the to do list

the neighbors have better stuff doormat

well, they probably don’t have better stuff, but their homes are probably more put together than mine. i think i have ADD…i start a project with good intentions…completely focused and then oh look, a chicken, something shiny and i’m on to the next project when ooooh look shinier, i wander around a bit, move something around and then my kiddos wake up from their rest time or it’s 9PM, i’m completely tired and i open pinterest…i swear that app can be such a time suck, an amazing pretty time suck, but a time suck all the same.

at the beginning of the year i said yes to apartment therapy’s the january cure…it’s kind of a challenge where apartment therapy sends you assignments via email, and if you put in the effort you will hopefully see a big, positive difference in your overall life. i didn’t even make it through the first step. see my german husband is very organized and neat. the boy needs order in his life…he balances out my chaos. we don’t have blown out light bulbs, or overcrowded bookshelves or wiggly door knobs or stacks of lose DVDs and games by the TV…those things would drive him to the brink of insanity.

to make a difference in MY overall life, i need to style and clutter (well, that is what the boy calls it…i call it adding knick-knacks and making a table pretty) i need to buy window treatments, i need to make a commitment to a rug, i need to add color, i need to style my mantle (or rip it out and build a new one because i have no idea where to begin and i think it’s super ugly), i need to buy pillows from different stores that have a cohesive look and add jazziness to a room with color and patterns

since i’ve started blogging more and more about my house and posting pictures, i’ve decided to put it all out there…today…my to do list, my REAL to do list…the things i don’t want to show you…i want to keep this blog real, so i decided to type up my list and post it with pictures [YIKES] for all the world to see, flaws and all…oh dear lord help me. i read a lot of blogs that usually contain before and afters, but they rarely just post a before and maybe there won’t be an after picture…so here’s to hoping there’s an after eventually…i present to you my overwhelming to do list:

1. you bought window treatments for the front room and the playroom, but they “just” fit width-wise…you need to buy an extra set for each window…and while you’re at it, just buy the rods your should have bought in the first place since the cheap $3 version sags and much to your dismay, you really can tell the difference

serena and lily striped window panels

2. buy a rug for the foyer already…make a decision…commit to color…BTdubs, i’m thinking it will be the turquoise rug since that is more in my price range even though the persians are too pretty

3. style both credenzas under the TVs…upstairs (chips and all) and downstairs…right now you have a bunch of random stuff, and it looks quite half-assed pardon my language…but it’s ok, you can say that because it’s your home =) and BTdubs, that orange tray really has to go to goodwill…it’s not good

unstyled credenza under tv

unstyled credenza under tv

4. buy new sheets for your bed…the sheets you sleep on every night have a large rip in the corner and you stole those from the guest bedroom because the original dwell draper striped sheets ripped…i know you can’t decide, but let’s get on this already…decide if you are going to buy the same sheets you had before or go with something completely different

5. little maus will be going into a toddler bed in 5 months…you might want to start a mood board to switch the nursery from baby to little lady

6. style the tall dresser in the guest room

unstyled dresser

7. spray paint the 2 large max wanger frames white…you thought black would look amazing…you chose poorly…you have made emily henderson sad…now go spray those puppies white and since i’m showing this picture, let’s also make a note to buy larger euro pillow inserts…this are too small and it makes the guest bed look sloppy

max wanger balloon print

8. decide if you want to paint the chair from three potato four black and if you choose to paint it please note, you will have to reupholster the seat…you keep stashing it away in the storage room…you shipped it from philly, let’s display it

9. dust behind the hairpin table…it’s just gross back there…i refuse to show a picture of this

10. caulk both showers (while i was typing, the boy said we have a nice gentleman coming to the house to take care of this project…woohoo, check one off the list!)

11. find pillows for the upstairs and downstairs sofas that you are happy with…challenge yourself to find them from different stores and don’t forget, you have 2 vintage kilm pillow covers that are pretty and full of color upstairs in the closet you need to purge…see #24 on list

12. find a new coffee table for the TV room, but if you do that, beware that you may need to buy a new credenza under the TV…this could get expensive, this may have to wait, you have spent a lot of money in your head with this list already…maybe if you actually style it, you won’t see all the chips in it

13. style the mantle…i know you hate how it looks, but just style the damn thing…maybe you will end up liking it a bit more (ya, probably not) and again, let’s spray paint that frame white so you don’t make emily henderson cry

max wanger tulum print

14. buy window treatments for the TV room, you have them picked out, pony up the dough and buy them already…or buy the rug…don’t buy them all at once, you will go broke

15. the patio out back is almost complete, buy a couple nice plants from home depot to pot in the vessels you purchase at terrain during a oooooh, shiny moment

16. speaking of plants, you have a large empty pot that has been sitting in the front room for almost a year…put a plant in it already…figure out what plant you want and put it in the pot…domino magazine just ran an article of easy to maintain indoor plants…circle back to that issue

this planter needs a plant

17. little maus needs a step stool for her bathroom since she claims she is a big girl now and is no longer a baby…she wants to stand at the sink and brush her teeth and spit, just like the little dude

18. you bought 2 day planners from poketo, pick which one you want to use and commit to it…save the other one for next year

19. i’m seeing a commitment problem here…don’t tell the boy…i’m also watching my bank account slowly dwindle…this list is going to take a long time to complete

20. decide if you want to tackle reupholstering the chair in the guest room, i know you’ve never done this before, but hey, it might make for a hilarious blog post…or just post it on craigslist and find a new one, this one is really comfy but you just aren’t sold on this chair for this room…gasp, do i move it again? and if so, where?

reupholster chair

21. the boy keeps promising to clean the garage…if you finish all of the above projects, clean the garage…and i know the boy reads this on occasion, hopefully this threat is the added push i needed for it to become clean

22. find and hang artwork for the TV room…this may entail rehanging the brass horns, that’s ok, the boy will live even though he said the brass horns will never move again

23. clean your office…it has become the catch all for discarded flea market finds…this includes the shelving behind the closet doors…omg, i cannot believe i’m actually showing you this!!!!!! and yes, that is a giant space heater…my office is always cold

messy office with vintage panoramic pictures

24. purge your closet…it’s atrocious

25. style the basement bathroom…it’s so sad that a room so cool is so sad and lifeless…any suggestions here? what do you put over the over the toilet? artwork? or should that go on the opposite wall?

how do i decorate a bathroom

26. you bought a pretty vintage bentwood shelf…find a home for it…maybe in the TV room? (after writing this, i ran upstairs and i think i found the perfect spot! yeah!)

27. you bought a cool brass horse head hook, find a home for it as well

28. remember that west elm lamp that you were married to during the desk restyle, find a home for that too because it’s really cute

29. style the guest bedroom night stand…maybe watch this video once as a refresher

30. remember how you were number 13 for the emily henderson night stand contest…ya, make both of those pretty again…and keep them that way, but make them functional as well…is that even possible? pretty and functional? give it a try

31. the hallway upstairs looks pretty bare…you might want to ponder what to do here

and before i get too overwhelmed by a list of 30+ fairly significant projects, i’m gonna stop. do you guys have a list like this? just even looking at this makes my head spin, and i have no idea what to start on first…maybe i should take requests! there’s an idea! anyone have a project listed above they’d like to see the after? maybe i need to hit up laura again for a collaboration? that desk restyle turned out nicely…can you believe i have not futzed with anything on that desk?


  1. Brandy Lea July 15, 2014

    Thank you for this post! I often go into friend’s homes green with envy. And maybe, just maybe, they are also green with envy because of my home as well 🙂 We all have lists. My husband is BEGGING me to stop adding items to the list until I complete a few. My mantle is my current thorn. It is nice—but many times throughout the day and think BLECH! I am constantly switching decor, moving items around etc.., but it is still off. One day I will come up with the perfect combination of pieces—and then I will want to change it. I can see my husband cringing 🙂

    • kyla July 15, 2014

      OMG! the boy read this and said, “will you ever be content with the house?” LOL! brandy, i’m sure if i walked into your home i’d be green with envy…and i’m glad to you know you too have “a list”! it’s so hard to find that perfect combination…is that even possible?

  2. laura irion July 15, 2014

    this was awesome. seriously, bravo on posting real pictures!! do you read the big reveal blog (grace)? she has her house tour on there and it’s a lot of before pictures, and i think you’re both awesome for doing it. maybe i’ll be brave like ya’ll one of these days…

    my head is swimming with ideas (and is there no end to your beautiful treasures?!)….so, just let me know when i can come over. ha! 😉 OR just bring all that stuff to my house…i have a few bookcases that are in need of some pretties….

    • kyla July 16, 2014

      i just vistied grace’s blog the big reveal the other day…and i read her closet makeover, but that was all i have time for…i have to get back there and check it out…but no, i didn’t see her house tour! that girl has great style as do you ma dear…and you are more then welcome to stop by any day…bring ryan and the kiddos…they can hang in the backyard and maybe we can knock off some of the to-dos on this list!

  3. Brandy July 17, 2014

    Can I also ask what ideas you have come up with to organize the kiddos toys, games, the billion stuffed animals, etc.? I am looking for ideas. I only have one kiddo but one would swear there are 10 in this household!!

    • kyla July 18, 2014

      i know what you mean! when we first moved into our house, we chose to convert the formal dining area to a playroom for the kids…because, let’s face it, when you have little ones, you aren’t having formal fancy dinner parties with sit down 4 course meals on fancy plates with wine at your house…LOL…the design took a lot of research to get this room to function the way we wanted…i should really do a post on this huh? but that means i’ll have to not only clean it up but organize it as well…tee-hee…so for now sans pictures, i’ll try to explain it as best i can…we have one large playroom on the main floor (formal dining room) and one smaller one in the finished basement…i used the same cabinets in both…since the upstairs room is right off my front room where the entrance is, i didn’t want it to look look overly kid crazy, but i still wanted it to be playful. IKEA became my best friend…the simple scandinavian design really worked with the look i was going for…i have one glimpse at it online here it’s the STUVA system i like it because you can build it out any way you’d like…i have a large pull out bin for the stuffed animals, cabinets for games and large toys and the cabinets have drawers below that are home to barbies, darth vader, dress-up clothes and such…but once it was assembled, the room looked very white and sterile, so i added a teepee with twinkle lights, vintage globes from various thrift stores and a large 1960’s pulldown world map that i scored for $35…a bonkers price, but if you look around they can be found for cheap…the STUVA system also has a small activity desk and i added this chair for a pop of color…if you need a bit more color, or just some general wall decor, i also have a few of these it looks like you can request a custom order from them…so far i haven’t run out of space, but we shall see how things shake out after december…LOL…did that help or make it more confusing?

  4. Brandy Lea July 18, 2014

    Thanks for the tips. We have a designated kid space in our finished basement but it s a hodge podge of crappy cubicles, color bins (to draw your attention away from the crappy cubicles, and toys…A LOT of Toys! It is nice that it is hidden away downstairs, though large quantities of toys make their way to our living room daily. I want to make it a space that E does not want to leave unless I pull him away kicking and screaming 🙂 In a good way of course!

  5. […] the to do list […]

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  7. […] decided to start a series called, “How I Make Emily Henderson Cry”. If you read my to-do list, you know that there are many areas in my home that aren’t perfect. Yes, there are nooks of […]

  8. […] i actually own…a select few of my most priced possessions. since i recently shared my most embarrassing to do list, i figured i needed to redeem some of my cool factor. i should also tell you, i have knocked out […]

  9. […] I’m going to feature my guest bedroom dresser. You may remember seeing a picture of it on my to-do list post (and yes, I’m still hacking away at that sucka). This nook is still a work in progress as are […]

  10. Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus February 23, 2015

    Ok, so seeing all of that makes me want to see your whole house! When can I come over? Did you keep that chair? I think it’s totally adorable and unique, but if it doesn’t fit…sell it! Love that chic modern planter! Where did you get it? The mantle…hmm.. tackle that bad boy! =) I would love to see a video tour of your house!

    • kyla February 23, 2015

      Ha! I wrote this back when NO ONE was reading my blog. Ha! I just reread it, and I’m laughing hysterically. Apparently when punctuation didn’t mean anything. And yes! You can come over anytime! OK, so first, I should circle back to share with everyone in a post what I’ve fixed. A lot is still tragic. I kept the chair, but it’s not reupholstered. I was actually staring at it Friday night while ironing clothes. It’s super comfy, but I’m not thrilled with the fabric. The mantle is kinda sorta fixed. It’s here The planter is from Broadway Antique Mart in Chicago. I wish I could find another just like it. Every vintage store I shop, I’m constantly on the search for another. I did put a plant in it =) The credenzas under the TVs, those are both in sad shape. I did fix the curtain rods! They look fantastic! It’s sooooo fun to look back on old house posts. Thank you for finding this one!


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