Thursday, April 1, 2010

The First Year In Review

How can this be? Did I really almost let March slip by without commemorating the anniversary of our first house project?

I posted a few photos of our kitchen "before" in March of 2009 - just before we painted the walls. There it was. Our first project had begun.

Wow. That seems like eons ago, but it was just one short year.

Sometimes, while living in the house you're working on, progress can be so gradual that it seems to draaaaaaaag on. There are definitely days when I feel like we've barely made a dent in our "to do" list. It can be a little discouraging. Really, though, when we stop and think back over all we've done in the last 12 months - it's a pretty decent amount of work. This blog has been such a great way to encourage ourselves by reading through past posts and witnessing actual proof that we've made gains afterall.

We have some new readers, too (thanks Jon & Sherry!), and some of you may not have read through much of the archives to familiarize yourselves with our first year here. So, to help some of you catch up and to help encourage us to press forward, here's the first year in review...

On March 17th, I posted our kitchen painting post. At that time, the kitchen looked like this...

Then we painted the walls and it immediately felt a little better...

On the following weekend, we power-washed the filthy siding. That was gratifying. We also chose some colors for a few scheduled exterior painting projects.

In April, Sam removed the front doors to fix the huge gap the previous owner's faulty weatherstripping left on ground level (all I could think of was mice getting in). We continued to sell things on Craigslist as our downsizing still wasn't quite downsized enough, and by April, we had begun sanding, priming, and painting the kitchen cabinets. This proved to be a very long, drawn-out, BIG deal.

Also in April, we moved the family room furniture (all that we hadn't sold, anyway) in Bedroom 4 and scrunched all 3 girls into Bedroom 3. This was all because we had the family room "pee carpet" torn up (click on the 'family room' tab at right for more on that one), and we washed, bleached, and primed the concrete beneath before new carpet was installed at the end of the month.

I didn't post at all in May (!) - we had started our exterior painting projects. We presumably kept chugging away at our cabinets, Sam built a tree swing for the front yard, and one afternoon I decided to paint the pantry door black. That was an important day :)

June brought more outside painting (that continued for the next 3 months), I contemplated our design style still more, began planning for new interior doors, and... here and there... worked on those stupid cabinets.

In July, I finally finished painting the shutters and bought some new sheets and bedskirts for the kiddos.

August was a big month. For some bizarre reason, even though we weren't yet finished painting the cabinets and hadn't finished our exterior painting, I decided it was a great time to rip the trim out of Bedroom 3. And paint the room. Sam was gone for the weekend, and - why not? Our special-order doors for the family room utility closet arrived, too. At this point, we were all over the place project-wise. But, in a weird and exhausting way, a little progress everywhere was very motivating for me. I guess I felt like more was more, because then I started testing paint colors in the family room, bedroom 4, and the front entryway. I also ripped the trim out of bedroom 4 and tore up the carpet tiles in Spare Oom one afternoon. We also decided what kind of trim we were going to be putting in and began installing it in bedroom 3. Are you kidding me? We did all of that in August? What kind of vitamegamins was I taking?! Whew.

In September, we found mice in the garage (with baby mice tagging along) and spent all of labor day weekend "taking care of them" and ensuring that PETA will never endorse this blog. We also bought a fun, new light fixture for above the kitchen table and continued to consult our growing file of inspiration photos to help us define our style and make solid design decisions. Decided against large black and white check curtains in the kitchen. (THAT was a close one).

October found us back in the swing of homeschooling after a long summer break and we finally finished painting the kitchen cabinets at the very end of the month. 6 months. Not kidding. New bin pulls went in the kitchen, too. Sam installed new doors in the upstairs hallway (after ripping out that trim) and I painted the doors black :) I also made a linen skirt for the kitchen sink and Sam cleaned, primed, and painted the n-a-s-t-y area beneath. We started painting the hallway after deciding (once and for all - hopefully) that the main areas of the first two levels would be Benjamin Moore's "White Dove". And we won a giveaway from Layla and Kevin, bringing more visitors to our blog.

In November, I had a birthday, the blog had a birthday, and we decided on white curtains for the entire house. We transformed our metal kitchen door and, at the end of the month, had new windows and a patio door installed. The two days it took to change out the windows (and enlarge three of them) made more of an impact on the feel of this house than the entire 10 months leading up to them. While the window guys were doing their thing, Sam got to work starting on the trim in the hallway.

In December, Sam kept working on the hallway trim and I washed, ironed, and hemmed many panels of Ritva curtains from IKEA. We started posting about the frenzy that had marked the first few months of finding, buying, and moving into this house and Sam bought a Canon for me for Christmas. We also purchased a rug for the entryway before the first snow fell.

In January, we got a tighter vision for our design direction, focusing in on architectural changes like the trim and doors. We revealed the new trim in the upstairs hallway and spent time researching older homes for the Sears Kit Look we wanted. We debated the pros and cons of painting the family room brick - and received the most comments we've had on a single post to date (27). Oh, and our refrigerator broke; basically, cancelling out all other house plans for several more weeks. The project budget went toward the new fridge. We also rearranged the master bedroom and cleaned the tar out of it.

In February, we took a much-needed break and John and Sherry featured our kitchen door project, catapulting our blog visitor county thingy to 126 visitors at one time. That was thrilling. (The door there on the far right).

In March, we refocused and started finishing some odds and ends that were still undone from previous projects. Sam finished installing the trim in Bedroom 3 (we started that in August) and he caulked while I primed and painted. We also took out the storage in the Bedroom 3 closet and painted the walls in that room.

And that brings us pretty much up to where we are now. One year later. It's so encouraging to me to look back over all that, by God's grace, we've been able to get done. It already feels so much lighter and fresher than it did when we moved in. Makes me wonder what it will all look like in March 2011 :) Exciting!

Thanks for reading and following along with us. You guys and your comments make keeping this blog extra fun!


Sara said...

I always read but never comment...just wanted to say that you guys have accomplished so much! Keep up the good work! :)

Diana's Life said...

Jacci, you and Sam have done a TON of work on your home. I am very impressed. You have inspired me to complete projects I've neglected (can you say procrastinator) over the past few years. I have finally begun to hang curtains in my bedrooms - one window left to go. However, I really want to update my trim and wonder if you're loaning out Sam for work once he's completed the trimwork in your home. :-)

Keep up the good work, both in decorating your home as well as sharing your faith with all of us in blogland.

Happy Easter!

Chelsea said...

Wow, you guys have done so much in just one year! I totally understand what you mean about the projects just seeming to drag on sometimes (especially with kitchen cabinet painting! Ughhh). Sometimes I'll scroll through my own blog for inspiration and I'm still struck by how much we've accomplished in the 10 months we've owned our house. My own blog, your blog, and all those other great blogs out there all give me encouragement and inspiration to "just keep swimming!". :)

Deb said...

Great recap! You guys are doing a wonderful job.

Happy Easter!

Stephen and Larissa said...

Y'all really have done a lot of work at it looks great!! I'm so glad you've decided to share your progress becuase it's very inspiring and makes me antsy to start a project like that of our own!

Grace said...

That was a wonderful trip down memory lane - very inspiring. In fact what am I doing sitting on my duff when I should be doing some of the things on my to-do list so I can have a wonderful re-cap later. I can't wait to see what you guys will have done in another year. Onward!