Ben and I are quickly approaching our one-year housiversary (which is blowing my mind, by the way), and it’s sent me into a bit of “nesting” frenzy. Every little project that we’ve done to make the house our own has been so thrilling and satisfying, it’s started to snowball in my head a little bit. I had to mind-map it to relax. Pausing for judgment.
It’s just so exciting to make changes for us that I can’t help but get a little mentally carried away.
I don’t think there should be a rush to “finish” a house. I can certainly understand the desire to feel at home, and when you move sometimes there are tasks/projects you just can’t really wait on. BUT I also really believe in living with a space to better understand it and you. (Look at all those italics, I’m being very emphasize-y here.) It’s just that you might discover that something that felt like a really big deal when you were buying the house isn’t actually that important once you’ve lived there.
Example: our laundry space is technically in our kitchen, right next to the back door. The house we rented in Savannah had the same setup, and we HATED it. There wasn’t any room to move, stacked units meant no place to fold, so clothes ended up on the kitchen counters and somehow always got grease on them, and there was the cluster of laundry door/ back door/ fridge door in a very small space.
So on our first tour of our home, both of us quickly stated “we’ll change that”. With confidence. We threw around a lot of ideas, from the semi-complicated “turn Ben’s closet into the laundry room”, to the utterly ridiculous “EXPAND THE WHOLE HOUSE BY FOUR FEET”. The dreaded Laundry-in-Kitchen felt like a very big deal.
And then…? We lived with it. And we realized “hey, Jenjamin, chill out”. Because while the setup is very similar to our previously detested kitchen, the amount of space we had to work with was completely different. Instead of 30″ between our fridge and our dryer, there’s about 5′ of open space across from the laundry. Sure, if the bifold door is open we can’t get to the back door, but we’re working on a simpler solution for that. When I look back and consider the huge undertakings we would have done to “fix” a problem that didn’t turn out to be a problem, I’m just so glad we were patient with ourselves.
I’ve also found it helpful to keep a list going of ideas that we have for the house, inspired by the famous Listy McListerface from Young House Love. It’s such a great way to keep things organized, AND to see your progress. Crossing things off a to-do list just may be one of my absolute favorite things.
We’ve had a flurry of house projects lately, so I decided to create a list to keep us on track and help us decide what we want to tackle next. The first one I made right after we bought our house focused on what things we would Buy vs. DIY, but I ended up abandoning it because it was too challenging to pin things down specifically. I found it more helpful to create a list of general categories to keep in mind, and jot down ideas instead of trying to figure out exactly what/how we would do something.
Not every room will have notes for each category, but it has helped keep me on track so I don’t completely forget something in one room.
The first time I created the list, it got ridiculously long because I was going into too much detail. I’ve since simplified things a lot because:
- You may not know what you want to do with something yet, so writing “Place to store workout stuff?” keeps you mindful of that need without forcing you to have a plan yet.
- Breaking down a project into all the little tasks can make it seem way too overwhelming, and isn’t necessary at this stage. This list should be your big picture plan for your home, and then when you’re ready to tackle a project you can get
super type Aorganized with a bulleted task list.
So… without further ado, here’s how I used those categories to keep track of Project Jenjamin. **I totally cheated and included some things we’ve already done, but it made it nice to remember all the work we’ve completed so far** And, for your viewing pleasure, a few details of recent Project Jenjamin progress:
- Rug under dining table
Make and dip-dye draperies
- Move drapery brackets further from windows
Add ceiling fan instead of light (this room gets really stuffy for some reason)
- Redo trunk for wall-side seating
- New wood top for table
- Mudroom area between front door and window (bench and cubbies?)
- Arm chairs for table ends
- Print one of Ben’s photos at large scale
- Clear out ledges of too-small frames and bring in more art
- Plants! (maybe some hanging pots in the corner?)
- Under island: fitness storage stuff?
- Remove decorative corbels if possible
- Fabric valances at both windows
New pendant at island Replace overhead lights Add knife rack, pot and pan rack, and mug rack
- Above-cabinet lighting
- New pendant kit for island light
- Create a space for dry-goods storage
- Replace backsplash
- Remove granite portion of backsplash? (will have to check with a contractor on this)
- Paint cabinets: dark base, light uppers, light pantry
- “Frost” glass cabinet?
- Recycling bin in lower cabinet
- New cabinet hardware
- New faucet
- Tear out framing to make it more open?
- Replace door
- Organize dog supplies/storage
- Artwork and hangers by back door
- New outdoor rug?
- Hang overhead lights
- Replace lantern fixtures
- Build a table
- Painting existing chairs, and get a few more
- Power wash/sand/stain
- Replace all top rails on deck
Hang lights around deck base
- Replace gate with large door for trailer
- Create gravel “parking” area behind gate
- Create gravel fire pit area with pergola!
- Paint swing set
- Clear up perimeter plants
- Fix fence area near L&M’s yard
- Build a raised planter garden
- Seed muddy area
- Under-deck storage area
- Shed addition?
Paint Mount TV Build rope shelves around TV Build corner shelves Replace ceiling fan
- Paint entry table under calendar
- Add paint detail to front door
- Paint transition to vestibule
- Build super skinny console behind sofa
- Clean out and style shelves
- New blanket basket
- Paint dog bed frame
Vestibule (what we like to call our little square “hallway”)
Paint Hang our favorite personal pieces Replace light with something weird and awesome Find an awesome round rug
- Small gallery on wall between office and bedroom
- Paint closet
Get Kallax system
- Fabric cornices at both windows
- New ceiling fan
- Get adjustable desk base to use with white tabletop
- Layered rugs?
- Jen’s chair?
- Remove old desk
- Mount TV
- build piano table
- Artwork errrrywhere
- Organize closet
Paint Create mural across from bed New nightstands Table lamps for nightstands New ceiling fan
- Blackout roller shade
- Fabric valance: buffalo check!
- New shams/quilt/blanket?
New decorative pillows
- Put light in small closet
Elfa system for small closet
- Barn doors at small closet and bathroom
- Fix small plant table
- Finish painting nightstands
- Replace all tile: dark on floors, light in shower
- Replace baseboards with tile
- Use 2 smaller mirrors over vanity
Boat cleat hooks for towels New toilet paper storage New toilet
- New vanity lights
- Refinish/replace vanity
- Small shelf above toilet
- Oversized art above toilet
- New towels
- Fix ceiling vent
- Drape/curtain at Ben’s closet
- Fabric valance
- Full-sized mirror in closet
- Replace mirror
- Build shelves above toilet
- Replace all tile
- Replace baseboards with tile
- Fabric valance
- Replace ceiling fan
- Assess when Peter moves out
- Power wash
- Caulk bead board
Add market lights Paint shutters Paint front door
- Paint house?
- Paint number plate
- Paint concrete
- Replace top rails on decking
- Paint mailbox and replace numbers
- Dig out and change planters at mailbox and driveway
- Edge all planters with brick/stone
- Redo large planter area: hydrangeas!
- Fill in tree planter with ground cover
It feels like a lot, but it’s actually really exciting too! It can be daunting to look at an entire house that needs changes or updates, but once things start happening and you see how great your space can be, it really does get infectious. Once we covered the yellow paint in our bedroom, it just felt like “Wow! We love this room, let’s keep making it awesome!” I’d say we’re probably going to try to paint all the remaining rooms soon (waiting for the next Sherwin Williams sale so we can grab a 5 gallon bucket!) but Ben’s reaching his limit on the bathroom tile, and I’d love to have our bedroom feel “complete” soon, so who knows? But that’s all part of the fun. Right? Somebody tell Ben that, okay?