1846 Homestead Renovation,  The Art of Beautiful Living

I Suffer from an Abundance of Opportunity

I am Blessed

I am truly blessed.  This project has been an amazing journey.  I have had so many opportunities to learn new skills and to learn some pretty interesting things about myself as well.  Jerry will tell you that I can generate more ideas that anyone he knows (not always a good thing, in his experience).  My brain just likes to keep working…all the time.  It is great.  I have wonderful conversations with myself.  Sometimes, I will laugh out loud because of something I “thought” and found to be funny.

But there is a dark side…I can see the way things could be with such clarity that I often times can overlook the space between what is and what could be.  The old house certainly stands as an example, but if I had realized the sheer magnitude of what we were taking on, I think I might have opted to not start the project.  Looking back, it was obviously do-able, because we did it.

A Life of Projects

What I think we have in front of us now is a lifetime of projects.  I don’t know if we will ever finish the old house completely (and yes, we know that old houses require constant upkeep).  The yard will need work all the time even if it is just maintenance.  And, while the addition is completed, we have a laundry list of things that we still want to do.  Things like accent walls, shelving, wine storage, cubbies for the mudroom.

We have plenty to keep us busy and then, I collect more projects.

Here are the top four (aside from the list from above) that I am trying to find time to either start or finish.  Feel free to shoot me your ideas.

The Doors


Stacked and patiently waiting their turn in our mudroom are the doors from the old house.  Some of you might recognize the red screen doors that were such a hit when we first started the renovation.  These doors need to be stripped, sanded down and repainted, but more than that, they need to be hung in their original locations.  That means that, now that we have “leveled” the house, they probably need to be trimmed so they will swing.  Then they need to be trimmed out.  That is going to require a visit to the pile of trim we saved for this purpose and that will all need to be stripped, sanded, installed and painted.  See?  We are practically finished.

The Old Pew Ends

These are the original pews from the Mertens Baptist Church.  My great, great grandparents attended this church as did subsequent generations.  My parents were married here and it is where Jerry and I met.  Sunday mornings will find us worshiping there as well.  Don brought these over back in March.  I was thrilled (still am) but we have done nothing with them save prop them against the wall where they scuffed the new paint.  Sigh.

My plans are to use some of the 2″ thick black walnut planks from our tornado encounter in Virginia for the seat and back.  Of course, the seat is curved and we need to figure out how to manage that as it is above our wood working skill level.  The pew ends need nothing beyond some poly to seal in the paint, so that is at least one thing that doesn’t have to be done. When completed, the pew will serve as seating at the end of our dining table.  We just can’t seem to find time to make it happen (notice the books surrounding the pews?).  Life goes on and so does the list of projects.

The Stadium Pews

These are the pews that, to the best of my knowledge, replace the old pews from above.  These are the pews that were in the church when my parents were married.  Don’s dad, Buddy, gave them to us and I have started to gently sand the paint off the wood veneer.  I remember that they were stained and the metal ends were painted.  We are going to stain them (after we do repairs on the veneer), and then also paint the metal ends black.  I don’t know where they will go, yet.  Maybe under the stairs or on the covered porch.  They currently function as ad hoc seating in the mudroom, but don’t sit on them unless you don’t mind getting paint dust on your pants.

The Fainting Sofa

So far, the projects mentioned have been the residual ones (the doors) and then two meaningful ones that were given to us.  I can hardly be held responsible for those being on the list, right?  Right.  It hardly matters because I have gone looking for more.  Take this fainting sofa for an example.  It was listed on Facebook Market.  It’s location was less than ten minutes from the house and it was free.  Free.  My eyes danced.  We went to pick it up and it needs to be worked on.  I need to first come up with a plan and then: paint the trim and replace the upholstery.  I haven’t ever upholstered anything before (made slip covers, yes).  Meh…what could go wrong?  It is fabric and nails.  I’m pretty good with nails.  I may get someone else to sew the bolster for me, though.

The Reality Is…

The reality is this…typical things can be bought at a furniture store.  I don’t want typical and I am not afraid of a project.  However, I am thinking that I need to be concerned with finishing some of these projects in the near future.  But when opportunity knocks, I will find a place to stash a project until I can get to it.  After all…

“If a woman’s work is never done…why worry about how much isn’t getting done at any one time?”


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