It’s Crunch Time

Y’all! There are only five more days in September! This fact hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. Do you know what that means? That means in five short days, we’ll be in the last quarter of 2018. Just three more months. Ninety-two days. That’s it.

This seems like a good time for me to refocus. I was looking at my 2018 master list of house goals that I made in January and making updates, crossing off items, and feeling really good about the accomplishments I’ve made so far this year. I mean, when it comes to the exterior of the house, I got stuff done. I mean…come on….

I’m pretty darn proud of that, along with finishing the side portico and the front shutters.

I think there are only two items left on my exterior projects list, and one of those (window flower boxes) is better suited for spring anyway, so I don’t mind waiting.

So I was happily going down my list, crossing things off and feeling pretty good about myself, when I hit the last sections — the pantry and studio.

I haven’t crossed off a single item on either one of those areas this year. Not a one. Nothin’. Zip, zero, zilch. Nada.


I so desperately want these areas done, and yet I’m dragging my feet on both. I talk about it. I plan for it. I get excited about talking about planning for it. And yet, I’ve done nothing. Matt asked me the other day why I’m having such a hard time, and I really had to stop and ask myself what the heck is going on.

I realized that it’s just like any other big project, only these are way bigger (especially the studio) than any past project. The planning stage is the safe stage of the project. As long as I’m still planning, there’s no chance of making a huge mistake that has to be fixed later (or that I have to just learn to live with). As long as I’m planning, I can trick myself into thinking that progress is being made, while actually having to do nothing at all.

But as soon as I move from the planning to the doing, that’s when I could actually make a big mistake that has to be redone later. There’s just safety and security in the planning, and it’s hard to push myself out of that stage sometimes.

My pantry is the perfect example. It still looks like this…

How many plans have I come up with for that room? And yet, none have been put into action because I’m still not sure about the plan. As of right now, I have no plan for drawers in there. But do I really need drawers? Will I regret not having them? Or would all open storage be better? What if I decide to handle the corner storage in a certain way, and then later find out that another way would have been so much more efficient? Then I’m stuck with inefficient corner storage.

Anyway, I’m stalling, and that needs to change. I have 97 days. Ninety-seven days to really buckle down and get things moving in the right direction in both of these areas of my home. So for the rest of the year, these areas will be my main focus. I may take a day or two here and there to do projects for other areas, like when my fabric arrives for my living room chairs. Or I may just send those off to the upholsterer and stay focused.

But my goal is to see just how far I can get on these rooms. I’m excited to see just how much I can get done if I really challenge myself and stay focused. I’d love to see this…

…become a usable space by the end of the year. It doesn’t have to be completely finished, but it would be nice to have it to the point where I can at least set up a big work table in here (and get it out of my breakfast room) so that I can work on projects while I finish up the cabinetry and decorative projects for the studio.

So I’m challenging myself. Ninety-seven days. A little over three months. Just how much can I get done? We’ll see!



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  1. You just articulated exactly what happens to me and my projects. I actually purchase supplies and have everything ready to go and then nothing. So glad you posted this. I think I’m going to start breaking the large projects into small steps and just focus on a few of those each day. I think I just get overwhelmed when I think of all that goes into a project.

    One thing I like is how you have no fear. You do something, you don’t like it, you do it again. I wonder if you could talk yourself into going with the simplest design on the pantry with the option to live with it for a while and redo what you don’t like. So maybe open shelves to get it done, live with it for a while to see what you like about it and what you don’t, and then you still have the option to go back and add drawers or redo part of the pantry if you don’t love the first version. It’s just a pantry and it will be behind a door. Even just having organized shelves will still be pretty, even if it isn’t the most amazing pantry ever with all sorts of bells and whistles. I bet you could knock it out in 2 days.

  2. I just had a new idea for your pantry. Sorry. I know you’re getting tired of planning. But, here’s my thought – what if you do built-ins (and I mean built-in whatevers: shelves, drawers, whatever you think you’ll need) only on the front and back walls (so the walls with the door and the window). Then on the “sides” (studio and sunroom) you use modular storage that rolls. That way you could just roll it to the other side when you need to “get into the corners”. But it won’t really be corner cabinetry, because you’ll be able to roll the “side” cabinetry out of the way. I don’t have a real vision on this idea because I can’t draw up plans the way you do. But, I thought it was worth mentioning because there are so many corners in that room.

    You’ll make so much progress in 97 days! I have no doubts.

    P.S. you didn’t include your amazing carport on the list and the fact that it solved a couple of your studio problems, so you should totally give yourself credit for that detour.

    1. Ah… if only my to do list was this easy. I do believe it’s all relative. So I don’t like to put anyone down. Do you intend on storing non food items in your pantry? If so you may need drawers or a tall closet for such things corralled into one area. However, with open shelving at different heights everything is accessible not forgotten. Pretty label ideas and mitered corners optimize space. In a year if it needs closing drawers they’re easy enough to put some wood up some hinges for cabinet type opening or drawers either made out of plexiglass slipped into a wood frame or a solid drawer. Personally I like it open so I or someone else helping out might go in and say, There it is! RATHER than I can’t find it, where is it? Especially if you have children young or older. I hope this helps . You have a lovely home and wonderful spaces to work with. Compartmentalization is key. Otherwise it’s all spaghetti. Put your idea n dreams in boxes on paper. Then what goes in the pantry, measure heights of items, take photos of things you place in drawers and put them on the outside of the drawer if you go there. Remember all your success and take small bites. Slow and steady wins the race. Forget how many days. Play have fun enjoy. It comes together when we are not overly focused. This way it’s not a job it becomes your labor of love. At least that’s what I would do with the space. However, I think you already know these things. Seeing what you have accomplished outdoors. Good luck n enjoy those moments

      1. “Ah… if only my to do list was this easy. I do believe it’s all relative. So I don’t like to put anyone down.”

        Ummm…what? MY to do list is easy?

        1. I have incurable cancer. Sorry to offend it wasn’t my intention as I indicated. I just struggle to do things n wish I could be as accomplished. I guess these texts are written with believing someone is putting someone down. Please reread n possibly you can see it bwasn’t written with malice. First time commenting won’t do it again.

          1. I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

            I did re-read your comment. About 10 times, and I still didn’t know what you were saying. My husband (who moderates the comments on this blog) didn’t understand your meaning either. I wasn’t offended. I just didn’t understand what you were saying. That’s why I asked. I still don’t understand what you meant, but that’s fine. I’m still not offended 🙂

  3. I totally get that you’re fretting about the corner storage. Those things suck, and there really isn’t a perfect solution for them. Either you sacrifice easy access but get every square inch of storage space, or you sacrifice storage space but you get easy access. You can never have both.

    When you have a perfectionistic streak, that can drive you nuts, because ‘good enough’ isn’t really usually an option.

    However, in this case, you’ve already proven that maybe optimizing for every square inch of storage space isn’t the thing you need. You’ve been living without that storage space for years now, and while I bet it hasn’t been great, it also hasn’t been bad enough to have it missing to drive you to fix the problem sooner.

    If you really really really needed every square inch, you would have done something to get it by now, because the clutter would have made your house unlivable in the meantime.

    So considering that you’ve coped quite well without that storage space, maybe it’s time to let go of the idea of maximizing the space, and instead go for something that maximizes convenience instead, even if it does give up a little space.

    1. I agree. Make a list of everything you plan to store in the pantry. I bet you’ll have a place for it without those corners. I even bet you’ll have little extra too, for later acquired items. I would rather have seamless counters surrounding the pantry.

    2. This comment makes a lot of sense. You’ve lived without the storage for so long, that any additional storage you get now will be a bonus. Like I tell my clients, “Sometimes, done is better than perfect!”

  4. Analysis paralysis! Keep reminding yourself that nothing is 100% perfect and don’t put pressure on yourself to make it so. People move into imperfect spaces all the time and make it work! For example, you can install shelves and if you decide that you later want drawers, there are many nice options for free standing wire drawers or baskets that could still work in the same function. Sometimes adapting to a imperfection makes the outcome even better anyway (and makes for some interesting blog content!). Hope you have a productive and fulfilling final quarter of 2018 – I can’t belive it either!

  5. I think Theresa’s idea of some modular storage in the pantry is perfect!
    But here’s the thing— look at how many iterations of your entry way we’ve seen, or the music room even the kitchen! You are always changing things up to suit your needs and taste so why is changing the pantry/studio any different? Get the big stuff right, like flooring and don’t sweat the small stuff.

  6. You can do it!

    I’d suggest tackling the pantry first. The pantry will ultimately be just storage and you can close the doors on it. You’ll probably be less likely to regret slightly-less-than-ideal design decisions in there! As for the corners, what about doing open shelving +/-2-feet in each direction in the corners, and filling in with cabinets? And as for drawers: baskets and bins on shelves or inside cabinets serve the same function as drawers.

    For your studio, you should put your ideas on paper. Draw it to scale, get the real cabinet dimensions and lay it out how you want it. And keep going until everything fits! Put together a set of documents to hand to your client (yourself), just like an architect would do! You know better than anyone that design is a process: maybe try working through most of the process on paper instead of in 3D this time! Haha!! Maybe you’ll save yourself from total exhaustion 🙂

  7. You’ve had a good year so no matter what you do in the last quarter you are in a very good place. Make some space in the studio to get your worktable out there. Maybe put in shelves in the pantry with the option to add doors later if the open storage drives you crazy. There are great ideas in the previous comments, so take a deep breath and begin with the simplest thing. Someone said to me once, and it’s true but I forget it too often – “action begets motivation”. Good luck!

  8. I think you’re absolutely amazing and I agree with the voices here . . . don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what works for you NOW and if you have to change it later, well then, that’s what you’ll do. You’ve done that consistently anyway, right? Anyway, I know I could never do all that you do and you constantly confound me with not only your ideas, but your ambition and ability!!! I think you need to buy a large, red cape and put a big red “S” on your chest . .. you ARE Superwoman!

  9. I’m not sure if this will be any help, but I wish I had big drawers for storage, or at least roll-put shelves. The drawers could hold small appliances and I wouldn’t have to bend down and move stuff around to get to the back. Drawers can allow the space to be fully used with ease. Roll-out shelves are almost as good, except they don’t have sides to prevent stuff from falling off and you have the extra step of opening and closing the doors before rolling out. But on the bottoms of the built-ins, shelves would be my last choice. They work much better for me at Eye-level heights.

  10. I recently updated my kitchen (replaced all of the cabinets and appliances). I had a small island before the update, but the new kitchen has a much bigger island with six large drawers on one side. I love them. I’ve never had this many drawers in my kitchen before. The lower drawers are tall enough and sturdy enough to store my slow cookers, food processor, blender, etc. Everything is easy to get to — with drawers you don’t have to pull out the stuff in front to get to the stuff in the back. And the best part is that they are hidden from view!

    1. I agree about the drawers. We just had a kitchen renovation too (1973 kitchen with original appliances). We now have a kitchen island with six 33″ wide drawers and they are wonderful! Sometimes I just stand in the kitchen and stare at those beauties and thank God for the new kitchen. The drawers allow for easy access and the storage is great. After having shoulder and knee surgery, the drawers are very much a pain-saver for me.

  11. Nothing like the first cool morning in Texas to remind us of year-end’s approach. The front of your house is amazing and hard to believe you’ve done all that this year. Also, I want to second all the comments about your tenacity, imaginative and creative approaches to problem solving, etc. Seeing your blog just makes my day!

    Today’s comments seem to have focused on the pantry, but I have this to offer:

    Think how nice it would be this winter to have a large room where you could work on your upholstery, drapery and other projects. Close the door and order is restored to the rest of your home. As a start, could you finish the wiring, get the drywall and flooring done, and figure out your cabinet configuration as you actually use the space? Maybe even build the rolling table you planned earlier. You may have “odd” tables or pieces of furniture you could place about as stand-ins for your desk area, the workspace up front by the windows, etc. When you do your 2019 Work Plan you will probably know how you want to proceed with the studio.

  12. Don’t be so strict on yourself. You are only one person, and really you deserve to enjoy the process and avoid burn out. Remember to ask for help sometimes too. It is not like you need the spaces. It will get done, look how much progress you have made to the front of the house. Just amazing. Have a good weekend, take some time off, live a little! 🙂

  13. I think you have done a lot this year so far, and while the interior is still work in progress, the exterior has improved so much! ( I’d be real happy to see you put a chain to that dang annoying bush though, and rip that puppy out like a bad tooth! LOL!) Get that strip lighting done on the porch, to say bye-bye to that wire dangle, and I would then proceed inside.
    I liked Theresa’s idea of moveable cabinetry in the pantry, but not sure if it will work for your needs. Only you can decide that. I say just do shelves for now, in a cabinet design, that you COULD add doors to later if you find you want to cover things. As for being permanent, we ALL know nothing is permanent – if it isn’t working, live with it a while, then change it!
    As for the studio, I would get the flooring done asap, then maybe move some of your everyday type items in, see how it feels for a while. ( Does this work for me here? Why not put it there? How easy is it to move from saw to desk to work table? ) This way, you can get a feel for its use before anything permanent is done. You just have to remind yourself to not load it up so much that you can’t function! Clean it up after EVERY project, or you will spend a weekend down the line doing that, instead of fun things.
    I know you can get those two spaces done this winter, but it may take you to Jan./Feb. or longer. Set a goal for Tax day maybe! By then you’ll want to work outside. Thinking of flower boxes may help you stick to the goal!

  14. I’m just excited to see what you do with these areas! Everything you’ve accomplished this year has been phenomenal.

  15. I would suggest that in the pantry, you initially make all open shelves with countertops where you previously have suggested. On your builds, you typically make a box go into a shelf anyway. Also with so many storage bin options available from baskets to galvanized tin, you could always use those on the shelves to store items rather than have drawers.

    In the studio, I would just concentrate on getting the wiring done, the drywall up and the flooring down. Those things have to be done before anything else and would make the room feel more finished than it does now.

  16. You are a remarkable woman and a model to us all. Consider redoing your oppressive time schedule, because if you only stick to it, you will not allow yourself to do your very fun and rewarding art projects, such as your resin experiments.

    I am in the camp of doing the studio first, putting your full efforts into at least getting it wired, insulated, sheet rocked, mudded, trimmed out, painted, and floored. Then set up in there with your saws and such to use to do whatever you wish, especially the cabinet work.

    Your pantry can wait. If you get your beautiful studio space done, I’ll wager you will be so very glad you did, because then you will have a fabulous, large, purpose-build place to do all your projects. This way, your home can stay clean of sawdust and can be a sanctuary and refuge for you and your husband to enjoy each other’s company.

    After the studio is done, then look at your pantry. I would suggest you put it out of mind for now and concentrate on the more useful space for you. Can’t you see yourself and your pets, hanging out and working away in there this winter, listening to music, sewing and building and creating, while it rains torrents outside?

  17. Reading through these comments there is so much sound advice here. People don’t often recognize it, but I admire the way you can put your worries out here for others to comment on. That said, you have accomplished wonderful work so far in 2018, and I think the porch and new walk looks fantastic. What you have accomplished with the exterior is a huge huge change, and I hope it makes you realize that your visions for this home are fantastic. No other word will do. But I get the paralysis problem because I’ve had it too all my adult life. I get a vision and even purchase what I think will work and then get paralyzed second guessing myself. Sometimes for years! Story of my life, but I’ve found when I finally let myself begin I can be happy with the results, even if the results mean revisiting a purchase and abandoning it for something better. So I just try to analyze what the paralysis reaction is trying to tell conscious me and that helps a lot. Agree that the pantry will be quicker to finish and that absolute perfection is unattainable and probably a little bit boring in the end. You have made adjustments to other rooms, so just accept that you will probably go through that process again. Maybe the process of doing helps you realize something better?

  18. I’m so impressed by what you’ve accomplished this year! I also agree you should put together what makes sense to you now, and re-do what doesn’t work out later! Right now I would love to work on my projects but I had hand surgery Friday and am on the bench for a couple of weeks-sigh! So I’m glad I at least get to watch you do your creative thing!

  19. You hit the nail on the head for me. I do the same, plan and plan. I have done this with my kitchen for a year with my design software. I get to “walk” through the room so it gives me the same satisfaction as being “done”, until I walk into the un-done kitchen😕
    I respectfully disagree with the flower boxes😋 but I liked to decorate mine for fall and Christmas.
    I think you should take the chairs to the upholsterer, you’ve done plenty of that, and wouldn’t it be fun to have a wow reveal for yourself for a change?!! You deserve that!

  20. And that is why my house has 0 fall decorations!! Oh, I have plans…….but…….
    Good luck with your 97 days :^)

  21. Please relax and don’t sound so panicked, my friend. Evidently, something in your plans for your pantry isn’t what you want because once you nail down plans to your iking, you go for it. So just relax, revisit what you have planned so far and go from there. If its like most of your other big projects, inspiration will strike you when you least expect it and you will have ‘the’ plan.

    As for your studio, I’s so jealous! LOL I’m sure you’ll make progress on that as well and won’t it be great to have your ‘own place’ to plan and work? Wowzers!

    Happy Last Quarter of 2018 and may inspiration strike you often!!

  22. Just a quick thought, Kristi, about the drawers. Why not have pullouts that you can configure as you like and the top pullout could be your drawer if you choose. There’s no limitation to the possibilities with cabinets that have pullouts.

    Cheering you on! A whole house can be built in 97 days. I think you’ve got this!!

  23. Think how much easier it will be to build whatever you need to build in the pantry if you can do it in your studio!

    I would suggest painting the walls and then moving the green credenza that was in your entry way into the pantry under the window. It will look pretty through the glass doors. Then put up some temporary shelving along the sides so you can get things out of should-not-stay-here storage. You could just start with a couple of shelves, fill them up, then build/put together more as you need them. This will also allow you to see what and how much you need to store in the pantry and what might work best there.

    Then get to work on making the studio a space in which you can work and build, even if it is not in the final state you would like. Get that work table out of the breakfast room! Actually building/working in the studio might help you solidify your plans for it. You will have some idea of what works/doesn’t work for you.

    1. I was thinking the exact thing. I dont know what you have there for excess furniture but it seems you might have a few pieces you could use in the pantry and put things in and work in there a bit and you’ll begin to see just what you need to store and how you want it stored. I lived in a tiny rental house a few years ago and the kitchen was very small but they put in three big drawers next to the stove and it was the first time I ever had drawers like that and just loved them. In the top I put all my silverware and big utensils, the second I stored all our snacks and bread, and the third was wonderful for all our storage containers. I know you wont need the drawers for those things but I just loved how useful they were. He had also put in a corner cabinet with a lazy susan in it and I stored all my mixing bowls and measuring cups etc in there and they were heavy enough not to fall into the corner spaces. He put a cabinet low above the fridge that was very short and wide and I put all the garbage bags, storage bags and plastic wrap things in there. For such a small kitchen it was really handy. The one thing that might put me off moving other furniture in there and putting things in it, is it seems so much harder to then remove all that stuff to begin building, but I do think it would help you decide just what you needed to have in there and not look too bad in the process. Just a thought. I will love seeing whatever you do this fall and winter.

  24. Would you consider free standing pantry units that you can trial and move if need be, to see how you actually use the space?

  25. So… I don’t know if what I’m about to suggest is allowable for long term, but great to keep a Renovation moving for a new space.

    Installing all the boxes for every fixture before drywall doesn’t have to be a must. Getting a generous (labeled) coil ran to the general area can help keep things moving. So for plugs you want to access along a countertop – set-up some extra support at that height, so you can install a box easier after drywall.

    Now this gets complicated if you plan to sprayfoam your insulation(can’t remember what you want), but I bet corralling a coil into a ziplock, then taping/securing it to a stud (to later trim/cutout foam to make an area for coil and future box) may work. The extra snag is you gotta be careful and cautious on which circuits are turned on until all the fixtures are accounted for and to not have live wires in the wall.

    1. So true. Deciding electrical can be paralyzing if you don’t have a full plan for the cabinets and other work spaces. This could help move things along and allow you to insulate for winter, then you can work on temporary surfaces so that you have a better “feel” for how it all flows.

  26. Dear, dear Kristi, in 1991 when my now deceased Husband Bob and I bought property in Palm Coast, Florida. We had a clean slate & a set of plans for our Dream house. This was the very first house that had never belong to anyone before us. I can not even count the number of days..hmmmm really..months!!!..we went over & over and over again🙄🤪 we went over those blueprints to make this home..(as it turned out our last home that we would share together) PERFECT!. It was a most beautiful oversized lot, 3 miles from the Atlantic & it backed up to a bird sanctuary & a tidal creek. The day of reveal arrived. We were just over the moon delighted with “our creation”. We moved in January 1992. Well, what we missed was our “assumptions” that our builder was on the same page as us..WRONG😱. The wall switch turned on no wall sockets in that room! Then we realized the pocket doors were opening in the wrong direction…. and it went on & on. Please do not strive for perfection. The longer you delay means the longer you & your sweet “Hub” will have before the opportunity to enjoy it together. I emphasize..”Together”….. Perfection is not attainable perhaps on the fist “edition”….. you are sooooo talented… just “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” I say… do not be concerned about perfection…live with a while ….. if Plan A doesn’t work… just move on to Plan B… or even C… BUT JUST DO IT….. SENT WITH MUCH LOVE AND ADMIRATION…….

  27. You need to pat yourself on the back ! The front of your house is AMAZING – what a transformation you accomplished and not only is it done, it is beautiful !!! Always jump on your emails when they come – so much fun to live vicariously through your accomplishments.

  28. I’m with many others here. My “suggestion” would be do your studio first, so you can move your big work table in and begin using your studio. With that, you could possibly figure out how to finish off your pantry to better fit your wishes 😀

  29. Seems to me the pantry pursuit at this stage of the game is the lesser of the two blessings. The studio space and accessibility would get all the work stuff completely out of your living area. Wouldn’t that relieve a lot of stress? Besides, it is the more creative project to express your artistic ideas and talents. Who knows? Maybe tackling that first will spark the final plan that will work in the pantry.

    I am puzzled as to why a deadline matters so much. The days roll by and the year number changes to a new one. So what? You are your own boss. So, Does it need to be “crunch time?” These are rhetorical questions.

    It will be fascinating to see things unfold. It will all be as good as everything you have already done. Gorgeous, Kristi.

  30. kate at has a new post up her (much smaller) pantry and shows photos of several designs she likes. It also features the open corner shelves idea.

  31. I’m betting there are a lot of us out here who feel exactly the same as you. Planning IS safe, cause you can erase and re-do with minimal effort and cost. I’m with you though, sometimes we just need to throw down the challenge and say I’m gonna do it! For myself, I find the best way for me to make forward progress even when I’m dithering or worried about how to solve a particular diy dilemma is to break the project down into smaller bites and get started on the parts I am sure of, leaving (as much as possible) the areas that are worrisome til the end or later in the project. Often, I find the solution presents itself while I’m taking care of some other part of the project. And, if you’re really not sure, wait. One other commenter mentioned adding movable storage-great idea that may work long term, but may just be the solution you need short term.
    So, to all the other diy-er’s out there: What project do you have that you want to make progress on? Ninety-seven days to do: you fill in the blank. I dare ya! I double dog dare ya! And let us know what y’all are working on…..

  32. Your front porch is just beautiful! I love everything about it. I look forward to all of your posts; your home is so very nice. I’ve enjoyed watching the process you go through in designing and planning new projects. I have learned so much.

  33. Girl, you should be proud. The front of your HOME looks great. And I’m so excited about the pantry. I love that stuff. Your readers have some good ideas, but I know you’ll do what works best for you. A great space with so much potential!

  34. You can do this! I’m so excited for US!!!!! I’ve been salivating over your pantry since forever! I can’t wait to see what you decide!

  35. I just wanted to say that every time I look at your blog and see the pictures of your house it makes me smile! It is so darn cute, no it’s adorable!! I love, love, love what you have accomplished. You must be so proud. You inspire me!