My kids are really into paper at the moment. Drawing, writing, cutting, shredding… Our oldest said she needed her own printer the other day. What she meant was that she needed her own pile of printer paper since Ronny had banned them from taking anymore of his. Amid the daily paper project explosion recently, our 4-year old proudly ran in to show me her creation; a piece of paper with tiny square boxes drawn over the entire thing. Good job Picasso. She announced it was her checklist and everything must be checked off. Great. I have genetically passed on the obsession of never ending to-do lists.
When we were expecting our first child, I created a master checklist on a giant whiteboard which was mounted in our living room for several months before due date. No detail was left off from this list written in dry erase font size 8 – from frozen meals to handmade nursery items, from every inch of the house needing to be cleaned to both boy and girl clothes washed and folded since we didn’t know the gender. When a friend of Ronny’s came over one day he saw the board and simply commented, “wow…that’s stressful”. Ronny was like, dude you have no idea. Don’t get me wrong, the broad inclusivity of this checklist stressed me out too. But it’s a unique strength of mine – creating ridiculously lofty to-do lists and coercing Ronny to carry it all into fruition. How I’m still married, I have no clue. When we were expecting our second child, the list was a bit different than the first. It was nearly as long but not quite as organized. Yes the nursery had to be done, but also our firstborn’s needs and desires had to all be catered to in advance so that she would experience barely a ripple as our family transitioned from 3 to 4. And trust me, I’m kicking myself in the butt now for how well I carried this all out. I now see that she needed a few more ripples early on. Let’s just say our second is far more self sufficient. And our third? The list shrunk dramatically to a truly essential list of boxes. Now at age 2, I’m pretty confident that if she was left alone and responsible for her own survival she would be hunting and building fires by nightfall. This time as we were expecting the 4th, the list was created very late in the game. And when I did finally write it, there were maybe 3 things that even had to do with a baby. In fact if you glanced at this list, I’m not even sure you would know that we were expecting. It included things like get a car which transports a mega family, replace the subfloor in the kitchen, get the shower tile issues repaired, and the most important one to me: FINALLY get a banister up on the stairs so that we could offer our newborn at least a scrap of baseline safety.
And since our babies never seem to want to get out, we had plenty of time to check away. We found a used bus right before used car prices soared (YAY) complete with an ancient DVD player. Funny thing is when we moved, Ronny forced me to trash all our DVDs claiming that they were archaic and when would we ever need them again? Now. The answer is now. We need them in order to drive anywhere. Thankfully our awesome library has a gigantic archaic media section and we rent them out for free. Our bus now seats 8 so I told Ronny we could have two more bambinos. He wasn’t amused.
We also found a new woodworking guy who works pretty much anytime. He finished the banister around 11:30pm one night a few days before baby arrived. You might think this would be annoying… loud drilling late at night and all…but in my hella pregnant and cranky state I only cared about checking off the list and had no complaints.
Final painting touchups on the banister still need to be done. We have used Ultra pure white Behr on all the trim. The original lovely brown in this house has mostly been replaced with Sherwin William’s Alabaster. It’s a gorgeous and versatile white which isn’t a true white white…not too creamy, not too bright. It does look different room to room depending on the lighting, which is true of any color of course. We went true white on ceilings and trim which pops nicely alongside the Alabaster.
It took us a ridiculously long time to change out that dusty plastic stairwell sconce. I think I bought and returned about 10 fixtures before I found this winner from Pottery Barn. I’m really loving mixed finish fixtures at the moment and this one fit the spot perfectly, mixing the brasses and matte blacks I’m using. Mixing finishes is definitely the best look in my opinion but it’s not so easy to get it right! Adding in a single piece which incorporates both finishes can really help.
The kitchen was fully gutted this summer. One might say this was poor timing…and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. But who is really cooking full gourmet meals when a baby comes anyways. And the summer time allowed us to grill outside, which worked well most of the time except for those occasions when we didn’t know a spontaneous Tennessee downpour would happen.
Here’s how it was for most of the summer: shiplap ceiling installed, recessed lighting added, new framing up, subfloor replaced, and drywall in. The true lifesaver for us amid the chaos was that utility sink. Washing dishes in the bathtub is not so fun anytime, but at 9 months pregnant, it’s a real hoot.
Things in here are coming along slowly but surely and I’ll share more pics of the progress soon. Here’s a peak at the cabinets which are all in now. We are sticking with classic white and simple shaker style, mixing in some colors and wood elements in other ways. There will be wooden open shelving on these walls and a wooden prep island in the center of this space. I tend to OVERUSE colors so we decided to stay white on the cabinets.
I have loved seeing pictures and hearing updates of other’s kitchen changes both big and small over this past summer. If you are working on a kitchen reno at the moment, whether it’s an entire gut job or just some minor updates, please share with me! Kitchen projects are packed with decisions making it quite overwhelming – but super exciting for sure. One day it will be checked off our list here. For now, we will just keep on grilling pancakes and eggs on the patio during this gorgeous autumn weather.