To-do Von Listerstein

So now that I’ve been at Berrybrier almost a month (oh my god, how?!), I’ve got a pretty good plan of what I’m going to do for the next several years! Boy, is there plenty of work to do, but I am only excited. Before I can do the fun stuff, there’s some big stuff that needs to be done by the professionals. Whoop! There goes my savings! Luckily, once these things are complete, I’ll be able to rent out the two upper bedrooms and start saving up for more fun projects.

Right now I kind of have a hand in every pot of honey around this house, trying to do a million things at once. There are tons of little things that needed to be updated around here before it’s truly livable. Once these more behind-the-scenes items are complete, I’ll get to dive into more of the showy stuff. But I thought I’d break things down for you – and for myself! – to see what’s going on right now and where things are headed.

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Front Exterior:

Currently:

  • Trim back plants from street and sidewalk to allow passage of pedestrians and cars parking
  • Cut down bamboo
  • Trim walnut tree
  • Cut down palm tree
  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Cut back and remove berry bushes 
  • Move raised bed to side yard
  • Weeding!
  • Beef up front porch column
  • Replace lattice at porch with proper railing
  • Remove railing from side of house

Upcoming:

  • Paint house!
  • New roof and gutters
  • New house numbers
  • Line driveway with bricks
  • Remove chain link fence
  • Re-stain front door
  • Add new door knocker
  • Re-landscape front yard
  • Add white picket fence

Maybe Projects:

  • Add front porch along entire front of house
  • Turn existing porch into mud room
  • Turn existing front window into new french doors

 

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Entry:

Currently:

Upcoming:

  • Add coat rack
  • Add hooks
  • Add entry rug
  • Switch existing light fixture for new flush mount

Maybe Projects:

  • Center light fixture on entry
  • Add sconce?

 

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Living Room:

Currently:

  • Add furniture I have already
  • Cross fingers for roommates with furniture

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Buy furnishings (loveseat, chairs, cocktail table, ottomans, rug etc…)
  • Remove stone from fireplace and build more traditional look
  • Trim out opening to kitchen
  • Build attractive wood storage
  • Switch light fixture for new
  • Center light fixture on fireplace

Maybe Projects:

  • Turn big window into french doors to new porch

 

Dining Room Before | Land of Laurel

Dining Room:

Currently:

  • Add existing furniture
  • Remove terrifying glass and concrete block shelving system from closet

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Add functional storage to closet
  • Add panels to existing closet door in interim
  • Switch existing light fixture for new pendant over table
  • Line walls with bookcases to create library dining space!

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work closets and lower floor bedroom entry?
  • Center light fixture

 

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Kitchen:

Currently:

  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Buy stove
  • Sand existing cabinets
  • Paint existing cabinets
  • Scrape existing flaking sheet vinyl up to expose original hardwood floors and stair treads
  • Purchase small butcher block table for next to stove
  • Remove small full height cabinet
  • Add my pantry china cabinet from the Duplex
  • Remove wallpaper

Upcoming:

  • Paint
  • Paint pantry china cabinet
  • Re-finish hardwood floors
  • New lighting (cans? pendants? semi-flush mounts?)
  • Remove cabinets on west side and replace with new
  • Wire for stove and vent hood at south side window
  • Plumb for sink beneath windows looking into backyard
  • Add new cabinets at new sink location
  • Remove door at stairs

Maybe Projects:

  • Add dormer on west side of house
  • Rework stairs with new railing using height from dormer to eliminate dual landing

 

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Main Bathroom:

Currently:

  • Replace toilet seat with new so it feels less disgusting in here
  • Clean and pray the germs away

Upcoming:

  • Complete demo!
  • New flooring!
  • New fixtures!
  • New layout!
  • New vanity cabinet!
  • New storage!
  • Paint

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls to make this bathroom the half bath and a full bath off the bedroom

 

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Lower Floor Bedroom:

Currently:

  • Add existing bedroom furniture
  • Add curtain rod and curtains

Upcoming:

  • Paint!
  • Clean and organize closet to make functional
  • New light fixture
  • Remove paper residue from wood floors

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work entrance to room to be centered off dining room with his and hers closets

 

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Powder Room (Off Lower Floor Bedroom):

Currently:

  • Clean!

Upcoming:

  • New toilet
  • Secure sink to wall
  • Remove VCT flooring
  • Tile floors
  • Add wall paneling
  • Paint walls and ceiling

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls in bathrooms to make this a full bathroom and the one off the kitchen a powder room

 

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Stairwell:

Currently:

  • Clean

Upcoming:

  • Paint walls
  • Paint risers 
  • New hand rail 
  • New motion sensor or 3 way light switch
  • New light fixture

Maybe Projects:

  • Add sconces?
  • Add door where current eave access door is leading to north side dormer at top of stairs
  • Raise ceiling height at bottom of stairs / kitchen with south side dormer
  • Turn dual stair landing into single with extended ceiling height

 

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Upstairs Bedrooms:

Currently:

  • Clean

Upcoming:

  • New light fixture
  • Paint
  • Make closets more functional / attractive

Maybe Projects:

  • Add more outlets

 

Basement Before | Land of Laurel

Basement:

Currently:

  • Clean!
  • Strap hot water heater to concrete walls

Upcoming:

  • Vent dryer to exterior
  • Clean washer and dryer
  • Paint floors and walls
  • New 200 amp electrical box
  • Add storage
  • New front loading washer and dryer (stacking?)
  • Add laundry basket storage
  • New stainless steel utility sink
  • New lighting on single switch
  • Add rug and shelving at laundry

Maybe Projects:

  • Upgrade furnace and oil tank to new gas
  • Add outlets?

 

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Back Exterior:

Currently:

  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Move bricks from behind garage, evaluate if enough for patio
  • Cut back and remove some berry bushes 
  • Cut back asparagus
  • Trim magnolia tree
  • Build a brick patio beneath magnolia tree
  • Weeding!
  • Demo existing falling down fence
  • Build new fence
  • Buy outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck roof

Upcoming:

  • Paint outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck
  • Demolish chicken coop
  • Build new chicken coop and run
  • Plant raised bed vegetable garden
  • Add shade garden beneath Magnolia
  • Cultivate existing herb garden
  • Add fire pit with adirondack chair seating
  • Landscape yard

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish existing garage
  • Add large shed
  • Add outdoor shower / tub?

 

Garage Before | Land of Laurel

Garage:

Currently:

  • Clean!
  • Remove chemicals and toxic waste
  • Remove junk and toss
  • Organize existing nuts, bolts, screws, etc

Upcoming:

  • Organize with proper tool and wood storage

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish garage, replace with large shed

 

Whew! That’s a lot I’m working on and a lot to do coming up! Somehow it feels like I haven’t done anything, yet I’ve been working my butt off. I think all the little things happen over time and most are still in progress so although I haven’t checked a lot off my list yet, there’s still a lot going on! Luckily, I have an amazing amount of help. My dad came up for two weeks, my mom has been here helping for a month, my cousins Mary and Ted have been incredibly kind, dedicating hours upon hours to slowly tame this garden! I am so thankful for all this help. I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of my family members. I am looking forward to whipping the main bathroom and kitchen into shape so I can finally feel moved-in. Right now I feel very guilty showing people into my bathroom. Somehow, I’ve grown accustomed to it, but boy, it is not hygienic! Luckily the big items will get ticked off the list in the next couple of months allowing me to go into the new year in a fresh, clean space! Can’t wait for y’all to come visit in 2018!

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Entryway Action

I have a goal and a plan and I’m ready for action! This is the final push to get the entry whipped into shape! I have a Galentine’s Day Party planned for all the ladies in my life the weekend of the 11th. My goal is to finally complete the entry way so I can decorate it up for the party! I have some cute heart ornaments that just need a place to be hung.

So, why is it the final push? Because I’ve been secretly working on this for months, slowly chipping away at the mess that this area was when we moved in! If you recall, it looked like this to start:

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

And when you first opened the front door you looked in at this:

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

Whew! What a hot mess it was when we arrived! The entry’s one redeeming feature (besides the coat closet) is the little nook right next to the door. This is a great place for us to stash all our shoes and jackets when we first come home. Of course… is started out as a whole lot of nothing!

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Well, nothing, but an electrical panel, a light switch, and a heating vent. Lot’s of mechanical stuff going on in this spot! You may remember my original plan for this area. It included the following items, some of which are now complete:

  • Get seating for putting on/taking off shoes
  • console or buffet for mail/purses
  • Hang art/mirror and accessorize
  • Paint back wall to hide electrical box better?
  • Organize closet
  • Shoe storage!

Since October – when I came up with this plan of attack – I’ve been slowly getting ‘er done! First I got to work hanging a big old heavy mirror I got for free from work several years ago when it was delivered with a hefty scratch. I bought this 50 lb drywall anchor set from Home Depot for a few beans.

Hanging a Heavy Mirror | Land of Laurel

Once I marked my location (I was hanging the mirror high with the plan to eventually put a console table beneath it), hanging the mirror was really easy. I simply tapped the plastic anchor in with a nail first, then screwed it the remainder of the way into the wall.

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The two other pieces in the kit – a screw and a picture holder, fit into one another, and were then screwed into the plastic piece. Easy as pie.

50 lb Drywall Anchor | Land of Laurel

You know what was not easy? Lifting the heavy mirror up and hooking the wire onto the picture hook. Boy! That mirror was heavy! I enlisted the assistance of both my parents who happened to be visiting that weekend. By the time we hung the mirror, I’d also bought an ottoman! It was an impulse buy one morning on the bus. I only semi-regretted it after. And by semi-regretted I mean I realized it was definitely not my favorite option, but it was cheap. I looked it up to link to it in this post and found out it’s now available in cream! Ugh. Cream would have been a great option. Instead I ended up with the cherry red. When I bought it, the ottoman was only available in red or black leather. I have an intense dislike of black leather furniture unless it’s on task chairs, so I went with the red option. I may reupholster it with some extra fabric I got for free from work. We’ll see… For now, let’s concentrate on the positives of this ottoman. A) I got it for a heavily discounted price. B) It opens up and becomes a huge storage ottoman! C) It’s deep enough to provide seating space while still being tucked under a shallow table, so I don’t need to drag it out to open it.

Progress in the Entry | Land of Laurel

Being quite the spend-it-all-at-once-er I also bought an indoor/outdoor rug at about the same time. I picked one that was made of polypropylene because it would hide the dirt and I could take it in the backyard and hose it off if it got really dirty. The rug itself is also heavily textured with the heathered dark parts of the rug being flatwoven and about 1/8″ below the height of the light part of the rug design. I wanted something that would make the silly transition between the sheet vinyl and LVT floors less obvious. The sheet vinyl part of the entry is 4′ x 7′ and rug I bought was 3′-9″ by 5′-8″ so it covers almost the entire entry area. Then on an IKEA trip I stumbled upon some welcome mats. Most of the mats at the store said “Welcome” in English, but I spotted one that said “Willkommen” which is the German translation. Being the Germanophile I am, I snapped it up instantly and stood over my cart like a mama dog protecting her babies. I took it home and paired it with the larger black and white rug for a modern look. Having this mat inside helps keep things even cleaner, especially since we do not have any outdoor overhang! Jacks was so excited about the rug, he even posed with it for Instagram (yes this was 3 months ago).

Kitten Door Mat | Land of Laurel

With the hanging of the mirror and the purchase of the rugs and ottoman, this entry had a completely different look and feel. Thank goodness! It wasn’t done yet – no there was lots left to do – but, progress had been made and the space was starting to feel like home. Plus I finally had a place to store my shoes (the ottoman!) and a place to sit while putting on my shoes (the ottoman!). No more hopping around on one foot like a clumsy flamingo!

Entry Progress | Land of Laurel

Now that my clumsy flamingo days were over, I also wanted a place to hang my purse and any wet coats (have you heard that it rains here in Portland, OR?). I inherited some pretty reclaimed wood planks from a friend a while back. I pulled one out that looked to be about the right size; its gorgeously beat up and has some paint still staining it. I love old wood (wink wink! No, gross! Bad joke! I take it back.).  Then I picked up some of these painted square tile hooks from World Market.

DIY Coat Rack | Land of Laurel

I laid them out on top of the wood plank on my dining table and spaced them out until they were even to the eye, before marking their location with a pen. Then I drilled shallow holes in the wood to allow for the screws.

DIY Coatrack | Land of Laurel

I finished it off by screwing the hooks onto the board. (Is it just me or did that sound dirty too?)

DIY Coatrack | Land of Laurel

I finished it off (oh my god, why does this sound so bad?!) by drilling holes at the middle of each end of the board and taking two 2″ screws to fasten it into the studs in the entry. The coatrack looks cute and holds my purse quite nicely!

DIY Coatrack | Land of Laurel

Now, why stop there when there’s so much more to do in this room?! If you scroll all the way up to the first picture in this post, you’ll see a weird box on the wall. What is it? I have no idea. Why is it there? To annoy me. How do I fix it? Classic answer: a gallery wall.

Entry Gallery Wall | Land of Laurel

Boom! A few pieces of art and now that box isn’t quite so obvious. Here is my map of England, a fun and funky art piece my Aunt Pat found, and a print I bought at a Museum in Milan. This entry has so many walls, I still need to add art to several spots! This is a good start though. Overall, I’m feeling good, because this entry is looking so much nicer!

Entry Progress | Land of Laurel

A vast improvement over the before, I just have to say!

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

Oh! That before picture makes me realize another couple of quick updates. See that ugly carpet sticking out under the door? Ripped out. Goodbye gross! The cheap mirror on the closet door didn’t even last through the first week in the Duplex. There are some things I can’t change – the yellow brown moldings, the door, etc, but in a rental, sometimes you gotta take what you can get! What’s on the horizon for this space? Lot’s of final touches, but first, a custom console. You may have seen this sneakpeek pic on Instagram a few weeks ago when I was test fitting my furniture build:

Console Prep | Land of Laurel

I’m still working on the final touches of that piece, but the goal is to knock that out this week and begin accessorizing and putting more art up next weekend. Wish me luck!

Do you have anything you’re working on that has a fast approaching deadline? Does that make you panic? Or work harder? Or both?! Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

3 Months In and What’s Next

So we’ve been here in the Portland Duplex for a little while now and I wanted to show you all an update on how things stand. We’re starting to make progress in a few areas and anything is better than the chaos when we first moved in! Also this is a nice place to list the twenty million ideas I have, Young Houser Love’s “Listy McListerson” style! Since I know this house is not long term – I have no plans on being her longer than my year lease – there are many things I am very cautious about putting money toward. Basically, anything I can take with me? Sure, spend the green, anything more permanent? Not happening this year. Hopefully, my next home will be a much more permanent living situation! There are tons of updates anyone can accomplish in a rental though, so that’s what I’d set out to do!

– THE ENTRY –

Before/Current

A whole lot of nothing going on in here! I really haven’t started.

To Do:

  • Get seating for putting on/taking off shoes
  • console or buffet for mail/purses
  • Hang art and accessorize
  • Paint back wall to hide electrical box better?
  • Organize closet
  • Shoe storage!

– The Long Hallway –

Before/Current

The Long Hallway | Land of Laurel

Also untouched!

To Do:

  • Hang Art
  • Add runner?

– The Powder Room –

Before/Current:

Untouched as well since this room is currently playing host to the house’s newest member! Six month old kitten Jackson is using this room as his safehouse until his stitches heal from his neutering and he and Malary learn to settle their differences.

To Do:

  • Buy bath mat/rug
  • Replace toilet seat
  • Hang art
  • Add plants
  • Find nice hand towel
  • Remove curtains and hardware

Soon there will be two cats photobombing all my pictures! Check out his little face in the meantime!

Jackson | Land of Laurel

– The Kitchen –

Before:

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Current:

Kitchen | Land of Laurel

China Cabinet Pantry | Land of Laurel

Not a ton has changed in here. Those floors are impossible to keep clean so I’m looking into a runner which will hide some of the dirt I hope. We’ve still got all our pots and pans on the counter! Luckily the lovely china cabinet is helping store a lot of my things and frees up cabinet space! The stools were up for grabs when my new office moved from east to west Portland and I nabbed five for $20 beans each.

To Do:

  • Buy rug/runner
  • Make use of back wall with vertical storage (I’ve been working on this guy and can’t wait to share)
  • Get stools for bar area
  • Re plant something in that pot

– The Dining Room –

Before:

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Current:

Dining Room | Land of Laurel

Things are looking a lot more lively in here now that I’ve added my furniture! The table is from my grandmother’s home, but it actually belonged to one of her tenants so there isn’t any sentimental value. The bookshelf was a surprise hand-me-down from my parents.

To Do:

  • Remove curtains and hardware
  • Paint/stain/refinish table (the top isn’t sealed properly, and I’d love to update it, this looks like a fun option, but they also look really elegant stained if styled correctly)
  • Paint bookshelf black to coordinate with china hutch

– The Living Room –

Before:

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

Current:

Living Room | Land of Laurel

Living Room | Land of Laurel

Things have kind of landed in here for now. I’m using my old trunk which used to live at the bottom of my bed as a coffee table in the living room at the moment. We don’t have a couch yet and when we do get one I’m not sure the scale of the trunk will work with it. We’re using the bench I got as a hand-me-down from my parents and these two chairs as seating in here for now and it’s working pretty well. The larger chair is my roommates over which I draped a large wall hanging I got at the Berlin flea market. The wood arm’ed one is something I got from work in Oakland about 8 months back. The vintage suitcases were my Oma’s, I’ve stacked them and stuck a tray on top which is working really well as a cute side table! The other side table is some of my cherry crates stacked together with another tray. Fred is living on the coffee table at this house right now. The floor lamp is a recent IKEA purchase (my roommate’s). The faux cowhide is free from work.

To Do:

  • Buy sofa
  • Buy rug to layer beneath the faux-cow hide
  • build larger coffee table?
  • rewire green lamps for use on side tables
  • rearrange entire area to work with the sofa?
  • Hang art

– The Bonus Room –

Before:

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

Current:

Bonus Room | Land of Laurel

This room has also pretty much just gotten a few pieces of furniture plopped down. The rug in here is awful truly awful. It might be original to the house. It’s covered in stains (some of them marker red) and sometimes smells a little bit! Our landlord said she wants to replace it with laminate flooring, but it hasn’t happened yet. The white drawer units were another item I picked up when my office moved. They were free and I napped 8 (they still sell them at IKEA for $79 each if you’re interested). I’ve got a couple in the garage, a couple in my bedroom closet, and these three in here are holding crafts supplies! It’s so nice to have them all sorted nicely. I’d love to bring a desk up here and make it a real craft room! The futon is also my roommates, I threw a couple of IKEA sheepskin pillows on top as well as a mudcloth I got at the Alameda Flea Market in the Bay Area before I moved.

To Do:

  • New flooring!
  • Build shelves for over the weird counter
  • Buy a nice plush rug
  • Hang art
  • Add desk

– My Bedroom –

Before:

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Progress:

Bedroom | Land of Laurel

Current:

Bedroom | Land of Laurel

Nothing great in here! My bed broke during the move so even though I’m on my own mattress and not the futon mattress, it’s still a mattress on the floor! Pieces from my old place all came with me, everything in here is still chaos! It took me way to long to go from the progress shot to the current shot too.

To Do:

  • Remove curtains and hardware
  • Hang new curtains (I’ll share this soon!)
  • Build bed
  • Style room
  • Rearrange furniture
  • Organize closets
  • Layer a rug on top?

– The Bathroom –

Before/Current: Bathroom | Land of Laurel

Nothing really done it here.

To Do:

  • Style counter
  • Add bathmats or runner
  • Get Malary to use downstairs litter box

 

So there it is guys! Plans for the entire house. Very feasible plans and totally rental-friendly! I’m diving in, can’t wait for you to all follow along.