for Keith. He has some stacking cubes that he keeps his t-shirts on along one wall. And a pants-holder-thing in that nook. Mostly everyone has said the room will make a great nursery, but aside from that, I really don’t know what to do with it. When we first looked at the house and I expressed my dislike for the room Keith said “You don’t have to sleep in it.”

Oh. Yea. You’re right. I think I’d feel guilty making an older child live in this room, but that’s such a long way off. Also the previous owners raised 5 kids in this house, so I’m sure that bedroom was used many times for many ages. I’ll get over it.

befores: laundry, sunroom

Hello! It’s been a while. I was all gung-ho on this virtual house tour and then I forgot all about it. I also had pretty much zero motivation for anything house-related so I took a little break from that too. So now I am going to show you two befores!

The laundry room and the sun room. Both of these rooms have something neat in common…they both used to be porches! Happily, they were closed in, giving us some extra square footage. (Though it might have been nice to have a screened in porch, which I believe the sun room was screened in.)

But anyways, pictures:

In case you’ve forgotten, the laundry room is off the kitchen and semi-open to it thanks to this cool little window:


And the slatted doors that I pretty much cut off in that picture. It’s also a step down, so it further separates the space.

This is from the kitchen doorway:


The pictures were taken in February, so luckily the snow is gone, but that hideously pink paint is still up. It looks even worse now that the kitchen has true white. I love that counter (although it is currently covered in painting supplies) and that window goes the whole length of the room.


There is also another window on the other side so this room brings a ton of light into the kitchen. It’s also really nice to look out on the yard. It would be extra nice if Daisy wasn’t afraid to be out there. The counter will be great for folding clothes (if it is ever cleaned off) and there are huge cupboards under it that store things that don’t quite fit in the kitchen (crock pots, george foreman grill).

I chose Behr’s Lively Yellow for this room. I was pretty set on a yellow from the beginning and I think it will look great with all the light it gets while not trying to complete with my candy shop of a kitchen. (I’ve decided my kitchen color scheme reminds me of a candy shop; so I’m going with it.)

Behr’s Lively Yellow on the bottom. source:

Speaking of yellow…and suns…here is the sun room. Or family room. (Currently ladder room). Hopefully future playroom.

This room is off of the living room and like I said before, was also a porch.

family room

(Reminder: all furniture belonged to previous owners)

family room

I love that window! The inside part still opens!

family room (has outside door)

It even has it’s own door! (As an aside: our house has 4 doors and 3 different keys. Not because 2 doors share a key but because they didn’t leave a key to the basement (aka the MOST USED door – it’s right off the driveway!) We have plans to replace doorknobs so that we can have one key for all doors. I can never see using either of the back doors (the other is in the laundry room) so it is really silly that they all are different.)

I love the sun room. It has so many windows! It looks kind of  narrow in these pictures, but that’s just the furniture they had in there, it’s a really nice size room. Right now it is just a catch-all room. We have a few ladders in there, our old tv stand and table, a few boxes that still need unpacked (oops). The problem is we have a game room, and we have a living room and we don’t have three sets of furniture. So it’s probably going to remain pretty unused for a while. I think it would make a great playroom for kids, it’s right off the living room, but it has a physical door that can be shut to contain the mess. But kids aren’t in the cards for several years. (Sorry moms)

The laundry room will hopefully be painted soon, but don’t hold your breaths for an after on the sun room.

master bedroom

The master bedroom is a pretty nice room.



It is a very large room and the three windows (even though two are tiny) bring in tons of light. (Have you noticed I like light?) The closet is pretty big and that white strip behind the off-white (seriously! what is with the nasty off-white color?!) door is a door to more storage space. It actually runs the whole length of the wall, but is more of a crawl space than closet, but will still be great for winter things.

Plans for the bedroom are:

-a drink. just kidding, paint! I really don’t like the brownish walls. I couldn’t decide on a bedroom paint color but finally this one jumped out at me. It’s Martha Stewart Washed Denim. I love blues, if you couldn’t tell. I’m hoping that it brings in a lot of color without being too in your face. (I hope. I have two gallons of it already.)

-I actually didn’t realize the carpet was green until after we closed. I hate green. It’s in fine shape though so I can’t justify replacing it yet. But one day.

-A bedframe. We have a plan metal bedframe that the bed sits on, but no head/footboard. We want something, but don’t want to spend a ton because we eventually want to upgrade from our full sized bed.

leirvik bed frame – ikea

-We like this bed from Ikea and it’s only 89$.

Micke desk – ikea

 – I also want a desk that I can use as a vanity since my bathroom is too small. I decided on this desk because it is modern and has some storage. Regular vanities are not my style, have close to no storage and are insanely expensive. This is 79$ and has everything I want.

-We also want a low dresser. We have a tall dresser and I feel like we need something low to balance the room. And so I don’t have to keep my jeans on the top shelf of the closet.

The bedroom is next on my to-paint list. Which I will eventually get back to. I turned in the last two assingments for my Archaeology class today, so I spend from now until Monday studying for my Phsyical Anthropology final and then I’m freeeee! Until summer term starts. But I’m only taking one online class (Abnormal Psych) so hopefully it won’t take up too much of my time.

dining room

The dining room is to the left when you walk in the front door.

dining room

Keith and I were both pretty excited to have a dining room after eating dinner at the coffee table for 3 years.

dining room

dining room

dining room built-in

And the pictures of the dining room are still pretty accurate because we bought their furniture. (The china closet and built in are completely empty though because I don’t (yet) have knick knacks.) They offered to sell the furniture to us and while it’s not quite my style, it works for the time being. We got the china closet, buffet, table (with 3 leaves) and 6 chairs, and the rugs in the dining room and entry way for 450$. Pretty good deal considering you might have been able to buy one of those things for that price. And now I’m not in a mad rush to find the perfect dining room furniture.

My favorite thing about the room are the hardwood floors and the wainscoting. And the windows. There are 4 windows and they bring in a ton of light. The wallpaper isn’t even that offensive. But since wallpaper in general offends me, it will be going. Someday. I do love the dark blue in there so much that I bought paint similar to that.

It’s Azurite by Martha Stewart and it’s gorrrrrrrrrrgeous. That picture makes me want to add some sort of pink/coral to the room.

So the plans for that room include:

-eventually ripping down that wallpaper (but I am not in any hurry)

-painting everything that is off white – WHITE (these people loved their creams and taupes, blech)

– I would like to spray paint the chandelier a silver of some sort, I don’t dig brass.

– I think I’d like to try to frame out that built-in, it looks sort of incomplete.

-Some sort of window treatments for the windows. Two of them face woods but two of them face the street and that weirds me out.

-Replace the furniture/rugs with something more modern, also in no hurry.

living room

The living room was one of my favorite things about the house from the very beginning. It is huge (23×16, I think), it has a fireplace, it has great dental molding, and it has two awesome built-ins.

Here are the before shots of the living room. (Again, all furniture belongs to the previous owner, I didn’t think to take pictures when it was empty, so ignore everything that isn’t nailed down.)

 living room (door to family room)

The living room is to the right when you walk in the front door. This is from that doorway. The open door on the right leads to the family room. See my pretty built-ins!

living room

This is looking back to the entry way with my (working) fireplace! Also a cute little closet that they kept books in.

 living room (door to hall/kitchen)

That open door leads to the hallway that leads to the kitchen.

Now the living room doesn’t need a lot done, just remove the wallpaper and paint. Oh and we want to replace the fireplace inset because it is manual and that scares me and it is ugly. And I have visions of building a window seat between the built-ins.

So while waiting for some kitchen paint to dry, I decided to find out what was under that lovely flowered wallpaper.

Surprise! More wallpaper! This is a lovely green/orange straight out of the 70’s. The good part was (on this wall) layer 1 pulled right off in huge sheets. The bad part was

There are 5 layers of wallpaper. Layer 3 is this gold metallic super thick wallpaper. It has some sort of thick almost-cork/cardboard/wood backing to it. It is bizarre. And horrible.

More good news: it is only on this wall. The other three walls only have the flowery layer 1 on them. More bad news: it took my mom and I over an hour to clear that spot which was maybe 8 inches across?

Friday night I got some reinforcements in the way of my friends Ryan and Seth and my father-in-law. FIL worked on the other 3 walls, Ryan and Seth worked on the 5-layer wall. After about 2.5 hours…this is what my living room looks like:

Don’t even ask what that black stuff is or what I’m going to do about it.




Ahh, bare wall..

And this was a small portion of the mess the 5-layer wall made.

The wallpaper felt like wet, crumbled leaves since the only way it would come down was with liberal steam and even then it would only flake off.

I foresee this taking weeks to reach plaster. Luckily we have a game room which holds the tv and hopefully the couch, so this room will be empty until we buy more furniture.

upstairs bathroom: before/progress

So in the week and a half between closing and actually moving, I knew I couldn’t get everything done, so I decided that the kitchen would be my number one priority, but if there was time, I really wanted to get the upstairs bathroom and the master bedroom painted. Everything else could be done slowly when I got around to it, but those rooms were going to be in use as soon as we got in there so it made the most sense to do those first. Well since the kitchen took so long, I am having doubts about finishing the bathroom/bedroom before we move but I had a little time yesterday while kitchen paint was drying to run up and start the bathroom.

Luckily the bathroom is small and I was able to get the first coat of paint on. Here was the bathroom before:

upstairs bath before
 Not too bad! The fixtures are all updated, there is no hideous tile, the window is HUGE and brings in tons of light…I just absolutely hate the color green.

When trying to decide colors for the house, the bathroom kept stumping me. I wanted something bright but kept going back and forth on different colors. Finally I decided I would just make it easy on myself and re-use a color up here. And the lucky color was:

 Upstairs bath in progress

Upstairs bath in progress

Upstairs bath in progress

The kitchen cabinet color! (Behr – Embellished Blue) At the very last minute, I decided to paint inside the shower the kitchen wall color. (Behr – Aqua Breeze) My mother-in-law kept remarking how much the light blue felt like a sky, so I thought it would be fun and would reflect light better than the teal. Everything needs another coat and the trim needs hit with some semi-gloss. I think I am going to paint the door light blue as well just for fun. I ordered a graphic shower curtain on amazon, which I am hoping goes with the paint…but if it doesn’t I might just grab a plain white one.

Not sure what to do about a window covering. They left the frilly one from the before pictures, but it is a little too old lady for my tastes. The window doesn’t exactly need one since it is frosted, but it looks a little naked. The weird orange-ish trim stuff around the shower bothers me but I’m not really sure what I could do about it.

I am very thankful that the previous owners updated all of the bathrooms. Since the house was built in 1950 I’m sure it included lots of lovely tile and removing all of that would have been far beyond my skill level.

And even though I had to stand on a step ladder inside the tub, the only casualty of the whole event was one lightbulb that I broke while removing one of the light fixtures. Not too bad, Katrina!