What I’ve Been Up To

It’s been a hot minute since I posted here because life is chaotic and wonderful all at once.

In the last few months every room of the house has experienced a big shift in furniture and even paint. I’ve refinished a mirror, bought a new desk chair, rolled out new rugs…

In the garage I gave the wood storage units back to my dad and replaced them with a new HDX unit from Home Depot. Can’t wait to show you how awesome it looks out there! If I have time later this summer I’m going to move my canned goods storage and maybe even add another work bench.

Inside, I’ve finally trimmed out the kitchen windows and added new curtains. In the midst of moving out of my office, I filled in nail holes and caulked the window in the old office.

Project: Backyard Oasis is on-going and I’ve been pulling a lot of weeds and trimming a lot of rose bushes. I picked up 3 awesome wood planters which got a coat of outdoor paint from the oops section at Home Depot.

Back in May I went to LA for an event and then to the East Coast for a wedding and to visit friends in DC. In early July I spent a week at my parent’s place near Yosemite, mostly painting and writing.

Nearly done remodeling my master shower stall from the studs up and will have some of that to share soon.


January Project Recap

I had high hopes for January but I was also out of town for 2 solid weeks so the number of projects I could conceivably complete was greatly reduced. However, I got a good start!

1. Garage – add security film to window

This one was a lot easier to install than the last privacy film – it was easy to reposition and remove to adjust. I got it on Amazon here for $10.




2. Living room – have fireplace tested and inspected

This one was a little “good news/bad news” situation. I had a professional company come out to inspect and clean the fireplace and overall it’s in good shape. However, there’s a crack in the floor of the fireplace which means heat can go down and impact the flooring, walls and create a lot of other problems. So it’s still do not use until I can budget and schedule to get that replaced. While I don’t use the fireplace very often, I do want it to be working properly.

10. Garage – trim out the window

As you can tell on the update above, I did manage to trim the window with 1x4s before I worked on the privacy film. Here’s a picture of it before I caulked all the joints:

There’s a small patch piece there on the window sill because I can’t fit my nail gun behind the clothes dryer to install it. I’m going to get some liquid nails and tape and see what I can do!

All in all, not a bad January! I have my next few projects in the works from this master list and I’ll be working throughout February to make good progress.

2018 House Planning

By mid-November I get easily swept up in the planning for the new year and all the fun things I want to do. This year I took off for London, Dublin and Manchester in early December and by the time I got home I was right back into planning mode.

Business plans are underway and I’ve already set my personal goals.

Now, let’s talk about the house. Realistically if I am working out 4 days a week, doing Whole 30 5 days a week, reading 1 book a week and traveling around the state twice a month then I’m not going to have a TON of free time for other projects.

Good thing the house is looking damn good these days. Instead of going room by room I’m going to list all the things I want to do and then put them in priority order.

I have a total of 30 goals (about 1 per week) and 3 potential bigger projects that require things like redirecting gas lines, water and drywall. Those are bonus projects that I am hoping to get to this year. One project that’s not on this list but will be carrying over from 2017 is replacing my gutters and downspouts. That should be coming in January.

1. Garageadd security film to window

2. Living roomhave fireplace tested and inspected

3. Dining room – touch up paint around the built-in

4. Dining room – add finishing piece to the built-in

5. Office – finish caulk on window trim

6. Guest room – remove hooks from ceiling

7. Kitchen – replace garbage disposal – n/a fixed existing one! 

8. Garage – add overhead lights in 2 banks 

9. Kitchen – trim the windows

10. Garage – trim out the window

11. Master bedroom – remove the canopy and patch ceiling

12. Master bedroom – touch up ceiling paint

13. Living room – replace overhead light

14. Guest bath – fix shower can light 

15. Side yard – add hooks for second ladder to hang

16. Office – trim and paint closet shelving

17. Backyard – build a cart for table saw

18. Master bath – replace bath fan

19. Kitchen – add new curtain rods and curtain

20. Front yard – replace mailbox and post

21. Living room – refinish the dresser

22. Master bedroom – rebuild bed frame n/a purchased new one!

23. Office – replace ceiling drywall (patch) 

24. Backyard – build pergola in the corner 

25. Living room – reupholster the 2 wingback chairs 

26. Backyard – make a walkway to the sideyard

27. Front yard – re-pour sidewalk up to the front door 

28. Master bedroom – replace sliding glass door, trim and fix transition piece

29. Front yard – plant a tree

 30. Back yard – plant a tree

Potential Garage Project

Garage – drain the water heater, build a new box

Garage – add water softener 

Potential Kitchen Project 

Kitchen – re-configure cabinets and dishwasher / new countertops and sink

Kitchen – relay flooring with new configuration

Potential Bathroom Project

Master bath – replace pan in shower stall

Master bath – replace shower fixtures

Master bath – tile shower stall

Operation Backyard Oasis

Anyone who has witnessed my backyard knows it is far from an oasis but that is the goal of my work this summer.

I know, technically, that summer begins on Memorial Day for many but the last 10 days of 100+ temps means that June was a wash for me.

I’d like to share updates every Sunday to stay on track and before I get into my plans I want to share the before pics. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Here’s a shot of the back of the house including 2 of the dogs and my lawnmower:

The northwest corner of the yard is pretty boring with just a couple of surviving rose bushes (I’ve already taken out 2 this year):

The northeast corner has the patio that I had installed in 2013 that hasn’t held up very well. Right now it’s the holding spot for everything else while I work.

Standing at the sliding glass door and looking east there’s some trash cans full of green waste, the dog kennel, and a walkway of bricks which has seen better days.

Over to the side yard I had a bunch of crap leaning against the siding. The only good thing here is the raised garden beds with bougainvillea and lantana which are thriving.

While the front yard needs work, I’m going to focus on the side and back yard for the season and focus on creating a comfortable, beautiful space.

Right now the strategy is to work outdoors on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, aka the days I’m not at the gym and to work consistently throughout the summer months.

I have big plans for the yard and I’ll share more of them with you next Sunday. Until then I’ll be slathering on the sunblock and pulling on my gardening gloves.



I put the Pro in Procrastination

It feels like ages has passed since I shared in March about replacing windows and while it may feel like I’ve been lazy, I know a lot has actually been accomplished.

Primarily more windows. Over a weekend with some help I replaced 2 out of the 3 kitchen windows and the garage window and a lot of the surrounding T1-11 and 2x4s on the old kitchen bay window.

I’d known for awhile it probably had water damage since the 2×4 frame was literally crumbling but uncovering it all was a surprise. Thanks to the leftover T1-11 from the office window repair it was a pretty inexpensive repair (just time and paint).

But now I’m left with one more kitchen window to do, inside trim and then: paint.

I purchased 10 gallons of outdoor paint over the Memorial Day weekend (and still need to send in receipts for that rebate…) and will have it tinted in 2-3 gallon batches for the exterior.

While I’d really like to replace the sliding glass door before paint goes up, I think it’s a tad unrealistic with the summer budget I have in place.

I’ve also stained and assembled 2 new adirondack chairs that I purchased from Hayneedle and love them. They also fold up pretty flat to make storage easier in the winter. Soon I’ll need to pull out the outdoor rug and set up the front of the house for summer.

Indoors I’ve mostly been working to keep things clean and organized, decluttering slowly as I go through the house. I’ve already taken in several things to consignment and donation but it’s an on-going process.

I haven’t yet shown you the big upgrade I made to the dining room bench so that’s coming once I get the pictures done.

It’s probably time to go update my 2017 goals post since we’re almost to the midpoint of the year!

Trim it out

The trim project is well underway and I thought I’d give an update on how it’s going since it’s taking up the whole month. So far the quarter round has been installed in the living room, dining area, hallway, hall closet, office and master bedroom.

I started painting in the master bedroom and then worked my way back down the hallway to the living room before moving on to the office.

Since I’m working around the edges painting takes a bit of planning and time since I have to move a lot of stuff out of the way.

The order is typically to go along the baseboards with a nail setter and hammer to push in any of the nails that were still sticking out, then gather paper towels, a caulking gun and water to fill in the gaps. This is the most messy step but a bit of water cleans up any misplaced caulk.


While the caulk is drying (a couple hours), I try to get the blue painter’s tape down on the floor to protect it. This allows me to go much faster when I’m painting.

Then I brush on the first coat of paint and yes, I usually need two. Since I don’t want the paint to pool along the floor or stick the tape to the baseboards I’ll load up the brush and put most of the paint at the junction of the quarter round and baseboard – then brush it down to the blue painter’s tape at floor level.


I’ve found that the baseboards are pretty beat up after being pulled and reinstalled when I did the floors so I’m usually filling nail holes in the baseboards and painting them. The hallway baseboards were especially dingy, not just dirty but with a lot of marks and dings.


Working in the office I found damage to the drywall in one corner due to a leak we repaired a few years ago. The final room that needs quarter round is the guest room but first comes finishing the office and getting that furniture back in. Once I’m 100% done with all this trim I am really looking forward to rolling out those new rugs!

Tools I’m using (click on photo to see sources):

Nail set kit


Ryobi Airstrike Nail gun and 18 gauge nails


White latex paintable caulk


quarter round trim such as this type (though I buy it by the foot).


2017 House Goals

Looking forward to 2017 there are a lot of things I need to get done, some things I would like to get done and a bunch I would love to get done if I win the lottery. I’m breaking them up into tasks by room like I did in 2016 to help keep me focused on what needs to happen around here.

My travel schedule is filling up for the new year so I know that the weeks I am home I’ll need to make the most of my time and getting these projects done.

The kitchen:

  • Get the counter tops re-sealed
  • fix or replace garbage disposal
  • remove the pull out trash can

If budget allows:

  • Replace the stove/oven
  • Replace (3) windows
    • Trim windows inside and out

The dining room:

  • Install bookshelf
  • Add lighting to bookshelf
  • Fix chain on hanging light
  • touch up wall paint

The living room:

  • Re-finish the dresser (possibly paint)
  • Get fireplace working
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out
  • Hang new shade in window

The guest bath:

  • Install a can light in the shower
  • Fix transition piece
  • Touch up wall paint

If budget allows:

  • Re-tile around bathtub
  • Replace bathtub fixtures

The office:

  • Touch up wall paint
  • Replace damaged drywall on ceiling
  • Finish off closet shelves
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out

The guest room:

  • Hang rod in closet for curtains
  • Remove hooks from ceiling
  • Replace window
  • Trim window inside and out
  • Hang new shade in window

My master bedroom received a whole new bed set up and mattress but I’m still eyeing that sliding glass door.

  • Trim transition piece by back door
  • Touch up ceiling paint
  • Remove canopy and patch ceiling
  • Fix chain for hanging light

If budget allows:

  • Replace the sliding glass door
    • Trim back door

The master bathroom:

  • Remove glass door
  • Hang new shower curtain

If budget allows:

  • Replace shower floor pan
  • Re-tile shower stall
  • Replace shower fixtures

The backyard :

  • Remove 2 dead rose bushes
  • Remove corner patio
  • Replace fence boards on east side
  • Add lights to fence for night
  • Create a walkway to the side yard
  • Disassemble flower boxes on corner patio
  • Fix gutter downspout
  • Build cart for table saw

The side yard:

  • Empty compost bin
  • Hang lights
  • Replace damaged siding
  • Take the old gutters in for recycling

The front yard :

  • Replace gutters and downspouts
  • Set up bricks along the fence
  • Replace mailbox and post

If budget allows:

  • Pull sprinklers
  • Pave square by front door
  • Demo sidewalk
  • Re-pour sidewalk
  • Extend fence to front of the property
    • add a gate to the end of the fence
  • Landscape the front yard

The garage:

  • Add overhead lights
  • Trim the window, caulk and paint it
  • Build a new box for the water heater
  • Build workbench

If budget allows:

  • Add a water softener

There are a few bigger projects that impact the whole house: 

  • Add quarter round to all baseboards
    • Hallway and hall closet
    • Office
    • Guest room
    • Master bedroom
    • Living room
    • Dining room
  • Re-caulk and paint all trim
    • Hallway and hall closet
    • Office
    • Guest room
    • Master bedroom
    • Living room
    • Dining room
  • Replace rotting facia boards on roof
  • Paint house exterior
    • back wall
    • Sideyard
    • Entryway
    • side from kitchen to garage
    • around garage door
    • up on the roof