The Little House and the List of Doom

Last night, Kevin and I sat down to make a list of everything left to finish on the bathroom.  Our thought was that because we’re so close to being finished, it would motivate us to see how short the to-do list is.

*cue the maniacal laughter*

The list is NOT short… not even a little short. If you made list of short things (like my attention span, Bruno Mars, and springtime in Texas), our to-do list would not be on it.  In fact, our to-do list probably wouldn’t even be allowed in the same room with the list of short things.


We have a plan, guys.  We’re going to break this bad boy into bite-sized chunks to make it seem a little more manageable (and to keep us from going nuts).  First bite needs to be small enough to create a snowball.  That way we get more and more motivated.  Also, crossing things off lists just motivates the heck out of me. I tried to get Kevin to put everything we’d already done on the list so we could cross it off and feel good about ourselves, but in the end we agreed that the list was long enough as it was.

So without any further ado… the list.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom To Do List

Told you it was a long list. Our new goal is to finish the bathroom by Labor Day. We have a camping trip planned for the beach then and don’t want to have the bathroom hanging over our heads while we’re playing Frisbee with the pups in the surf.

Are you a lister? Do you lists help you work better or overwhelm you? Do you think there’s any way in Heaven we can finish by Labor Day?


Now that we’re in the full fledged bathroom remodel planning process, we sat down to make a list of goals for the project. We didn’t want too many, but we wanted something to hold ourselves accountable to (and that you can hold us accountable to).  Of course, we want to make the bathroom prettier, but that’s not our only goal.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom Mood Board Gray Navy

So without any further ado, our five bathroom remodeling goals:

1. Finish the project by June 2014. And I mean finish. Paint, curtains, decor – everything. Why? We can’t drag this one out. It’s the only bathroom in the Little House, so we have to finish this project quickly.

2. Stay under our budget of $5000. That includes demo, drywall, tile, paint, refinishing the tub… the whole kit-and-caboodle.

3. Do everything ourselves (except for refinishing the tub and any major plumbing).  We don’t expect to have to do any major plumbing, but we’re prepared for it. The Little House isn’t exactly a spring chicken, so we know that we may run into issues we won’t know how to handle. That being said, we want to do as much of this project ourselves as we possibly can.

4. Maintain the vintage character of the bathroom, while making it more functional and modern.  I know that we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s really important to us. We love the original tile, arch shower surround, and linen closet in our current bathroom.  We want to update those things while preserving the feel they give to the house.

5. Increase the value of the Little House. As much as we love the LH, it’s not our forever home.  So as with every project that we complete, the main goal of this remodel is to increase the saleability and value of the Little House.

Sorry for the wordy post, but we really wanted to share these with you guys.  We’ll be more likely to make sure we stay on budget if we know you know what our budget is!

List-less No More

It’s no secret that I love me a good list.  Take our wedding for example. I had so many lists going that I had to make a list of my lists. And it felt gooood.  List making is a calming exercise for me. Kevin’s even been known, in the midst of a crisis, to grab pen and paper and say “Let’s just make a list about it, so you’ll feel better, okay?”

So I’m going to start of 2014 by doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: making a list of everything that I want to do to the Little House.  If I lose you halfway down, I apologize.  There’s still so much we want to do.

Front YardThe Front Yard

  • Enlarge and replant flower beds with heat tolerant perennials
  • Trim the trees overhanging the roof
  • Add uplighting on the house and big tree
  • Paint the front door
  • Paint the whole house
  • Refinish the Adirondacks
  • Sew new pillows for the Adirondacks
  • Hang new light on porch


Navy RugsUSA Hawa RugThe Living Room

  • Simplify and declutter
  • Sew more pillows for the couch and arm chairs
  • Refinish the coffee table
  • Paint the trim white?
  • Hang artwork
  • Build coat hook/storage cubby for entry


Office Renovation 2013The Office

  • Install new light fixture
  • Buy new rug (since the pets destroyed the one above)
  • Hang Artwork
  • Get fake palm tree for corner (since the pets killed the live one)


MasterThe Master Bedroom

  • Find and hang new artwork
  • Accessorize
  • Sew cushion for Ikea Hack bench
  • Sew new pillow covers for bed
  • Sew bedskirt
  • Paint trim white?


WHITEThe Laundry

  • Add accent wall (more on that soon!)
  • Fix broken knob on dryer
  • Make pretty cat bowls for Fievel (we have to feed him on the dryer to keep the dogs from eating his food)
  • Make and hang artwork


Beals Bathroom BeforesThe Bathroom

  • Gut the entire room
  • Add carrara marble hex tile to the floor
  • Add white subway tile to the walls
  • DIY a new vanity
  • Add glass to the linen closet doors and drawers to the bottom


Kitchen LHBH

 The Kitchen

  • Retile the kitchen
  • Build in the fridge
  • Replace stove and microwave with Stainless Steel
  • Paint kitchen navy
  • Sew Curtains
  • Make and hang artwork
  • Paint cabinet backs?


Dining RoomThe Dining Room

  • Update Bar top to match table
  • Hang artwork
  • Sew Curtains
  • Accessorize


IMG_2102The Backyard

I’m sure there’s lots of things I’m leaving out, but I think that’s enough to keep us busy for now, don’t you?

Resolving on 2014

We’re back! The rumors of our deaths were greatly exaggerated – we simply had a crazy December and decided to take the month off. 2014’s here now, though, and we’re ready to get on with another awesome year.

The lister in me loves writing out my New Year’s Resolutions. It’s almost a ritual for me to get out pen and paper on New Year’s day and scratch out what I’d like my next year to look like.  Kevin (who’s not exactly a Type A lister), added his thoughts and the list below took shape.


Resolution 1: Finish what we’ve started. There’s several projects around the Little House that we just haven’t quite put the finishing touches on yet. Not to name names, but… the backyard, office, laundry nook, and master bedroom. We’re so close to calling these spaces done; we just need to push through and get them to 100%.

New Rug Pre FievelResolution 2: Remodel the Bathroom. We’ve been talking about the big bathroom remodel for ages, but the time has finally come. We’re starting to work on finding the look we want and planning for the best time to be without a shower (since we only have one bathroom).

bathroom-progress2Resolution 3: Update the Kitchen. This goal is a big maybe. We’d love to retile the kitchen with the same tile we used in the office, paint the walls a sexy navy, and the trim a crisp white, but the logistics of tiling the kitchen are a bit daunting. More on that soon.



Resolution 1: Get Healthy. In 2014 we’re going to hit the gym 3x a week… in the morning. Before work. Before the sun is up. I am the opposite of a morning person. I don’t see this going well. We’re also going to attempt to run the Dallas Metro PCS Half Marathon next December.  I’m also not a great runner. I can finish a 5k, but by the way I go on afterwords you’d think I just finished an ultramarathon. I wheeze. I gasp. I complain. And now I’ve agreed to run 13.1 miles with Kevin. If I can manage to keep both these goals it’ll be a miracle.

Hollywood Heights 5k

Resolution 2: Unplug. I stare at a computer screen eight hours a day. When Kevin’s not on his computer at work, he’s on his phone for conference calls. So this year we want to unplug while we’re home: go on more walks, ride our bikes, sit in the backyard with our phones in the house.


Resolution 3: Simplify. We have a lot of stuff. We’re not even sure what all the stuff is; we just know that we have tubs and tubs of unknown possessions in our attic, garage, and spare bedroom. It’s time we organized and decluttered the Little House.

Hopefully we’ll be able to keep all our 2014 resolutions. I feel like 2014 is going to be a big year for us, but then again, I feel that way about every year. And I’m usually right.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year? Do you have any big plans? What do you think 2014 will hold for you?

We’ve started the office reno!

We spent about an hour last night cleaning out the room. It’s amazing how much junk we had in there! For now, the puppies are loving having a huge, empty (air conditioned) space to play in.

Little House Big Heart - The Office Before

Before we can start tiling, though, we have a lot to do.

Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint
– Move everything back in room

We’ll have more on the ceiling wallpapering either Friday or Monday (depending on when we get it finished). It’s going to be an easy (and safe) way to cover up the ugly, asbestos-laden acoustic tiles!

Finishing the Backyard

After our two week trip to Europe, and impromptu camping trip to Oklahoma for Memorial Day weekend and a bout with food poisoning, I think we’re finally back to business around the Little House.

Our main goal at the moment is to push through and finish the backyard. We’re so close to being 100% done with this project that we don’t want start anything else until we’ve finished.

Outdoor Target String Lights Over Patio

So what do we have left to do?

We’re nearly done painting the deck. Once that’s finished, we’ll be able to make the final push to the end.

Capture 3

I think that if we work at it, two more weekends can have our backyard completely finished and we can get started on our next project… the office floor!

How do you push through to the finish of projects? What projects are you trying to finish up?

Home on The Range

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for our family last night during the terrible tornado outbreak here in North Texas. Our area made it through unscathed, but several communities south and west of us weren’t so fortunate. If you’d like to help, you can donate to the American Red Cross here, specifying the donation be in honor of the May 15 North Texas Tornado Relief. Keep the communities, families, and first responders in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days!

Coming home from a long international vacation always comes as a bit of a shock. Adjusting back to your native language, beating jet lag, going back to work, and discovering that one of your major kitchen appliances has suffered a mysterious death can all make transition back to reality difficult.

Wait a second. “…discovering that one of your major kitchen appliances has suffered a mysterious death.”

What’s that all about?

Our gas range.

Little House Big Heart - Dead Stove

We’ve checked the fuses. We’ve checked the plug. There’s no hope. He’s dead. Kaput. Morti.

So we’re in the market for a new one. We’ll probably end up getting one off of Sears Outlet (like we did with the dishwasher here). In the meantime, though, I’ve compiled a list of my dream gas ranges.

Wolf 30″ Gas Range Nothing says sexy like red handles.

wolf range

Jenn-Air Pro-Style 30″ Gas Range – No plain digital clocks for this bad boy. It’s analog all the way.


Viking – Because Vikings are sexy.


DCS – Its 17,500 BTU burners send a chill down my spine.

DCS range

Blue Star Residential Nova – This puppy packs a 22,000 BTU burner AND comes in 190 colors. Yes, please.

blue star range

Maybe someday. Until then a girl can dream, can’t she?

Do you dream about appliances (or is that only me)? What’s your dream kitchen upgrade?

The Backyard: What’s Left?

Our boil’s over.

It was a huge success; everyone said they had a great time (except for the crawfish, they had a terrible time).

So now what? We’ve been working for months to get the backyard ready for the boil and while the hardscape (ie. the patio, deck, fence, and sod) are all finished, there’s a lot of detail work that isn’t.

Little House Big Heart Sod

This is where Kevin and I tend to fall off the bandwagon. We’re great at tackling the big things, but when it comes to pushing through and finishing the small stuff we’re not so hot. Take our big bedroom makeover, for example. We started it last June and I have yet to accessorize. Why? Because we’re terrible at following through (and my irrational fear of accessories… but that’s another post).

Pinch Pleat Curtains

This time we’re bound and determined to see this project through to the end. We’re not going to even think about moving on to another project (hopefully a few Weekenders) before we plant the last flower and fill the last tiki torch, we promise.

So what do we need to finish?

A few good weekends and we should be able to get the whole thing 100% finished… just in time for Dallas’ 100 degree summers. Maybe we need to consider adding a misting system?

What’s your project downfall? Are you terrible at planning? Stink at the follow through like us? Anyone else terrified of accessorizing?

Pushing the Envelope

I’ve finally decided I’m fed up with having our master bedroom almost done. This week, I’m trying to mark at least one project a night off my list.

And since I’ve had this gorgeous navy chevron fabric sitting in my closet for two weeks just begging to be made into throw pillows for the bed, finding my first project wasn’t very hard.

First thing I did was sacrifice two old pillows to the throw pillow gods. They’ve led a long and happy life on our spare bed, but since we’ll be tackling the spare bedroom in the not-too-distant future (and the black and tan bedding is on it’s way out) I salvaged the perfectly good feather pillow forms from these guys. A penny saved is a penny that can be spent on more fabric, right?

The pillow forms were 18×18, so I cut my first pieces of fabric to that size. I like to cut to the exact dimensions of the pillow form because I think it makes the pillow look plumper, especially with feather pillow forms (which tend to go flat easily).

Next, I cut two back flaps for each pillow. I cut them to be 18″x12″ and 18″x16″, then ironed and hemmed them along one 18″ side.

Next, I laid out the 18″x18″ square, face up.

Make sure your pattern is going in the direction you intend before you start pinning. I wanted my chevron stripes to be horizontal.

I then laid on the back flaps, placing the hemmed side in the middle of the pillow and pinned all they way around. The flaps should overlap by at least two inches.

Finally, I sewed all the way around the pillow, leaving no gaps, and then turned it right side out. I ironed them here because I wanted a nice, crisp look.

Last but not least, I added the pillow forms.

I think they turned out pretty well and I love the navy chevron with the coral floral (hah, coral floral…. I’m a poet!).

These were so easy to make! And the best part is that the covers come off easily and can be thrown in the washer, a necessity in a house with two dogs and a cat.

I still have three more pillows to sew for the bed (two flanged Euro shams and one small bolster), but it feels great to finally be checking things off the list!

Have you sewn pillows before? Have you jumped on the chevron stripe bandwagon yet? I’m a little late.

Spring Cleaning

It was a gradual occupation; no storming the beaches or knocking down doors. They showed up here and there, congregating in corners, under tables, and sometimes, right out in the open. Occasionally there would be a skirmish and we’d beat them back, congratulating ourselves on a battle hard fought. They always come back for more though, somehow advancing despite the chemical warfare we possess. The endless battles are taking their toll, however, and I’m beginning to see them in my dreams: Dust bunnies. Cobwebs. Hair-ball tumbleweeds. Clutter. Blankets of dust so thick you could paint a masterpiece in them, much less write your name. We must act now, before it’s too late. We fight back against the tyranny of the dust bunnies and take back the Little House for those who love it! Who’s with me?!

Okay, truth be told, I’m needing some motivation. Making spring cleaning out to be an epic battle between me, messy closets and the dust bunnies lurking under the couch probably won’t help, but it might. Maybe. I’ve got the perfect week to get everything done… so I thought I’d share it with you and that would hold me accountable, right?

I’m going to break this down room by room (more for my sake than yours):

Living Room:

  • Scrub out fireplace (since fire season is over)
  • Wash rug
  • Wash couch/chair slipcovers (I <3 Ikea)
  • Wash walls
  • Wash windows
  • Scrub floors

Dining Room:

  • Wash walls; touch up paint where doggies have scratched it
  • Wash windows
  • Scrub floors
  • Clean empty/almost empty bottles out of bar


  • Clean out fridge/freezer
  • Clean out pantry
  • Clean oven
  • Wash walls
  • Wash cabinets in/out
  • Scrub floors
  • Wash windows
  • Clean dishwasher (using this tutorial)


  • Scrub walls, toilet, shower
  • Clean out under sink cabinet
  • Clean out linen closet
  • Scrub tile
  • Paint back of door (we forgot to do this before)


  • Clean washing machine (using this tutorial)
  • Clean out behind washer/dryer
  • Scrub walls/floor
  • Hang photo gallery

Spare Bedroom:

  • Take junk pile to attic
  • Wash sheets/blankets/flip mattress
  • Scrub walls/floor
  • Clean out utility closet
  • Wash windows

Master Bedroom:

  • Wash sheets/blankets/flip mattress
  • Clean out closets
  • Take winter clothes to attic
  • Clean out unworn clothes and take to Goodwill
  • Scrub out Indy’s crate
  • Scrub walls/floor
  • Wash windows
  • Paint walls?????????


  • Finish putting together Ikea boxes/organize Kevin’s office stuff in them
  • Scrub walls
  • Rent carpet cleaner
  • Wash windows
  • Buy lampshades for new office lamps.
  • Spray paint office lamps (what color??)

Okay. Think that’s about it. Think I can get it all done by Friday when a certain person gets home from work? Me either… but I’m going to meet the grimy, the dusty, and the dirty in battle none the less!

Have you started your spring cleaning? See anything I’m forgetting? Can you tell I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy?