Outdoor Improvements on the Fixer Upper


I'm learning that when restoring a very old, run-down house, nothing is easy or fast.  Unforeseen problems arise, projects take longer than expected, and it becomes obvious really fast you have to be very fluid and go with the flow in order to ever see anything to completion.

But, as I work along bringing my 1900s fixer upper back to life, I'm proud that I'm doing the hard work now so that I be satisfied with the way things turn out when they are done.  Sure, my patience is wearing thin and there are days I don't accomplish much at all because I'm frustrated.  At the end of the day, though, I don't want to look back at anything in this house and wish I would have done it better.

While I had grand plans for a living room and front entryway reveal followed by a beautiful and inspiring fall design of them both in addition to some DIY projects, things didn't exactly go as planned (obviously).  I had this deep feeling of being pulled in two (or possibly five) different directions at once and not being able to move forward in any one way that satisfied me.

So, what have I decided to do?  Step back, regroup, and focus almost entirely on the restoration and renovation of my grandparent's old home for the rest of the year.  And along the way, actually rediscover that I DO enjoy doing what I'm doing.  The thing is, I have gigantic plans for both the house and this blog, but in order for any of it to come together as I envision, I have to first devote myself to making this house look and feel like I imagine it can.  It is the backdrop where everything else can fall into place and shine.

I'm checking in with you today to mainly share what has been finished outside through the summer.  These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago on a rainy day prior to the siding being pressure washed, so please excuse the slight dreariness and dirt.  I'd never work under these conditions for a final reveal, but I guess it all adds to this house being a work in progress.

After today there probably won't be any house updates until January after I've caught my breath, got some things done behind the scenes and am ready to go full force in the new year.  Believe me.....I'm working hard and the house is improving little by little, but you're going to have to wait just a little bit until after the holidays to see the changes.

Although the siding installation took close to three months, it was finally completed near the end of August.  There are still a few things to tweak and some adjustments I'll be making in the spring, but for now I am relishing in the feeling of turning the corner to come to the house and seeing it stand like a proud member of the neighborhood now.

A lot needs done here on the back patio with the concrete and restoring the front door, but I feel good about the progress that has been made as the outdoor working season comes to a close.  It looks as though the window-wall that stood at the end of the porch in the before tour will not be returning and while I love how it opens the porch up, I did like having a little privacy from the neighbors.  I'm not quite sure what I want to do to hide their property yet, though, that doesn't involved the cost of putting up a fence.

On the side of the house, I was finally able to get the porch painted that leads into what will eventually be the breakfast nook portion of the kitchen.  I still have to put something around the bottom half to replace the lattice that had to be removed and a board needs to be put under that bottom step, but I love how crisp and clean it all looks now with all the white.

As you can see from this before picture I snapped, it was beyond in need of a paint job as it hadn't been done in years.  I was actually finishing up scraping the old paint off the porch for the day when my siding was delivered back in June, so I postponed getting the paint on until the project was done.  And then June became September!

Needless to say, I needed to rescrape more peeling paint before I got started, but I was blessed with two gorgeous fall days to get the job done.  And might I say, the porch looks pretty smashing considering how bad it had become.

Inside, the living room floors have been sanded.  While the original idea had been to get the living room completely finished before  moving on, my new plan entails focusing on getting all of the demo and mess-making done before putting things back together.  Sanding the dark tan paint from the floorboards made a lot of dust......my interior looks a little orange at the moment.....so I want to get the dining room floors done now while the house is already dirty.

The 100+ year old floors are beautiful, though, and I'm so excited to try the stain manufactured by Fusion Mineral Paint on them.  With as much work as has gone on with these floors, I don't trust any other finish to touch them!  The all in one Stain and Finishing Oil soaks down into the wood rather than sitting on top as most stains do, which I think will be nice for these old boards.  I'm also planning on using it when refinishing the wood door out back, too.

Like I already mentioned, the focus now is on ripping out old paneling and sub-flooring, taking down the last of the ceiling tiles, and cleaning up the basement.  I've had a dumpster sitting in the driveway (not by choice, might I add...it's where the trash company placed it and they have a heck of a time getting backed in to dump it when it is full) since about March of last year.  And it is time for it to be filled up one last time and be gone by the end of the year before the snow moves in.

I'm crossing my fingers that by mid-November I can begin to make the house pretty room by room.

Well, that about sums up the condition of the fixer upper at the moment.  Believe it or not, but I've pretty much planned out the entire 2020 blogging season filled with room reveals, DIY projects, decorating tutorials, recipes, and much much more......assuming of course that everything goes according to schedule!  Which, with a fixer upper, it rarely does.  But I'm really excited about sharing it all with you and finally seeing my blog come together in the way that I always dreamed it could.

How to Make the Best Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a classic that practically everyone enjoys, especially during fall and Thanksgiving.  This post will teach you everything you need to know to make the best Pumpkin Pie, including a simple step that will give you the most flavor possible in the creamy filling and a way to achieve a fancy bakery crust using store-bought dough.  You don't have to have fancy baking skills to make a beautiful pie!

Welcome Autumn Free Printable Fall Decor

Kick off your fall decorating season with this simple vignette of pumpkins, leaves and a free autumn printable that you can download and frame for your own home.  Also, find links to many more free designs available from other bloggers.  There is something available for every design style.

Apple Pie White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking for a fresh new way to add a bit of apple flavor into your fall baking?  These Apple Pie White Chocolate Chip cookies combine applesauce and apple pie spices into a delicious traditional treat you can enjoy all season long.

All Natural Strawberry Cucumber Flavored Water

Make your own fruit flavored water for a refreshing summertime beverage.

"What's Meant to Be" Free Printable Quote

Download a free printable of one of my favorite inspirational quotes.

Fixer Upper Front Door Design Plans

A few simple design plans for a cozy and inviting front door entry at my fixer upper.

Paint Like a Pro with These Must Have Tools

The key to a "professional "looking painting job is to start with the right tools.  This post explains everything you'll need to be prepared for painting rooms in your home, as well as a few extras that you may like to add to your supplies.

Enjoy Fresh Berries All Year with This Simple Freezing Method

Stock up on blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries now while they are at their peak flavor and freeze them to enjoy year round.  This post teaches a few simple steps to maintain their shape and ensure the berries stay fresh to use in baking later in the year.

4 Techniques to Give Character to Thrift Store Finds

This post introduces four simple techniques that you can do that will give character to just about anything you might find at a second hand store or yard sale.

Progress on the Back Patio at the Fixer Upper

Outside, new siding is being installed on my 1900s fixer upper as well as some other demo and improvements to the back patio of the home.

Grilled Turkey, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Bacon Sub Sandwich

The best combination for a flavorful sandwich - This grilled turkey breast, pepper jack cheese, and bacon sub makes a simple lunch or serve them to guests at your next summer picnic.

Choosing the Best Barn Lights for Your Modern Farmhouse

Barn lights add character to the outside of modern farmhouses and industrial style homes.  In this post, learn  everything you need to know about exactly what barn lights are, how to buy the right type of light fixture for your house and sources for over 25 of my favorite barn lights online.

Progress on the Fixer Upper

A look at the progress that is being made in the restoration of my grandparent's 1900s home.

Ham, Bacon, and Green Onion Club Sandwich

Give an ordinary ham club sandwich an extra punch of flavor with sliced green onion cheese.  It is a great recipe for a delicious lunch, as well as one you can serve at a picnic, party, and wedding or baby shower!

How to Create a Stunning Peony Arrangement with Artificial Flowers

Walk through this step-by-step tutorial for creating a beautiful peony centerpiece for your summer table or entryway using silk flowers and greenery.

Summer Garden Party with Peony Inspired Tablescape

Be inspired to throw an intimate summer garden party for friends or family this season.  This post has everything you need from a beautiful peony inspired tablescape to menu ideas and free printable invitations.

Bacon, Ranch, and Sour Cream Potato Salad Recipe

A creamy and flavorful potato salad recipe filled with freshly cooked bacon, ranch dressing mix, green onions, and sour cream.  It's the perfect combination for a summertime side dish to take to picnics and BBQs!

Plant in Faith Free Summer Printable

Add a touch of summer to your home decor with these free watercolor peony prints and an inspirational quote.  

The Best Way to Make Crispy Homemade Potato Chips

Have you ever tried making potato chips at home?  The process is so easy and not only are they cheaper and healthier than the bagged store version, but the flavor can't be beat.  Continue reading for everything you need to know to make crispy homemade potato chips for a snack tonight.

Zesty Salad Supreme Pasta Salad

This flavorful pasta salad combines tri-colored rotini with fresh vegetables, Italian dressing, and Salad Supreme Seasoning.  It is an ideal side to serve to a crowd at a summer picnic or for a weeknight dinner with your family.

How to Make a Plant Seed Storage Box + Free Printable Dividers

A wood recipe box can be easily repurposed into a place to store and organize garden seed packets.  Keep reading for the modern farmhouse style DIY transformation and download some free labels to categorize your seeds.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings

Just four ingredients are needed to make a mild buffalo hot sauce that adds some heat to chicken wings or ribs and develops a crispy coating as the meat continues to cook.

Kitchen Conversions Chart for Successful Baking | Free Printables

This handy free printable kitchen measurements conversion chart is a life-saver when baking.  Whether you are cutting a recipe in half, doubling it for a larger crowd, or just don't have the right measurement tool available, this cheat sheet will guide you find the correct amount each and every time....and  looks pretty hanging in your kitchen, too!

How to Make DIY Kitchen Decor from Vintage Cutting Boards

Do you have any used wood cutting boards that you don't know what to do with?  This tutorial will show you how to easily repurpose them into decorative DIY word art for your kitchen!

Banana Bread with Streusel Topping Recipe for Breakfast

This recipe for Banana Bread is irresistible with the addition of an unexpected streusel topping over the ordinary bread made with overripe bananas.  A perfect recipe for breakfast or dessert.

Vintage Inspired Spring Mantel

A spring mantel is decorated using vintage inspired finds and white tulips.   Learn how to create your own cohesive seasonal vignette with tips from this post.

Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

This delicious Broccoli Cheddar Soup is one of my favorite homemade soups to prepare.  It is creamy, packed with flavor, and so easy to make for lunch or dinner.  

Favorite Spring Decor for Your Home

A curated collection of some of my favorite florals and greenery, home accessories, and seasonal decor for spring and Easter.  Find something pretty to freshen up your own home!

Simple Spring Vignette

Decorating for spring doesn't have to be hard.   Creating a few small vignettes help to make your home look seasonally appropriate without feeling overwhelmed by having to decorate the entire house.  Read on to learn how to make a simple spring vignette in your own house.

Bacon and Ranch Cheese Ball

This creamy cheese ball made with fresh crumbled bacon and ranch seasoning makes a quick, easy, and delicious appetizer your guests are sure to enjoy.

My New Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Canisters

Sharing my new modern farmhouse kitchen canisters along with twenty other pretty versions to decorate your kitchen counters in your own home.

Believing in Spring Free Printable

Spring is here, and decorating your home for the season can't be any easier with this collection of over 25 free printables and pretty vignettes, including this one of a watercolor sparrow and inspiring poem.

Choosing the Right Dining Room Rug for Your Home

Everything you need to know about choosing the correct area rug for your dining room - from measuring for the right size, to picking the best colors, patterns, and materials, and even where to shop for a new rug for your own home.

What's New with my Fixer Upper

Work has been continuing at my 1900's fixer upper and I've started to expose some of the original character hidden in the living room.

8 Tips to Make Cleaning Your House Fast and Easy

Cleaning the house is not what most people consider fun. But with these eight simple tips, keeping your home spotless will become a fast and easy job that you might even grown to enjoy!

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

As a delicious twist to an ordinary bar cookie, these easy Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats are sure to be your next family favorite.

DIY Chalkboard Message Center

Create a useful home message center chalkboard for your mudroom or kitchen using a wood frame and other repurposed thrift store finds.

Fixer Upper Dining Room Design Plans

Combining my favorite vintage, industrial, and farmhouse elements together to create a unique dining room design for my 1900's fixer upper.

Designing a room completely from scratch as I'm doing at my project house can be such a fun process.  Guided by the cohesive plan that I came up with for the look of the whole home, I now get to kick back with my laptop and shop for exactly what I need.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Declutter your home and life once and for all  with this series that focuses on guidance from the book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo.

KonMari Method

Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience.  For more information, you can view my disclosure policy.

One of my favorite tasks is cleaning and organizing.  I like getting rid of things.   A good before and after picture makes my heart beat fast.  And I whole-heartedly believe that my life would be easier and more enjoyable if I had fewer possessions.

Fixer Upper Dining Room Progress

Progress is moving along in my 1900s fixer upper and it has been exciting to find some original character in the dining room.

Work is moving along at my "project" house.  It may be moving slowly, but progress has been made.  At the same time, my plans for how this was all going to progress so that I could quickly show you a few finished rooms isn't going as planned.  But isn't that the way with any fixer upper or home renovation in general?

Today I wanted to catch you up on how the dining room is working out and my altered plans for moving forward.

Potato Corn Chowder for a Homemade Winter Dinner

Winter is the perfect season for enjoying a steaming bowl of homemade soup.  This recipe for Potato Corn Chowder is my go-to recipe for a quick and delicious supper.

Perfect Antique Dining Room Table

One of the most important pieces of furniture in a home is a dining room table where friends and family can gather around together.  This set is the perfect antique table and chairs for my 1900s fixer upper.

I had every intention of today's renovation post being all about the progress that I've made at the project house, but.....instead I'm going to show you my first actual purchase for the dining room.

On Tuesday, I was spending the day tearing into things and as I was stopping work for the day to get things cleaned up and presentable enough to snap a few pictures, I found out that the dining room table and chairs I had purchased were being delivered....in like, 15 minutes.  Literally.

So the perfectly empty room had to have the rug laid back down to protect the bare wood floors from snowy delivery men boots and was filled with furniture before I could get my camera out.  I shot these few quick pictures just so you could see the pretty table.

Friday Favorites | No. 4

As the month of January is drawing to a close soon (isn't that almost hard to believe!?!), I can honestly say that the year has gotten off to a good start.  I hope that you can feel the same.  Winter is never a good season for most people in terms of mood and motivation, but I'm trying my best to push through that and actually get some things accomplished and move forward.

Creating a Basket out of an Old Kitchen Pot

A metal kitchen pot from the thrift store becomes a unique  DIY storage basket with a little glue and sisal twine from the craft store.

Winter Reading List | On the Bookshelf

As the snow falls outside, you need something enjoyable to do indoors. And nothing is better on a cold winter day that curling up with a great book.  Here are five of my favorites that I'm reading right now.

Winter reading list

As I'm typing this, the snow is falling outside my window.  And not just a few flakes.  It's the snow that makes you want to stay home, cuddled under your warmest throw, sipping a hot mug of cappuccino reflecting on how grateful you are that you get to stay indoors.  Do you know those days?

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

A delicious recipe for one of the most basic types of drop cookies, the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, along with tips for getting them to turn out perfectly every time.

Secret to Decorating Like a Pro While Saving Time and Money

We all want a home that looks as pretty and put together as our favorite magazines, yet it seems so impossible to achieve for the average homeowner.  The secret behind creating those picture perfect houses is understanding how to create a cohesive design and it is easier than you might think....and will even save you time and money when redecorating!

Decorate like a pro

Have you ever walked into a house where it feels like one room flows right into the next?  Or come across photos of homes on Pinterest where everything just seems to go together?  Rather than seeing individual rooms, you are able to look at the house as a whole with each room connecting to the next.

And in these instances, you likely assume that the person who did the decorating really knew what they were doing or had a large budget that allowed them to hire a designer who bought the best of everything.  I mean, the average person can't possibly create a cohesive design all on their own and do it on a budget, can they?

Friday Favorites | No. 3

Happy Friday to you my friend!  I hope you have been enjoying a very good week wherever you are.

It has been quite a few weeks since I shared my last Friday Favorites post with you.....the holiday blogging season kind of consumed my time and while there were many bloggers that were inspiring me to want to share, there just wasn't time to put those posts together.  But the winter is my time to regroup and catch my breath and so this weekly series is back.

Labeling Your Pantry + Free Labels and Organizing Tips

Free printable pantry labels to organize your kitchen cupboards and spices plus even more free printables to help you stay organized in the new year.

Kitchen Canister Labels

In my opinion, there are three types of people in the world.....

  • Those that could care less about adding a descriptive label to anything and get along just fine without the guidance that a pretty label supplies.

  • Then there are those that use some sort of label where necessary to make finding certain items easier.....and these labels vary from printables online, purchased in the store, or just a piece of masking tape with writing done in a Sharpie.

  • And finally, there is a group who is willing to stick a beautifully created label on just about everything they own.....just because they can.

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