Furniture Fridays: The Thrill of the Hunt

Over Labor Day weekend we cleared out our storage unit and brought all the furniture back to our home. Some pieces found homes on the newly tiled areas of the house, while the majority of pieces were unceremoniously stuffed into our front bedroom, now jokingly referred to as the Room of Requirement. #harrypotterfans


Eventually, once the rest of our floors are finished, we’ll move some pieces back into the rest of the house. Others we hope to re-home via Craigslist and our neighborhood’s fall yard sale, as we really have too much furniture for our small home.

Perhaps this is why Chris was rather surprised when I brought home a new piece of furniture Friday. Crazy? Maybe, maybe not.

After nine years of marriage, we have amassed a collection of furniture, small and large, more and less useful. Although pieces with a smaller footprint are ideally sized for our home, we also need furniture with enough room to hold our belongings. Pieces that don’t serve a particularly useful purpose must go, whereas pieces like our behemoth of a black bookcase surprisingly must stay. #bibliophiles


For awhile now, I’ve been looking for just the right piece of furniture to provide storage for our home “administration station.”  I’ve tried to use our existing furniture (and various combinations thereof) for this purpose to no avail, as our mail and papers usually end up piled up on various surfaces around the house. We pay our bills on time but procrastinate when it comes to all other things paper-related.

I’ve come to the realization that we suffer from three paper-oriented problems:

  1. Our administrative things do not fit in one location, and having to transfer them from one place to another adds an extra step to an already seemingly insurmountable task.  This is akin to people dropping coats in the floor instead of opening a closet door to hang them up. Most professional organizers recommend providing coat hooks instead, as it eliminates one extra step needed for task completion. But we have another problem…
  2. The equivalent of coat hooks when it comes to paperwork is keeping papers out in the open, such as in file sorters, stackable trays, etc., but seeing papers stresses me out, paralyzing me further and ensuring the piles will keep growing. But…
  3. Keeping files obscured in file cabinets or other closed containers means out of sight, out of mind. If we can’t see the papers, we don’t do anything with them either.

On a side note, isn’t interesting that our lack of action (allowing papers to pile up instead of dealing with them straight away) enables inanimate objects (stacks of papers) that are otherwise unable to act independently to wield power over us? By not going on the offensive against paperwork (aka procrastinating), we must always be on the defensive, perpetually fleeing from or fighting an inanimate object!   

So what’s a family to do?

Given three challenges, I thought that perhaps a singular, small, yet storage-rich piece of furniture dedicated to containing the disaster all in one location might improve matters a wee bit.  While running errands on Wednesday, I popped into a local consignment store and happened upon this treasure:


At 48″ in length, it is well suited to our small space, but its drawers are deep and wide, providing sufficient storage for all of our things. I talked the salesperson into reducing the price and making a slight repair before bringing it home with me Friday. Before buying, I inspected the workmanship and the original furniture marker, which turns out to be John Widdicomb of Grand Rapids. Based on the particular label, our piece is from the 1940s–not exactly an antique but definitely vintage. Sometimes the thrill of the find is equal to the thrill of the hunt!

In the next post, I’ll explain how I plan to utilize this piece to improve our paper problem. As for now, Hermes has claimed it as his own.



Mista Lista: To Do/Ta Da List Summer in Review

Mista Lista is back by popular demand with a quarterly post on how the KaZoos are improving the ‘Zoo one bullet point at a time. Here’s the latest on the to do/ta da situation at the ‘Zoo:


Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Moving gate latch to the inside of the backyard (Surprise! We discovered we did in fact have a gate latch already, but it was put on the outside to allow free access to our backyard to any interested parties…what-tha-what?)  We now realize how the neighbors were able to show other interested buyers the backyard while we were looking at the inside with our realtor!) (1)
  • Cut down imposing magnolia in side yard (2)
  • Trim trees, shrubs, and grasses (2)
  • Remove sago palms in the way of mowing (2)
  • Replace rotted fence board (2)
  • Test/correct sprinkler aim (2)
  • Clear easement behind fence to keep weeds out of our yard (2)
  • Remove overgrown (ugly) hedges and grasses and snakes, oh my! (2)
  • Remove scalloped landscape edging (3)
  • Add new plants, mulch, and edging (3)
  • Replace odd flower bed between entry and driveway with brick pavers so that we aren’t stepping out of our car into the flower/weed bed (2)
  • Cut down magnolias in backyard (3)
  • Paint faded mailbox (2)
  • Shadowbox wood fence (3)
  • Line fence with crape myrtles for low maintenance privacy and shade (3)
  • Add edible plants! (3)
  • Upgrade fence (4)
  • Add gate on garage side for convenience (4)
  • Add sunporch? (4)
  • Add pool? (4)

Paved Areas, Garage, and Attic

Last Year /This Year (not much change here!)


  • Fix garage door keyless entry that cannot be reset/changed for some reason (1)
  • Install paddleboard storage to get paddleboard out of the living room (2)
  • Install carpet squares for walking path around garage hazards (2)
  • Build garage racks for storage (2)
  • Uninstall wire shelving and cut to fit Master Bedroom Closet (2)
  • Pressure wash driveway, front sidewalk, and back patio (2)
  • Patch cracked concrete (2)
  • Fix attic stairs (2)
  • Find new home for plywood hurricane window covers to maximize floor space (3)
  • Organize garage shelves and floor areas so we can find things we need to knock out things on the to do list (2)
  • Install second paddle board rack for Amy’s new board (2)
  • Take out rest of yellowed sunbursts in garage door (so much better!) (2)
  • Install pegboard, hooks, etc.  for functional vertical storage (3)
  • Add floor to attic for functional storage (3)
  • Paint (3)

House Exterior

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Change locks (1)
  • Make key copies (1)
  • New wind standard roof (1)
  • Replace weather stripping on back door (2)
  • Remove corrosion from back door (2)
  • Add storm door (3)
  • Buy hurricane shutters to replace plywood (3)
  • Repaint house numbers (2)
  • Replace front door (4)
  • Replace garage door with wind standard garage door (4)

House Interior

Last Year/This Year (not much changed here)


  • Install new smoke detector batteries (1)
  • Change air filter (1)
  • Install Nest thermostat (2)
  • Install carbon monoxide detector (2)
  • Recaulk windows (2)
  • Install reverse osmosis system (2)
  • Replace windows with energy efficient windows (3)
  • Color correct light fixtures and door knobs (4)
  • Replace cracked/Color correct faceplates/sockets/switches (4)

Foyer, Hallways, and Linen Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Tear out carpet and vinyl tile (1)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls and trim (3)
  • Upgrade flooring to wood-look tile (3)
  • Redesign guest linen closet to function as coat closet (we have two linen closets but no coat closet!) (3)
  • Wainscoting, beadboard, board/batten in foyer (some sort of special wall treatment) (4)

Front Bedroom (Guest Bedroom)

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Buy wooden dowel to “lock” broken window (1)
  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Scrape popcorn ceiling (1)
  • Prime and paint ceiling (1)
  • Prime walls/trim (1)
  • Install MBR ceiling fan so there is a light source and air circulation (this room gets stuffy!) (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (1)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (1)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Guest/Hall Bathroom

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Replace sink hardware (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with wood-look tile (3)
  • Replace lighting (4)
  • Frame out mirror (4)
  • Replace vanity/countertop (4)
  • Replace molded shower/tub combo with tub/shower with tiled walls (4)

Side Bedroom/Craft Room/Future Nursery

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Install ceiling fan (2)
  • Replace ceiling (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Install wood-look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet (4)

Living Room

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood-look tile (3)
  • Take out existing ceiling fan (for bedroom 3) and replace with awesome fan (3)
  • Fix gas fireplace (4)
  • Apply new ceiling or plank the big wall (or both?) #shiplap (4)

Dining Area

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixture (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Install built-ins for china storage/buffet serving area (4)
  • Apply new ceiling or plank the big wall (or both)? #shiplap  (4)


Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Install our refrigerator (2)
  • Upgrade to gas range so normal family cooking can occur (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rod (2)
  • Upgrade range hood to functional one vented outside (instead of recirculating) (2)
  • Add electrical outlet for gas range behind it (currently having to plug it into a counter height wall outlet to the left of the range, maxing out the length of the electrical cord-ugh!) (2)
  • Upgrade dishwasher (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace light fixtures (3)
  • Reconfigure island (3)
  • Move refrigerator to where panty is and put new awesome pantry where fridge currently is for more functional layout (right now we can barely open our fridge door against the wall) (3)
  • Replace vinyl floors with wood look tile (3)
  • Install wood cabinets (4)
  • Install new countertops (4)
  • Install new sink and smart faucet (4)
  • Install tile backsplash (4)
  • Upgrade pantry to be cabinet pull-outs instead of wire shelves (4)

Laundry Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Install our washer and dryer (2)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Add a laundry cart for better use of space! (3)
  • Replace vinyl tile with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving (3)
  • Install countertop for enhanced folding (4)

Master Bedroom & Master Closet

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Tear out carpet (1)
  • Replace ceiling fan with awesome fan (2)
  • Remove hideous wood-look blinds (2)
  • Install curtain rods (2)
  • Scrape ceiling (3)
  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Change closet configuration to allow for two levels of hanging (using extra shelving from garage) (3)
  • Replace carpet with wood look tile (3)
  • Upgrade shelving in closet to non-wire rack closet system (4)
  • Build out coffered ceiling in MBR (4)

Master Bathroom 

Last Year                                                                                 This Year


  • Paint walls/trim (3)
  • Replace toilet (3)
  • Replace shower head (3)
  • Install more towel rods and robe hooks (3)
  • Add double shower rod for more room in shower + hanging space for swimwear(3)
  • Replace vinyl tile floors with real tile (3)
  • Tear out awkward linen closet stealing space from vanity (3)
  • Tear out awkward doorway to toilet/tub/shower area (3)
  • Swap wimpy vanity and torn-out linen closet + dead space with master closet (4) MASSIVE RENO AHEAD!
  • Replace 1 old-person shallow tub/shower combo with 2 person tub (4)
  • Tile bath surround (4)
  • Plumb and install new vanity and shower in former master closet (4)
  • Install vanity mirror(s) (4)
  • Install better lighting (4)
  • Install new (non-leaking) sink hardware (4)

One Days, Todays, and Labor Days

Remember when we were I was all sorts of ambitious and thought we could complete a whole house flooring project in forty days? Smirk.  

In my defense, it has been an unusual summer. My grandfather passed away at the end of June, one of our dear family friends passed away in August, and Chris started a new job (vacation days now reset to zero). Life happens, or so ‘they’ say. Death happens, too.

Trouble is, I’m starting to realize that this is the new normal.


As a child, I was a dreamer, always envisioning how things would be one day. In eighth grade, we were given a prompt to write about which age we thought would be the best age and why. Most of my classmates immediately thought of ages like 16, 18, 21, etc. I secretly thought retirement age would be best but was embarrassed about why I would want to be an ‘old person’ puttering around a garden or sitting in a rocking chair on a farmhouse porch instead of a hip teenager with a cool car and independence. {Sidenote: Why do we spend so much time wishing to be older only to become old and wish we were young instead?} 

As a young adult, I developed into a planner and hard worker, carefully setting goals, making schedules, checking off to do lists, all in the interests of achieving and earning the right to enjoy the ‘one day’ that I had envisioned retirement being.  My family has a work now, play later mentality. We handle delayed gratification well. Except not so much anymore.

I’ve watched my parents work very hard for many years, but to what end? Caring for people with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease is definitely not the peaceful retirement life I imagined. Having dementia/Alzheimer’s isn’t either.

At 31, I’ve finally realized that there is no ‘one day’–at least, not in this life. If we live for ‘one day’, we will miss today.  And tomorrow makes no promises.

One day our floors will be done.  It won’t be today, tomorrow, or anytime soon. As tired of living in chaos as I am, I am slowly accepting that chaos is normal for people who bought a fixer upper and are fixing it up as time and money allow while living in it. Also insanity.IMG_5109-2

Plus, as a DIYer, the day ‘one day’ arrives is a death sentence. This means you have ‘finished’ your space, and there is nothing left to do to improve upon it. But one day will never come, because there will always be something new that catches your eye and inspires you to tackle another project. In this sense, one day simply isn’t coming because there is a part of us that refuses to let it.

My creative desire to prolong one day clashes with my perfectionist need for one day to have come yesterday. For the floors to be done and for everything to be back in its place so that we can host dinner parties. For me to have the time to host dinner parties. For me to have the time (and space) to make dinner. For me to have the time to eat dinner. Kidding, I ALWAYS make time for eating dinner.

Dreaming and planning, like most things, are good in moderation and can bring joy. But for a recovering perfectionist like me, I have come to the conclusion that dreams and plans are also killjoys, stealing my ‘todays’ while I’m caught up in the ‘one days’ they promise to deliver. Like the plans I made to accomplish ALL THE FLOORS! in forty, no fifty, days. My plans whispered, Follow me, and you’ll have everything back to normal in no time at all! Fool that I am, I believed their lies.  IMG_5063-1

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone,  when Harry is held captive (figuratively) by the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore cautions, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Despite how many times I have read this book/watched the movie and thought this was sage advice, only now do I feel the depth of the knowledge and experience bound up in Dumbledore’s words.  It is one thing to know something in your head and entirely another to know it in your heart.

Our neighbors have stopped asking us if our floors are finished yet. Smart people. The eardrum shattering whine of the wet saw tells them we are making progress slowly and steadily. They know we’ll invite them over to see the finished product. One day.

We’ll be spending this Labor Day weekend grouting, cleaning, and moving furniture back into place so we can switch to working on the rest of the house (and stop paying rent on our storage unit-ugh). We will also be knocking out some of the fencing this weekend, too, if time allows. Fun times.

IMG_5040Oh, and this happened a couple of weeks ago when we were doing dishes. Our cabinets are literally falling apart. The up close picture shows you how worn they are. We think the kitchen is trying to tell us something….We hear you, kitchen. We do. You’re next. One day. 😉