Tag Archives: 2016

2016 Year In Review

2016 has come to a close, so I wanted to look back at the progress we made. This was a busy year, with both of us still adjusting to our new careers and planning our October wedding. But I think we made enormous progress on the house, and reflecting on all that we accomplished will hopefully be motivation to keep up the hard work this year.

In early 2016, we finally wrapped up the trim and painting on the stair column – at this point, we still need to add some base and top trim, but we’re planning to install the crown molding downstairs sometime this spring, so that will be the final step of this job. Apparently I haven’t taken a picture of the column after it was painted, so this is the best one I’ve got:


The next big project of 2016 was our downstairs powder room. What began with a new toilet seat resulted in a gutted room and complete renovation. We painted, tiled and grouted the floor and backsplash, installed a new vanity with a new faucet, new mirror, new towel/toilet paper holder fixtures, and a new threshold.

We installed all the chair molding trim in the dining room, completed refinishing the china cabinet, and got our dining room furniture all set up to finish this room.


We built 2 raised bed gardens which did pretty well last year. I just bought seeds for 2017, which I’ll start inside next month. I’ll be planting cucumbers (pickling size and regular), bush string beans, snow peas, eggplant, jalapeno pepper, bush zucchini, roma and grape-sized tomatoes, spaghetti squash, mescalin, leeks, garlic, and various herbs. If anyone wants extra seedlings, let me know!

Our furniture work this year was pretty pitiful, and I hope we have more time to do furniture projects in 2017. The two big pieces we did this year were building a front porch bench, and redoing  a small set of shelves for our master bathroom:

Our biggest renovation of the year was the kitchen. In this room we replaced the flooring with our engineered hardwood, sanded, primed, and painted all of our cabinets and installed one more new cabinet on the far wall, added new cabinet hardware, got granite countertops and a new sink and faucet installed, tiled/grouted/applied sealant to the backsplash, got all new appliances and mounted the microwave over the stove, created open shelving on 2 walls, and painted the walls.

In this room the final projects for this spring are installing cabinet crown molding at the tops of the cabinets, finding and installing new light fixtures, and building our island, which will have matching granite.

We also bought a new HVAC system (gas package with AC and furnace) and just updated our laundry room with a new washer and dryer last month, but these don’t make for fun pictures, just not-so-fun expenses. But they are upgrades nonetheless.

So what’s on the list for 2017? First we want to finish up the final tasks downstairs: cabinet crown molding in the kitchen, ceiling crown molding in the entryway, living room, dining room, and possibly powder room, building a functional kitchen island, getting a stupid banister installed on our stairs (still hasn’t been done!), and adding new light fixtures for the kitchen and dining room. I also want to get my gardens going in March, and finish creating a bordered backyard flower garden out of the extra jungle gym wood. We also are ordering new blinds for almost all the windows on the house that will be the thicker wood-look blinds, so we’ll have to install those when they come in. We also need to have the house washed and gutters cleaned (which we’ll hire out for lack of good ladders) as well as have the lawn aerated before we seed it.

The big project of 2017 will take place in the summer months when Nik doesn’t have a 2 hour commute twice a week for his teaching responsibility at UNC Pembroke: our master bath renovation. For this, we’re planning to tile the floor, refinish and raise up our vanity and add undermount sinks with a nicer (possibly granite) countertop, paint the walls, rip out the old shower, replace the shower pan and tile the walls, add a new glass shower door, and add new faucet hardware for the sinks, shower, and tub. After vaguely tallying up what we’ve spent on this house so far, we’re around the $15K mark, so we’re going to attempt to keep the budget pretty tight for the bathroom – ideally in the $2000 range. Cheers to 2017!

Lots to Do

The holidays are over, and nothing got done on the house since Nik and I were traveling for the two holiday weekends. I’m itching to get started on our projects again, so to tide me over till the weekend I made a to-do list for the year…or at least the first 9 months of the year. We’re getting married in October, and we’d love to invite our out-of-town family and friends over to see the house after our rehearsal dinner, so the goal is to have our downstairs mostly done for that gathering. Here’s a breakdown of what I ambitiously envision will happen month by month:


  1. Finish stairway column and trim (fill, sand, caulk, paint)
  2. Finish floor quarter-round trim (sand, caulk, paint)
  3. Install floor transition pieces
  4. Install and finish dining room chair rail (fill, sand, caulk, paint)
  5. Finish painting china cabinet
  6. Purchase kitchen appliances?


  1. Install stair banister
  2. Rip out downstairs bathroom vanity, install tile floor, paint walls
  3. Build our vegetable garden!


  1. Install downstairs bathroom vanity (need to raise the plumbing since the new sink is higher) and mirror
  2. Purchase unfinished kitchen cabinets for far wall of kitchen
  3. Purchase cabinet trim for top of cabinets
  4. Sand /paint base cabinets
  5. Plant garden


  1. Remove and sand/paint upper cabinets and new trim
  2. Paint kitchen
  3. Rehang upper cabinets a couple inches higher
  4. Rip out kitchen floors; lay new flooring
  5. Install quarter round trim, paint, fill, sand, caulk, paint


  1. Hire electrician to install microwave over stove/move outlet
  2. Paint/install crown molding downstairs (maybe just a couple rooms to start?)
  3. Refinish old fireplace mantle (we still need to find a cool one!)


  1. Catch up/continue with crown molding
  2. Build a kitchen island

July, August, and Beyond

  1. Master bath renovation: new tile floor, new vanity/mirror, rip out tub and relocate toilet?, add a linen closet where tub used to be, rip out shower and make a little larger/tile shower and install new glass door
  2. Build kitchen nook under the far wall of new cabinets, including a built-in storage bench and table.

So what do you think? It’s probably too ambitious, but there are projects we can hold off on if we get too backed up, like the crown molding. We had originally planned to replace the kitchen cabinets but we’re going to see how it goes painting the existing ones. We decided we’d like to spend more money redoing the master bathroom, plus our kitchen cabinets are actually in great condition (they’re just ugly). We’re hoping some top trim, new hardware, a new coat of paint, and new counter tops and floors will do the trick.

Happy New Year to everyone, and may you all be as productive (hopefully!) as us in 2016!