Liberty House: The Master List

Updated: 8/16/2012

While I’m only making incremental progress (read: just barely keeping things from falling apart) on the Liberty House, I dream of a day when I’ll be checking things off my list left and right. Since I’ve had almost no success in keeping the house organized, I thought I might have better luck organizing my brain.

One hundred and sixty items later… yep. Still crazy. This list is easily the next two (and probably the next three or four) years of my life. So basically I’m in project heaven. I also haven’t quite gotten over the exhaustion from 1.) not sleeping for six weeks while buying this place, and 2.) moving all of my belongings twice in 6 months.

So I’m taking a nice long weekend away to see some old friends and will probably pace myself with some more easy (but time consuming) patching and painting in the parlor next week. Then I’m diving headfirst into this list with things like new appliances and countless hours of quality time spent with a drum sander. It’s going to be awesome.

General Electric

  1. Fix all non-working outlets (kitchen/laundry room specifically)
  2. Figure out outbuilding electric
  3. Redo diagram at main

General Plumbing

  1. Fix slow drain/water backup done!
  2. Fix low pressure to kitchen sink done!
  3. Get rid of black residue in water (bleach pipes)  procrastination pays off! (it fixed itself)
  4. Cap open line at old barn
  5. Get exterior spigots working

General HVAC

  1. 1.   Get boiler working done!

Exterior- High Priority

  1. Replace roof done!
  2. Cover holes in brick exterior on second floor
  3. Replace missing gutter/downspouts
  4. Install rain barrels
  5. Fix soffit
  6. Power wash and scrape wood siding  done!
  7. Remove all flower boxes
  8. Replace rotted wood siding at back entry done!
  9. Repaint wood siding done!
  10. Repair/ Rebuild back deck (repair done for now, rebuild down the road)
  11. Repaint front/back deck done!
  12. Get rid of chipmunks
  13. Get rid of Ricky the Racoon (he left on his own)

Exterior – Eventually

  1. Replace back door (painted it instead, but will replace eventually)
  2. Fix front door (fixed! but needs handles)
  3. Plane bottom of french doors in kitchen
  4. Add pergola and built-in grill to existing patio
  5. Add lower level and fireplace to existing patio
  6. Build swing/bed for front porch

Yard/Property – High Priority

  1. Remove debris pile
  2. Clean out donkey shed
  3. Replace roof on donkey shed done!
  4. Put up donkey fence
  5. Check/fix electric at donkey barn
  6. Put up clothes line done!

Yard/Property – Eventually

  1. Landscape around house
  2. Plant vegetable garden
  3. Plant grapes/vineyard
  4. Build chicken coop/garden shed
  5. Create walkway to bonfire pit and tent area
  6. Build pergola off of garage
  7. Fence in propane tank off of garage
  8. Build hermitage
  9. Repaint mailbox

Kitchen – High Priority

  1. Replace dishwasher, fridge, stove
  2. Replace recessed light bulbs
  3. Storage for garbage/recycling

Kitchen – Eventually

  1. Paint wood walls
  2. Stain or paint ceiling
  3. Install trim around windows
  4. Add beams
  5. Paint recessed light trim
  6. Install new lights
  7. Replace counters/backsplash
  8. Replace floor
  9. Paint/Reconfigure/Replace kitchen cabinets
  10. Buy stools for peninsula
  11. Install woodburner in nook

Kitchen – Maybe

  1. Remove archway
  2. Widen doorway to hall/bathroom

Parlor – High Priority

  1. Fix holes in ceiling – in progress
  2. Paint ceiling
  3. Clean out fireplace done!
  4. Refinish floor

Parlor- Eventually

  1. Paint room – in progress
  2. Replace glass on broken widow
  3. Fix mullions on broken window
  4. Replace glass block
  5. Install new light fixture
  6. Buy rug
  7. Buy couch, chairs
  8. Buy TV
  9. Build random-drawer entertainment center
  10. Build mirror
  11. “This little house of mine” painting for above fireplace done!
  12. Replace outlet/switch covers

Parlor – Maybe

  1. Remove archway

Entry – High Priority

  1. Refinish floor
  2. Refinish/paint stairs
  3. Remove wallpaper
  4. Patch drywall holes from skylights done!

Entry – Eventually

  1. Remove wainscoting
  2. Replace bottom part of window trim
  3. Install horizontal wood paneling
  4. Paint french doors to study (Red or black)
  5. Remove door to closet under stairs, add built-ins
  6. Figure out what to do with beam
  7. Replace light fixutres.

Study – High Priority

  1. Refinish floor done!

Study – Eventually

  1. Remove wallpaper
  2. Tear out closets, replace with built-ins
  3. Paint walls/trim
  4. Replace light fixtures
  5. Figure out what to do with beam

Office (4th Bedroom) – High Priority

  1. Remove closet
  2. Reframe/drywall closet
  3. Install luan, hardwood
  4. Stain/poly hardwood
  5. Paint
  6. Install new light fixture

Downstairs Bath- High Priority

  1. Replace shower trim done!
  2. Replace shower head
  3. Remove baseboard
  4. Install wood paneling, paint
  5. Build/Install built-ins
  6. Move outlet by mirror
  7. Replace mirror
  8. Replace light fixture
  9. New shower curtain
  10. Get rug

Downstairs Bath- Eventually

  1. Replace floor
  2. Replace shower surround with tile

Laundry Room – Eventually

  1. Remove bi-folds
  2. Move doorway to left, replace with barn door
  3. Replace sink
  4. Add counter over washer/dryer
  5. Remove cabs/ counter on south wall
  6. Add cabinets to North wall
  7. Paint
  8. Replace floor
  9. Add hanging totes for separating clothes

Hallway – Eventually

  1. Paint
  2. Paint basement door
  3. Replace floor
  4. Add new light fixture

Mudroom- High Priority

  1. Better organization for coats, shoes tools
  2. Paint

Mudroom – Eventually

  1. Replace floor
  2. Build benches and lockers for storage

Basement- High Priority

  1. Replace broken (or all) basement windows done!

Basement – Eventually

  1. Remove bags of dirt/dead bodies
  2. Clean off storage shelves on stairway
  3. Figure out random pump in storage room
  4. Put storage shelves in storage room
  5. NEW – Dehumidifier
  6. NEW – replace new vinyl window with wood

Master Bedroom- High Priority

  1. Paint trim, walls done!
  2. Replace closet doors
  3. Replace closet shelves
  4. Remove “gas” from fireplace
  5. Build hearth

Master Bedroom – Eventually

  1. Remove carpet
  2. Install hardwood

Master Bath – High Priority

  1. Patch ceiling
  2. Replace missing section of window

Master Bath- Eventually

  1. Demo everything
  2. Move wall for toilet
  3. Install door
  4. Replace everything (toilet, tub, vanity, floor, fixtures)

Bedroom #2 – Eventually

  1. Remove carpet
  2. Install hardwood
  3. Remove built-in desk
  4. Paint
  5. Update light fixtures
  6. Furnish

Bedroom #3 – High Priority

  1. Replaced cracked glass in window

Bedroom # 3 – Eventually

  1. Remove carpet
  2. Install hardwood
  3. Paint
  4. Update light fixtures
  5. Furnish

Upstairs Hallway – High Priority

  1. Patch drywall done!

Upstairs Hallway – Eventually

  1. Remove carpet
  2. Install hardwood
  3. Remove transom in hallway to master bedroom
  4. Do something with linen closet in hallway

Upstairs Bath- High Priority

  1. Replace toilet (cleaned it, replacing not necessary!)
  2. Replace sink faucets done!
  3. Fix peeling paint on walls/ ceiling done!
  4. Paint walls done!
  5. Paint cabinet
  6. Get mirrors

Upstairs Bath- Eventually

  1. Replace tub surround
  2. Remove and re-tile floor
  3. Build new doors for vanity

35 Responses

  1. Holy cow! Just reading your list made me tired. I’m glad you got the house of your dreams and I’m so impressed with your skills!

  2. I almost laughed out loud at my desk when I saw bags of dirt/dead bodies. Ha I thought my house list my wife had was massive, this takes the cake

  3. 5 years, at least, unless you sub a lot of this out.
    i’d say moving the dead bodies out of the basement should be a high priority. 🙂

    1. Dead bodies are SO heavy Chris, I’m waiting til I have a strong back around to help! Ha.

      1. Proenneke is an inspiration! I could spend days re-reading over and over again the chapter when he crafts the hinges for his cabin door entirely out of wood. Art and Craftsmanship had a collision there!

  4. You are a brave woman to write this all out. I usually like lists, but the ultimate house list is one that lives only in my head. I can’t bring myself to write it out in case I start to recognize what I’ve actually gotten myself into. I do like your tactic of categorizing high priority and eventually. That may just make a list like this manageable.

    1. This is the first time I’ve done a full-on house list, but I have so many ideas I don’t want to lose. Plus I have a lot of people offering help, and I feel like this will help me identify good spots to call in reinforcements (like, I’m totally planning a Barn Burning pile to have friends come over and help me clean up the debris pile!)

  5. Iam JUST getting the second apartment of my Vicorian Tri-Plex rented after working on it almost solid on it for over 3 years. Slow but steady, and celebrate your accomplishments!! And take some breaks- you have to refurbish your soul and pysche sometimes. And sometimes you just have to walk away for a few days too to be able to figure out the best solution. Because old houses just aren’t easy to fix sometimes.

    You have a lot of “replace” listed there. Can’t tell you how much I have saved by scouring Craig’s List and the local Habitat ReStore. Just bought a light fixture and medicine cabinet there yesterday. And a NEW shower door off Craig’s List for $30!!

    1. It’s a great resource! I might build or re purpose a lot of those things, except the appliances. Not many of the “replaces” are high priority, which means I have time to search out just the right thing!

      1. I have a list in my day planner (I know, Old School) all the time of things I am looking for and measurements, and colors. And then there are the things like the Vermont Castings woodstove I got at a yard sale ten years ago for $100. I think its actually gonna get installed in the cabin this summer!

  6. Wow. Your list makes ours look refreshing and trivial! Step 1: Stock up that liquor cabinet and install a dedicated beer fridge! You’re sure to attract more help if you check this off your list. 😉

  7. Oh my gosh this list just keeps going & going. But think of what a nice house you’ll have when it’s done… someday.

  8. I have some chipmunks that need removing too! How do you do that? I tried talking Tex into it but he doesn’t seem to receptive.

    You will have one amazing house when this is all done! Good luck!

    1. Oh my grandmother Mamie is the queen of chipmunk removal… they sell little live traps you put a little food in and then go release them a few miles away. (Or in my grandmothers case, behind the Jazzercise building…lol).

  9. Finally! The perfect opportunity to ask the question that has been driving me crazy since I truly learned the meaning of the word ‘renovation’ two years ago: How do you organize your Master List, decide what to do first when you wake up on Saturday morning, and budget for all of these things?

    My system is not working out for me, in so far as it hasn’t done any of the work itself yet. But I feel like there has to be a better way!

    My system is, as my husband calls it, “That Crazy F’ing Spreadsheet,” and the “That Crazy F’ing PowerPoint.”

    The spreadsheet has a tab per room/exterior area with one column devoted to tasks, and the next column an itemized budget for each of those tasks (and links to the items as needed). These items total up into a budget summary tab, and shopping list summary tabs.

    The powerpoint is basically an extreme whole-house mood board which has come in extremely helpful for making design decisions as a couple. There’s also a good chance that it only exists to assuage the anxiety that the spreadsheet provokes with its pretty pictures and promises of one day furnishing this place.

    For the record, I didn’t start out (quite this) insane. It’s just that we had a tight timeline (we’re moving this summer for work a little less than two years after buying), a very limited budget (I work full time and I’m not particularly well paid, and my husband is a more than full time student), and we’d never done anything like this before when we this accidental gut renovation took over our lives.

    1. Oh, Nicole… It’s a great question and deserves it’s own post because I totally don’t have it all figured out. A lot of it lives in my head and my gut, actually. When we were renovating Memorial and had a big budget to deal with I had at least three spreadsheets. For Liberty, this is my first shot at getting organized, but I promise a post next week with my plan of attack for organization and budgeting! (I have a whole separate checking account, just for house project funds. Ha.)

  10. Wow – I was overwhelmed just reading your list. I just recently found your site and look forward to watching your progress. (and really want to read about “bleaching your pipes” – that’s a new one to me).

  11. I think this list is perfect to supervise any remodeling project. I’d love to see how this DIY endeavor goes in the next few days. Keep the posts coming! (Please check out my site for a few remodeling videos you might like).

  12. That’s the world’s biggest honey-do list! I love having a list because crossing things off makes me deal like I’m accomplishing something and gives me motivation to do more. I’d say take the easiest things first and knock a couple things off that list quick. It always does wonders for making me want to keep going to finish the list.

  13. I keep myself calm(er) by writing lists like this. Mine is not quite as long, but close! The difference is, you have WAY more energy and willpower than I! I am positive you will be done WAY before me!

  14. Wow, Kit, this is one heck of a list! The “High Priority” entries alone entail so much! As someone mentioned earlier, hope you will alternate between the high priority/labor intensive projects and some less labor intensive/more fun items to have some quick gratification and encouragement to continue moving forward. Enjoy your time away!

  15. Well, negotiations did not go well today, so maybe we will be striking. This means I should have some extra time to help. Gotta look on the bright side.

  16. Your list looks daunting, but from reading your blog there is no doubt that you enjoyed every minute of making it as much as you will enjoy checking things off of it as they are completed. Have you considered putting something in a wall or ceiling space that can be found in 100 or so years by another renovator? Maybe this list and an excerpt of your blog? It seems this house and land is destined to live a long and varied life.

    1. That’s a really good idea. Some info and pics of the house, and a little bit about life back in old 2012. Let the next person to renovate find it.

  17. I just bought my first house and I am SO excited to get started on projects….of course I will have to move in first, lol. I am just waiting on my closing date. I started my own blog as well to document my challenges and triumphs!
    Just wanted you to know that I love your blog. I will definitely be stopping by again.
    Asia –

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