Friday, February 29, 2008

House To Do List

I made this list back in early January but I forgot to post it until now. Since my home is both my haven and my workplace, I enjoy working on it and fixing it up. So, here are:


1. Remodel the kitchen. It's an old 1970s kitchen, not pretty at all. It's got good potential though, and since the kitchen is the heart of the home I think it will have a great impact on the rest of the house. Upgrading the kitchen is also usually worth it in terms of the resale value of a house. I'm going to be so happy when this kitchen is like new again. We spend a lot of time there.

2. Get Peter a nice desk. His current desk is a small flimsy corner computer desk that the sellers of the condo we bought right after we got married gave to us. It's an eyesore in our living room and it's the first thing you see when you come in the front door and look over to the right. Another bad thing about it is that it has no drawers, and since Peter runs his own company on the side he's got a lot of paperwork that needs a home. So we really need to get him a big desk that will be functional and also attractive, since it will be in the living room.

3. Upgrade John's room. I've been working on this since I first wrote this list. We replaced his crib with a toddler bed, removed the changing table from the room, got a bigger bookshelf to hold his ever-expanding collection of books, and changed the furniture around. His nursery theme was (and still is) cute little sailboats. He's going to be 3 years old next week and it's time to make his room into a little boy's room instead of a baby's room (as sad as that makes me!). I think we'll go with a solar system theme since he loves that stuff. Just a few days ago I got a cool silver planet lamp to replace his sailboat lamp. Now I want to get new curtains, a few new pictures for the walls, and some other things.

4. Do something to fix up our ugly fireplace. It's in our family room. It's an eyesore. It's red and brown brick with these weird sloppy white streaks, almost like graffiti. Sometimes I don't know what the previous owners of this house were thinking when they did certain things. My friend Jen re-did her fireplace beautifully with a special paint and told me how to do it, so I'm going to try that too. I think I'd also like to have a mantle put up onto the fireplace. This will be a good DIY summer project, although I'm sure I'll need help with finding and installing the mantle.

5. Plant a vegetable garden. This is ambitious for me. I've been wanting to do it for years but I've continuously failed to start a garden. 2008 will be the year that I succeed! I'm going to start a small one and see how it goes. The idea of growing some of our own food is a very appealing one, and I think it will be a great way to teach John about nature and responsibility. I want to grow tomatoes, one of my favorite vegetables, and anything else that will have a good chance of success despite being taken care of by a gardening novice.

6. Get a nice wooden swingset for long hours of enjoyment by John. Apart from nature and a little sandbox, our backyard is a bit boring and I'd really like to have something like that for John and his friends to play with.

7. Get new window treatments. Our blinds are those old white aluminum ones that gather and show dust so easily. Some of them are dented because John has gotten a hold of them. 'Nuff said. I'd like to get white wooden (probably faux-wooden) blinds because they look nice and bright and they're durable.

We could use some new curtains too. They're a little tricky for me. I have very simple tastes for curtains: I like valance ones because I like to have as much light as possible come into the house, and since we have nice views of the woods from most of our windows, I don't see any need to cover the windows up too much. So most of our curtains I don't have a problem with, but some of them could really use a nicer upgrade. I'm not that good with curtain style and I think I might need to hire a consultant to help me with this. They'd probably try to convince me that my style preferences for windows are all wrong, which maybe they are, but that's how I like 'em!

8. Get a new chandelier for the dining room. It's black, modern, and reminds me of a Medieval torture device. I want something a lot different than that sitting over my head when I eat.

As each project on this list is completed this year I'll post before and after pictures. If all goes well, by year's end our house should have a lot of nice improvements made to it!


Peter said...

The desk was ordered 8 weeks ago and is still not here! The kitchen will be here next week, we're excited to say. As for the medeival torture device...don't get any ideas...I haven't been that bad lately!

Alyson said...

I like how organized you are. I need to be that way because I have about a million and one projects I need to get done around my house too!

Katie said...

Donna, I would love you hear about how to paint a fireplace. We have to do something about ours, as well. We like the brink ok, except that it looks like one of the previous owners had a fire of some sort and painted over some part of it with a grey paint that doesn't match the previous paint at all.

We also want to redo our kitchen, but its not something we're going to be able to do ourselves, since it will require taking out at least 1 wall.

Gardening is the best! We are going to be getting started this weekend on our spring veggies. I would also suggest that you do green beans in addition to your tomatoes, since they are pretty easy for the gardening novice!

Donna said...

Well, the workers have been here all day today installing the new cabinets and doing some other things. John and I are supposed to be up in Mass. staying at my mom's house right now, but yesterday morning Peter and I woke up sick with a stomach bug, and I'm better now but I still wasn't well enough to make the drive this morning. So we've been living upstairs all day, eating Honey Nut Cheerios and Tostitos. At least tomorrow we'll be able to go places while the workers are here since I'll have my strength back. And the end result will be worth it...I think the kitchen is going to look pretty gorgeous!

Donna said...

Katie--I'll let you know about how to fix up the fireplace once I do it. I'm sure I'll write a blog post about it. There's some kind of special primer and/or paint for fireplaces that you can get at a Home Depot or Lowe's. I need to talk to my friend again. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one with a funky fireplace!
Thanks for the suggestion about green beans. I will now plan on planting those too. When should I start planting for summer veggies?

Katie said...

Andy also made the suggestion that leaf lettuces are also easy for beginners - they are a spring/fall crop, so you will want to check with your zone and get them in in the next month or so. I would avoid iceberg or romaine, because head lettuces are buggy. But leaf lettuces, like a nice spring mix, are easy and quick growers. Plus, you always need lettuce!

Ok, so I did a quick search for you on - they have a gardening map that you can use to get a ballpark idea of when to start planting, based on where in the country you are. In early May, youc an plant lettuce (seeds). In late May, you can start planting beans (they also go straight into the ground). For tomatoes, you want to hold off until early June, and plant them as seedlings (you can either buy the seedlings, or start them yourself about a month or so in advance - but for a novice gardener, I suggest buying them :-)

Donna said...

Thanks Katie! That is incredibly helpful information.