House Update/Summer To-Do List
It’s been more than a while since I’ve done an update on our house so I thought I would share what we have been working on and what we plan to do next. Brace yourselves, this is a long one! After helping my sister with her apartment, throwing our Derby party, and the end of the school year, I haven’t much time or motivation to update. Now that I’m officially on Summer Break and have had a couple of weeks to unwind, I’m ready to start tackling my to-do list!
Projects around the house are still at a bit of a standstill while we finish up the basement, but we are starting to close in on the first and most important phase of that project. I laugh when I think about how I wanted the basement project to be finished in March. I also laugh about how I told people that this house wasn’t a fixer upper. After running into problem after problem, we have come to terms with the fact that it is full-on fixer upper with a pretty kitchen!
It’s starting to seem like we are completely rebuilding this house. I mentioned in an earlier post how excited my dad was to demo our basement. I’m so glad we listened to him as we uncovered quite a few things that needed to be fixed. The first thing on the list was making sure the house didn’t fall over. Since winter, Patrick and my dad have been working on sistering all of the floor joists in our basement after we found that they had been damaged by Powder Post Beetles (which I had never even heard of). They essentially do the same damage as termites. They are probably about 2/3 of the way finished with the joists and have most of the hardest ones in place.
Each board has to be cut to the right length, glued, and screwed to the existing boards. In order to get them in place, they had to remove a bunch of duct work and some of the siding off of the outside of the house. When they took the siding off, they found that the framing was hanging about an inch off the sill so they had to fix that as well. We are learning that we should expect multiple problems along the way and also that everything takes much longer and costs more than you originally plan. We did get a quote from a professional and the joists alone would cost $30,000 compared to the $2,000 is has cost to do it ourselves. The savings makes the length of the project a little more bearable.
I’ve still been dying to make some changes you can actually see, so we thought we would do a mini living room update to get by until we could really do things the way we wanted. But, when we went to change out some of the chandeliers we realized that our electrical is HORRIBLE ! We knew it wasn’t good, but it’s so scary that we have been living in the dark in several rooms in the house. For a while I was using our battery Christmas window lights to brush my teeth at night. We’re really taking the 1800’s house thing seriously over here! But the lights were sparking and were honestly so scary that we would rather be safe in the dark than have our house go up in flames.
So that leads to our next project…tearing down the walls! Is it weird that I’m so excited to do this!? I think it’s because it means that we will actually see some progress. The basement job is so important, but there isn’t much to show for the amount of time that it has taken. We are going to take down all of the walls in the living room and master bedroom which sits directly above the living room. This will allow us to run new electrical, clean up all of the old wiring, sister some of the studs (we are expecting them to be in rough shape), make sure we have enough return air in the upper level of the home, and fix the terrible drywall job that was done overtop of the old lath and plaster walls.
In the process, we will put in a new fireplace that better suits the time period of the house (the one pictured is not original and is really crappy in person-I painted it black as a temporary fix), create a more functional closet in the master bedroom, and clean up the old trim. One of our favorite things in our house is the unique, original trim. We plan to carefully remove and label every piece, scrape off any paint that has ended up on it over the years, and sand and stain spots that need touched up. My dad bought an old tool (can’t remember the name of it) that we can have knives made for to replicate the old trim for entryways and closets that have been added over time and don’t have the original trim. This will be another messy and time consuming project but I know it will be worth it in long run.
I would love to say that we will have all of this done by the end of summer, but my timelines are always so unrealistic. So I’ve done my best to create what I think is a reasonable summer to-do list that will have us prepared for the bigger projects. Here it is!
PURGE!- Though we have done this several times while we moved 3 times last year, we still have way too much stuff. We saved things from old houses that we thought we could use when we eventually bought a house. I thought it would be great to have stuff to put in each room when we moved in. But the reality is that we don’t actually want most of it and it has just become junk that we have to work around. There are things that looked great in our condo, but don’t fit the style of our new house or the look we are going for. We also have some stuff that the previous owners left behind. I would rather have completely empty rooms than a house full of stuff that I don’t love. So, I’m going to go Marie Kondo on our entire house this summer. If it doesn’t bring me joy, it’s getting the boot. We have already sold a few things on Craigslist and have some extra cash that we put in the new furniture fund.
ORGANIZE- I love having a place for everything, but sometimes after working on house projects all day, we don’t put things away properly. We have also accumulated an insane amount of project supplies from our 25 trips to Home Depot each week. When we don’t put things away correctly, it makes it that much harder to find what we need the next time we are ready to start working. Everything in our house is going to get a place this summer and if it doesn’t fit, then we probably don’t need it anyway.
PLAN- As I said before, I thought it would be nice to have things in every room to make our house feel more put together and finished. I love Target and Home Goods way too much and it’s so easy to impulse buy everything. I’ve already bought too many things that I regret. I either don’t always love it once I get it home, don’t need it, or love it, but it doesn’t work with the overall vision I have for the house. All of these things become more stuff to work around. So my goal this summer is to create a detailed plan for each room in the house with a prioritized list of wants and needs along with a timeline and budget. Hopefully I will have enough willpower to drive past Home Goods unless I’m looking for something high up on the list! I will share my plans and moodboards as I go!
SMALL PROJECTS- Our list of little things is pretty long and I can probably check a few of them off while I’m home or while the boys work on the basement. Here are some of the smaller things left to do that I can manage on my own:
Paint Upstairs Guest Bedroom
Refinish Guest Bedroom Dresser
Strip and Refinish Doors
Paint Kitchen Island
Remove Plants from Backyard and Side of House
Even though we will always have too much to do and too many things to fix, I love our old fixer upper. We have already learned so much and DIYing gives us such a great feeling of accomplishment and pride. I love staring at our house while waiting at the stoplight and I never get sick of walking up and down our beautiful staircase. My favorite thing to do is sit on our front porch like an old lady. I hope that by taking our time and putting so much love and effort into our house that it can stand for another 130+ years.