Last year I learned that New Year’s resolutions are much easier to keep if they don’t involve diet, exercise or weight loss. Last year, my resolution was checked off before March of 2010. It’s crazy to think that just a year ago we just got the idea to buy a house, and 12 months later we’ve come this far in one.
But there is still a lot to be done, and this year I’ve wrangled my house project to-do list into a few New Year’s resolutions. If I can accomplish all of this by 2012, I’ll be a happy girl.
There is definitely a financial component to getting all of this taken care of, but it’s mostly a matter of motivation; motivation to get busy on the weekends and make a tangible improvement to the house every week. Big or small, as long as something is consistently getting done, I’ll make a lot of progress over the course of a year.
1. Make the Living Room Attractive and Functional
This one is already underway with construction of the built-in bookcase, which is a great start. The next steps are extensive painting tasks: ceiling, walls, and all trim (including the fireplace). I’m still deciding on the perfect shade of greige (grey/beige… I can combine those, right?)
We’ve also started a conversation about re-finishing the wood floors in the living/dining rooms. They really look like shit right now, especially the high-traffic area near the front door and door to upstairs.
The actual task itself doesn’t seem that hard, but what’s really intimidating to me is the logistics of it all. This space literally cuts our house in two, and to not walk on it for 12 or 18 hours would require humans and animals completely vacating the house. This may be the next step after painting is complete.
The other major project would be a solution to the door to the upstairs. It’s in an awkward location such that it’s always hitting the front door, and we like to have it open most of the time. But removing the door entirely is no good either, because it’s basically our bedroom door. There’s no other buffer between the master bedroom and downstairs. So its good for privacy, and also dog/cat wrangling when you don’t want them to have the run of the house.
The solution that we’ve come up with is to make a sliding wooden door. This would eliminate the two doors opening into each other issue. And it would also eliminate the need for a regular door knob, which has left a permanent dent in the back of the front door. Plus, c’mon is this not super-cool looking?
Then beyond that it will just a matter of buying a new sofa and rug (probably drop a lot of $$$ here). And some accessories to make it fun and happy.
Beyond my boring greige walls, I’m picturing a yellow and blue color scheme, with a big dark grey sectional sofa weighing the whole thing down. In a perfect world, living room could be done by the end of March.
2. Paint the Downstairs Bathroom
Oh painting a little bathroom…that’s an easy one, right? Uh, no. Not here.
This is a task I’ve been dreading since we moved in because the upper part of the walls are covered in ancient, yellowed, high-gloss (probably lead) paint. And it’s peeling and chipping all over the place.
The bathroom door is so bad that it probably needs to be stripped down to the wood and re-painted. This is also the only shower in the house, so it can’t be left in shambles for a long span of time.
On the bright side, it will be a relatively inexpensive room to tackle, since all of the fixtures have been updated and are good to stay. We do have to replace the baseboards, but that shouldn’t be too big a deal.
I’m thinking about a dark peacock blue for the lower part of the walls. And some red accessories. Something fancy to counteract all the grey, beige, and white in the other rooms.
3. Make the Guest Room More Comfortable
If all else goes as planned, the guest room would be the last downstairs space that needs attention. It seems odd that I’m more interested in addressing the guest room than our own master bedroom upstairs, but the guest bedroom is more visible. No one ever comes upstairs but us. Everyone who comes over will pass the guest bedroom.
And I can’t wait until they see something besides this embarrassing mess:
Okay, to our credit, we haven’t had any overnight guests since August. So this has become a dumping ground for everything else that doesn’t have a home right now.
I think I could get away with just a paint job, some curtain panels and new bedding. But it would also be nice to get some old flea market dressers and night stands that could offer some storage for the miscellaneous crap that will end up here.
I have visions of airy light green walls, an upholstered headboard, and lots of black and white antique-ey kind of accents and pictures.
4. Tackle Some Minor Outdoor Improvements
Once the whether gets nicer, there are a few outside tasks that are definitely on the list.
The first would be to start an effective 2011 vegetable garden. Last year’s garden worked out well, but now I know what works and what doesn’t. I plan to grow herbs only in containers this year, as a lot of them were eaten by rabbits or other little varmints.
Out in the raised bed I’d like to grow lots of tomatoes (1-2 cherry plants and 4-5 full sized heirloom varieties), at least 6 okra plants, one yellow squash mound, and one zucchini mound. Danny keeps talking about growing corn, but that sounds kind of hard to me.
We will also need to re-screen the porch this summer. To start with, the screen was kind of sagging all over when we moved in. Then we stupidly had to rip a hole in it to break into our own house after a lock-out incident. Then our stupid crazy dogs did even more damage. Puppy likes chewing on screen. Old dog likes jumping four feet off the ground and raking his paws across the screen when he gets excited.
It should be an easy enough project for the two of us to do in a weekend as long as we’ve got the right tools.
There is also an intense need for a new mailbox. Ours is a real sad sack right now. And I’m sure there are a hundred other things that will pop up before the year’s through.
This laundry list of to-do’s can sound a little daunting, but overall it’s more exciting to me than anything. When I look back at the progress we’ve made already, I think that all of these things are easily achievable. The possibilities are endless, and it’s all mine to do as I please. And that’s a great feeling.
Here’s to a productive, prosperous, and joyful 2011!