Spring Project List – Final Update – Inside & Backyard

I am excited to share this final Spring Project List update!

Steve and I wrote down this list 5 weeks ago as we looked ahead to our oldest, Chandler’s graduation party.  We knew what we wanted to complete and we set out to get it done before the party.

Some things (not on the list) I had done or started last fall, and I am sure glad I did, because we were plenty busy moving at a full pace tackling these items this spring.

As you probably know from making your own lists, these sorts of lists tend to evolve and some things get added, some things get delayed and some things get removed completely.

Let’s go through the list and see what we accomplished, what we still want to accomplish down the road and what we have decided we can live without.

I am kind of sick of listening to myself talk about these projects, so I am doing one final push and combining the final post to cover the inside the house and backyard projects.  Here we go…


  • repaint the basement living area, bar and hallway
  • repaint or wallpaper up both sets of stairs
  • finish kitchen island
  • repaint kitchen stools and basement ottoman legs, seal with wax
  • redecorate down the hallway in the basement
  • clean the fireplace and fill wood holder with wood

What do you know – the one list we actually crossed each item off as completed!

Painting the Basement |www.countingwillows.com

Painting the Basement |www.countingwillows.com

We started off by painting the basement a nice, bright neutral (China Doll by Sherwin Williams).  This replaced the mustard color of yore (or at least the past decade or so).  It was good to see it go, and the basement feels great to me now.



Other than a few tweaks, I left the basement decor as is after I painted it.  The main exception was the hallway that leads to the teenager bedrooms, utility room and bathroom.  I made new art for one wall, added in some colorful frames left over from Will’s nursery and then painted the other frames that were already on the walls to match the art on the other wall.  I used family photos in the frames, but added in a few fun sayings, which goes well with the basement recreation atmosphere.

We also finished the island, which was a project that has taken us over a year to fully complete.  Nothing like a party to make you get moving!


We added cedar paneling, which I aged a bit, then covered with 2 coats of Polycrylic, to protect it from food stains.  In the photo above, you can also see the saddle stools that took from basic red to two tone fabulous.  I touched up the paint and re-applied wax to (the correct way) on the stools.  At the same time, I redid some chalk paint and wax on the legs of our basement ottomans.


During the last ditch party prep, we managed to not only clean the fireplace (Chandler did this, no pics!), but also paint down the basement stairway and up the upstairs stairway.  The basement stairway is the same color as the basement, and the upstairs hallway is the same as the living room.  I had enough paint leftover for each, so when I compared the price of sea-grass wallpaper (my wish list item and about $500) to paint (free), paint won swiftly.  *whew*  Those last painting jobs nearly did me in, but I am so glad to just have them done!  The photo of the basement stairway is terrible, because there is no natural light in the stairway.  I would love to have something interesting on the walls, but I just cannot figure out what I could put on there that would not be difficult to see or distracting for people walking down the stairs.  The upstairs hallway is a little better, but I did not have time to rethink it, so other than taking down a shelf, I left things as is for now.  When inspiration strikes, I will create some new art for those walls.



  • refresh all the wood chips and mulched areas
  • plant annuals in pots, planters
  • {added} hose off the patio and remove leaves and debris from winter
  • hose down and clean up kids’ play area
  • open the pool (and clean it) for the year
  • build a partial deck around the pool
  • {added} move dirt into the garden beds and plant the garden
  • install new patio door in basement
  • {added} give the grill a deep cleaning
  • {added} paint the trellises and plant in front of the shed
  • fertilize grass and re-seed where necessary


Oh, the backyard.  I feel like we ended up doing the bare minimum in the backyard and you know what?  It is OK.  We refreshed the wood chips and mulched areas when we did the front yard.

Grad Party Recap |www.countingwillows.com

We also cleaned up the play area by hosing down the slide, cleaning up around the sandbox and trampoline and cleaning and getting the pool ready for the season.  As you can see, we sort of added some flagstone steps from the patio to the pool, but that was last minute and not permanent.  We have a few more to move over there and set it in place more.  We also did not come close to getting any part of a deck around the pool, so that waits for another day (and more money).  In the end, I am thrilled that the deck is done AND it has stairs.  I have made my peace and decided to just enjoy what is done.


We also managed to get our garden beds filled with a garden mixture and planted!  Everything is doing pretty well, even with the insane amount of rain we have had (10.6″ in June so far; our average is about 2.6″!)  Needless to say, I have not had to water it at all.  Last fall, we had half of the backyard hydro-seeded, so we fertilized this spring and added some seed to the bare spots.  It is not perfect, but it is good enough for now and we will give it more attention this fall.


The last three backyard projects were deep cleaning the grill (this was nasty, but so good to have it done!), cleaning up a bit around the shed and installing a new patio door.  Last year I painted the shed and relocated the rhubarb growing in front of it to the garden beds.  This year, I painted the trellises in front of the shed a light blue and planted some clematis plants.  They have taken off up the trellis!  When I first planted them, they had big, beautiful blooms.  It has been too rainy for any big flowers to bloom, but as soon as we have some hot, sunny weather, I think I will see those blooms again.  I also added fresh mulch in front of the shed.  We just plain ran out of time on the patio door – we went to 3 stores and had a heck of a time finding anyone the least bit helpful or knowledgeable about patio doors.  But it is in need of replacement, so that will be happening sometime later this summer when we have some time to do research and pick a good door for a reasonable price.


So there you have it – final updates for the garage, deck, front yard and inside the house/backyard.

Man, it was a crazy couple of months, but the party went so well and now we have the whole summer to enjoy our hard work!  I have enjoyed a couple of weeks off from projects, but I am starting to feel lazy and unproductive, so I think I will start small and add a little project or two to my list very soon.


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