An Overall House Update

I can hardly believe we have been in the house for five and a half years! We’ve finally reached a good (ahem, healthy) place with our project load.


While our to-do list is still about seven pages long (Yes, really. We wrote one out.) for the first time we have been able to really step away from projects. We knew with the arrival of our daughter last fall that the amount of time for projects was about to take a significant cut, so we tried to get as much as we could finished last summer.

(When we reached 1 week within my due date I called off all projects and made my husband put all the tools away. I was dreaming about coming from the hospital with my new baby and all the floors were covered in drop cloths and drill bits and paint cans. Of course, I went 17 days late, so that was almost a whole month we still had. We ended up finishing up some lingering projects last December.)

In case I don’t get to fully post on everything we’ve done since I took a blogging break, here’s what we did in the last year. (“We” used liberally as I spent most of it on the couch eating ice cream.)


Refinished the Upstairs Floors

The upstairs floors desperately needed refinishing, so we hired professionals to come in and do that for us. We kept the original floor color, as it matches the rest of the house. It looks SO MUCH BETTER!!



New Baseboard and Door Trim

When we re-did the floors we tore out all of the baseboard molding upstairs. Replacing these ended up being a tremendous job. While adding in baseboard molding in a newer home is relatively easy, our walls are not square and our floors are not level. Plus, the old baseboard molding was not a standard size so it was thicker than what is currently available. This means that when a new baseboard trim was installed there was a gap without any floorboards! So my husband ended up having to pad all of the baseboards with a second, thinner board behind the molding so the gap was covered. It was quite the job. Then all the baseboards needed the nailholes to be filled and sanded, the edges caulked, and everything had to be primed and painted.



New Interior Doors

We also bought new doors for the whole house. We picked these lovely shaker-style ones and these stainless door knobs. The new doors all needed to be painted (Valspar, Swiss Coffee, like all the trim in our house). We had a contractor remove the old doors and door moldings, and install the new doorframes. Then we had to re-trim all the doors. That is 11 doorframes, meaning 22 trim-jobs for the front and the back of the door. Like the baseboard molding, these all needed nailholes filled and sanded, edges caulked, and everything needed to be painted. But, I finally have closet doors instead of a curtain, so I was happy to get my paint on. (We used all no-VOC paint, I used a mask, and we made sure everything was well ventilated whenever I helped to paint.)


Painting, Painting, Painting

The ceilings in the upstairs hallway and our bedroom were re-plastered, sanded, primed and painted. We painted the hallway the same color as our living room – bye bye Martha Stewart’s Rice Paper and Hello Valspar’s Shoreline Haze. While the rooms were empty both the guest room and the baby’s room got fresh coats on the ceilings and walls too. (Which means the only room left now is the guestroom/office. That will be a bigger project down the road.) I think I’ve finally learned that, although yellow is my favorite color, painting a room yellow is very challenging. I’ve painted four rooms yellow and none of them stuck. Yellow accessories are where it’s at!

Our bedroom got a long overdue update!! When we bought the house our bedroom ended up being a nightmare of a wallpaper removal job, so the walls were looking a little nicked up despite all our initial efforts. We had plasterers come in and fix our ceilings and several spots on the walls. Then I chose to repaint the room a darker gray. We ditched the IKEA light and got a nice light fixture, and installed oil rubbed bronze curtain rods. Now we just need to build a radiator cover (for this room, and a few others!).

Obviously the guestroom-to-nursery got a total transformation – I’ll talk about that in another post! Too much to share here in this summary.

Board and Batten Installation

We added board and batten to the upstairs bathroom and downstairs hallway. We have been talking about doing this for a few years and I love it! It makes our narrow hall feel much larger.


Finishing Touches on the Deck

We trimmed out the deck faceboards with azac trim. (Not quite finished here – still need to do the staircase.) We hired out to have a concrete slab poured under our deck (for better storage) and that old trainwreck of a staircase was encased in concrete. Bye bye problem child! We also installed a plastic ceiling underneath the deck to redirect rainwater and protect anything under the deck. Now it’s a great place for lawn furniture storage and we have a baby swing underneath there. I foresee a kids picnic table or playhouse living there next summer.

The Garage

We had our garage insulated and the walls plastered (hired this one out), and installed recessed lighting, and then we primed and painted everything.


The Backyard

We had a fence installed in the backyard. But the BIGGEST thing we did last year was with our yard!! We have been through the gamut with our backyard, but the great news is that it is finally finished! We have glorious grass for the first time ever!!! We had to cut down another 30 or so trees, stump-grind them, and chop up all the lumber. We gave quite a bit of it to friends and neighbors, and there was still plenty left for us. Moving these logs was my prenatal yoga.

For the yard – it’s honestly impossible to convey how much work actually went into this project – but it was huge. After putting new pipes across our whole backyard to help with drainage, the whole yard was regraded. Over the years we kept all kinds of rocks and broken concrete to use as fill, and we were able to really extend the useable yard space. Then we brought in truckload after truckload of dirt. Watching this happen was amazing!! Once everything was evened out we hired a team to have the lawn hydroseeded and patiently waited and watered. Our patience paid off – as we now have a backyard for the first summer!

Also, we got a shed! Finally a place to keep all our tools. Just in time too as we are hoping to finish our basement in the next few months. Those kid toys really add up quickly and we need a little more space to dedicate to all things play.


Phew, I am tired just reading all of that! When we hit the 5 year mark I thought it would be fun to do a “then and now” photo post. In a moment of kismet, the house was clean and the baby was napping so I snapped a bunch of photos last week. Hopefully I can get that up soon!