And Then The Floodgates Opened

So far this week I’m averaging about four hours of sleep per night, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m having a little post-traumatic stress from the last three months, or if I’m just having too much fun tearing off wallpaper to go to bed at a decent hour…


What I know for sure is that 1.) the number of obscure scifi references I use in my posts is inversely proportional to the amount of sleep I get. As is the number of run on sentences I write. And 2.) when I’m laying in bed wide awake at 4AM I count house projects instead of sheep.

Once I get an idea in my head it takes all of my willpower not to jump right in and start working on it, so for the last few months I’ve been trying hard not to think too much about what other things I’d like to do to the the house. I just sort of averted my eyes from the entire interior the same way I stare at the ceiling when I’m walking down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Because if I don’t the next thing I know I’m dipping an Oreo into peanut butter, deep frying it, and dunking it in chocolate syrup, just to see what a heart attack on a stick tastes like.

I’ve refrained from deep-frying any Oreos lately, but now that I’ve got free reign to start any number of projects I want on the house it’s kind of  like someone plugged Pinterest directly into my brain and started a download. (“I can carry nearly eighty gigs of data in my head,” anyone?)

The question is where to start..

The master bathroom?


(Which is a complete demo and rebuild.)

Or the future office?


(Change the closet, add a built-in desk, install the hardwood floor.)

Or the worlds biggest hallway?


(Paint and stain the stairs, prime the newly wallpaperless walls, and paint everything else.)

Or maybe those built-ins I’ve considered for the downstairs bath?


You know, you know, in my head I’m going, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I’ll take one of each, please.”

And then there’s the fact that I did something slightly unplanned and went an bought a few new appliances last weekend, and all of the sudden I’m also thinking it might be time to start some kitchen upgrades…


Nothing too crazy, just a little paint and maybe some new cabinet hardware to start. (Go ahead and laugh at the fact that I think it will stop there, because we all know that starting a room is like opening a can of Pringles, once you pop…)

But really, why wouldn’t I tear apart the one fully functional room in the house?

So this is the tipping point where things could really turn into a trainwreck of unfinished projects if I let it, but what I’m hoping for instead is “controlled chaos”, so here’s the plan.

1.) In the spirit of finishing things that I start, the rest of the wallpaper is coming off the upstairs hallway and those walls are getting primed and painted first.

2.) There are 4 gallons of paint currently taking up the passenger seat of my car, which means while the appliances are all being shuffled around anyway, I’m also going to tackle painting the kitchen cabinets and updating the hardware.

3.) Since I’ll be in there and high off paint fumes for a week or two anyway, the wood paneling is also going to get a coat of paint. (Or like 3 coats of primer and a coat of paint.)

4.) I WILL NOT start tearing up the floor in there. Probably.

5.) After all the kitchen painting, I’m going to take a time out from the VOCs for some exterior maintenance that needs to be done before winter. I expect to be at this point around the end of September.

6.) If I can make a final call on the barn color, I’m going to paint the new siding on the barn.

7.) I am not going to demo the master bath or tear the carpet off upstairs, even though I really want to.

8.) I’m going to start a series of cheap “quick wins” through the first floor of the house, which includes painting the tool room (and moving some of the tools to their new home… more on that later), painting the downstairs bath and adding a new mirror and light, painting the rest of the world’s biggest hallway, and finishing the paint and ceiling patches in the parlor. I may even go crazy and get a couch. Or do the super classy thing and just bring the lawn furniture inside.

9.) Then I’m going to tear out the carpet in the master bedroom and demo the master bath. Or finish off the office. Or maybe loop back around and take care of the kitchen floor. Clearly this step is a little fuzzy still.

What I know for sure is that I’m going to be covered in paint for the next two months, which– if I can keep up my recent pace– is how long I expect it to take me to get through the first 8 items on the list. And if someone wants to make an empty threat about having an appraiser come through to check my work, I may be able to get it done even sooner.

I told you the fun was just getting started…

29 Responses

  1. I know you didn’t ask, but I’ll weigh in anyway. Whenever I get into a new place, I like to do the MBR first, because that’s what usually gets pushed to the bottom of the list. And it’s so nice to have a place to retire to that’s finished and pleasant.

  2. Well the 80 gigs of data has to be a quote from Mr. Data. As far as your project list – WOW! Your kitchen is going to look amazing with the paneling painted – can’t wait!

  3. Johnny Mnemonic.

    Reading through your mental process- and thoroughly recognizing it- makes me glad that A)any home I purchase here in SoCal will be comparatively tiny and B) I will have to answer to a higher power (the better half) on a daily basis.

    That being said, I’d scratch any plans for the downstairs bath as it appears to be the one room that isn’t crying out for help.

    1. Got it in one!

      Also, you’re right about the downstairs bath, but there’s a little drywall issue on the ceiling and the paint is very dirty in real life, so I’m just thinking small touch-ups there.

  4. Johnny Mnemonic.

    What overwhelms me about your list only seems to feed that energy monster inside of you! I confess, I’m most excited to see what you do to the master bath – that space is a pinterest after waiting to happen! And painting the kitchen and the stairwell will probably satisfy you for quite some time. Nothing pulls a room out of a 70s or 80s time warp better than paint.

  5. i’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now i ill say that to me having one room completely finished would be heaven so whenever i was on overload id just step inside, an in that spirit im totally thinking the office might be a good room to start(and finish) also making room for more projects!! 🙂

    1. Totally agree and I very strongly considered the office, the thing that is stopping me is that I want to adjust the weird corner closet and it happens to contain the plumbing from the master bath. I’m afraid if I adjust it now and finish the room, I’m going to have to tear into the closet again when I do the master… so I think I’m stuck waiting a few more months for that one.

      1. that totally makes waiting with that room a majorly great idea as the idea of finishing something just to ruin it again is way more work! and a pain, looking forward to see and read of your future adventures..

  6. I vote for finishing the office as #9 – because it looks like you already have the wood for the flooring, and it’s so satisfying to complete a project that you already have the raw materials for – like a 2 birds with 1 stone win! The project is done and looks great AND you’ve cleaned up a bit. At least that’s my current philosophy on project selection.

  7. You just wore me out, lol! I can’t wait to follow along and see what you get yourself into 🙂

  8. When I first read the title of this post, I was like, “Oh no! What happened to make her cry? Maybe she’s overwhelmed.” And then I stopped thinking that and realized who’s blog I was reading.

    I love your list, and I can’t wait to see your kitchen get did.

    1. Oh, god, I didn’t even think of that! No crying here… just a lot of ideas and tons of fun!

      1. My thought was…..she’s quoting the Bible. No joke!

        “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

        He’s THAT good!

  9. This may be blasphemy, but how about hiring out all the painting (horrors) which frees you up to do all the building and finishing?

    This advice is coming from someone that spent at least 10 years renovating a 1926 bungalow and is offically “over” diy. Take it with a grain of salt!

    1. I have to say I read this comment… blinked at the computer screen like fifteen times and then was like, THAT IS FUCKING GENUIS. Why don’t I hire out the painting (which I don’t love to do) so that I can spend more time building stuff?

      Why didn’t this occur to me earlier? Well, because it never occurs to me to pay someone to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing myself, but this might be the perfect time. I’m ready for a quick win, even if I just get them to do the kitchen. I found two numbers on Angie’s List tonight and I’m calling tomorrow!

  10. You’re a dingbat, albeit a lovely one, and we ALL love you more with each post ! Two things: 1) Find a non-habit forming sleep aid, like “Mid Nite PM” and use it. I, too, went on a 4 to 5 hour sleep ration, then had two (Doc says 3) heart attacks! Sleep deprivation can support a shorter life-span ! Don’t take that chance, please ! You’re worth much more than an early burnout ! 2) Built-in open shelves (in the bathroom or anywhere else, like the entry), did you stop to think or realize that open storage NEEDS TO BE DUSTED REGULARLY ? Where the hell will you find the time or inclination for THAT nasty chore ? (LOL)

    1. BTW – if the ‘future office’ is “bedroom #4 behind the parlor”, give some thought to keeping it as a bedroom for use by the live-in caregiver you’ll need after you collapse ! “Just sayin’ “.

    2. So true, I AM a dingbat! lol. Haven’t been called that in a while.

      Good news is I come from long-lived people (had 13 grandparents alive when I was born, and my great grandma walked 9 holes of golf a day until she was 95). I’m built to be a workhorse.

      Oh, and don’t let me fool you, I totally hire out my dusting.

  11. Hoping you have the fairly recent Handyman mag on hand as it has loads of idea for making painting more (excuse the pun) ‘pallet-able’. I especially like the idea of have a roller that is much larger than normal with a large bucket to match! This should be quite the transformation! Enjoy!

  12. Living in an old house,averting your eyes is a skill that is essential to ones sanity. Any part of your kitchen Reno is a big time consuming job. You are right about the three primer coats on the paneling. Seems a shame to do all that painting only to tear up the floor later.I would be tempted to devout a block of time when you can do it all, paint, floor, cabinets, ceiling. Finish off the stairway, center hall. Buy a sofa. Have a party.

  13. Totally want to see that kitchen getting a little facelift. My kitchen is tiny (duh) and so my kitchen dreams are thwarted so I like to live through other people’s kitchen makeovers.

  14. I thought before that I liked the idea of the barn being red but something about seeing the photo above-where you can see all of the buildings together…now I really lean towards gray. 🙂 I think that would look sharp.

    I can’t wait to start seeing all of the interior changes. Exciting!

  15. painting my kitchen cabinets is on my list. i’m looking forward to see how you do it, because you’ll get to it first. kitchen is last on our list.

  16. I was going to say “one room at a time, woman!” but I know how useless that will be. Have fun and take lots of pictures! And maybe take a night off a week, huh?

  17. That would be a hard list to choose from! I like the idea someone else had of completely finishing one room to feel a sense of accomplishment. But I would have a hard time not tearing into that master bath!

    When looking at the picture of your kitchen, the ceiling seems to slope left and slope right. Wouldn’t the right slope be sloping back into the rest of the house? Is that just a “fake slope” and the roof line does not slope back towards the house? Just curious!

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