Category Archives: To-Do List

The big list to be complete. Come on, get working!

Sneak Peek: New Project

This weekend we attempted to redo the floor in our basement bathroom. Should have been easy peasy. So hubby started ripping out the old toe molding and laminate floor so that we could start fresh. As he got closer to the toilet everything started to feel “soft”.

Not a good sign. (Do you see the purple-ish marks in the laminate floor? I guess we should have checked on those before…)

Eventually we found some lovely water damage all around the toilet. The vanity is ruined (because it sits right on the ground, so the water got it too) and the floor needs replaced.

Guess we are renovating the entire bathroom!! So much for an easy project… And how much do you love the previous owner’s paint job??

Stay tuned though, we are attempting to make this the fastest bathroom overhaul in the history of home improvement! I also apologize for the horrible photos – the before I dug up somewhere since I forgot to take those this weekend and the after are crappy because I was in between rounds of tears due to the new finding.


DIY Stair Makeover Update

It has been awhile and (shocker) we aren’t quite done with the stair makeover (which we started here)! Because we have home decor re-do ADD the project is 80% complete… I thought I would share the progress and give some tips so that you don’t have to wait any longer, but I promise to update when we do that last step in the refinish process too!

Here is the before picture, just in case you forgot how horrible it was (oh and my doggy!):

Here is a wonderful close up of the damaged front of the steps. I am pretty sure there has been about a million layers of carpet here. Also equally sure that no one cared what they did to the stairs underneath, so sad.

Here is the top of the steps, you can see the mark from a runner at one time, and how sad the finish was before:

Here are the steps after putting putty in every single nail hole. It took forever, but I was over-the-moon excited at how it turned out. For some reason I thought these looked a million times better already – they still looked bad though! This is a MUST for a finished look. I did every single dip or divot – it seemed like over-kill but I promise your results will be better if you take the time!

Close up of my putty skills. I used an old credit card to smooth this on, I found it to be easiest due to its size and flexibility… weird, maybe, but hey I will take what works! Then we sanded down the putty until smooth and painted about three coats of white on the risers.

Here is the beautiful painted after shot. I could not be happier! I do think they need another coat and I am looking to find a coat to prevent chipping too, since this occurred already from someone vigorously running up and down the steps and jamming their shoe in to the riser (they shall remain anonymous for their protection!!).

Another shot of the paint after the stain on the tops – the paint needs touched up after the stain, but you can hardly tell unless you get down and look for problems (which I do).

Here is a close up of the stained steps. Gorgeous! We used a golden oak color and slapped it on/wiped it off. Very easy! We have two steps that after some time are lighter then the others, so we will go over that one more time. Only things left are to poly and caulk around some gaps for a finished look!

What do you think so far? Cheap and fairly easy process, just VERY time consuming. I will post soon on the must-have tools for refinishing steps (or any kind of wood) – materials can really make or break this kind of project.

The Bar is Raised

I know, you’ve been waiting. Almost too long. But here it is – the big reveal of the breakfast bar and backsplash! I was hoping to wait and show you a picture perfect, clipped from a magazine kitchen but time has gotten away from me. And suddenly the kitchen has been sitting for weeks without new paint on the walls. I still think you will be impressed.

Do you remember what the bar looked like before? Check out the demo here.

Beautiful. Not!

So we ripped her out and put in a new one. Out with old and hello, baby in with the new! I decided to embrace the green (ish) hue of the counter and picked out a fancy new tile.

What do you think? I am in love. It is almost too pretty to use. Almost. The wainscotting or beadboard backsplash turned out way better than I even expected it to, and so cost effective!

We added crown molding which I highly suggest to anyone looking for a cheap way to add character to any room. We hadn’t thought of adding it before, but once we got on a renovation kick we couldn’t stop. Well, until we did.

Before and after:

It feels so fancy compared to what it was, but the molding calls for new paint on the walls to make it really pop.

Our windowsill is finally a sill and the trim detail around the window is perfection. My little plants will have room to breathe!

Simple touches and a lot of hard work and we have a brand new kitchen! We finished painting the bead board after I took this photo and the trim is now crisp white. I plan to paint the walls some sort of beige and one wall with a bright color to bring some crazy to the kitchen. What color would you choose?

Bathroom Reveal

We recently did a mini-overhaul of our bathroom. You may recall from this earlier post that we had a lot of work that needed done. Well, we finally did it! We can check a few things off of our to-do list, hooray!

First we finished the door trim. Because of the damage from our bathroom demolition three years ago, it was not an easy task. We had the damaged pieces cut out of the trim and new pieces of wood “fitted” in. It turned out amazing. Better than I could have ever hoped.



We installed a custom oak threshold to finally finish off the tile-to-hard wood transition to the hallway – I am not sure why we didn’t do this sooner!



Our previous bathroom redo ended up with an off-center, too-big light in our tiny tiny bathroom, making it impossible to ever look finished. It always looked sad, no matter what we did, the light had to be fixed. So we got a new light! And centered it on the mirror, woo hoo! (sorry this pic was before I painted!)

We also got a new mirror, which made the room look much bigger and also made me realize how much I hated the previous mirror. Then we got a new vanity to match, I am so in love with the darker wood!



Finally we added a window sill to the window. Seems like a dumb change, but it makes a tremendous difference. It looks like someone actually planned the look of the bathroom instead of just walking away from a project.



And voila! New bathroom! What do you think? Still looking for some cute bathroom art and decor, but we are much closer to calling this room finished!

Mini-Project: House Number Spruce Up

I recently went on a DIY rampage (when the bar was being demolished) and started coming up with little projects I could tackle ASAP. I have wanted to paint or replace our house numbers for some time now, so I finally did it!

They are some sort of brassy, metal but are great quality, sturdy old numbers so I figured painting should be my first plan of attack. Here is the before picture:

So I went and bought some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint from Rust-oleum at the hardware store and went to town! I grabbed a garbage bag and a piece of plywood from our garage and placed the numbers on top of the garbage bag so the spray paint wouldn’t go everywhere. The wood was just for convenience so I could just pick up the numbers and move them in to the garage to dry.

The screws were super tiny, but I wanted them to get painted too. I wasn’t sure how to get them painted but something reminded me of a post that I think I saw on the Young House Love blog and I ran to the pantry. I stuck the screws in a box like this:

Worked like a charm!!

After a few coats and a lot of drying time I sprayed a clear coat or two on everything and let it dry some more. The clear coat does say I will have to do this about every 6 months, but its super easy so I am okay with that.

Here is the finished product:

Gorgeous! They are now dark and stand out against the white of the door frame and they also have just enough sparkle to catch your eye. I am sure no one else notices the change, but hey, the entire picture is what matters to me!

Raising the bar

Yep, that’s right, we’ve started a big project. We’re raising the bar! We have begun demolition on what we lovingly refer to as the breakfast bar. And, oh my, I remembered to take pictures! Here is what she looked like before:

Not pretty. The dark grout always makes me feel like it is dirty and I have no idea what that little flower on the tile is all about.

Here is the mid-demo shot:

Already coming along! Okay, not really, but at least progress has been made.

As for what we are doing after the demo is done I am not really sure. Here is a picture of the tile I was thinking of laying back down on the bar itself (with our current counter in the background to see how it looked).

And two possibilities for the backsplash around the entire kitchen and on the wall portion of the breakfast bar.

We also are considering something like this, which I found here:

I have an obsession with beadboard, plus it seems easier and cheaper. Two of my favorite qualities.

We also considered leaving the wall portion solid and just painting, but given this view of the plaster the tile left behind, I am not sure how that will go.

What is your vote?? Too many options for me to choose!

Lists, lists, and more lists.

So I thought I would start things off by listing my never-ending to-do list; it may serve as motivation but it will definitely overwhelm! Some of the projects, like the upstairs bathroom, have been ongoing since we bought the house (over three years ago!). Not something to be proud of.

We have had a few things working against us since we bought our home: we are not very handy, have little experience doing home improvements and a very limited budget, just like most new home-owners. The limited budget means we have to learn to tackle these tasks on our own versus hiring someone, so bring on the self-help books and how-to-do-anything for idiots!

Now that we have successfully accomplished a few things (with family members’ help of course) we have a little more confidence that we can do bigger projects on our own. The key: on our own. We have also learned the hard way not to count on someone else to complete our projects (read bullets one and two below!)

Without further ado, here is the list!

House To-Do List:

  • Finish bathroom trim (upstairs)
  • Finish basement bar built-in
  • Fleur de lis wall decal up (where?)
  • Bathroom sign
  • Paint bathroom (upstairs)
  • Refinish stairs
  • Motorcycle gear storage
  • Replace bathroom light fixture (upstairs)
  • Replace bathroom mirror (downstairs)
  • Fleur de lis hooks up (bathroom? Kitchen?)
  • Organize built in bar in dining room
  • Carpet up on landing
  • Organize/decorate desk in guest room
  • Closet doors in bedroom
  • Re-do mantel (round mirror, matching candle stick on each side?)
  • Make laundry room not scary (finish wall, ceiling, re-do shelves)
  • Decorate front stoop (topiary, new numbers, rug)
  • Refinish railing on porch (rust spots)
  • Cork ball project (Pinterest)
  • Mail organization (wall hanging, binder, bin/bucket)
  • Media Console for upstairs living room – DIY apothecary console?
Stairs to be refinished

Lovely hard wood stairs to be refinished!

After running my first 5k in April I got home feeling like I was on top of the world, I had done it! So naturally this made me rip up the carpet on the stairs. Weird, yes. But it needed to be done! The carpet was from the previous owners and looked disgusting, not to mention the pet hair stuck in it. So I did it. But never finished the project…

Built-in bar in the basement, needs a lot of work.

This was started, well, I have lost count on how many months ago… we were considering putting in a built-in under the basement stairs (it was just a regular wall) and next thing I know we are hammering our way through the dry wall, just to see what is inside. So far so good, tons of room under the steps and we even found a cabinet that had been dry-walled in! Now we need to finish painting, build the wine rack for the left side, and get a small fridge for the right side. The top shelf will be for wine and beer glasses. Party room!

Upstairs bathroom trim, still not done.

The minute we got in to our new house (three years ago) we gutted the upstairs bathroom. Completely re-did it. Looks great, except we never finished the door trim. Lovely right?
So, now you know some of the projects we have cut out for ourselves! I promise we will work on it and share the progress.