Eating Elephants


The husband and I are great project starters, awesome, even; project finishers, however, we are not. We are currently working on…

  1. The back yard (if the rain would ever stop)
  2. The kitchen cabinets
  3. The kitchen island
  4. Finishing the basement
  5. Painting the bedroom
  6. Finishing the wall between the bedroom and bathroom
  7. Fixing the plumbing
  8. Fixing the fan in the downstairs bathroom
  9. Putting doors on all the closets
  10. Changing the locks
  11. The floors

I have a four-page to-do list on top of my furniture refinishing business, my Etsy store, “birthday season” and everything that goes with running a household with five kids and eleven critters. I. Am. Stressed.

So after spending a few days in my pj’s trying to decide if I should scream or cry, I figured out how to eat this elephant.*

A year ago, in July, we started the floor project. The house came with this ugly brown shag carpet. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was fine and it was brand new when we moved in. But it was the 99c special (I know because we’d considered putting it into the house we were selling at the time) and after eight years of living and potty training four dogs and three kids, it was bad. So so, very bad. We decided on laminate because we have dogs and kids and we’re on a concrete slab, so cheap hardwood was out of the question and so was carpet. We picked another 99c special – Alameda hickory. We did the downstairs bedroom, the family room, and the kitchen, and then took a break. That was a year ago.

The front room is the old floor. The stairs are the old floor. The hall is bare. There are no baseboards or door molding, no hand rails and until last week, no outlet covers. It probably would be kinda-sorta ok, except that this is an “open concept” floor plan and you can see all the “transitions” from the front door. I have had enough. Then there’s the family room.

See, the floors in there are done – ish, but my husband bought this chair. It’s this ridiculous, giant massage chair that looks like it came straight from a “B” alien movie. It was supposed to be in a different room but it won’t fit through any of the interior doors and it weighs a million pounds. The good news, I no longer have to rub his back with my pathetic carpel tunnel hands and it meant we had to chuck the couch from Dante’s third level. The bad news is…well, just look. Behold, the family room, random furniture in various stages of refinishing (because getting rid of the giant couch didn’t mean we could just sit on the floor), the toddler mess, the big chair, and all. Those red chairs are will be up for sale by Saturday, by the way. Aren’t they fabulous?

Anyway, that big, black chair behind the mess making toddler is what we’re working with – or around – and my country house needs to get a modern interpretation thanks to the big chair. Everything else in the room has to go. It has to. But enough of the backstory – here’s my first elephant leg, bite by bite:

  1. Paint. Our little bundle sitting there discovered the joys of sharpie markers.
  2. The flooring on the stairs (and while I’m at it, the front room).
  3. Baseboards and rails
  4. Built-in “entertainment center”
  5. Get rid of all the random furniture.
  6. Build a couch and giant ottoman. Yes, I said build. Yes, I know, I’m crazy.
  7. The fun stuff – lamps, plants, and decor

That’s my starting point. My first goal is to turn the family room from mess and craft project central to a comfortable and functional space the whole family can use and enjoy.

*No elephants were harmed in the making of this post. It’s an idiom which means to break a big project down into small bites.


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