A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

End-of-Year Recap

It’s that time of year again — where I get to celebrate our accomplishments and “wash over” our shortcomings. Yes, despite the best of intentions and some motivation, LIFE still gets in the way and there are always plenty of projects on my list that won’t be finished when I want or expect them to. Nevertheless, making and reviewing goals each year helps give me incentive for the coming year.

Our main goal for the interior was to finish staining and varnishing the woodwork that was installed last year for our attic remodel. It was one of those thankless jobs that needed to be done but was a little daunting — on the surface it seemed like a big job, but as I suspected it was one that in reality took up most of just one weekend. The hardest part was getting started, especially since I really dreaded having to stain and varnish the louvered bi-fold doors. But it got done and it feels so good to cross it off the list!

We spent the majority of our 2013 project time outside. One of my dreams came true and we finally installed a pergola over the flagstone patio (it’s almost finished in the photo below).


If we had only done that ONE thing this year, I would have been happy, but we also extended the paths/sidewalks to the garage and alley using leftover brick and bluestone pavers, and finally started to tackle our sorry lawn in the front and back. I moved some plants around, added a few more (not as many as I’d like, but all in good time), and we added a couple more raised vegetable beds. We grew some delicious tomatoes, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce and chard. I want to plan ahead for an even bigger variety this year.

Backyard, before2013122809

Backyard, after, with brick/bluestone path to garage2013122807

Back and side yard, before2013122808

Back and side yard, after, with new raised vegetable beds2013122806

Bluestone/brick path along garage, view from alley2013122805



A couple things we accomplished that weren’t on the list: creating a “cloffice” out of our TV room closet. I haven’t used it much as an office, but the additional storage is great.

In addition to the shelving, I stripped and varnished the woodwork in there, Pete patched the walls and it got a fresh coat of paint. I have two more closets to strip, varnish and paint, which I plan to do soon.

Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is what spurred me into action on that project. They’re doing it again this year, but I’m going to sit this one out.

As part of the Cure, I also created a “landing strip” by the back door which has turned out great. I still occasionally toss my crap on the kitchen counter instead of the landing strip, but it is definitely an improvement there.

All-in-all I guess it was a decent year for projects, but we fell short in a few spots.

What Wasn’t Accomplished on the 2013 List

  • Install textured glass in laundry room door panels and paint door
  • Wash windows
  • Apply second coat of varnish to kitchen baseboard trim
  • Re-install shoe moulding throughout main floor
  • Use leftover door trim to restore first-floor bathroom trim to original style and paint it and inner part of door white (currently blue)
  • Expansion of the porch into a small deck which leads to the garage and gravel patio

As for the first task, it’s currently in progress. We bought the glass and I’ve been thinking about paint colors for the door. Last I heard Pete had a little more sanding to do, but he may have finished that by now. It hasn’t really crossed my mind to ask. I’m guessing that will probably be the first project of the new year.

Re-installing the shoe moulding on the main floor would be a good winter project. We removed the cheap pine quarter-round (which is shorter than true shoe moulding) before we moved into the house over 6 years ago to prepare for floor refinishing. We knew we were going to refinish the woodwork throughout, so the pine needed to go anyway. I’m not sure why the original shoe moulding was removed, but there were a couple spots in the house that still had it so we knew it had been replaced.

We ordered extra poplar shoe moulding with the attic remodel woodwork, so it’s already stained and ready to go. We wanted to save money by doing it ourselves but the miter saw was held hostage by the cottage remodel (updates on that at some point…). It’s home now so maybe we can start on that in the next few weeks as well. I can apply the second coat of varnish on the kitchen baseboard once the moulding everywhere else is installed.

I’m going to ignore the bathroom trim project at this point, because there’s no use in changing the door trim or painting the door until we can tear out the blue-and-yellow tile. Sigh.

The porch expansion is the priciest project on this list, so that will depend on finances. It’d sure be nice but I won’t hold my breath.

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