April 17: The Current List of House Projects

I like reading back on my post from 2013 when I was 'itching for some house projects' because just a few months later, we updated the fireplace (check), finished our back hallway (check), and then a year later we finally finished the basement (big fat drawn-out check). So does this mean that whatever I discuss on this newest To Do list will magically happen within the next year? NICE.

But first: our house was built in 1925. We are just the third owners and we have done a lot of cosmetic work to this place, living here for a full three years now. Actually we did a majority of the work from the time in February 2012 when we bought this house, until April 2012 when we moved in. But either way, we've definitely made it our own and it feels very much like us. I have shown many before and after pictures on this blog before, but here is 'the big room' in all it's glory from the relator pictures.


And here is that room this morning. Just a few changes, right?
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And we won't even talk about the changes in the kitchen.

From the first day we laid eyes on our beloved house, before we even placed an offer on what would be our 'forever home' (probably), I disliked a few things: 1. The disgusting blue wool carpeting in every square inch of the house, 2. The radiators, 3. The tile in our full bathroom. Actually there was a lot more that I didn't love but we'll stick to these three for now for the sake of a succinct post.

We pulled up the carpeting (and by 'we' I mean Tony and Nate, I was super pregnant with CC and got out of a lot of manual labor because of my Cecelia bump) and had the original floors refinished. Best money we've spent on the house, for sure. But the other two bad boys on my list? It's time.

To be fair, I don't actually hate our radiators themselves. In fact, radiant heat is pretty amazing and I kind of love not having forced air ducts in our house (no central AC though, not my favorite but also not worth the $$$$ to add it currently). The radiators have grown on me but initially I thought they were very very ugly. Now I like them, we use them to store items on top (i.e. hand sanitizer, towel warmer in the bathroom, etc) but I just despise the color they are painted currently. Originally I was looking into making radiator covers for everything in the house and now I just want to paint the things and be done with it. I painted the one in Porter's nursery and it turned out really well to completely TRASH a paint brush and make the radiator match the wall color.

View More: http://andreaweissphotography.pass.us/porterfinal

Things I notice about the above picture: TINY baby Porter (ouch, my ovaries), my gigantic breastfeeding-prime boobs (miss you!), and then the radiator color with nice topper thing for storing my owl family.

Anyway, the rest of the radiators in our house are in rough shape. Pretty sure the previous owner painted them at least a dozen times over the year or something because they are caked with paint and parts are chipping off, and parts are just really freaking dirty.

The cream-isn color radiator in the background doesn't look too awful when these dudes are in the foreground, right? Everything in our house was cream or a yellowish when we moved in--all walls, all ceilings, and all radiators. They really liked cream and yellow.

If you look past these three characters you can see my number one nemesis radiator: and the corner where the sanitizer rests is basically black or rusty or something awful. This will be my first Operation Paint the Freaking Radiators project.

That is one thing I truly despise about our radiators: they trap dust in those nooks and crannies like none other. Nate bought a specific long-handled duster thingy that helps but still really bugs the heck out of me with how dirty they become. I looked into more 'low profile' or European radiators online and they are alright, but apparently our original cast iron ones are super expensive which makes me want to keep them. BUT! I am putting 'Paint all radiators' on my list of things to do. Because it really won't take much time and it will significantly improve my happiness level, I'm sure. I want to just match each of the radiators to the wall color for now. Except for the one in our full bathroom. More in a bit because...

THE BATHROOM is my most prominent dream for The List right now.

This was one of those projects that we originally wanted to do right away, and we *did* do a few things to this room to update it. We changed out the light fixtures, painted the walls, painted the woodwork (from the yellow to white), got a new sink and console, new medicine cabinet, and new shelves above the laundry chute. So what remains? The speckled yellow tile. I've always hated it but chose to ignore it, buying a shower curtain that sort of helped pull it all together somehow. But no. I hate it so hard. And that yellow radiator, too.


This is very 70s and I'm sure the owners before us replaced whatever was the original tile at that time. Oh, how I wish we could somehow pull up the floor tile to see what the 1925 original would be, but I'm pretty sure we can't take one layer of tile off to restore the first layer. But the tile on the walls? (pay no attention to Cecelia drinking bath water, okay?)

At first I was adamant that we tear it all out and redo the entire room with new tile. But as soon as I mention this, Nate and his dad claim that we'd then need to replace the actual walls and we should add insulation and (really intense) stuff like that. So then I got a quote for having the tile re-glazed and it was something like 2k and wow, that's a lot of money for some ugly bathroom tiles.

Then Nate saw an episode of This Old House that showed a DIY version for painting tiles. I can't find the episode now but here is some talk about it. Basically you have to use a special kind of epoxy-based paint after some hard core cleaning. This sounds both horrible and awesome to me as I really just want plain white tile in there. I'm certain life would be much better with white tiles and I would happily toss all of the extra speckled stuff we have stored in the basement, too.

I suppose we will have to leave the floors although they are also not my favorite. The radiator would maybe need to be sand blasted to get all of the chipped paint off and perhaps it would look alright without paint? I'm not sure but I would also be fine painting it white, assuming the tile behind it is also white.

My vision: white tile, freshly painted walls and ceiling, new shower curtain, and brand new towels because ours are from our wedding and are despicable. Wish me luck getting Nate to help me with this one!

Other things on the list:

-Landscaping. Because it's finally Spring, Nate will likely want to spend every second of our 'house project' energy outside. In fact, he has decided we need to tear out the patio under our tree and replace it with a larger, more sturdy type patio. Tony and Truman took out a few of the pavers today to see what was under neath and the answer? Nothing. Nothing to anchor it down or level it out, so I'm sure Nate will want to redo the thing even more. How cute are T and T?

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-The buffet: we love our built-in buffet and will totally keep it unpainted, don't worry. But it needs to be stripped on the top and refinished. We might like to either lighten it up to match the floors or else go really dark to match our wooden furniture. Also could use new hardware and not sure what we'd do to refinish the windows above. I love those skinny little windows that swing in to open up. Could never replace those with anything modern.

Again, look behind the subjects in the foreground to see the buffet. Spring chickens added across the top for seasonal effect.

-Retouch all woodwork. Apparently in three years, painted woodwork gets very chipped with small children. Sigh.

-The Big Dogs (aka If We Win the Lottery or Someday When We Both Work Full Time)(aka Probably Not Going to Happen). This topic encompasses all of the exterior work that we discuss ad nauseum, but we likely won't complete in this lifetime. But maybe! Because I also tied the basement remodel into the 'would be nice, but probably not happening' category time I posted about this! And that did happen so maybe the rest of our big dreams can, too.

It would be amazing to have another bedroom and a master bathroom in this house. We are fine sharing one full bathroom right now and it's no issue for Truman and Cecelia to share a bedroom. But as the kids get older? Not sure all of this sharing is going to run as smoothly as it does when they are small. If we could build an addition onto this house for those two rooms we would absolutely be set here 'forever.' It would be feasible to either finish off our attic into a master suite by pushing out the roofline in back, or more likely build an addition in our backyard going straight up. Nate has dreamed of tearing down our garage (it's going to need some repair someday for sure) and creating an attached garage onto the sunroom. Then above that new addition would be the master bed and bathroom on the second floor. Sounds freaking expensive, right?

Also expensive? A new roof, new windows, and new siding. Or at the very least, we will need to repaint our wooden siding and I truly cannot imagine painting it the same color. So then I like to dream about all that could change: dark gray roof, white windows and trim, and then shades of gray for our siding and the cedar shakes. I mean, those projects would surely cost more than our entire house but it's fun to think about!

That is pretty much The List for now. Mostly I just want to paint the radiators, update the bathroom tile, and then Nate can do whatever he wants outside with landscaping.

Better get to work!


  1. I once helped a friend reglaze the tile in her bathroom with a kit from Lowes and it did not turn out well. I'm sure the fact that is was a kit from Lowes and we were about 22 had something to do with it, though. lol.

    I swear, new windows will pay for themselves. They increase the efficiency of your house immensely and are so so easy to clean and open. LOVED our new windows in our old house. I think we paid $5k for ours - double pane, efficiency windows that fold in for easy cleaning - and we got a fat tax deduction for them too.

    1. I worry the re-glazing will look like crap, too--which is why I didn't push for it at first (I still want to pull it all down but maybe the paint will be worth a try?)

      Also, WOW only 5K for all new windows? That is a freaking steal! We had a guy come and give us a quote, and apparently most houses have about 12 windows to replace. We have 33 and therefore he was 'giving us a deal' at 18k. Hahahahaha. Yeah, not worth it! Our old windows are not in awful shape or anything, and really aren't too terribly inefficient. What we should do is insulate our attic better for more efficiency. But new windows would be nice for aesthetics if nothing else. But yeah, 18k? Nope.

    2. Wow. Both to 33 windows and to 18k. We had 17, I think, and one was huge. But still. 33 is double that. Jeez.

  2. Just a tip for painting radiators, my parents ran in to the same problem theirs, we ended up putting cardboard behind & under them and just spray painting them, easier than painting with a brush and then you can pick a difference colour from the wall if you want. They are perfect for drying winter or wet clothing, some days I wish I had them in my house!

    1. Awesome tip, I was thinking of using our sprayer but it makes me nervous that it will get everywhere!

  3. You might want to have a roofer come out to look at your house. Our roof was original to the house (29 years old with only 22 year shingles) and insurance replaced the whole roof for us! We only paid extra so we could upgrade to the pretty architectural shingles.

    1. I wonder why the insurance replaced it? Ours will be a 'tear off' someday as there are now 3 layers of shingles on there. No leaks or anything, just doesn't look wonderful. Nate is hoping for a major hail storm but otherwise I doubt our insurance will pay for a new roof for cosmetic reasons.


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