DIY

Our Pre-Christmas Project Checklist

November 13, 2019  —  Written by Julia 

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 While Chris and I were stuck in the airport for endless hours yesterday (we’re STILL not home), we started making a list of allthe projects that need to happen before Christmas. Need is a strong word, because Christmas is going to come regardless, but our contractors are very confident they will be done with everything within the month and while they have been working hard, I told Chris, all I want for Christmas is a quiet house with no contractors. (haha no offense guys!) so we started thinking, wait, this is all going to be done?! 

THIS is the to-do list:

• Lay Heated Flooring System in Dining Room

• Lay Tile in Dining Room

• Epoxy the new Balcony

• Add Railings to the Balcony

• Add Spiral Staircase from Balcony to yard

• Install new windows and doors in Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Closet and Breakfast Nook (We just got word these will be arriving December 4-5 so we won’t be hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year but now we’re looking forward to a grand Christmas dinner!)

• Add double-sided gas fireplace in between Living Room and Dining Room and build out the fireplaces

• Add built-ins to living room

• New electrical in dining room, living room, music room, hallway and master closet (We met with the electrician last week and I never realized how much brain power went into placing lights and switches. We spent a LONG time with him and are excited about this one. #adulthood)

• Add sheetrock to dining room, Master bedroom, closet, music room, hallway and living room

• New siding on exterior addition (We’ve decided to wait until Spring for any further exterior upgrades besides this)

• Order and Install lighting (the ordering is on me and I have an extensive list I need to tackle and decisions to make! EEee!)

• Trim out Dining Room

• Add beams to Living Room ceiling (and possibly dining room)

• Paint Master Bedroom and move back in to our room! We’ve been sleeping in Faye’s room and she’s been in the spare bed in Greta’s room while they work on our bedroom.

• Lay new wood floors in entire house. Eeeeeek. This one is a really big last minute addition. But we heard from so many of you that if we want to do the floors we should 100% do them before we’re settled in and while we have minimal furniture. So here we are. The whole first floor, stairs, hallway, playroom, master bedroom and master closet will all be getting new wood floors. They will eventually extend into the kitchen when we do a big renovation there, but we’ve decided to lay it just up to the kitchen (but extend it into the breakfast nook) and then feather it in down the road as the layout is completely changing in there.

• Lay new carpet in the girls’ rooms. While we’re doing Greta’s room, might as well re-carpet Faye and Polly’s room so it all matches!

• Extend stone fireplace to ceiling in Master Bedroom. The tray ceiling is out and we gained an additional 18″ of height in our room so we’re using the stone we saved from our exterior (it matches) to carry our fireplace to the ceiling).

• New Railings on stairs inside. This is not one that we wanted or budgeted for, tbh but with new wood stairs, now is the time for a new railing too.

• Organize Garage. One of these things is not like the other. Haha. But a couple weeks ago we completely purged our garage and donated a ton of stuff so that we could get our cars inside. Success on that front! But everything that we actually need and use is kind of just piled in a corner now because there’s no organizational systems in place. And we know first hand, if something isn’t organized, it’s very easy for it to multiply and get messy again. So before our extremely long winter, Chris is determined to get a system in the garage.

• DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS! I am trying to get creative in small ways to bring Christmas spirit into our home without being able to decorate fully for Christmas until quite late this year. We had a lot of our Christmas decorations at the cabin since we spent last Christmas there, so I need to purchase a few things including stockings. I think adding small Christmas trees or decor to their bedrooms will really help.

It’s going to be a crazy busy month, but with Christmas in sight, we’re more motivated than ever.

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What do you think?

  1. Joyce says:

    Can you pls share/link your outside Christmas lights? I have a new home with high peaks and have no clue what to put up there! ❤️

  2. J.L. says:

    Julia, would you give us a weekly update of completed tasks as they are crossed off the list? Although it is a lengthy, it would be interesting to see which projects can be done simultaneously in different parts of the house and which are dependent upon others before starting.

  3. Brittany says:

    Wow, that’s so exciting! Lots of projects to complete. I love the idea of a spiral staircase to the backyard, that is super neat. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Patrice says:

    What a list!!!! You guys are crazy! But I can’t wait to follow along! It’s going to be AMAZING!

  5. Scarlett says:

    Wow! I thought my list was long. ????

  6. JL says:

    Julia, it would be great if you included an update each week in your Casual Friday post of items that have been completed and crossed off the list or shifted to a later date. Although the checklist is lengthy, it will be interesting to see which projects are accomplished in the same time frame in different parts of the house and which are dependent upon other tasks being completed before initiating.
    Also, don’t feel like you need to have every room completed before you do another video tour of the house. It’s just as compelling to see the different stages of remodeling. I’m enjoying this entire process, regardless of which pieces you opt to invest in or which paint color you choose!

  7. Woosh! Y’all are incredible! It’s so fun to see all of your ideas come to fruition.

  8. Meredith Jones says:

    When i read the title I pictured things like hang wreath on door, put up tree, finish dining room. But I should really know better by now! Good luck guys i cannot wait to watch it all go down – I’ll just be over here hanging my wreath and trying to keep up with that. ;) hahaha

  9. Jennifer I says:

    Holy moly! I have to say, your blog hasn’t missed a beat despite losing your cabin. I think the Marcums should move and do massive renovations every year, just so I can read about it. ???? I really love how you are transforming this house. Ty for sharing!

  10. Carrie says:

    I’m so glad/relieved/excited that you are putting the same carpet in all 3 girls’ rooms. We once looked at a house that had perfectly nice carpet in 4 bedrooms, but it was ALL different. It was fine when you were in each room, but from the hardwood hallway, with all the doors open it looked mismatched. Whew. I wanted to ask about that but you have so much on your plates I didn’t want to be annoying And add another decision to the mix. Yay!! All of these things are going to have me checking your stories/Insta/blog before I even brush my teeth in the morning. So much makeover goodness!!

  11. Karisa says:

    What a great to-do list! This is always helpful! :)

    I wish you would talk more about your experiences, what your learning and the work required on your end when discussing and making plans with contractors and their subs. So much goes into the making of a house, from then architecture to the plumbing and the electrical, the fireplace guys etc.

    I know your typically a DIY-er, but you’ve upgraded. All that work is more than just DIY, it’s planning and re-planning… Catching that you guys met with an electrical guy last week maybe just feels like, your missing out on the real conversations that are happening. This IS the work of being an Interior Designer.

  12. Cici Haus says:

    Holy moly. This is like the One Room Challenge on steroids! But if anyone can do it, you can! I CANNOT wait to see everything you accomplish. Good luck!!!

  13. Karisa says:

    What a great to-do list! This is always helpful! :)

    I wish you would talk more about your experiences, what your learning and the work required on your end when discussing and making plans with contractors and their subs. So much goes into the making of a house, from then architecture to the plumbing and the electrical, the fireplace guys etc.

    I know your typically a DIY-er, but you’ve upgraded. All that work is more than just DIY, it’s planning and re-planning… Catching that you guys met with an electrical guy last week maybe just feels like, your missing out on the real conversations that are happening.

    It is #adulthood, and people are truly clueless in this area and I know that any information would be helpful. :)

  14. Meaghan says:

    Poinsettias are a really nice and easy way to add Christmas spirit when you are under construction and pressure.

  15. Maya says:

    Your house is basically an advent calendar this year, except that instead of opening a chocolate each day or something, you or your contractors open up and rebuild a different part of your house!! ????

    My question (because this is something I’m struggling with too, as we renovate with two young kids) is how you also find the time to take a breath and live throughout all of this. Part of me wants to get EVERYTHING DONE NOW but that means I’m spending every weekend and afternoon working– not good for my kids! And we’re using contractors for a lot of it too, but there’s still SO much for us to do ourselves.

  16. Anne says:

    I look forward to seeing you complete this ambitious list! Which projects are ones for the contractors, and which ones will you and Chris want to complete on your own (if any)? (Besides the Christmas decorating; that’s obviously a job for the contractors).

  17. Teresa says:

    Yes!!! I am so excited to watch this all come together. Thanks for taking us all along!

  18. Susan Atwood says:

    I love your optimism and absolutely love being along for the ride by social media! Love your work and am so inspired to improve my home which in turn improves my family. Thanks – I know renovation is hard to live through but you all do it with class.

  19. Kathy says:

    Ahhhh. That is quite a list. I am so excited to see the finished projects but must say that following you went aspirational. I no longer can relate to the amount of money or scale of projects you are now doing. Bummer!

  20. Jamie says:

    Ahhhh. That is quite a list. I am so excited to see the finished projects but must say that following you went aspirational. I no longer can relate to the amount of money or scale of projects you are now doing. Bummer!

    • Julia says:

      We do all sorts of projects. This is a large project we did, but we did our kitchen in a couple weeks for $1000 and a bedroom last week in 2 days on a tight budget. We like to provide inspiration for people of all levels.

  21. lauren says:

    I agree you can feather the boards in the kitchen at a later date but if you are using real timber please buy enough for the full job now and store it away until you are ready, I have seen too many clients desperatly trying to match. a timber colour or profile at a later date because the manufacturer (or nature) has changed their stock profiles

  22. Erica Childs says:

    I know it’s so much to be tackled in such a short time span, but I have to be honest, I am sooo excited to be able to watch so much so fast!!! All my spare time consists of watching and learning from amazing Design and diy people. You guys have become my favorite! Keep up the inspirational work!

  23. Christine says:

    Are heated floors expensive to operate? I’m thinking they’re comparable to baseboard heat since it uses electricity but perhaps I’m wrong? ????

    • Julia says:

      It’s actually not bad and 100% worth it for our Idaho climate. Walking on tile in our house now (that’s unheated) is not pleasurable without slippers on

  24. Kaitlyn says:

    We just had our floors redone and I 100% agree you should do them now! It will be so much easier in the long run. Cannot wait to see how this all turns out!

  25. Heather says:

    You guys got this!! Excited to follow along + know it’ll all turn out amazing!

  26. Sarah says:

    Wow, there are sooo many items on this list that I can’t WAIT to see come to life! You got this!

  27. Kim says:

    So exciting! Just found your blog not too long ago and love your style.

  28. Hailey says:

    Wow! I’m surprised by how many people are shocked and have anxiety from this list … or, who say you need to scale it back.
    I say, DO IT ALL. I love watching you guys tackle big to do lists (whether you get it all done or not!) – it’s motivating and inspiring! Rooting you on for your first Christmas in the cottage!

  29. Kayla says:

    This is the biggest case of project creep I’ve ever seen! So exciting for you guys!

  30. jackie says:

    This list truly gives me anxiety Even with all the help you get and obviously not concerned about budget the average everyday Joe just can’t relate Good Luck

  31. caitlin says:

    incredible! looking forward to watching you tackle it all. Christmas will feel extra sweet!!

  32. Lee Ann says:

    Oh. My. Goodness! That’s a list. I’m stressing just trying to figure out how/when to paint a small bathroom before the end of January … because in my world, every step in a home reno project somehow evolves into two or three steps I didn’t plan. Eek! Good luck. Will be watching and sending you good thoughts. Hope you’re home by the time you read this!

  33. Mary Lou says:

    OMG. I think you need a bunch of elves or you need to prioritize that list with before and after Christmas by realistically deciding what is want vs need status at this point…I’d start with moving things like the outside stairs, bedroom fireplace, girls bedroom carpet, your closet, music room finishing to the bottom of the list. Concentrate on the rooms that are impacted with entertaining.
    And if a room is missing some trim….that’s not going to make or break Christmas.
    As far as Christmas decor goes, simple is just as beautiful as completely decked out. Simple birch branches tied with hemp rope in graduated lengths with fairy lights make really pretty faux trees for the bedrooms. You could even incorporate them as advent calendars. Simple little packages dangling from the branches with little treats, gifts or riddles. Whatever you do, it will be beautiful!

  34. Stephanie says:

    I had to stop reading the list half way through because I’m getting anxiety! Any “budget friendly” gift guides coming this holiday season?

    • Stephanie says:

      Also, my favorite holiday bathroom decor was ceramic night lights, mom had some vintage but “Kirkland’s” has some cute white ceramic house night lights or black galvanized houses, a winter village of night lights!

  35. Sarah says:

    oh boy! that’s a crazy list!
    I’ll be over here cheering you on as you go! So exciting! :)

  36. Holy Ambition! Good for you- I can’t wait to watch1!

  37. Samantha says:

    Holy cow, I am 100% a list maker but this list drives me into full on panic mode! Good luck with all of it…praying it all goes smoothly and the puzzle pieces fit in order :)

  38. Katie says:

    Holy cow…you’re going to need to take off the month of January to recover from this! Love your ideas because we get to follow along and enjoy the journey with you! And you are definitely inspiring me to tackle the list I have inside my head before I host a Christmas gathering next month!

  39. Jenna says:

    I got a chuckle out of the photo with the title! Most Christmas prep lists are a little less daunting. :) Can’t wait to see it all together! That will be your reader’s Christmas gift!

  40. kim says:

    I just finished a minor refresh of four bathrooms and a kitchen, with new sinks, faucets and countertops for all. While I’m over the moon at the end results, I’m also sort of sad that all the craziness is over. So while your list seems daunting, it also really excites me!!! Can’t wait to follow along!

  41. I have to be honest – this list gives me anxiety, but after following you for a while I know that you’ll somehow manage to get most of it done.

    How you ever wrtitten a post about how you plan out and keep organized all the tasks for so many competing project going on at once?

  42. Juliet says:

    Holy crudbuckets!!! That’s some list! It will all be amazing, but oh boy will you be familiar with the contractors and the noise.

  43. Patricia says:

    That list makes me want a long nap because it’s exhausting! So glad I’m the blog reader and not the bloggers and doers of projects. Much easier on my side of the posts.

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