Getting Started on the January Task

The January task in terms of cleaning and straightening the house starts in the kitchen.  The kitchen is used to some extent everyday and from time we put a heavy load on its resources.

My side of the kitchen.

Kitchen Drawers 
We don’t have many drawers in the kitchen but the ones we have are packed to the gills with table linens and utensils.

The drawer next to the stove holds a number of unlikely items.

Some of the utensils are seldom used but when I need a cherry pitter I happy to have one. I’m going to try to be ruthless with useless items. Then I’ll organize so the most used items are easily accessible.

Even cluttered cabinets look neat with the doors closed.

Kitchen Cabinets
It can be easy to carelessly throw pots and pans and bowls into cabinets, so I plan to remove all the cookware and wipe off the revolving shelves. This year I did get rid of a bundt cake pan that horribly ruined a cake.

Pots and pans are kept in the corner cabinet near the stove.

There is lots of space in the cupboard but frequently used pieces should be near the front.

The pantry

Our pantry holds everything that needs to be easily accessed or, conversely, is seldom used. It needs an organizational once-over. I can organize canned goods by type, check expiration dates and get rid of foods you’ll never eat. Unexpired and shelf stable foods can be donated to your local food pantry.

We can never find an appropriate container and lid when we need one.

One of the worst areas are storage containers without lids and lids without matching containers. We organize this a lot but it is difficult to maintain.

Spices do get old.

Spice Rack
While I don’t actually have a spice rack I keep a number of spices and herbs in a narrow cabinet near the stove. I’m almost afraid to look at the expirations dates.

Spice cabinet of the far right.

Refrigerator and Freezer 
During the holidays the refrigerator and freezer were used and abused more than usual.  We must eat or store the large volume of food that we prepared.  Everything will come out and we’ll wipe down the insides and clean all the shelves and bins.

We have used up all of this year’s frozen peaches.

Under-Sink Storage
We have 2 sinks in the kitchen under which we store all manner of cleaning products.  Some products like Goof-Off we seldom use but are absolutely necessary when a sticky situation arises.

Under the prep sink

Perhaps I can whittle down the products and reorganize the spaces.

Where do you start in January?


2 Dressers and a Mirror

I’ve been wanting to move Charlie’s dresser (he has 3) out of the master bedroom because the new closet has plenty of room for his stuff.

This dresser in the smallest bedroom was part of a set inherited by my son.

First we needed to remove the mid-century teak highboy from the little pink bedroom.  Thankfully our son came by yesterday to pick it up .

This dresser belonged to Charlie’s grandparents.

The dresser Charlie uses in the master bedroom is usually covered with slightly worn clothing.

I had refinished this dresser 4 years ago.

To help move the Charlie removed the drawers and redistributed his clothes elsewhere. The dresser looks fine in the pink bedroom because it has a denimy vibe which goes with the blue accents.

Removing the chest of drawers and adding a large mirror opens up the bedroom.

In its place in the master bedroom I hung my mother’s gold rococo mirror on the empty wall.

The Eiffel Tower glows golden in the black and white photo of Paris hanging over the bed.

The gold on the mirror frame complements the photo of Paris with a gold-tone Eiffel Tower over the bed.

My little chair could use a paint uplift.

I plan to make a reading area in this space.

What are you moving around?

House To-Do List – 2018 Progress

I used to organize the house to-do list in one long list that I added to as I thought of something new.   I cleaned up this list just after I posted this at the end of 2017. Over the years we have made a lot of progress which sometimes seems very slow-going.

Living Room

New bench, new rug, same furniture.
  • Finish greige curtains 

Dining Room

Dining room
Dining Room
  • Paint paneling
  • Finish cushions
  • Paint trim


The kitchen
The kitchen
Coffee bar in the kitchen
  • Kitchen in action





Conservatory bathroom

Conservatory Bathroom
The rustic vanity.
  • Install baseboard
  • Install window trim

Powder room

The powder room has been totally redecorated.
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Add paneling at bottom of wall
  • Paper top of wall

    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
    Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space.
  • Rehang towel bar


Stair runner.


Upstairs hall
Upstairs hall

Laundry Room

After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.
After the renovation we should be able to free up some room in the laundry.

La buanderie means either laundry room or utility room in a house

  • Finish floor
  • Hang closet door
  • Add baseboard trim
  • Add chair rail trim
  • Paint and install inside shutters
  • Paint and install old kitchen cabinet above dryer

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master Bedroom

  • Erect bookshelves

    Shelves to be finished.
  • Paint trim
  • Refinish tall dresser

Master Deck

The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.
The master bedroom French doors lead to a private deck.
  • The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
    The furniture is painted and in place on the master deck.
  • Have railing built
  • Have deck surface finished

Diva Room

A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room
A tiny but useful room: The Diva Room
  • Paint trim
  • Add shutters or curtains
  • Clear out boxes

Treetops Room

The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.
The Treetops Room viewed from the doorway.
  • Clear out boxes
  • Wash windows
  • Paint door

Front entrance

Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.
Front painted Sandy Hook Gray.

Side entrance

The westside porch.
The westside porch.
  • Choose bluestone or paving
  • Make planter for front edge
  • Make wood box
  • Bench or chair
  • Door mat

Back entrance

The back stairs to the conservatory.
The back stairs to the conservatory.
  • Plant grass
  • Lay stepping stones or temporary deck
  • Door mat


The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.
The planters are at the entrance to the potager on either side of the iron gate.
  • Make a plan for foundation plants
  • Plant grass

Wee Little House

The shed is both charming and useful.
The shed is both charming and useful.
  • Organize tools
  • Paint shutters 

    Shutters are out of the shed, painted, and on the house.
  • Clear work bench
  • Organize garden items

Glade Cottage

The Cottage has come in handy for guests and as a temporary home for our son's friends.
The Cottage has a permanent tenant.
Glade Cottage in Spring
Interior of The Cottage
The Cottage kitchen


The before and after of the shutter installation.

Do you have plans for next year?

Updating the Header 2018

It’s fall and the trees are blazing, especially the bright red Japanese maple in the west side yard.

I wanted to use this recent photo of the house.

In order to use a photo of the house as a header it has to be a longshot.

I never notice the phone wires until I take a photo.

Instead I chose this one even though the colors are not as vibrant.


Are you making changes?

15-Minute Makeover

As I was preparing the side porch for our upcoming party, I noticed I still had my polar bear welcome mats from last winter at the doorstep.

The doormats are were predominantly blue with touches of orange and ochre.

Instead I decided to resurrect the hard rubber mats that I bought in 2013.

We still use this mat when it rains and there’s a lot of mud.

They had lost all their color.

I love the pale blush of the magnolia seed pods.

Using some magnolia tree seed pods as a color inspiration I decided to brighten up these mats if only for the night of the party.

Tan and coral with red in the middle.

In my stash of old paint I found tan, coral, and red which I laid out on a piece of aluminum foil.  Using a regular paint roller I rolled through the 3 colors allowing them to touch each other but not totally blending them.

Now both mats are colorful and welcoming.

I rolled the paint on each of the two mats being careful not to go over too vigorously so each color would in places keep its own character.

A bowl of magnolia leaves and pods is near the door.

Since the mats were 3-dimensional the flowers once again appeared but in reds and pinks this time instead of blues and ochres.


The whole process took about 15 minutes.

Have you got a quick spruce up?


Powder Room: Before and After

When I moved into The Glade over 20 years ago the powder room was a dark room with overhead metal cabinets.

Sink Before and After

When we refurbished the we had the sink resurfaced.

Detail of Wallpaper

I had always called it “Le Bibliotheque” (that sign is still on the door) because the wall looked like bookshelves in a library. The faux books and shelving gave depth to a very small, windowless room.

New wallpaper from Anthropologie.

The new wallpaper is much lighter, “C’est Magnifique“.

We kept the same fixtures.
The new scheme has wainscoting.

We used the same towel bar, mirror, paper holder, and over head shelf.

The old toilet leaned against the wall.
The view from the landing.

We changed the toilet due to a crack in the base of the old one.  The new toilet’s tank does lean against the wall like the old one did.

The old paper went from floor to shelf.
The large mirror reflecting the shelf and trim gives this tiny rooms greater depth.

We repaired holes and added new baseboard and chair rail trim.

The Bibliotheque
Ready for use.

Now we have a lighter, brighter powder room.  I’m calling it “The Grand Tour”.

What’s new at your house?

The Perfect Curtain Rod for the Master Closet

I ordered a new curtain rod for the master closet.

The faceted cabinet knobs.

I wanted the finials on the rod to match the knobs on the doors.

The faceted finial compared to the knob.

I was so delighted when the rod came and the finials were a beautiful match and much larger than the knobs just as I had hoped. The rod was $30 when I ordered it and now it is $50.

The wood rod had no finials.

Originally I had hung a wood rod that I had on hand hoping to find something better later.

The new metal brackets used the same screw holes as the wood rod.

Sug gave me a hand hanging the new brackets.  The new bracket slid over the top screw and a second screw was snugged into the bottom hole.

A little bling in a private place.

Now the curtain end of the room looks more finished.

A curtain in the closet makes it a dressing room space as well.

We have some more tasks to complete in the closet:

  • Face frame the closet boxes.
  • Put in baseboard.
  • Find finials for the curtain rods that match the door knobs.

Are you happy to get a good deal?