2017 Projects & Plans

I planned to share a post about our library closet and organization. However, it is currently a work-in-progress with the emphasis on work rather than progress. Instead, I am using today’s post to write about our 2017 projects and plans for BHH.


Andy and I do a budget analysis in January. That sounds grown up and technical, but what it really means is that I try to talk Andy into projects and he says they are too expensive. Our marriage is a partnership, not a patriarchy, but as someone who is in charge of multi-million dollar budgets at work, Andy knows thinks money does not lie. I believe that it can be gently manipulated and shifted about until I get a new couch. Andy brings spreadsheets to the discussion. I bring dramatic and convincing arguments based on my heart or gut instinct. Once we complete this yearly relationship ritual, we have our list of projects.

2015 and 2016 were both very expensive years. In 2015, BHH got a new roof and some fresh paint. In 2016, we hired painters to paint BHH blue, and we used a combo of Lowe’s contractors and DIY to gut and remodel the kitchen.

2017 will look a little different as we scale back on spending. We try to strike a nice balance between work that makes us feel better and work that keeps BHH from toppling over. This year will be a nice mix of the two.

Inside Projects

In April and October, we will participate in the One Room Challenge™. We have not announced our spring ORC plans yet, and the fall challenge room is TBD. We will spend the rest of the interior budget on a bunch of little projects. Those items include:


We have three storage closets that need organizational makeovers. Two are upstairs, and the third is the closet that we call “Harry’s Room.”

Harry’s room is the closet under the staircase, and the name is a nod to the Harry Potter book series. At the Dursley’s house, Harry lived in a small room under the stairs. Harry’s room in BHH is a coat closet.

(Update 3/7/17: The Library Closet is done!)

The Guest Room

This room has some issues. In 2015, ice dams ruined the wall by the windows. We were in a hurry to set up a bed for our revolving list of guests that year, so we slapped the room together and walked away. The guest room needs some window repairs, and we will change the decor. Two weeks ago, I found new duvet covers. Fortunately, most of the changes in the guest room will be cosmetic.

The Living Room

The living room is another room with great potential, but it suffered due to our lack of time and the quantity of work necessary. We considered the renovation of this room to the be the first pass, so to speak.  I will be building a new coffee table, and we plan to improve the lighting. Also, behind the couch, between the bookshelves, there is a long wooden bench. I will sew a thick cushion for that spot so we can use the bench for additional comfy seating. Speaking of the bookshelves, we need to repair, paint and decorate the interiors of both.

Outside Projects

Landscaping and Driveway

When BHH was on the market, the lawyers who looked after the property hired a lawn service to keep everything green and tidy. When we moved in, we discontinued that service, and the lingering chemicals kept the yard in tip top shape all through the next season. (This was nice, but kind of terrifying if you think about it too much.) Due mostly to neglect, the grounds at BHH are a disaster.

There are a few low spots near the house which allow water to seep into the basement. We will hire someone to improve the grading and add soil.  In the front of the house, where we removed the pine trees, the landscaping looks like this:

We will get the stumps ground, and all of that pachysandra is getting bulldozed. Goodbye, green stuff that catches leaves and hides trash. We will clean all of the flowerbeds, replant and mulch for the summer. I can hardly wait for flowers to bloom again.

In addition to landscaping, the driveway needs to be repaired and sealed. We have noticed that most people get their driveway sealed every year.  Since we moved in, our driveway has not been touched, and it shows. We need to repair the cracks, fill some holes, and seal the whole thing.

Exterior Painting and Shingle Repair

Last year, we budgeted to have 1/2 of the house painted. This summer, we will hire the same painters to finish the job. However, before they can do their part, we need to do ours.

The back of the house needs quite a bit of repair.

We will remove and replace all of the cedar shingles on that side of the house. Also, we will reglaze all of the windows in the upper section. I did not take a proper photo of the left side, but there is a large gap that the squirrels love. We need to close that hole and fix all of the dry rot on that side.

On the other side of the house, we will replace the shingles that are missing at the bottom and repair the glazing and replace the cracked panes of glass. Approximately 80% of the windows need some attention.

Rebuild The Chimney

The last item on the list is a big one. The chimney on the back of the house needs to be completely rebuilt from the roof up. Bits and chunks of it fall off periodically. When the house was inspected prior to our purchase, the inspector strongly suggested that we replace that chimney right away. During a strong wind, it could tip over and fall off the house. We have been tempting fate for the three years that we have lived here.

Since home ownership is not a business, we know that it is possible that we might have to re-evaluate our priorities as we start to knock these items off the to-do list. We might run into unforeseen circumstances. In particular, I am concerned about the chimney. That will be an interesting project for sure.

Tell us what you think. What is on your to-do list this year, and how do negotiations work in your house?

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