5 years!

This year has kind of felt like a slog. But when we look back to where the house was a year ago, I think we have cause for optimism.


Can you spot the changes?


I’m excited about having the table set. That means Year 6 is starting out right. But back to last year… I started off Year 5 staining the handrail and prepping and priming the rest of the stairway and paneling. It was a tedious job and I was ready for a break.

wood filler

Instead, I let the Irishman build cabinet doors for my kitchen. (Did you notice how messy it looked without them?) This was bar none the most mismanaged project anyone ever took on at my house. The cost overruns had me in the hole from June to December and for months and all I could do was train myself not to care about the mess that took over my first floor and the public sidewalk in front of my house. This was definitely not legal so I’m just glad no one turned me in.


When the Irishman was done, I’m not sure if there was a single door that was actually in acceptable condition. Some had surface flaws that became evident after they were painted over, some were the wrong size and didn’t close right, and some got scratched before they were installed. For the time being I ignored it all because I couldn’t stand the sight of them.


Once again, no break. I went head on into another project that was far more annoying than I expected: stucco.


Or really, the annoying part was the building paper, lathe, flashing, and casings. On the bright side, this makes the house look a lot more finished and less scary.


At this point, I sincerely wanted to leave the house a pigsty forever and never touch another project again. But I also wanted to get those cabinet doors off the floor (and make them look closer to what my money should have bought). I participated in a 30 projects in 30 days challenge in September. A lot of the things I actually wanted to close out were too big to average a project a day, so I went with it and found smaller projects to do. The odd pieces of not-yet-installed moldings and the piles of unused building materials.

And in October, my dad and I worked a miracle on those  cabinet doors. It took about 2 weeks of hard work, a little too much to average a project a day.


Then after a good long Christmas break, I tackled the Leaning Tower of Pyrex. I’ve added enough extra shelves inside my kitchen cabinets that some of them are only about 5 inches apart. It’s great and I don’t understand why more people don’t do this.


And the work I stared on the linen closet? It should be done by now but instead it’s… on hold.


I thought it would be done by now, and that right about now I’d be taking a good look at each of my linens/life choices as I moved them back into the closet where they belong. What got in the way? A friend who needed to get out of a bad living situation, fast. It was messy but it works out. I was planning on looking for a short-term roommate again anyway.

8 thoughts on “5 years!

  1. judy

    Chad,great to hear that you are making progress,my Husband is 81 I am 77 and our house has been pretty much static except for install of hardwood floors,new HVAC etc. done by others but now with the freezing temps in Va half the hardwood is toast-the wonderful tempurpedic king mattress absorbed a lake of water rug gone and it all happened 1/7/2018 and still looks the same except the waters gone and the hardwood dips and rears throughout the master and into both adjacent hallways. Contractor says he may start mid april if the insurance rep calls back-that no longer happens and web site says claim is closed so making memories here in Va and sharing some of your angst with contractors and jobs left undone. Good luck Chad it looks beautiful.


  2. Barbara H.

    You’ve come a long way, Chad. I stumbled on to your blog from Jo’s blog – Let’s Face the Music. I’ve been impressed with how much better your house looks. You’ve had some really big projects. Be proud, be happy.


  3. francetaste

    It is so satisfying to see how much you’ve done. When we bought our house, it wasn’t even a house but a business. We tweaked and retweaked over the years as budgets permitted. Now it looks great, but I still see so many things to improve! I’ve learned a lot from reading your blog, and will have to give it a try sometime (my husband is Mr. Handy–but not very interested in my honey-do list).


  4. Mary Elizabeth

    Happy “Renoversary,” Chad! So much has been accomplished that it is hard to remember what it looked like in the beginning.You should have some before and after photos on your blog of areas like the kitchen.

    I’m so glad you were able to help out a friend and also get a much needed roommate.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I did a room-by-room tour of the house last year and tried to set it up to make that whole thing more permanently, but could never get the links to work. I’m debating switching to a self-hosted blog, which would take more work to maintain but look nicer and possibly allow me to make side money from advertising and/or get sponsors to give me stuff.


      1. Mary Elizabeth

        Yes, that sounds like a good undertaking. You certainly have a lot of experience and expertise to share, so I think having your own self-hosted blog is a good idea. You also explain things well and exhibit a sense of humor about your mistakes and the house’s foibles. Speaking of do-it-yourself, I self-published my latest poetry book, _Permanent Guests_, the one that includes a group of poems about getting to know and fixing up our house. It will be on Amazon soon–probably a couple of weeks.


  5. Nine Dark Moons

    I love the idea of cramming more shelves into kitchen cupboards. you are right – it’s stupid that most cupboards have wasted space, or too many heavy things piled up together. i am going to ponder this idea…



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