Start of Construction

Today we started demo on the upstairs. We are currently living on the first floor, in the dining room area. We have the living room set up in the formal living area and the kitchen is cleaned and unpacked.

We decided not to move upstairs until its done so that we have space and don’t have to worry about keeping clean during the reno.

We started in the Master Bedroom:


Starting to take down the drop ceiling:



After removing the drop ceiling in the master bedroom, we gained about 6 inches in height in the room.


(Ahh – those windows, that view, that garbage pile!)

After we finished that room, we moved to the 2nd Bedroom:



We got a little excited with Demo and ripped up the carpet in that room as well. We gained about a foot of height in this bedroom.


Finally, we moved to the 3rd Bedroom (the Guest Room). We decided to focus our efforts on the first 2 bedrooms for the next month, so we set up the bed frame and mattress in here. Yes it still has creepy wallpaper and horrible carpet, but we needed to get the mattress out of the living room to open up more space and we plan on having guests rather quickly, so it would be great to have a clean room that they can retreat to.

Tomorrow, Collin has work, so I’m on my own. The plan is to get the rest of the drop ceiling down in the hallway, take off all of the moldings and possibly get to removing the faux wood paneling down the wall. I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures!






Moving Day

We finally closed and moved on Monday, June 13th!

I spent the weekend with Anastasia packing up with house in to boxes, labeling, bubble wrapping, etc. By Sunday night, we felt pretty prepared for all of the work the next day would entail.




We woke up at 7 AM, got breakfast, walked the dog and then I headed to go pick up the moving truck. ***Reminder for Future Me: ALWAYS GET THE BIGGER TRUCK! I happened to grab the bigger truck, only because it was the same price as the 15 foot truck, thinking we don’t have that much stuff. WRONG! the 17 foot truck was packed to the brim!

So after I drove the Uhaul home, we started packing. It took about 2.5 hours total, so not the worst day ever, but definitely worked up a sweat.

After we were all packed up, we cleaned the house, said our house good-bye’s and jumped in the truck to head to our new neighborhood, on the other side of town.

Meanwhile, I had to work during all of this, so constant breaks were in order to attend to customer calls and emails ***Reminder for Future Me: ALWAYS TAKE OFF WORK!

We had some time to kill before closing at 3:30 PM, so we grabbed lunch with JoJo. After that we drove down to the realtors for closing.

Closing on our old house was simple and straightforward. They gave us the check and we headed up the road to the other title agency to close on the New house at 4:30. When we got there, they asked if we had wired all of the money for closing. I told them no, we wired the difference and gave them the check from the first closing. Apparently, this was unacceptable and we could not close on the house.

At this point it is 4:45 PM, we have our dog under the table at closing because it was 85 degrees outside, our Uhaul with everything we own is parked in the parking lot and they are basically telling us we are homeless until the check gets deposited, clears and wired in to their account. Cue the Panic.

Realtor Greg to the rescue! He called the other title agency, had them void the check and wire the money over the next morning. He also called the home owner of our new house to explain the situation and see if she would let us move in tonight regardless. She said yes (as long as we signed a liability waiver)! So we didn’t actually close, but headed to the house to start moving!


It was now about 5:30 PM and we started unloading the Uhaul (approx. 8 hours after loading it). We were exhausted, but had to get everything in the house before the sunset. We pushed through and unloaded the Uhaul in about 2 hours and then met up with Anastasia for dinner and some beers at BarFly’s.

I think we both pretty much died 5 seconds after getting in to bed. It was a long day, but it was done and we were in our new home!

And Just in Case You’re Wondering, we got this text the next afternoon:



Guest Bedroom – To-Do List and Mood Board

It might seem crazy, with everything that this house needs, to start with the Guest Bedroom, but it’s where I can confidently make decisions on design without overthinking the whole house. See, the rest of the house is pretty open concept, so even deciding on paint color I feel like I need to take Kitchen cabinets in to consideration (which I am not prepared to tackle yet). Also, it is a manageable project that we can complete from start to finish without having to take a huge hit to the budget right on day 1.

The goal of this room is to feel like a modern, rustic retreat for our guests. I would like to re-use a few pieces that we already have, build a headboard and tie it all together with new bedding. Below is the mood board for the room:

Guest Room

We already own the rug, the antique secretary desk and an end table that will work perfect in the space. The headboard will be a DIY and we will purchase the new bedding and Roman Bamboo shades for the 3 windows.

Moving on to the To-Do List for the Guest Room:


As you can see, we will start with removing wall paper and patching and painting the ceilings, moldings and walls before ripping out the carpet. Once the walls are done, we can start on the floors. The budget for this room, outside of any phase 2 projects, is $900. As we move through, I will detail the budget along the way, as well as plan for posts on all DIY projects and before and afters!

Now we just need to close, so that we can start!




How to Organize a Home To-Do List

Confession: I am a list maker

I have multiple lists in different areas. Lists for my full time job, Home, High Level Monthly To-Do lists, Daily meal plan lists, Weekly Lists. Lots of Lists.

So this new house should be no different. The way I manage everything I need to do should carry over to the Fixer-Upper we just purchased and allow Collin and I to prioritize based on need, time and budget.

I wanted to jot down my way of making a list in hopes that it may help others that feel over-whelmed by this type of task. This post we will go through making a home to-do list, next post we can review my actual list for our new home.

Steps to Great Home List Making:

  1. Decide how you are going to organize your list
    • For home lists, I like to organize by room. So, to start, just list out every room (and potential room) in your house first.
    • I prefer to make home lists in an excel doc. It allows me to sort and filter by room, organize by column and quickly sum up a budget. I feel like I can see everything at a glance from an excel doc.
  2. Write it ALL down
    • Write down everything that needs to be done in that room. Include DIY Projects, things to purchase, projects you might need to hire people for, everything!
    • Make sure you note down anything you can think of, no matter how small. Having all of those details in one place, will let you feel less stressed, and get rid of that feeling that you are forgetting something. As you remember things, add them to the list.
  3. Categorize
    • Add a category to every task (DIY, Hire a Pro, Purchase)
  4. Cost Estimate
    • Start by assigning estimated costs to the tasks. This is a really important step – not to be missed!
    • This is does not need to be perfect, but you want to get a number associated with that task. For example, I always estimate a paint project at $45 (Paint, Brush, Roller Cover). I have all of the other supplies needed. Sometimes, I might re-use paint I already have, but I’d rather be under budget than over.
    • These number can be updated as you get closer to those tasks. So don’t worry if you thought you would spend $25 on a new lamp for a room, but can’t miss that $75 stunner. Just update the price and keep moving. Look for other ways to cut back when the time comes.
    • The reason I love to give a cost is it let’s you estimate (by room) how much the full project can cost at a glance. Also, if you find yourself getting lucky with a little extra money one day, say a gift card, or a bonus at work, you can quickly see your list and decide what you can chip away at with that money.
  5. Prioritize
    • I think this is the hardest part of creating a home list. You want to assign priority, but not get too caught up in this piece. Sometimes your going to want to jump around and priority might shift based on outside influences. If you are having a bunch of people stay the weekend, the guest bedroom might be bumped a little higher on the priority list to accommodate.
    • The system I use to Prioritize is a number based system. You’ll be able to see the detail in my home list post (coming soon), but essentially, everything that is Phase 1 gets a 1 in the priority column. Anything phase 2 gets a 2, etc.
    • Then I look at all of phase 1 projects, and assign 1.1 to the projects we want to start with. For this new home, the guest room is important to us, as all of our family is from out of state. If we want them to come to Maryland to help renovate, we are going to need to have a place for them to sleep! So all, non-budget busting projects in the guest room are given a 1.1. Anything that is more major for that room (New Dry walled ceilings) are given a 2.1, since we don’t plan on dry walling for a few months.
  6. Give it a Timeline
    • Now that you have a list of To-Do’s and priority, start assigning expected dates/timelines to those. An example would be that we need new windows, but due to budget and completing priorities, it will need to wait a few months.
    • Anther thing you can do, is add how much work items would take. For example, I need to build a shelf. There is no specific day I am looking to complete this project, but I estimate it would take 5 hours to do. So instead of a complete date, I will add the 5 hours. Then when I have a few hours free, I can review the list and pick something that fits within the time I have available.
  7. Tackle
    • Just get going! Start with your priority items and just get moving! This is the hardest part, but if you are prepared with a great list, you’ll know exactly where to start!




3rd Times a Charm

We’re Moving (again)! My house A.D.D. has set in, and Collin (being the most patient husband ever) has agreed to move in to a new place this spring. And the place we chose has a to-do list a mile long, is drowning in floral wallpaper, drop ceilings, wood panelling and we couldn’t love it more.

We have only been living in our current home for 1 year, but felt the need to get something a little less done with a little more space. So after listing our house and selling relatively quickly, we were able to find a home we love and put our offer in right away. The seller loved that it was a young couple (not an investor) looking to move in and start a life here, and she accepted our offer that day! As of now, we have inspections this week and next, with a tentative closing date of June 13th. We will close on our current house in the morning, new house in the afternoon and move in that night. It should be a busy couple of weeks, but we are so excited and think we have found the perfect house to settle down in for at least a couple of years.

I wanted to start this blog for family and friends to be able to keep up with our new house, projects, before and after’s and general life in Baltimore! I hope this blog allows everyone we know, and maybe some we don’t, to follow along with our journey. I also hope it serves as an area for Collin and I to record memories/pictures of daily life and projects.

We’re so excited for this new adventure and can’t wait to share it with everyone!