Big Bad List

T minus 2 days until we officially move into our new joint and I seriously could not be more excited. My finger is weary from all the sweet sweet images I’ve been pinning as inspiration for this new home of ours. Even though we’re technically closing on the house this Friday, we’ve got possession of our apartment for another 7-weeks, so we’re thinking the best plan of attack is to bust out some of the extra hairy projects first, so we don’t have to live through all the dust and general nastiness that comes along with tearing half of your house apart.

In part to give me some focus on what to prioritize and in part to spill the beans to all of you, I thought it would be fun pre-movin to review some of the before shots of the space, and chat about the big old list of plans we have to make this place a bit more like home.

Let’s start with the layout.

First Floor Layout

This house is a traditional cape cod, and has a pretty typical layout for the type of home it is. Some of our favorite features include a huge (to us) kitchen, with a little nook in the back. I seriously never thought I’d have an eat in kitchen, on top of a formal dining room. Can’t wait to have all that extra space to stretch out a bit!

We also really liked that there is a full bathroom and a bedroom right on the first floor. Now, if you notice, one of the things we didn’t like (as much) is that the only bathroom available on the first floor is through a bedroom. We’ve got some plans down the line to potentially convert our entry closet into the world’s smallest loo (like this). Here’s a complete list of “whole house” things that we’d like to tackle.

General/Whole House List

  • Take down wall between the kitchen and the dining room
  • Convert front closet to tiny little loo
  • Possibly convert side porch to room (down the line)
  • Refinish floors
  • Fix basement wall lean
  • Fix plumbing issues (low flow)
  • Add gas line
  • Replace all windows

Here’s a picture of the foyer as it currently looks.

How to Remove Old Wallpaper

A bit dated … our plans for this space are:


  • Add wainscoting trim
  • Either paint wall above, or add grasscloth wallpaper 😀
  • Convert front closet to small bathroom
  • Add additional storage and/or foyer table
  • Add stair runner
  • Replace light fixture

To the right of the foyer, is our main living space – a pretty generously sized living room coming in at 24×14. Unlike our last house though, this living room will also be our only family room in the house, so it will have to double task as an all purpose living space.

Living Room Before

This is what the living room looked like with the previous owners. Things we plan to change, include:

Living Room 

  • Paint
  • Add artwork
  • Invest in some nice furniture for the space
  • Add window treatments
  • Convert the fireplace to gas
  • Add a large floor covering (custom natural fiber rug?)
  • Update the fireplace surround
  • Perhaps add wainscoting to the fireplace wall

Taking Out Wall

From the living room, you flow right into the dining room. We’re super excited about this space (along with the kitchen) as we plan to take out that main wall between the kitchen and the dining room, making everything a bit more updated and open concept. In addition to taking out the wall, we plan to:

Dining Room 

  • Paint
  • Add wainscoting
  • Update the light fixture
  • Remove the built-in cabinet to make room for the new bathroom
  • Construct a new table (DIY!)
  • Add seating for (6)
  • Add artwork
  • Add a rug
  • Add window treatments

Kitchen View Before

The kitchen people, this is the room where some magical things will be happening pretty soon. Along with taking out the wall between the two rooms, we will also be taking on a complete gut of the kitchen. Although the cabinets are extremely quaint from a distance, up close they are in really, really rough condition. It pains me to remove these guys, but unfortunately they’re just not going to work. The good news, they’ve had a pretty good run since they’re original to this 1930’s home.

This is what we plan to tackle on the kitchen:


  • Replace all cabinets
  • Add custom crown to top
  • Install new appliances
  • Install new counters
  • Add gas line
  • Move location of sink
  • Add pot filling faucet behind stove top
  • Add backsplash
  • Add custom oven hood
  • Remove linoleum flooring and install new wood floors
  • Create custom eat in nook with storage
  • Add window treatments
  • Add updated light fixtures
  • Install new lighting above the island
  • Add artwork

Guest Room Before

The only other room downstairs is the bedroom/bath combination that I’ll affectionately refer to as Rachel’s suite. My kid sister Rachel is planning on coming to live with us soon (exciting!!) and this will be her place of residence. 😀 We’ve actually got 6-months or so to get the room ready for her, since she won’t be coming down south until she graduates from college in December.

Changes we’d like to make to this room are:

  • Painting
  • Adding new window treatments
  • Adding crown molding
  • Adding large rug
  • Furnishing it
  • Adding artwork

As it stands, Rachel will actually have the best room in the house, since it’s got a full bathroom, complete with a walk-in shower! She’s never going to move out! 😀

Small Walkin Shower

Even though this bathroom is pretty nice, we’d still like to make some high impact changes in here.

Downstairs Bathroom

  • Paint
  • Install new faucet
  • Install new high efficiency toilet
  • Install glass tile border
  • Update lighting
  • Update mirror
  • Add new window treatments
  • Update storage
  • Possibly update the flooring and shower tile down the road

Here’s another shot of the same room, from a different angle.

Adding Bathroom to Master

To give you a lay of the land upstairs, here is the overall configuration.

Second Floor Layout

Notice that big old Master? 😀 Color me pumped!! I think my favorite thing about the second story is the big old front dormers on each of the bedrooms, which let tons of natural light into the space! We’ve got plans for some big changes upstairs. Let’s start with the Master.

See that flex space on the back end of the second bedroom? It’s a 9×6 room that we will most likely use as an office when we first move in. Since the master has that space available right now, we’ve opted to follow the same general layout from that second bedroom, by adding a master bathroom to the back of the bedroom. It’s a pretty perfect, since the existing bathroom plumbing is literally sharing a wall with the proposed new bathroom space. I’ve been totally inspired by the layout on this bath, and think we might even be able to squeeze in a double vanity in there.

Upstairs Bedroom in Cape Cod


Here’s a close up of all that wallpaper goodness … with matching curtains 😉

Wallpaper Matching Curtains

Master Bedroom

  • Update window treatments
  • Possibly re-work closet locations and/or add walk-in closet
  • Update lighting
  • Construct upholstered bed
  • Add nightstands
  • Find dresser
  • Add artwork
  • Purchase new linens
  • Purchase small chair for reading nook in dormer
  • Add large area rug
  • Add bathroom

Persian Rug in Bedroom

The second bedroom upstairs will someday be a nursery for our future mini-me’s. For the time being, it will just be an extra guest space though! Obviously, once it’s actually a nursery, this list of to-do’s will change quite a bit and be less generic.

Second Bedroom

  • Paint
  • Update window treatments
  • Add large area rug
  • Add sitting area
  • Add artwork
  • Fix door (currently sticks from basement settling)

Small Home Office

For now, the room right off the second bedroom will function as an office for me. If we have more than two kids down the road, the third one will have this as a nursery while the other two can share the bigger bedroom.

Alas, since there are certainly not any miniatures floating around right now, the immediate plans for the space are:


  • Build a custom desk or rehab a cheapy off craigslist
  • Paint
  • Add window treatments
  • Add organization
  • Purchase small rug
  • Add lighting

Black and White Bathroom

The bathroom is in pretty good condition, the black and white tile isn’t obnoxiously bad, so it will stick around for a while. That being said, I definitely plan on doing a full renovation further on down the line to make it super swank. Short term, we’ll probably just add some neutral accessories and call it a day. Long term, I plan to:


  • Complete gut
  • Add marble tile floor
  • Add subway tile to shower
  • Add new high efficiency toilet
  • Update lighting
  • Replace mirror
  • Update window treatments
  • Add artwork

Trinity Park Durham

Last but not least, we’ve got the exterior.

As far as the front, I personally think it’s as cute as a button. That being said, knowing me, once I start to get board with the inside I’ll inevitably turn to the outside. Here are some of the potential projects I see out here though.


  • Adding landscaping
  • Putting in new flower beds
  • Adding some ferns to the front
  • Adding a portico
  • If we do add a room to the side over the current porch, we’ll reside the house, too

Cape Cod with Back Dormer

The backyard, there I’ve got a whole barrel of monkeys planned. For this part of the house, I plan to:


  • Add a deck
  • Put in lots of landscaping
  • Add a raised bed garden
  • Add a storage shed
  • Install built-in grill
  • Add patio pavers to connect the driveway and the deck area
  • Put in fence against driveway on right side of house

All and all – I seriously CAN NOT wait to get crack a lackin’ on this new joint! We’re so pumped about the prospect of actually sticking around a bit longer in the next home and really making it ours.

9 thoughts on “Big Bad List

  1. Looks like you’ll have your hands full with projects! Love the new house – I have an affinity for cape cods (lord knows why!) and I’m looking forward to seeing how you make this space your own! 🙂

  2. Hi, It”s Sandee Schnupp here again! I was totally exhausted after I read the list of your projects for this house; you must have lots of pentup energy!!! Are you and your husband planning on doing all of this renovations yourselves or will you need to hire some help?? I”m most anxious to see what you will do with your kitchen as we may be doing something with ours also. So let the before and after pictures begin as I”m excited to see this “show” [ha ha]. Take care! Sandee Schnupp from Fairfax Va.

    1. Ha ha!! Keep in mind – that’s LONG TERM plans! 😀 We try to do most of it ourselves – if we ever come across a project that’s too tricky, we’ll sometimes hire a helping hand though. The kitchen will be one of the first projects, so hopefully that helps give you some ideas! 🙂

  3. Blank canvas! One of the most exciting parts as you can let your ideas completely run free. Smart idea to stay outta the house while the mega stuff goes on. That’s what we did as well and boy-oh-boy am I happy we did!

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