Friday, December 20, 2013

Projects and Plans for 2014

As 2014 approaches, I probably should be thinking of some self-improvement New Year's Resolutions.  Like, I really need to get back into flossing every single day.  Also I used to be really good about doing anything unpleasant that needs to be done immediately, as long as it takes less than two minutes.  (Would you believe that my dishwasher can be emptied in two minutes?  I can also clean a sink and mirror in two minutes.  And yet I will postpone those jobs as though they will take me all afternoon.)

Anyway, this post is not about my efforts to be more patient and more tidy in 2014.  This post is about all the stuff I want to get done around the house!  So let's make a list, shall we?

1. Repaint the living room.  I know, you guys.  I KNOW.  This will be the third coat of paint in less than one year.  But after painting it lavender-gray and then painting it the exact same shade of gray without the lavender undertone and not being satisfied with either of those options, I've decided to go with a blank, fresh canvas and paint it the same white as our entry way and stairs.  (Dover White by Sherwin Williams).  It makes the wood trim pop intentionally, it will let my patterned curtains show off, it will keep me from painting the wood-trimmed fireplace and mantle, and it will also show off the new bookshelves.  (See #2)  Plus, you know I've got free child labor to put to use.

2.  Get bookshelves up in the living room.  So we ordered three bookcases from Target over the summer, to at least get my precious darlings books out of bins and boxes.  They are doing the job quite nicely, but books are not meant to be hidden away in the basement.  Books are meant to be on display in every room of the house, as far as I'm concerned.  It is time to get bookcases up in the front room and feature books as they are meant to be featured.  (As well as some framed art and maybe a vase and knickknack or twenty).  I originally thought that we'd built some big white shelves with cabinets at the bottom, but I'm now leaning more and more toward the openness and the unexpected edge of doing shelves like this:

image from here, photograph by Brian Covey Photography
It's made from pipes and 12" planks.  I love that it's open and airy and asymmetrical.  I think I'd like it even better than the traditional built-in I was originally picturing (not to mention it would probably save us a couple hundred dollars).  David isn't sure that it "fits" with our house, which you may or may not remember was built in 1946, has interesting arches and plaster walls and the original stained pine trim.  I guess it's historical(ish) but it doesn't have a slate roof anymore and it has a big drywalled addition on the back.  Overall, the house is a little bit eclectic, and I kind of think it would be fun to have built-in bookcases that are a little unexpected.  I'll solicit feedback on this from the Interwebz, and regard or disregard it as I like, so feel free to offer your opinion.

3.  Paint the kitchen cabinets.  So in addition to the original stained wood trim and doors, we also have decidedly-un-original dark oak cabinets in the kitchen.

old photo, before we got rid of the bulky, in-the-way trash can and put in our table
They aren't horrifying, but they don't make my heart sing, either.  They aren't my style because they really aren't any style.  The countertops are not exciting (I think formica?) and there's no backsplash.  Eventually we may toy around with the whole kitchen makeover we've discussed, but realistically speaking, that's a long way down the road.  So for now, I'm steamrolling the decision to paint the cabinets (David says that sounds like "a lot of work" but so is being married to me and he's handling that just fine).  I want to do them white, but I'm also toying with the idea of doing the lower cabinets in another color (just call me Easily Influenced by Pinterest Trends).  David also isn't sure about that, but I let him keep his bobblehead case upstairs so that means I get final sign off on all other decorating decisions.  I'm also considering moving the cabinets up so they are flush with the ceiling and installing a long open shelf below them.  I go back and forth on this.  It would definitely make the top cabinet shelf out of reach without a stool, but I think having frequently-accessed items easily accessible on open shelving would be super convenient and also kind of open up that side of the kitchen.  Like the cabinet color, I go back and forth, but I'm leaning toward doing it.  Right now the space above is totally wasted.  It would look something like this:

kitchen from Domestic Imperfection, originally discovered here
4.  Paint the basement.  The painted walls are currently a terrible Barbie-skin-beige.  The rest of the walls are paneled.  Original pine paneling be damned, that place is claustrophobic and it's getting painted.

5.  Organize craft/sewing area after painting basement.  I will have to psych myself up to take on this project, but I'll be so happy when it's over.  Maybe I can cajole Crafty Cousin Amanda to come up for the weekend and help me...

6.  Spruce up the laundry area.  A coat of paint and some shelves are really all it needs.  Maybe a fun new rug and a curtain hung up to block the water heater?  I need to get on this because Lord knows I spend enough time down there.

7.  Tile the fireplace hearth and surround.  Right now the heart and surround are brick.  Two different kinds of brick.  Different shapes, different textures, and slightly different colors.  The orangey-red brick does nothing for the stained wood except make it look orangey.

I think we could tile right over the brick, but as David has very limited tiling experience and my tiling experience consists of the YouTube videos I have watched, David says that we need to consult a pro on this.  Which is fine with me--sometimes DIY is great, and sometimes it's totally worth it to just pay someone else to do the same job better, faster, and with less of a mess.  Oh--I also think I'm going to paint the gold/brass surround.  I'm not positive about this because I like shiny gold things but in this instance I think it looks pretty dated in a not good way.  But if I painted it, it would probably have to be painted black (my research is telling me I need to use heat-resistant paint, like for a bbq grill) and I'm not sure about that.

8.  Locate a sideboard/buffet for dining room.  This one is kind of a maybe.  It's not absolutely crucial, but at the same time, I don't have any storage in the dining room now, except for a small cabinet that used to be in the entry way of our old house.  Zuzu has taken over that cabinet entirely--we can't keep her out of it, so we can't store anything useful in there.  It's currently housing a roll of duct tape in one cabinet and a panty liner in the other.  Occasionally I'll find a missing shoe or book and some of her plush nativity figurines inside it--Hey, there, Baby Jesus!  The problem is that I'm not sure exactly what I want in terms of storage in the dining room.  Our dining room table is very contemporary and eventually I'd like to replace it, but I don't hate it (not at all) and it's totally functional and that's not where I'm interested in directing my discretionary income at this time.  So basically I'd like to find a sideboard or buffet that would work with what we've got and also work with a dining table I might like to have in the future (although I really don't know at this point what that might look like).  Ideally, I'll find something midcentury on Craigslist for not much money.  We shall see.

So those are the Top 8 Projects.  Thing have definitely slowed down around here in the project department.  Working really takes away from Other Stuff I Want To Do.  I'm still working in the spring semester, obviously, but most my classes are repeats so I'm hoping there won't be as much prep work as there was this semester and maybe we can knock out some of the stuff on this list (or outsource it, if David gets his way).


  1. I don't have time to type out all my thoughts, but yeah. You are a busy woman!

    I absolutely LOVE the bookshelf idea but worry about the sturdiness (though I'm sure you're sensible enough to manage your own household and don't need my mothering. Hah).

    White sounds great in the kitchen and love the bottom contrast color.

    And also, I would be soooo tired of painting if I were you. So many coats in that room! Ahhh!

  2. Dear Brooke,
    That blue and white kitchen? MY. DREAM. I have nothing close to that, and most likely never will, but please do it to yours and post a plethora of pictures so I can drool all over my computer.
    I really love the pipes and wood shelves, and am now totally considering stealing this idea and bringing it up with my husband because the built ins for 'someday' are who knows how long in the future and that is actually feasible. I can't wait to see your projects.

  3. I wish I had your motivation!

    I want you to come design my house too!

  4. Yes, do your kitchen just like the picture - love the colors!

    Those bookshelves look much easier to clean than built ins. But maybe then they show off dust easier too? Or attract little fingers to play with things? Built ins seem to offer more protection for your knick knacks and books. But I do love the look of the ones you have shown. Tough call.