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March Progress & April Goals (Readers’ Choice — Exterior Projects or Pantry?)

I didn’t quite make it through my list of goals for March (I feel like I say that at the beginning of each new month 😀 ), but I must say that I’m pretty darn pleased with the progress I did make because the things I finished were rather big projects. And I knew that my list for March was a little overly ambitious, so I’m not disappointed for not finishing it.

So here’s what I did get done…

First, I made a piece of artwork to go above my fireplace mantel. It’s made out of about 800 wood tasting spoons. You can click here to see the full process for how I made it.

And then just a few days ago, I made a shadow box frame for the artwork. You can click here to see how I made the frame, and also read what I’d do differently next time.

So those two projects weren’t exactly the big projects I was talking about. But the porch floor sure was one of them! My porch used to be old, unlevel, ugly concrete, and now I’ve covered that original concrete porch with a cedar wood porch floor.

And with the porch floor done, I could finally turn the front porch posts into pretty columns by wrapping them in wood and trim.

I feel like those two projects totally transformed the front of my house, and I’ve only just begun on the exterior projects! 🙂 You can click here to check out the most recent “before” and “progress” pictures that I posted of the front exterior of the house.

And finally, I finished the portico over the side door of the studio.

It was a big month for the exterior of my house, and I love finally seeing progress out there after almost totally ignoring it and focusing exclusively on interior stuff during our first 3.5 years in this house.

So what’s in store for this month? Well, there are a couple of non-negotiable items. First, I really want to get my living room draperies finished. I’m tired of looking at lengths of fabric draped over curtain rods…

I’ve was putting it off for a while because I no longer have a big dining table to sew on, and I don’t yet have my big workroom table (or a studio to put it in), so I was thinking I’d once again have to work on the floor. And I really wasn’t looking forward to punishing my back and knees like that.

Then one of you (and I wish I could remember who you are or where you commented so that I could give you a proper “thank you”!!) suggested that I just use sawhorses and a piece of plywood covered in felt. So yesterday, I transformed my breakfast room into a temporary drapery workroom with a big 4′ x 8′ makeshift felt-covered table.

Yep, that’ll work just fine for now.

And then I need to do the electrical work in the studio (or find someone to do it for me). I’ve had a bit of a challenge getting an electrician out here to give me a quote, and Matt is getting kind of impatient about the lack of studio progress, so I need to make sure that happens this month so that the drywall can finally be installed.

But after the draperies are finished and the electrical work is taken care of (whether I do it myself or hire it out), the direction in which I head is up to you. I’d love for you to tell if me you’d like me to (1) continue with the front exterior of the house, or (2) start working on the pantry.

If I work on the front exterior, the two biggest projects I have in mind are the shutters and window boxes, which will look something like this…

I doubt that I’ll have time to get to any landscaping, but if I have time left over at the end of the month, I’d like to start on the front porch and studio door steps and hand rails. Those cinder block “steps” that I have at the studio door aren’t exactly safe. And now that the front porch is higher than it used to be, that final step up to the porch is just under 10 inches, which is way higher than a step should be.

The other option is that I can hold off on the exterior projects for now, and head back inside and finally get started on my pantry. Right now it’s just a 7-foot x 12-foot empty box, but I hope to transform it into something like this, minus the ladder…

So which shall it be? Exterior projects (shutters, window boxes, and starting on the porch and studio door steps)? Or the pantry?


My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…

Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…

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        1. I agree–Exterior first! With spring here, and summer coming soon, the front of your house will look amazing from the street! And–you’ll feel SO GOOD with finishing the porch and the steps into the studio!

          1. I agree do outside first before it gets to HOT!! Do the Pantry when it’s hot outside and you can work in the central air!

            1. I agree with Patti as I’ve lived in Killeen, TX (which isn’t too far from you), and I know it would put you into h-e-double toothpick weather if you wait until after the pantry is done. If you take care of the portico steps first, it would be safe for the electrician (if you hire one) to get into the studio. As Terri said, can’t you work outside on good weather days and indoors when the weather’s bad? Do it have to be only one or the other?

        1. Here, Here! Spring(now) – outside; Summer (later) – inside.
          (Said the girl who believes the only state hotter than Georgia in the summer time is Texas!)

          1. Pretty sure Arizona is hotter (more hot?) than Texas. JUST sayin. But it IS a DRY heat, so there IS that. . .

    1. Was going to say the same thing! Because this is exactly what I do. I would much rather work outside when it is pretty out and have a project inside when the weather isn’t so great.

    2. I think you should work outside as long as you can. When you have inclement weather you could work on the pantry or small jobs that you need to finish.

    3. Agreed. You’re bound to have a few bad weather days–just keep supplies for both projects around and chip away at both!

    4. That’s it! Outside on good days…..Inside on bad weather days.
      You really can get two projects done like this,if you don’t give out!

  1. Do those exterior projects before it gets too hot to get them done in the dead of summer! You can work on your pantry and studio all summer long in nice air conditioned, climate controlled bliss!

        1. I was going to suggest the same – outdoor projects before it gets miserably hot, then pantry when you need to work in a/c.

      1. 1000th vote for above! Texas is soooo hot; get your front done/started before hot stuff descends. Work on drapes when it’s rainy, get that done before pantry. That way you wo t have 3 partial projects buzzing about driving you nutz🤪🤪🤪.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Complete the shutters, window boxes and steps. Complete your landscaping plan during your “spare” time, but delay the actual work until the fall planting season. Once you see the shutters and flower boxes, you might make minor adjustments to the Landscaping Plan. Then start work inside.

      Hire out the wiring. You’ve proven you can do that. I could be wrong, but your household seems to be functioning now without the pantry. It seems having a completed studio would help you move your other projects along more efficiently.

      My day isnt complete without your posts. Stay healthy and continue to inspire your followers.

      1. Yes! Outside now and then do the inside stuff when the weather turns Texas Hot! And it’s already happening.

  2. I vote exterior! Take advantage of the nice weather while you have it. Soon it will be miserably hot, then you can move on to the pantry.

  3. Safety issues first which means the steps, especially before the hot weather sets in. Once that happens, pantry!

  4. Exterior. You can work indoors on those hot as – – – -! days coming up soon in your beloved TX.

    1. I agree. It won’t be too long before it’s almost unbearable there! Then you can work on the pantry. And if you are building your own cabinetry, maybe do the most vital ones for the studio also. That way, you will get the pantry done, AND have a start on the studio! I would try to finish a work station in the studio at least, and later add desk and filing area. If you bundle making cabinets all at once, then you might be able to stash away things that might be getting in the way, giving you a more clear space for the rest. Think like a builder – they don’t necessarily complete one room then another; they work by tasks!

  5. I think exterior. You want it to look finished – not haphazard and sloppy. So – get those shutters up and fill those planter boxes, lol. I love everything you do and love reading your blog.

  6. Exterior because goodness knows it will be too hot here in TX to be doing those exterior projects in July or August!

  7. Work on the exterior before it get’s too hot. It will feel so nice to have that work done. If the weather is bad, work on your drapes.

  8. I agree with all comments so far. Exterior work until you can’t stand the weather anymore, then head indoors. Maybe while you’re outside working, your brain will be stimulated into creativity on how to attack that “overwhelming” pantry space. I find I have more clear thinking of a problem or ideas when I am distracted by another project. I’m headed outside today myself here in Northern CA to re-stain our gazebo. Good luck with whichever path you choose! Everything is looking great so far!

  9. I almost said pantry because I can’t wait to see what you do with it but I agree with exterior before it gets too hot to comfortably do it. Also agree with steps being a safety hazard and to do the pantry, you will be bringing lots of stuff in.

  10. Do the exterior while the weather is decent here. It’s gonna get absurdly hot before too much longer and then it will be 6 months before you can do anything on the outside.

  11. As a reader, I honestly find the pantry more interesting, but as I started reading other comments (and as a fellow Texan) work on the exterior! The weather can be so brutal.

  12. Outside projects! Shutters, boxes, and maybe decorate your porch! There is something about driving up at your house and being happy with the exterior–it makes me want to go inside and tackle something that needs attention!

  13. Looks like we all think you need to finish the outside before those Texas temperatures get way to hot to be doing that work outside. It is looking great.

  14. Until I started reading the other comments, I was 100% team pantry (I live in Oregon, so right now it is gray and rainy and perfect indoor work weather. I forget it is the opposite in my former home state of Texas).

    I think the pantry is a big project that you’ve said feels overwhelming, and you might be looking for some excuses to keep putting it off. I don’t know that it will be less overwhelming, and maybe us readers can be your impetus for inspiration there. I think it will feel like a big weight has been lifted when you complete it, and right now it is hanging over your head and making it hard to enjoy some of the other projects knowing the pantry is still undone. Finishing it could be a huge relief and let you enjoy those outside projects more.

    But, I don’t want you to melt in the summer sun either!

  15. I would go with outdoor projects before it gets much hotter. One thing about the flower boxes, they look lovely but since having them in the past I would not do them again. They require watering almost daily especially in the Texas heat. They also need drainage which at times leaves water dripping and running down the side of the house. I would think hard about if I wanted to lift a water bucket up and water them everyday when there are other projects you will be involved in. You could always add them later if you wanted….just food for thought even though I know you will have flower boxes in your future 🙂

    1. Excellent point re: flower boxes. I suggest you construct a simple box and mount it on a rear wall. Watering it during the Summer will highlight any issues needing correction before you undertake a major project.

    2. Yeah, those things look awesome in photos, but I bet most of those pics were done right after the boxes were filled!!! They are messy and high maintenance, especially in hot climates. I would love them too, if I had a gardener full time to take care of them and the mess!

  16. Season-wise, I think this is when most seeds should be planted (I think as in, “I don’t know for certain, but I have this impression”), and you have around two(?) months before the weather gets untolerable. On the other hand, could it be you are asking this question because you want to finally get done with the pantry but are hesitating?

    How about work on the outside during light-time, but plan the pantry at nights? (And make posts about said plans, too!)

    1. Honestly, my thought was that I really WANT to work on the exterior (because pantry = scary and intimidating), but if the majority of people voted for the pantry, I was going to force myself to do it. But it seems that I’ll have a reprieve for at least one more month. 😀

  17. Whereas I would LOVE to see your pantry get started I think you should focus on the exterior before it gets too hot to work on it. I think the shutters and window boxes will look lovely! Hopefully you can find some flowers with a similar color to your door to tie them together. 🙂

  18. Just wondering if there are any High Schools or Community Colleges that have kids that want (or need hours) to help you do all that garden landscape? Wouldn’t it be cool to have extra hands to lighten the load?

      1. My sister’s church used to hire out teenagers as a fund raiser. She hired them to do a landscaping job.

    1. What a great idea Kristine Porter! Does Baylor have a Landscape Architecture or design course? Having the work featured on your blog would be wonderful (good) publicity for the university. Otherwise, I know Texas A&M offers this.

    2. That’s what I was thinking too. Sometimes you can also find sports teams who want the “exercise” and to earn a bit of cash for sports items!

  19. Everyone is right, definitely the exterior ! Work when the weather is good and bad weather days work on indoor projects. You’ve got a exterior momentum
    going, keep it up. We’re here to cheer you on!

    1. I totally agree with Roxanna. Exterior on good weather days. Finish other small interior projects on bad weather days. Keep the momentum going! I wouldn’t start the pantry until you finish up a lot of the other smaller interior projects you’ve listed recently. Getting some areas totally finished will be very rewarding and help get you excited about moving forward. 🙂 You’re an inspiration and I’m amazed at all you’ve done!

  20. Everyone who lives in Texas knows best to focus on outdoor projects in Spring and fall, and in the dire heat of the summer focus on indoor projects. Who wouldn’t want to take full advantage of being outdoors in the spring/early summer rather than the Texas summer heat???
    Your projects/home is awesome!!!

  21. Exterior. I noticed you have brick for the stairs going into the studio. Have you ever considered doing a smaller version of how you did your porch? Build a small stoop, stairs with the wood floor? IMO I think it would tie in nicely with the front.

    1. That’s actually what I plan to do. I want a cohesive look with the front porch and the side steps matching. I’m not sure why I put brick steps on that mock up. I never actually planned on brick steps. I think they were just the easiest ones to copy and paste onto my photo that I could find, and I figured brick steps were better than looking at a floating door. 😀

  22. If I remember correctly you live in Texas. I’d get as many exterior projects done before the heat becomes too much. The older I get I can’t deal with the heat as much anymore.

    1. I am. And my shutters, too. 🙂 Now that I’ve been introduced to the wonders of PVC boards, I doubt I’ll do many (if any) outdoor projects with actual wood.

      1. I used to have shutters…. the louvre kind. Ditched them for painting and stinging bugs always made nests in them. I miss the quaint way my house looked with them. Have window boxes still but they are wood….. may need replacing with a “Kristi” pic version.

        I have some kind of plastic lattice on my porch. Looks pretty good given it’s 15 but there is some greying in spots, oxidation??? Not like those old plastic chairs though. Will have to do some research on the PVC. You have your heat and sun, we have cold but still sun.

  23. As much as I want to see that pantry completed, I agree you should do the outside while the weather is nice first.

  24. I’m looking forward to both, but if I were you, I’d try to get as many outdoor projects done before the heat makes it impossible. In the blazing heat of summer you can work on your air conditioned pantry 😀

  25. I’m not familar with Texas weather, but I think get everything done outside, so you can work inside in the heat of summer. Don’t attempt any landscaping until late fall. I know that pantry is eating at you, but it can wait a little longer. But I do love that you’re going to finish your drapes first. Try again to hire someone to wire the studio.

  26. I agree with the other comments, Definitely do the exterior shutters, window box planters and steps before the heat of your Texas summer. Then tackle the pantry in the summer in the comfort of your air conditioning.

  27. I agree with everyone else – exterior before it’s too hot! Plus you could get the flower beds ready and if you run out of time to put plants in they’ll still look pretty until you can plant in the fall. Whatever you decide I love following along as you work on your home!

  28. I agree with everyone else, get those exterior things done. In addition to the idea about using community college students needing hours of community service, you could also check with your local high schools about Honor Society kids needing community service hours….let them dig and plant flower beds or paint the skirt of your porch, something that younger bodies are better able to handle. Your front looks so good, keep it going unless it rains, then work on something inside. You’ve done incredible work so far but getting something finished would be motivating and allow your neighbors to see something pretty. Shutters and window boxes will look so good, along with better steps for your side door.

  29. I’m pretty sure you have a consensus on doing your exterior, but might I suggest that the next time you feel you need a kick in the pants to do your pantry, your readers are happy to provide that kick? 🙂

    1. Haha! And I have a feeling that’s what it’ll take, too. I don’t know why I’m so nervous to tackle that project. I’ve done far more extensive projects, and none of those seemed as scary.

      1. It’s not a happy/pretty project like your kitchen, or breakfast room, or even the hallway. It WILL be, when you’re done with it.

        Didn’t you say that dragging your feet means there’s a design element you’re subconsciously unhappy about? Maybe there’s something about the plan that isn’t “right” yet. You’ll get there, even if it’s “trial-and-error” to get it there! 🙂

  30. Have you called anyone about landscaping? I would have someone give you a “ plan” for beds and what plants you should use, (since you are overwhelmed by that) have them do the foundation of it. Moving dirt, shaping beds, irrigation, bringing in soil if needed and sod. Then you could pick up plants when in the mood or sales. I say continue with the outside until it’s too darn hot.

  31. As anxious as I am to see pantry progress, I think keeping on with the exterior projects while it’s nicer weather makes sense.

  32. Exterior while the weather is reasonably cool. Steps because, as you said, those cinder blocks are a safety hazard. Shutters, but not window boxes. I agree with the above comment that window boxes would need constant daily watering in the dry Texas climate. But shutters would add a lot to the curb appeal. If the weather is too hot or rainy, work on your drapery.
    Once those things are complete, you will have a clear mind to work on your pantry and studio during the hottest part of the year.

    The exterior of the house is looking lovely, but those steps really NEED to be done. Safety first!

    Onward and Upward!

    1. Get drippers for the window boxes. I had a window box on a second story window. You can hide the small dripper hose up the corner of the house and underneath a ridge of the siding, paint if needed. It will disappear and be a life (plant) saver!

        1. With drip irrigation you can get heads that are adjustable so you can easily adjust for water requirements. In the Texas summer heat I would think they would dry out every day. Also had the plants inside 3 black tray type window boxes( purchased at Lowe’s) our window box was six feet wide. The water would drain out the holes drilled in the bottom of the cedar boxes. This also allowed for me to plant early and let the flowers mature so the box didn’t look scrawny from the ground.

  33. Wow! I think that you’re doing fantastic you getting things done that’s what counts I wish we could go as fast as you’re going. Whatever you get done next month at least you’re moving forward.

  34. First: I loved the video tour, it reinforced your love of color and how well the various colors meld, big congratulations. You should be extremely proud of all you’ve accomplished.

    Next projects. Living in Houston May 15th is my cutoff date for exterior projects due to heat & humidity. Waco gets just as hot so I think you should get the steps on the front of house & studio knocked out; you’ll feel better about the outside appearance & it needs to be done for safety reasons too. Unless you know which specific plants work in your area, consult with a knowledgeable landscaper. I’ve wasted $ on plants that just didn’t work for either the climate or location planted; again heat will play a factor in landscaping. Drapes can be done at night, hot afternoons or rainy days. The pantry is your hot summer project. Electrical in the studio needs to be completed before the heat of the summer just so you can have a/c or at least fans while drywall goes in.

    1. Yes! about the landscaping. Keep in mind that new plantings need to be watered religiously and in north Alabama it’s best to plants shrubs & trees in the fall when rain is more likely and the root systems have a better chance of getting established than in the spring or summer. Valeria has a good priority system listed for your projects.

    2. Exactly my thoughts.
      If Waco Summers are as hot as Sydney Summers… good luck finding the heat resistant plants…

  35. As much as i would like to say do the interior………. it’s Texas! Do the exterior before the weather is unbearable. If you have rainy days that prevent working outside, do the drapes. They are less time intensive than the pantry and could be done when you can’t get outside.

  36. Some very insightful comments. I agree, work outside while the weather is nice, get safety issues taken care of like steps, then when it gets really hot get pantry done.

  37. Thanks for all the inspiration! I wouldn’t wait one more day to put a bird feeder out and maybe a bath. It doesn’t need to be end fabulous deal but the joy it will almost instantly bring you is immeasurable… just my 2 cents.

  38. I love what you have accomplished on the outside of your home! You are great! I’d keep up the progress on the outside, but I’ll bet you knew most of us would suggest that! Of course, I love working outside, just not when it’s so frigging hot! It would be nice if there were some free or almost free resources for you to use in your area to help you design your landscaping. You could even put in a few of your shrubs to help start defining this area. You might check with a local Botannical garden, garden clubs, etc. I belong to the Hardy Plant Society in my city and it’s been a wonderful resource. Of course, it has also been very enabling about adding shrubsand flowers to my yard, too!

    Thank you for adopting a shelter dog and sharing that with us. My daughter adopted a dog a few years ago and she is now a champion agility dog. It was a great way to help the dog become less afraid of other dogs and helped
    Sage learn good manners. Good for you!

    Love your blog, Kristi! It’s always “real” and very inspiring!

  39. I say do as much outside as you are able to. You will have plenty of indoor time by May for sure. And, I just love your dogs ears too, he’s a handsome mutt!! (and a lucky one at that)

  40. Kristi, I didn’t read previous responses so I apologize if this is repeated and I am sure it is……..my vote is to finish the exterior and enjoy the porch while the weather is nice. Not only will you be able to enjoy your outside space, but you will be happy every time you come home and enter into your beautiful home. You can always do inside work when during the winter months.

  41. I would focus your attention to the hazardous steps and railing first as weather permits. My suggestion would be not to do any work on your shutters until you have the remaining new Windows installed because that might change where you’ll want to go with the shutters. Landscaping should be your very last project for any outdoor updates. Hey, if that doesn’t happen this year so be it. You could at least put fall mums in place if it gets too late into the season. Inside on the bad days, work on your draperies.

  42. I just read previous responses and I see they say to do the exterior because of impending heat!! You can tell I am from Pennsylvania because my thoughts were to do the outside work before the impending cold lol

  43. Pantry…going against the crowd, but that is my vote. But no matter what wins, be assured I will be waiting with admiration and awe for each sharing. Loved the cat in the litter box photo!

  44. My answer has more thought on how you work. (sorry for no selecting a or b)

    You want to take advantage of the weather to build, whatever that is. I’m assuming you’ll be lugging the saw outside to cut. Project-wise, focus on what you can do around the electrical & drywall workers, and be flexible with the weather.

    Make the steps a bigger priority, then other projects, wherever they are. You’d appreciate the steps for safety and lugging tools and materials when you are working outside. Nobody wants you to injure an ankle. If you need a break from the heavy tool-use, start with the draperies, then swap between the draperies and other projects.

    If you are sure on a plan for the shutters do those. If not, you can wait till next year, and it can be easy warm ups to outside projects then. Window boxes seem a little less of a priority and don’t see an advantage till you are planting more. Also, did you put hardware cloth up when you critter-proofed the porch?, if not, don’t forget your porch ceiling.

  45. I want to know, do you get any responses to changes as they happen, from your neighbors? I’m willing to bet that even if you get no feedback, some are watching every day to see what’s going to change next!

    1. I have talked to a few neighbors about they updates I’ve done on the exterior, and they all seem to really like them! 🙂 When I was working on the front porch and columns, I noticed a few people driving by veerrrryyy slowly. A couple of them turned around at the end of the street and drove back by verrrryyy slowly again. 😀

  46. I bet your drapes are finished since you’ve had a few hours;). I’m looking forward to seeing the pantry finished but the previous suggestions make sense. Do outside work before the heat sets in. Your video was better than the pictures. Love your use of color. Thoroughly enjoy each post from you.

  47. As most of the responses have mentioned, the heat is on the way. Finish as much as you can before it hits, but don’t do the planting until fall. You will be too busy, and it will be too hot, to plant things and keep them watered and manicured. Then, do your studio so you will have a place to work. The pantry will be nice, but with just the two of you, you probably have less true need of it than you do for the studio, doors to the outside, etc. I love watching all the projects come to fruition, and you will get there.
    Best wishes, Ann

  48. I think having your pantry working for you would have the bigger impact on you guys’ daily quality of life, esp. since the outside has already had such a nice make over with the porch, etc.

  49. Work on the outside in the mild spring weather! On bad weather days, work on studio. Work inside during the heat of the summer: studio first then pantry. And save plantings for cooler Fall Weather so that you aren’t tied to a massive watering schedule trying to get your plantings established in the summer.

  50. So, it seems like most people are saying “exterior”. I agree! Unfortunately, the reality is that you only have about 1 more month before it gets hot. Your weather patterns seem pretty similar to our weather patterns in FL and by the end of April, it will be getting pretty hot here, although you may have a few hours early morning and a few hours late day for smaller projects. So, I say, see what you can get done outside in this last month. Work on the drapes on rainy days. Come May, you’re going to want to be inside a lot more.

    Great job so far! 2018 is really rocking!

    1. Theresa, at the speed Kristi is working, I’m pretty sure she’ll manage the steps and shutters – and the window boxes, if she choses to do them – in April 🙂

  51. I would try to do as much as possible on the exterior. The porch is so awesome and I think you would be happy when you drive up and see new steps, shutters,etc. The front is really shaping up. Keep going girl. Now I know all about Texas heat so when it is too hot, back inside 😎

  52. Exterior projects should take precedence in April. It won’t be long before your Texas heat makes it very unpleasant to work outside.

  53. Kristi, I would suggest you wrap up what you can of the exterior. In about 6 weeks the tempature is going to start getting unbearable here in Texas. Do as much as you can on that before then. Plus emotionally, it’ll make you feel so great every time you drive up to your house and see that finished pretty exterior.

  54. I would do the outside in the morning, the pantry in the afternoon when the weather is muggy, and hire the electrician. I think you said you were intimidated by the pantry and from what I’ve seen on your blog……..you can do ANYTHING! I love the picture of the pantry you have in mind. Can’t wait to see your next project……especially the landscaping when you get to it.

  55. I’m voting with the majority here. Do whatever you can while the weather is nice and save the interior work for when it is too hot or on bad weather days. Steps and railing are the very first things you need to take care of. Not only because they are a hazard for you but for anyone else coming on your property. You wouldn’t want anyone else getting hurt. Then I would do the shutters and window boxes. What about the porch ceiling? Are you not trying to get that completed? That would at least complete the building outside, wouldn’t it? Then I would tackle whatever you are going to do to the front of the porch – that concrete you aren’t happy with. If you have time, some landscaping would be good to do now. As someone else said, maybe some high school or college kids who have taken horticulture could help with the digging out and getting the beds ready for planting. If you plant flowers and plants that are native, you won’t have as many issues with them not doing well in your climate. Check with your local nurseries to see which plants are appropriate. Texas A&M website, I believe, has an excellent website for this you can look at, too, to see what is native in your area or the County Extension Office. It is also the right time of year to plant certain bulbs and seeds. Fall is the best time to plant any shrubs or other types of bulbs so you can save the places for those and get to them then as long as you plan the beds correctly. I think you and Matt would get so much joy from seeing the birds and butterflies over the summer if you can get some flowers, plants, bird feeders, bird bath, etc.. in now.

    After you finish the outside, I would take care of the studio or at least whatever you need to do in there to make it comfortable for the workers who will be coming to do work for you. While they are working, you can be planning and starting work on your pantry. Don’t you need to have the work space ready (studio) to be able to do the work on the pantry? If so, then you need to focus on getting that studio done first before tacking the pantry. Maybe you will have a better idea of what you want to do in there by that time.

    In the meantime, you could work on your drapes a little at a time in the evenings when you have time or on bad weather days. Before you know it, they’d be done.

    Your house looks so beautiful already and I’m excited to see how everything else turns out!

  56. As a fellow Texan, I’m going to say to work on those outdoor projects before the weather gets too hot! Just the stuff dealing with the house though. Then work on the pantry during the hottest part of the summer. Fall is better for landscaping in our weather because the plants will die in the heat – including new bushes and trees… so hold those til fall and then they’ll bloom beautifully in the spring!

  57. I would LOVE to see you work on the pantry, but you might want to go ahead and work on the exterior before it gets too hot and miserable.

  58. I’m looking forward to all of your projects, but am overwhelmed by the vote of the other commentors and see sense in their advice 🙂 After you’ve done what you want on the outside (and I’m very excited to watch those projects as I really want to learn from you there :)) I would, however, continue on the studio before starting on the pantry. Somebody commented that you seem to be doing ok without a pantry to date and just think how much having the work space in the studio done would help you with all the things that need to be built for the pantry!!!! So I would start on the outside, do smaller (hah – who am I kidding?? only smaller to you) projects like the drapes in between and then start (and finish eventually) the studio! Thus you will also have enough time to mull over your plans for the pantry a bit more and might find a solution that takes away this inexplicable “fear” conc. it (and I’m with all the others above in being sure that you will manage that project just as well as all the other things you’ve accompolished!)

  59. My vote is lets get that pantry completed. Maybe do two weeks pantry and 2 weeks exterior. I think you can get both items completed.

  60. Hi Kristie…outside work first of course.

    I also like the suggestion to work on the studio next, to create room for projects like cupboards…and to hire out the electrical work.

    As far as the pantry is concerned, I don’t think you have a plan for the room yet that YOU really like or find pretty. Could you please show us your plan again? I seem to remember a wall full of cupboards and nothing else. Sounds boring and would make the room seem smaller.
    Oh how I wish you lived closer to me to advise…we have an old 1-1/2 story farmhouse done by a DIY’er who did not know how to DIY. Love your blog!

  61. I vote to work on the front exterior projects, including starting the landscaping around the porch and in the space where you want a water feature. Let the plants get established well over the growing season. You can always start the pantry in cold weather.

  62. 1. Outside work first, in whatever order is logical. You know.

    2. For rainy days: completion of the drapes. You are close to getting it done. (Good feeling to check it off & enjoy the room.)

    3. I vote for the studio even before the pantry. The latter may need more mulling. I sense there is an unconscious hangup. (?)

    When I saw the curved flower beds in one of your pictures I liked the softness to relieve the many straight lines of the house.

    Okay, Ecuador report: remember when I told you about showing your house to folks who own a paint store here in Macas? In the Amazon area. A city of 30,000. Well, they wanted to know ‘what you have done lately., I carry my iPAD to show them. The spoon mural was a big hit. And the coral doors.

    Regards to you all. Is Cooper filling out?

      1. Cooper looks like one fun dog. Love how relaxed he is all sprawled out the whole length of his bed. And the creases between his eyebrows suggest he might be pensive as he surveys his world. ‘What’s Kristi up to now?’ 🙂

  63. I agree! Definitely do your outside work while the weather isn’t super hot. Utilize bad weather days to work on inside projects.

    I love what you’ve done so far and can’t wait to see more!

  64. Safety first! Get those steps taken care of first, then work on remaining exterior list while the weather cooperates. There will be some rainy days this spring to begin on pantry. Then hot summer days when you should work inside as well.

  65. You have such great momentum going right now with the exterior of the house, I’d love to see you continue that!

    I see other readers are chiming in saying to do the exterior before the Texas heat sets in, and then the pantry when it gets hot so you can work inside in the A/C, and that’s a great idea. Also, the studio can be worked on during the hot months as well.

    Can’t wait to see how the rest of your projects turn out, I know they’re going to be wonderful!

  66. Kristi, you are so talented! I agree with the majority, to focus on the exterior. My unasked for opinion is to forget the flower boxes; I wonder if they are more trouble than they are worth. You can always do hanging baskets on the porch. Someone previously suggested buying vinyl shutters and I agree.

  67. Safety first! So please do your steps first!!!! You need good safe steps to go in and out of your house and Work shop/studio. Then work on shutters and window boxes. On bad weather days work on the pantry inside.

  68. Not quite on topic, but you mentioned finding a better solution for your outdoor garbage cans…….
    An enclosure made to match your shutters style and color wise could be cool-3 sided against the house or 4 sided freestanding. Just a thought.

  69. if you wait too long to do the outside it will get too hot. we always think well July would be a great month to work on painting this or that outside and in Michigan it is really too hot. April, May and early June best time. B4 it gets too hot. I agree with others , rainy days in house and nice days out..

  70. You made wonderful progress in March. I love, love, love yourart project above the mantle!

    The porch looks amazing.

    If the weather stays fairly good, I’d opt for the shutters and window boxes before you start to cook when you’re outdoors in the Texas sun!

  71. Hey Kristi! I would love to see what you do with the exterior progress in the next month! the shutters and window boxes will really pull everything together! but regardless, I’m always excited to read and look through anything you do!