Liberty House: Master List (2015 Update)

So, I know, I did all of the gratitude/nostalgic stuff earlier this week–and just in case I haven’t made myself clear, I am grateful for everything I have on this property, from the top of the hay-in-my-hair to the bottom of my chicken-shit-covered boots– but let’s also acknowledge that the brass-tacks of a renovating a home come down to one thing: the master list.


The fact that I never feel like I’ve really accomplished anything (much less enough) is probably a character flaw, but, you know, considering what other character flaws are out there to choose from I’m okay with this one. Keeps me motivated, at least.

In the last year I’ve make progress on 6 items on this list, checked another 7 off completely, and, of course, there’s a bunch of new work– growing, canning, adding new animals, and keeping everything more-or-less alive–that simply happens by virtue of this being a farm.

Some of those projects include my garden, my new pergola, my workshop, my bedroom, the animal barn, the upstairs bathroom, and building new furniture


I won’t get all philosophical about this right now, but it does seem that the more things (plant and animal) that I grow and sustain here, the less important some of those purely aesthetic projects on the house seem. To that end, I’ve added a list of “farm projects” to the beginning of this list.

Here’s where I’m at: 192 items (77ish checked off)

Farm Projects (not originally a part of this list)

  1. Make the barn liveable for animals done!
  2. Install fence for pastures done!
  3. Learn to raise and integrate chickens done!
  4. Learn to raise and integrate guinea hens done!
  5. Hatch your own Nugs <– not yet, maybe next year
  6. Learn to keep bee hives and process honey
  7. Plant an orchard
  8. Buy a tractor done!
  9. Build compost area
  10. New-2015: Plan for sheep

General Electric

  1. Fix all non-working outlets (kitchen/laundry room specifically) done!
  2. Figure out outbuilding electric <– Here’s what I’ve figured out. There is none. There probably should be, though. The animal barn has electric!
  3. Redo diagram at main <– Note to self: Do this. It will make your life so much easier. (Note to self, 2015: It’s a year later and you still haven’t done this, and, yes, it’s still a pain in the ass every single time you try to turn a breaker off.)

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 <– Is going to require digging up and replacing part of the driveway. Scheduled for 2015. That’s how behind I am.
  5. Get exterior spigots working <– 50/50 (see above re: tearing up the driveway)

General HVAC

  1. Get boiler working done!

Exterior- High Priority

  1. Replace roof done!
  2. Cover holes in brick exterior on second floor <– might have something to do with this…
  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 done!
  13. Get rid of Ricky the Racoon I’m getting quite good at this

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
  7. NEW-2014: Replace front porch
  8. NEW-2014: Re-side addition

Yard/Property – High Priority

  1. Remove debris pile done! (Biggest project ever.)
  2. Clean out donkey shed done! <– And wasn’t that a project…
  3. Replace roof on donkey shed done! (First ever roofing project completed on my own.)
  4. Put up donkey fence done! (And not a moment too soon.)
  5. Check/fix electric at donkey barn <– Scheduled for this summer done!
  6. Put up clothes line done! (An easy build, and there’s nothing better than line-dried sheets.)

Yard/Property – Eventually

  1. Landscape around house – in progress
  2. Plant vegetable garden – in progress (Some boxes and pathways went in last year, with more to come in 2014) (Kicked even more ass on this in 2014 with a fence and more boxes, but there’s still more to come.)
  3. Plant grapes/vineyard/lots of shit
  4. Build chicken coop/garden shed done! (Since I built two– this one AND this one— do I get to check it off twice?)
  5. Create walkway to bonfire pit and tent area
  6. Build pergola off of garage – not done, but started.
  7. Fence in propane tank off of garage done!
  8. Build cabin/guest house/hermitage <– expect this shit to be on this list still in the year 2025
  9. Repaint mailbox – done! Check it out.
  10. NEW-2014: Finish re-siding garage – in progress and looking pretty good
  11. NEW-2014: Repaint pole-barn

Kitchen – High Priority

  1. Replace dishwasher, fridge, stove – Two outta three (Got rid of the dishwasher and murder fridge, stove still needs to be replaced eventually.)
  2. Replace recessed light bulbs <– pretty sure I did this and then half of them burnt out again… part of the neverending battle to keep this house lit.
  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<– Nah. The arches are growing on me.
  2. Widen doorway to hall/bathroom <– Yes!

Parlor – High Priority (Check this out, mostly finished!)

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

Parlor- Eventually

  1. Paint room – done!
  2. Replace glass on broken widow
  3. Fix mullions on broken window
  4. Replace glass block
  5. Install new light fixturedone! (Although I might find a new one eventually)
  6. Buy rug
  7. Buy couch, chairs
  8. Buy TVdone!
  9. Build TV stand – done! and looks great, if I do say so myself.
  10. Build mirror
  11. “This little house of mine” painting for above fireplace done!
  12. Replace outlet/switch coversdone!

Parlor – Maybe

  1. Remove archway <- Nah.

Entry – High Priority

  1. Refinish floor <- Note to self: Good god, just do this already. (Note to self 2015: Please? Please just do this already?)
  2. Refinish/paint stairs – In progress, forever
  3. Remove wallpaperdone!
  4. Patch drywall holes from skylights done!

Entry – Eventually

  1. Remove wainscoting <- Nope. Painted it, looks good, no need to make my life more complicated.
  2. Replace bottom part of window trim <- Also, no.
  3. Install horizontal wood paneling <- No, again.
  4. Paint french doors to study (Red or black)– done! (Check it out here.)
  5. Remove door to closet under stairs, add built-ins
  6. Figure out what to do with beam
  7. Replace light fixtures. done!

Office – High Priority (Also one of the done-est rooms in the house, see it here.)

  1. Refinish floor done!

Office – Eventually

  1. Remove wallpaper– done!
  2. Tear out closets, replace with built-ins <– Still love this idea, but love the closet space more.
  3. Paint walls/trim– done!
  4. Replace light fixtures– done!
  5. Figure out what to do with beam
  6. Build a desk and a workbench. done and done!
  7. NEW: Superhero doors for closets

Tool Room (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! (Check it out here.)
  2. Replace shower head
  3. Remove baseboard
  4. Install wood paneling, paint
  5. Build/Install built-ins <- Decided to do something different.
  6. Move outlet by mirror – done!
  7. Replace mirrordone!
  8. Replace light fixturedone!
  9. New shower curtaindone!
  10. Get rug

Downstairs Bath- Eventually

  1. Replace floor
  2. Replace shower surround with tile

Laundry Room – Eventually

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

Hallway – Eventually

  1. Paintdone!
  2. Paint basement doordone! (Built a new one, and it’s awesome.)
  3. Replace floor
  4. Add new light fixture – done! (See it here.)

Mudroom- High Priority

  1. Better organization for coats, shoes tools– done! ( I went with this option.)
  2. Paint– done!
  3. NEW – Build a gun rack <– hell yes! Why haven’t I done this yet? Also, include space for bows.

Mudroom – Eventually

  1. Replace floor
  2. Build benches and lockers for storage <– I actually built a big fucking chalkboard instead

Basement- High Priority

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

Basement – Eventually

  1. Remove bags of dirt/dead bodies <– three years later, bags full of possible dead body parts are STILL THERE… I’m so good at life.
  2. Clean off storage shelves on stairway
  3. Figure out random pump in storage room– done!
  4. Put storage shelves in storage room
  5. Dehumidifier – Yes! Check one off the list. I did this.
  6. 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 – done! Not exactly the way I intended, but still…
  2. Install hardwood

Master Bath – High Priority

  1. Patch ceiling
  2. Replace missing section of window

Master Bath- Eventually

  1. Demo everythingdone!
  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 (I’ve done this twice now, and I’m getting pretty good at doing it myself…)

Bedroom # 3 – Eventually (this got moved up in the priority list in 2014)

  1. Remove carpet
  2. Install hardwood
  3. Paintdone! (fuck, okay, technically it’s not all the way done and I need to do some of the trim and the doors, but it’s realclose.)
  4. Update light fixtures
  5. Furnishdone! Who has a bed and dresser like a real adult now? This girl!

Upstairs Hallway – High Priority

  1. Patch drywall done!

Upstairs Hallway – Eventually

  1. Remove carpet – done!
  2. Install hardwood
  3. Remove transom in hallway to master bedroom <– totally forgot I wanted to do this, but it’s a good idea.
  4. Do something with linen closet in hallway

Upstairs Bath- High Priority

  1. Replace toilet (cleaned it, replacing not necessary! Okay, now I replaced it.
  2. Replace sink faucets done!
  3. Fix peeling paint on walls/ ceiling done!
  4. Paint walls done! (Did something extra-fun with this one while I was at it.)
  5. Paint cabinet <- not necessary because I refaced it
  6. Get mirrors

Upstairs Bath- Eventually

  1. Replace tub surrounddone! (Technically working on finishing the tile right now)
  2. Remove and re-tile floor – in progress (Old tile is out, new tile is bought…)
  3. Build new doors for vanitydone! (Bought ’em, but still counts.)

Furniture to Buy or Build

  • New couch for living room (buy)
  • Two chairs for living room (buy)
  • Bookshelf for living room (buy) done! (See it here.)
  • New coffee table for living room (build)
  • TV stand for living room (build) done! (See it here.)
  • Shelving for office (build) done!
  • New chairs for desk in office (buy, or paint existing)
  • Old kitchen table to refinish <- got the table, need to refinish it
  • New kitchen chairs (buy)
  • Vanity for downstairs bath (build)
  • Vanity for Master bath (build)
  • King-sized bed for Master (build) Technically bought, but still a really good decision. 
  • Double bed for spare room (buy) <– got mattresses, need frame
  • Twin bed for spare room (buy)

Now if my life was a TV show, I’d have all of this knocked out in a week without even breaking a sweat. But, if the last three years is any indication, it’s going to take me a full decade to check everything off this list. And, hell, that’s half the reason I bought this property in the first place.

In the meantime, I’ve got this bigass chalkboard to keep me on track for the year…


27 Responses

    1. I’m not sure about how I feel about that hive though… seems a little gimmicky. (Also, I know it’s meant not to disturb the bees, but disturbing them is what tells them something has happened to their hive so they check things out… if you don’t disturb them, then they go to uncap honey cells one day and then honey isn’t there? I’m not sure this is doing that much good…)

    1. It is! But it may have to be a photo-tour since I’m not sure I have the time for video-editing right now…

  1. Do I see a duckling in your instagram feed? I don’t see a duckling on this list. Ducks are the best! And once in awhile they lay eggs with beautiful orange yolks. Such great eggy-flavour (if you’re into that sort of thing) and great hilarity the rest of the time.

    1. You do! But they aren’t my ducks… they’re my grandmas. 😉 I wouldn’t feel great having ducks unless I had a nice pond for them to swim in.

  2. I see you want to “remove transom in hallway to master bedroom”. Think twice about this… why? Because when you have high ceilings, the transom’s when open allow air to flow in and out of the rooms, meaning in the summer you do not trap all the hot air in the house. I wish we had not closed up ours…the house does not circulate air like it did when we first moved here and we have all sorts of issues that keep popping up. I think while we try to get things all tight and efficient, old houses were built in ways that were meant to breathe. The work you are able to do is scary!! Can we see how your staircase turned out after the challenge, or is it all still in progress (especially the ceiling work.. you REALLY scared me on that job!)

    1. I might have just used the wrong word here. There’s a part of the wall that has been lowered between the “master bedroom” side of the house and the hallway that I want to remove. It’s probably mostly decorative, but that’s a good point about transoms that open and close!

  3. I can’t wait to see what the donkey’s do when you show up with sheep! I wonder if they’d play together. Speaking of which, do the donkey’s play together? Do donkey’s play?

  4. Amazing “DONE” list, especially for things that needed to be done! The aesthetic projects will get done in time – always nice to walk into your home and enjoy it “done”! What about using some of your “scrap” wood to build a couple of box frames for your double bed/twin bed needs?

  5. Hi Kit,

    What a list! It motivates me yet exhausts me at the same time.

    Regarding #3 on the General Electric list – you could try just keeping an index card (or a flap from a nearby cardboard box…you know, whatever’s handy) available at your main panel and jot down breaker # and what went out anytime you blow a breaker. My husband and I have done this…10 years later the card is almost complete. But there was no way we were going to take a day to figure it all out at once.

    Kudos to you and your brave spirit!

  6. I had to laugh at “Redo diagram at main.” I totally get that. When we moved into our 1972 bi-level my father-in-law and husband finally got so frustrated going back and forth to the completely inaccurate electrical box list that they spent a good hour re-diagramming the box. I’m so glad they did…makes life a lot easier.

    You have knocked out so much! Cheers!

  7. It’s really amazing how LITTLE we get done compared to what we’d hoped. But really, you did get a lot done.

    The pace of housework for us has gone from “making progress” to glacial since the baby came around. Those babies, so distracting 🙂

  8. It’s a never ending list to me. Glad to see you investing so much into it. Would love to see more pictures of your work, especially bathroom project.

  9. I’m quite impressed! One long list with a lot of stuff done and even more to do.. Keep it going, Storage Denmark Hill Ltd.

  10. Kit, you should absolutely feel like you’ve accomplished a lot–the list is getting done! You’re working around a lot of different areas of expertise and that makes the time it takes to complete eah task even longer.

  11. I bet once you are done with this, you’re gonna be on cloud 9. I mean look at that list, I just wonder how long it’s gonna take to get over. Good luck for that.

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