Hi friends! I’ve learned that’s what all the cool kids say when they start their Instagram stories. “Hey y’all” and “Hi guys” also seem to be the more popular opening sentiments. Anyway…long time no blogging, eh?!
I sat down recently to go over the results of my 18 for 2018 list (spoiler alert…I bombed) and put together a 19 for 2019 list. I try to keep the list mostly personal adventures and “live life to the fullest” type stuff. You know, like “take Rowan to the beach” and “do a paint by number,” the super important things! But this year as I was crafting my list two things cropped up. One, my list had been overtaken by house projects. And two, “blog or bust” found it’s way on the list. I either want to take the time and write consistent blog posts or shutter the blog. It costs me a decent chunk of change in web hosting fees to keep the blog up each year so if I’m going to keep the blog up, I am vowing to use it. Either I write 20+ posts this year (about one every other week) or it’s gonzo. That declaration combined with my new insatiable desire to tackle house projects this year, is giving me all the motivation to bring the blog back in full force.
That said, I decided to make two, count ’em, TWO 19 for 2019 lists. One list for the fun tasks (or not so fun tasks, I’m looking at you number eighteen, “back up laptop”) and a second list just for house projects. I called my husband this morning on the way to the dentist to tell him this plan and I promised him the list was easy, doable, with a couple reach projects thrown on there for the hell of it. And then I tweaked, revamped, threw caution to the wind and declared while having an old filling drilled out of my mouth, “what’s the point of a resolutions list like this if it isn’t ambitious?!”. He’s going to murder me in my sleep tonight. I just know it. And because all big dreams need to be shared (or else they don’t come true, right?!) here is my house project 19 for 2019 list. Read it and weep dear husband!
19 House Projects for 2019:
#1 Mini Master Bathroom Remodel
Why not just start with a bang right out of the gate with a nice and easy mini master bathroom remodel?! The emphasis here is on “mini”. Our bathroom has looked exactly the same since we moved in and the space has reached “it’s driving me bananas” status. Who puts a black sink in a bathroom?! Do you know how much toothpaste residue it shows? It’s time for that sink to go and for the whole bathroom to join it. We do have plans in the future for a full bathroom reno. We’ll eventual be adding a tub/shower but that requires moving the wall between the nursery and the bathroom. Until the nursery days are behind us, we’re making due with what we have.
#2 Replace Second Floor Windows
You know the saying “the carpenter’s house never gets finished”. Well, the window salesman’s windows never get replaced. For those of you who don’t know, my husband Colby spends his days as a Marvin Windows sales rep. You would think by now we would have started replacing our windows, but alas, we still screw storms to our single panel, drafty windows every winter and only a handful of them we can actually open in the summer. It’s not ideal. Nor is it a cheap project at about $800 a window. So we’re aiming to replace all the second floor windows this summer since they’re in the worst shape. There are a few sash that Colby swears a light breeze could knock a glass pane or two out.
#3 Heat Second Floor Bedrooms
Could we talk about super unglamorous yet highly necessary projects for a second? This one! We’ve been putting it off for far too long and supplementing with electric space heaters in the bedrooms instead. It hasn’t been terribly bad since we really only heat Rowan’s nursery, which is a closed, 7’4″ by 8’9″ space. But we’ve had enough electricity usage shaming from Green Mountain Power so it’s about time we heated these spaces by altering our current duct work.
#4 Set Up Rowan’s Big Girl Room
It’s time. Rowan is quickly outgrowing her sweet little nursery and this one is going to be fun, y’all. We’re turning the guest bedroom into Rowan’s big girl room. Floral wall paper? Perhaps. Once there’s heat and working windows in that room, I can’t wait to break out the paint and start setting up her room. She’s started to gather quite a few larger playthings (teepee, kitchen, doll carriages) so it would be great so put some of those things in her room so they don’t take over our entire first floor. We’re aiming to make the move in late spring or early summer.
#5 Edible Garden Expansion
Yesterday, I ordered my veggie garden seeds from Johnny’s Seeds and I showed my list to Colby. Excessive might have been the word he used. Ambitious might have been my term. Lately, I’ve been turning into the crazy plant lady, which is really ironic because I’m notoriously bad at taking care of my plants. But I have these big dreams of growing enough veggies in our garden to eat from it all summer long, can tomatoes for the winter, and freeze squash (amongst other things). So this task is threefold. One, I want to finish expanding our garden beds to make a symmetrical garden. Only six additions to achieve that. Two, plant three macintosh apple trees in our mini orchard. We already have three fruit trees that we planted two summers ago, but would like to add macintoshes since we go through those apples like crazy! And three, plant a bed of strawberry plants.
#6 Build Compost Bins
We compost a ton around here! It’s actually illegal where we live to throw compostable food scraps away in the trash. Oh Vermont, you are quirky! What we don’t have is a very effective compost system. I remember a long time ago seeing a three-bin system at one of Martha’s compounds. Granted her “bins” were the sizes of small outbuildings, but I liked the system. One bin held all the fresh compost, another mid-composting, and a third with compost ready to spread. We currently use one bin so we’re always adding compost to our beds that includes a fresh banana peel that often Merle steals for a mid-afternoon snack (he’s a super smart dog…note the sarcasm). Hence, building our own three-bin system near the garden is high on our priority list.
#7 Finish Painting House Exterior
Alas, this is still not done. We started painting the house our first summer here and nearly finished it the second summer. If you didn’t know any better when you first saw our house you wouldn’t notice that it’s not completely painted. The house is completely white now, but three sections still need a second coat of paint: the entire front, the back section above the kitchen, and the north side facing the field. I think we lost steam on this project because one, it was no longer exciting seeing our house transform from blue to white and two, well, enter baby Rowan. Another unglamorous project but a necessary one to check of the list.
#8 Plant Trellis/Fence Garden
I haven’t even blogged or mentioned or even Instagrammed (oh the inhumanity!) the fancy new fence/trellis/gate system that Colby built last summer. Here’s what you need to know about it, it’s awesome! Last summer we wanted a barrier for Rowan in our back patio area to keep her away from the section we use as a driveway. I had visions of a UPS truck running her over (new mom fears). Rowan even helped Colby build the fence/trellis/gate! This year, I would like to dress it up and plant climbing roses around the trellis and a few other annuals.
#9 Remodel Potting Shed Interior
We’re starting to get into ambitious territory here. Especially if I’m to honor my husband’s request for more fishing time this summer. We have this outbuilding (one of 11 original outbuildings on the property) that is PERFECT for a potting shed. It’s even right next door to the greenhouse we haven’t built yet. How perfect is that?! The problem is, it’s filled with random things that we shoved in it on move-in day. The shed needs a good remodel, maybe some windows and a new floor, and to be set up as a potting shed.
#10 Finish Painting Potting Shed Exterior
So same potting shed, different story. Did you know the potting shed is currently three-tone? Yes, three-tone, and I am 100% to blame for that. When we first moved in, all of the outbuildings were the same shade of boring brown. It’s not a bad brown, but it just wasn’t the right color for me. So when the potting shed desperately needed a new paint job, I chose a black that I thought would look oh so good. But after I went through about three gallons of the paint and the shed was only about 1/4 of the way painted, I realized I didn’t like the color so I stopped to deliberate. So deliberation took nearly a year and I finally found a true black that I loved and started painting the shed again. Winter set in before I could finish so the poor shed sports a fading brown color, a super dark navy color, and black. I’m so sorry potting shed and I promise to make it up to you this summer!
#11 Set Up Recycling Shed
Of all the things on the list, this one, in theory, should be the easiest to check off the list. Part of the potting shed has an add-on in the back of it that we turned into closed storage for trash and recycling. There is no curbside trash or recycling pickup in rural Vermont, le sigh, so we needed a space to store this stuff until we could take it to the dump. This project is about 90% there. It’s built and mostly painted. Pretty much all it needs is a set of two new trash bins since ours are sad and falling apart, and a shelf with bins in the recycling side. This was supposed to be my big project last summer and I came oh so close!
#12 Finish Pony Barn
We really haven’t talked in a long time, have we? We have ponies! Actually, Rowan has two ponies. This is where Colby likes to yell “They’re not Rowan’s ponies!”. Our neighbor asked us last spring if she could keep two ponies on our “back 40”, the fenced-in section of land we own but never use. Absolutely! We were never good at mowing it down and the ponies do wonders to the grass in the summer, helping curb the Vermont tick population. Originally, they were going back to a farm a few towns over for winter but ended up staying. We didn’t really have a barn or shelter for them and started building them a mini barn this fall. Colby’s been building it here and there this winter and it’s slowly creeping along, but it will be nice to have some warm weather to finish it up and paint it.
#13 Set Up Outdoor Dining Space
Alas, another 90% there project. Last summer, around the same time as fence building, Colby and I built a ginormous outdoor dining table. It’s the outdoor dining table of my dreams and seats 14 diners comfortably. This year, I have grand plans of hosting outdoor soirees and backyard get-togethers at our house on the regular now that we have the dining space. But, (there’s always a but am I right?!) we have no chairs. I started thrifting chairs with the rule of $7 or less and have a collection of about six. That’s less than half of what I need. So to finish this project, I want to find another 6-8 chairs, spray paint them all black, and maybe hanging some twinkle lights over the table to define the outdoor dining/faux patio space.
#14 Move Treadmill to Basement
Colby often works from home and has an office space in our house, albeit a sad office space. Last summer, we found him a really cool drafting table on the cheap which he loves to spread architectural drawings on while quoting out new construction jobs. The kicker is that the poor drafting table doesn’t fit very well because Colby’s office is also the laundry room AND the gym. The laundry isn’t moving until the dream kitchen renovation happens, at least a year from now, but the treadmill can go. We have a full, cinderblock basement which is super unusual for the age of our house. Most 1780s houses still sport fieldstone foundations. Because of this luck, we can use our basement as a pseudo living space. While we won’t be putting a rec room or a living room down there, we do have plans for a gym and root cellar in the basement. Colby has been working on the gym setup for a while, leveling out the dirt floor and building a plywood floor for it so we can finally move the treadmill down there.
#15 Finish Painting Kitchen Cabinets
It’s no secret around here that I hate our kitchen. We do have plans for a big kitchen remodel in 2020 but until then I’m trying to make the current kitchen work for us. I’ll share a kitchen update soon, but I’ve been slowly chipping away at painting all the orange wood trim and cabinets, to hopefully make the cream floors look not so dingy.
#16 Finish Decorating Keeping Room
This room, guys. This room is oh so close to done I can taste it! We’re down to the fun stuff like decor and rugs and finishing details. I’ll share all the progress on the keeping room soon, although you can get lots of sneak peeks on Instagram, it’s coming together so well and I’m chomping at the bit to finally pull it all together.
#17 Build Rowan an Outdoor Playhouse
During the Christmas season, we took Rowan to breakfast with Santa in Norwich, VT, and spent a little time exploring the town. In one of the town greens just outside the cutest independent bookstore, was this little playhouse that kind of looked like our house. I took an insane amount of pictures of it, from all angles, because on the spot Colby started talking about how he could build one for Rowan. We had to drag Rowan out of the house kicking and screaming when it was time to go home because all she wanted to do was play in the house. If this is the one thing we do on this list, I’m considering it a successful project year.
#18 Finalize Dream Kitchen Design Plan
After much waffling and a ridiculous amount of consideration (don’t ask him how many times we’ve gone back and forth over the details of the first-floor layout), I think we finally have a general game plan for the kitchen remodel. It may include taking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, moving the entire kitchen to the other side of the room where the breakfast nook/coat closet is, and even moving the exterior door. It’s a big project. And before we make one single move, I want to be 100% confident in its design with every cabinet and shelf laid out before we swing that demo hammer. Here’s to having our dream kitchen designed by the end of the year!
#19 Relocate Entry Door & Replace Bay Window
And finally, with the dream kitchen design in hand, we want to make the first two major moves before the snow starts to fly in November. We’re turning our kitchen into two zones. One is the kitchen zone and the other is the mudroom/laundry room zone. To make those happen, we need to move the Dutch door to where our kitchen is now. The other move is replacing the bay window in our kitchen with a larger window that can sit above a kitchen counter and sink. If we can get those two items done before next winter, we can slowly chip away at building our dream kitchen over the long, winter months.
And scene. Whew! Could I have written a beefier post to launch my first post of the 2019 blog season? I think not, dear readers, I think not. And now to get cracking on this ambitious list. Wish us luck because we are surely going to need it!
Pssst…what projects do you plan to tackle in 2019? Any doozies? Any ambitious goals? Do share! I love hearing about what others are working on!