Do you know the sayings… “a carpenter’s house always needs work” or “an architect’s house is always leaking”? Sometimes it gets to be that way in our house. We’re so busy doing work for others that we put off work in our own home. Well, it’s time to stop putting off projects and make a plan for some major repairs.
My husband and I built our house 19 years ago. Other than paint and basic upkeep, we’ve done very few major repairs or renovations to the house since then. The problem is now the major renovations are creeping up on us all at once.
I’m writing this post for two reasons. To give myself a kick in the behind to start thinking about exactly what needs to be done and get a project list all down on paper and to help you through the project process in case the thought of major repairs overwhelms you too.
First, I have a confession. I’m terrible at making future plans. Yup! If I start thinking about multiple things I need to do beyond the next week, I freeze up. My mind goes blank. Planning an annual calendar is paralyzing to me. Making future vacation plans confuses me. How am I supposed to know how I’ll feel or what the weather will be like in 6 months?!
My friend, Dorene, is a master planner. She has lists and calendars going all the time to keep her organized. She’s not afraid to make and update them every few months. We LOVE having her in our circle of friends because, as you may have already guessed, she’s the one who gets us all together every few months. Without her, the rest of us may never see each other. Not kidding. She’s our glue.
Dorene has been trying to teach me how to create an annual calendar and a project list then break them down into categories (Must Do ASAP, Do Someday, Remove From List for Now) and then break those down even further (appointments, projects, etc.).
I am still struggling.
But I realized that one thing I can do is write to you (my readers) and think things through at the same time. Would you like to try this with me?
STEP 1: Walk Room By Room
Let’s take a walk through our homes. Stand in each space for 2 minutes and make a list. This is the WISH list so include everything you’d like to change in that room.
Choose a single, neutral paint color for the walls to make the space feel more cohesive and calming. Our main floor is an open-concept floorplan so the kitchen, hallway, and entryway is one large open space. And I currently have 4-5 different paint colors on the walls. I’d like to choose one neutral color, maybe two.
Purchase a new stovetop, oven, and microwave. Each of these appliances is 19 years old. Our stovetop is cracked. Our oven door is bent. And our microwave is sparking. It’s time to replace them.
Replace the laminate countertops. If we’re replacing the stovetop, on my husband’s wish list are new stone countertops, so I need to price them out and see where they fall.
Replace the kitchen sink. I love our stainless steel sink. It’s really good quality and indestructible. And it has a really large side to scrub large pots. But if we do end up getting stone countertops, we will need an under-mount sink.
Paint the hall walls and choose a color for a small accent wall in the hallway.
Paint the stair risers. It’s time again to clean up the scuff marks on the white stair risers.
Update the flush mount light fixtures. These are a bright brass finish and they feel outdated. I’d like to replace them with a brushed silver or brown bronze to match other fixtures in the kitchen or, at a minimum, spray paint them.
Add carpet stair treads. We’ve slipped on the stairs enough times that I’d like to consider buying some carpet treads for our stairs. They are reasonably priced on Amazon as you can see HERE.
Buy Ruggable Runners. The jute rug runner you see in the hallway (above) actually goes under my island chairs. I had to throw the hallway runner away (to0 many pet accidents). I’d love to buy a Ruggable runner for this hallway. They are in the same price range of a standard rug runner (approximately $150-$190 for the ones I was looking at), but they’re washable! And I love the choice of patterns and muted colors. You can find them on Amazon HERE. The Kamran Farmhouse runners on Ruggable are my favorite.
Find and Install a wood mantel surround on the fireplace. We have a double-sided fireplace. I was really disappointed with the way the dining room side of the fireplace turned out when we built the house. First, the contractor made the mantle ledge way too high. And second, the gray marble tile we chose ended up looking like a bank lobby. I’m thinking that installing a wood surround will give it a new look. It’s either that or replace the tile with a stone – but that seems like a huge, messy, expensive job!
Paint the walls. You can see how many different colors are in my dining room area too. This area is open to the kitchen and hallway so I’m looking for a neutral for the entire space. I welcome your suggestions. Just place them in the comments below.
Paint wall(s). For Christmas, my parents gave us an Icelandic Ponies framed print which now hangs over our fireplace. I absolutely love this print and want to highlight it even more by painting the wall on either side of the brick to better coordinate with it. An easy project I can do myself – if I could decide on a color.
Office / Study
Install french doors. Working from home can get really noisy when you have an open-concept floor plan. French doors are something we had planned to install when we built the house.
Install wood or faux wood blinds. I love all of the windows and natural light in this room. It feels open and airy when I’m sitting at the desk looking out the windows. But the metal blinds have broken and bent over the years and need to be replaced. I’m thinking a white (faux) wood blind rather than curtains that may close in the space. Something like THESE.
Paint the walls. We’ve had the same green paint in here for 19 years. It’s time for a refresh.
Replace the light fixture and toilet paper holder. These are both quite old and need to be replaced. The holder is practically falling off the wall.
Upstairs Hallway & Master Bedroom
Replace the carpet. This carpet is really stained and worn and is the first thing on this entire list to be done! We would love to install wood floors in this hallway and into our master bedroom, but we’ll have to see where the overall budget falls when we’re done estimating this entire project list.
Paint the walls. These off-white walls have a few scuff marks and will need a refresh in the next year.
Replace the roof shingles. We’ve had a leak in our roof for the past 3 years. Every time it rains hard, it rains in our master bathroom. We’ve had roofers here 3 times trying to repair the leak and it’s just not working. It may be time for a new roof entirely.
Paint the ceilings. This hasn’t been done since we moved in 19 years ago. It’s time.
Refinish the Wood Floors. When we built the house, the guys put a “basketball court” finish on our floors so most of the wood floors held up really well. The kitchen area is the most worn and scratched, but one of our dogs also did some damage to the living and dining room floors, so it makes sense to do the entire area.
Replace the wood baseboards on the main floor. When the guys installed our hardwood floors, rather than slide the wood floors up to the baseboards, they cut our baseboards in order to slide the wood under them. They cut them really crooked and it’s made the finish look really messy. On top of that, my puppy chewed on a few sections. If we refinish the floors, it only makes sense to replace the baseboards.
Pave the driveway. I don’t know why we never did this. The driveway only has a base coat on it. It’s on the list.
Install the exterior stone staircase. My dad helped us build an amazing stone wall along our driveway when we built the house. We left an opening in the wall to eventually build a set of stairs leading up to the front yard – until we realized how costly that set of stairs would be. For 19 years it’s been a hard-packed dirt path.
I think that about covers it. The kids’ bedrooms and two upstairs bathrooms have been re-painted over the past few years and are in good shape for now.
STEP 2: Make a Spreadsheet & Gather Estimates
Now it’s time to make a spreadsheet and to start gathering price estimates from contractors for any work that we cannot do ourselves. This is really hard for us. We rarely hire out to do any work. If at all possible, we do our own project work. So this is a big step for us!
This will involve going to the carpet store, the paint store, the lighting store, etc. and choosing materials we may like.
I’ll create that spreadsheet, start gathering those estimates, and continue this in another post. Stay tuned and thank you for reading until the end as I brain-dump and get all of these projects down on paper!