My Ta Dah! List

You can look at the experience of living in a “fixer-upper” from two different perspectives:

1.) An ever changing adventure that cultivates creativity through an array of home improvement projects.


2.) An exhausting and expensive undertaking , that causes stress because of the looming, never-ending “to do” list.

I try to be a “glass-half-full-number-1” kinda gal, but sometimes I just can’t help but be overwhelmed by number 2.

Wait….that came out wrong.
Oh! You know what I mean! :-)

Anyways, when I feel like I might be on the verge of getting overwhelmed by the amount of work there is left to do, I try and focus on some of my favorite things that are already done around here.

In my Dining Room, my favorite thing is the old screen door I salvaged from the back side of our house:

One day, I’ll have a pretty pantry beyond it’s squeaky vintage hinges:

And when I look back at photos of this area taken on the day we bought the house, those impatient feelings begin to subside…

…and give way to feelings of accomplishment.

Pottery Barn’s “Medici” pattern and the soft, alternating bands of color (Behr’s “Fencepost” and Sherwin Williams “Natural Choice”) in my Reading Room are my favorite parts of this little space…

There are about nine things I still have to do to this room, but after looking back at how she started out, the phrase “you’ve come a long way baby” does spring to mind.

One of my favorite parts of the Living Room is its thick, painted pine panelling:

It didn’t start out that way though. Looking back, one week of priming (oil-based Kilz) and painting (Sherwin Williams “Natural Choice”) really wasn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The “before” photo encourages me to make a little time each week to do something to the house, because something as simple as paint can entirely change the way a room makes you feel.

One of my favorite things about the Kitchen are the wood corbels I installed (while my husband was out of town!) underneath the upper cabinets:

They only cost $9.00 each at Home Depot, but they create such a “custom” look.

And my “before” shot of our Kitchen is the biggest motivator of all…

The best part is, I really didn’t spend a whole lot of money here. For the cabinets, I purchased paint, polyurethane, hardware, and extra moulding, to give them more height. For the walls, I purchased inexpensive bead board panelling, trim moulding and “barely blue” paint. We have temporarily laid a laminate wood flooring down on top of the existing tile. The grout between the tiles was badly stained and the tile itself was the wrong color. The laminate wood cost $.99 a square foot, so the total cost to lay laminate over the whole Kitchen was around $200.

So if you’re feeling like your “to do” list is heavily outweighing your “tah da!” list, look back at your old “before” photos. Then re-direct your focus away from what you still have left to do, and notice the incredible things you’ve already done!

“Be happy with where you are and, at the same time, eagerly and optimistically anticipate the thrill of the next great adventure.” – Kate Corbin

PS…Because of interest from a few publications, (so excited I can’t even stand it) Kevin decided he should tackle some more unfinished projects in the Kitchen first. So the Guest Room will have to wait a bit. He started adding more moulding to the top of the cabinets yesterday, and in between Consultations, I’ve taken a picture of every step so that I can post a tutorial here this week. Check back if you’re interested!

Oh! And I encourage you to stop by and visit my new, creative blog friend, Victoria, at: Shade that Lamp

Nesting Place
Guest Room Update

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!