well, we’ve put the hammers down for the year. this would probably feel a little better if there were more than a few days left in 2017, but we plan to relish this short break from the revolving door of contractors, soak up everything we’ve accomplished this year, enjoy our sweet two-year-old and plan for the year ahead. spoiler: we are planning for 2018 to be 2017’s foil. give me all the lazy sundays.
this year was so good in so many ways, as we turned our dream to live on vancouver island into reality. but it was also so challenging in so many ways, not unexpectedly, but also not in a way we were able to truly prepare ourselves for. i can only speak for myself, but making room in my life for a new baby (something i did at the beginning of 2016) felt infinitely easier than making room in my life for a 100-year-old house suffering from various levels of neglect.
we value minimalism and simplicity in our family and adhering to these values pays us back dividends. we also value a beautiful home. it may seem superficial to some, but i do believe our homes are the backdrops to our lives and that you should love the way your home looks and makes you feel. these values came into conflict this year, as making a tired old home beautiful again is not a simple or minimal task. as we get further down the road of renovating this house, i am optimistic that minimalism and simplicity will come back into balance with living in a beautiful space. my goal for 2018 is not to cross a host of house projects off my list, but to achieve that balance once again.
back in the spring, i put together a post called plan of attack — this was our oak house to-do list for 2017. not even for 2017 — for the latter half of 2017, seeing as we didn’t take possession until the middle of may.
the list included the following projects:
- clean the house! sounds simple, but this was an estate sale containing 70+ years worth of possessions…
- paint both bedrooms and renovate the bedroom closets
- replace the washer/dryer
- improve security on the basement doors
- add extensions to existing downspouts
- get settled — connect the internet, pay property taxes, etc.
the tasks above were meant to be ticked off before our moving van arrived. it feels like a long time ago that we were buying breakfast, lunch and dinner from the coffee shop at the end of the street and sleeping on a mattress in the dining room. we managed to get all these things done, except that i was still painting the bedrooms well into august. (painting the walls is one thing… painting the walls, insides of closets, closet ceilings, ceilings, closet doors, doors, window frames and all the trim takes more than one afternoon!)
the project list for the rest of the year was quite a bit longer:
- replace the roof
- replace the eavestroughs, soffits and fascia boards*
- fix the bow in the roofline
- create a temporary solution to water pooling at the back of the house
- replace the window coverings in the bedrooms
- replace the kitchen appliances
- replace the hot water tank with an on-demand system*
- convert our wood-burning fireplace to natural gas
- add a gas hook-up for our bbq
- replace our furnace
we did replace the eavestroughs and our hot water tank, but i haven’t yet published any blog posts on either of these projects — there was just so much going on at the same time. we’ve decided against replacing our furnace (though we plan to replace our mercury-powered thermostat with a new one). and we’ve had almost no rain since may, so water pooling turned out to be a non-issue.
you might notice that nowhere on this list do i mention painting every surface, replacing a half a dozen light fixtures, installing new trim in nearly every room or building a custom bookcase to span the width of our house? yeah, i think the first step towards achieving a balance between simplicity and a beautiful home is just to hold myself to my project list! i’m glad that we’ve come as far as we have in such a short period of time, but no wonder everything’s felt so out of whack this year.
in addition to what’s listed above, we also:
- replaced and painted all the trim in the living and dining rooms and bedrooms
- changed light fixtures in the living and dining rooms, hallway, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms
- replaced the woodwork around our fireplace
- painted the living and dining rooms, bathroom, kitchen and one wall in the hallway (walls, ceilings, trim, doors, insides of closets, window frames, etc.)
- built a bookshelf to separate our living and dining rooms
- turned the broom cupboard in the hallway into a coat closet
- mounted our television above our mantle
- replaced the hardware in our kitchen and bathroom, on closet doors and on interior doors and changed the locks on all our exterior doors
- replaced the window covering in the dining room
- demolished the den to ready it for renovation next year
- removed the large cypress tree at the front of our house
- fixed a leaking hose bib pipe at the back of our house
- added a pressure reducing valve where the city water line comes into our house
- moved a number of plugs and switches in our kitchen to make room for trim
should i give ourselves an A+ for 2017? we certainly exceeded expectations on the home renovation front, but we ended the year maxed out, tapped out (it’s not just our toddler who has thrown a tantrum on this kitchen floor), so maybe we should get a B. my favourite project of the year was replacing all our trim, as high baseboards make everything better. pierre’s was mounting our television to our fireplace. my least favourite project was everything to do with our roof, and venting issues means that project’s going to follow me into 2018. pierre’s was installing our alabax light fixtures, which look beautiful, but are not designed for anyone with normal-size hands to install. (guess what? that project’s going to follow pierre into 2018, too, because we have one more fixture to go.)
did you get everything on your list done this year? what do you hope to get done next year? and stay tuned for our 2018 project list — it’s going to be a short one.