New House (Preliminary) Plans, and Where to Start When Planning a Reno


Hi friends, what an interesting week we’ve had.  As you may recall we spent the past few weeks living that #hotellife, and to be honest I was totally over it.  We are a big family so —it was a struggle, not to mention it was getting expensive.  And then we finally closed on our new house on the 30th (in case you missed that)!  So I pulled the trigger (after a lot of convincing the hubby), to just head over, clean up the house like crazy and move in.


In hindsight, we probably should have waited a week or so, but what’s done is done and we’re making the best of it. 

We put the little guys to work

We haven’t made a whole lot of progress this week as we spent the time getting to learn the house, and celebrating our oldest son’s 20th birthday!  Yes 20!!! I can’t even believe it. 

But even though we didn’t do a lot of physical work this past week, I wish I could say it was uneventful.  From discovering a mouse in the tub drain, a garden snake in the basement a frog stuck in a window, and bats in the trees—we’ve truly discovered what it’s like to live on a wooded lot.  Surprisingly enough, during the renovation of the 1878–a 142 year old home—we never encountered a single mouse, so this is new territory for us.  (Gracie may be getting a sibling)

before floor sanding

FAQ:  Where to Start?

One question I received multiple times was how do I know where to start?  And to be honest, sometimes I don’t even know, lol.  My mind has totally been spinning, wanting to do all the things all at once.  Luckily my husband is a much better project manager–always starting with the mechanics of the house of course.  We’ll be doing some plumbing work and putting on a new roof is being done as we speak—we also got the 2nd floor wood floors “refinished”.

after the floors were sanded (was/were oops)

I say “refinished” because the floor boards were covered in 3 layers of paint, and what we revealed once the paint was sanded off, is that the floors were not exactly stain grade–they appear to be more like an underlayment of knotty pine boards.  But, we were happy to have all of the grime and pet odors removed from the floor boards, then have them sealed, and to be honest, after these first few days they’ve kinda grown on me. 

“Wow, getting right to it!

On Instagram when I shared about the floors the morning after we closed–everyone was shocked at how fast we were moving–and there are reasons behind that.  We hadn’t planned to move in as I mentioned above and we had the flooring crew scheduled weeks in advance.  Also, we learned our lesson from our Victorian, that if we hadn’t gotten around to the flooring on the second level early, it would never get done—-annnnnnd, again, we’re a family of 6 moving from a 5 bedroom house to a 3 bedroom house, so getting the kids comfortable in their spaces is always a priority.  Speaking of comfortable, on day 5 we finally got our wi-fi which made life feel so much more comfortable, considering my work, 1 kid in college student, 1 high schooler and two elementary school children, the internet is sooooooo vital.

Anyway, back to the planning convo. 

Make a list

When it comes to planning spaces for me, I always start with a list.   I walk around the house and make note of everything that needs to be done room by room (from big things like taking down a wall to small things like changing light switch covers).   I usually type this up right in my notes on my phone and then forward it to myself via email, but a good old pen and paper will do.  

 Phasing and Prioritization:  Mechanics, Function, Comfort, Form

Other than handling the mechanics of the house, my second priority is function and comfort.  Start with the area that gets the most use, or bugs you the most.  I’m sure you hear all the DIYers talk about home renovation phases, and it’s truly a brilliant concept: Making small changes with little investment until you’re ready to go for the gusto, not only allows you to get comfortable in a space, it also allows you to see if it’s current setup works for you and your family and gives you time to think of changes when you’re ready for the next phase of the renovation.

Next is finding inspiration if you haven’t already done so, create a Pinterest board and pin images of homes with similar features as yours.  There’s so much inspo out there, find what makes your heart skip a beat, and see how you can put your own stamp on different design ideas.




Today I’m sharing my personal checklist for this house.   Our goals and plans are more in line with enhancing the beautiful aspects of the home, and getting rid of the things that are dated with little to no potential to revitalize.  Below are some of our initial thoughts for the house, and as we move along I’ll share our progress.  Be sure to subscribe to follow along.

Before Cleaning up the outside
After trimming the vines, and cleaning the front up

Our List:

Entry, Exterior:

  • New outdoor sconces and lamp post
  • New front door paint
  • Add knocker
  • Wire for new doorbell
  • Paint Steps/Foundation
  • Possibly clad concrete in brick (?)
  • Update walkway
  • Paint siding (?)
  • Update shutters
  • Power Wash, was done on day three

Entry, Interior:

  • Paint slate tile
  • Paint or Wallpaper foyer
  • Paint inside of the door
  • Paint radiator
  • Paint Stair Risers, add runner
Kitchen from afar
Kitchen up close-before cleaning of course 😲

The Kitchen:  

  • New Flooring
  • New Layout(?)
  • New cabinets
  • Cabinet Hardware
  • Choose Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Sink Window
  • Window treatments

The kitchen has some areas that have been updated, like the laminate flooring, newer paint, the cabinets have been painted(probably in the past 5 years or so), and there are newer solid surface countertops, so at first glance one might think the kitchen isn’t that bad–and it isn’t, however, the inside of the cabinets are another story.  They’re pretty grimy and honestly they skeeve me out (See mouse mention above).  So we aren’t using them.  The first thing my husband wanted to do was rip the kitchen out, but having lived without a kitchen in the past (as well as the past 3 weeks because #hotellife, that was a no-go for me.  I’m toying around with changing the layout a bit, removing the peninsula and opting instead for a narrow island.  Moving the stove on the far wall (where the refrigerator currently is), and moving the fridge to the sink wall.  But time will tell.  Still trying to get a feel for the layout, but I know that I am not a fan of the large range hood blocking the view into the breakfast nook.

Breakfast nook:

  • Build banquette?
  • Dining table
  • Choose light fixture
  • Window treatments

Dining Room

  • Remove old track light
  • Add chunkier molding
  • Move built ins back around fireplace
  • Bulk up fireplace
  • Wire for sconces
  • Update Built ins
  • Wire for ceiling light/recessed lighting
  • Choose new chairs
  • Choose chairs and table for sitting area
  • Paint radiators

Living Room:

  • Raise the roof/vault ceiling (?)
  • Add skylights
  • decide on lighting/ceiling fan
  • Change out slider to french doors
  • Built in tv console/credenza
  • Sectional (?)


Bathroom 1:

  • New flooring
  • New door
  • New vanity
  • Vanity sconces
  • Sink hardware
  • Wall treatment
  • Ceiling light
  • Window treatment


  • Plumb for washer
  • Wire for dryer
  • Choose new washer and dryer


  • Brick herringbone flooring
  • New lighting
  • Rug
  • 2 new doors
  • bench seating?


  • Add decking or stone patio
  • landscape


  • Remove faux brick on walls
  • 2 new windows
  • New Flooring
  • Build bench and shoe storage
  • Decide on ceiling
  • Paint radiator

2nd bathroom:

  • Redo shower area
  • New tile floors
  • New vanity (double)
  • New scones
  • New Vent/Light
  • Shades



  • New door
  • Wood Railings to match front porch
  • decking(?)

Screened porch 

  • Fix ripped screens
  • Paint metal frame



  • Paint
  • Ceiling fans
  • Window treatments
  • Closet System

Big Exterior Work

  • Roof on main house and garages (in progress)
  • Roof on detached garage
  • Clean Gutters
  • Replace 2 sets of Garage doors
  • Limb trees around house
  • New Breezeway windows
  • Garage windows
  • Pressure Wash
  • Paint Siding(?)
  • Shutters

Basement/Attic Bedroom


  • Dormer addition
  • Drywall
  • Electrical


  • Add small 3/4 bath
  • Drywall
  • Electrical
  • Flooring

We need to add at least 1 additional bedroom to the home, and while we’d love to finish the attic and basement, we need to decide which space we want to finish first.   Currently our 4 kids are split between 2 bedrooms.  Our oldest, should be away at college, but because of covid, he is home, so the need to make this update really needs to happen sooner than later.   My vote is to finish the attic, but we would need to add a dormer to raise the roof.  this could potentially add two bedrooms to the house.  If we finished the basement we could add a bedroom, and a small bathroom.  Decisions, decisions.  Of course we’ll consider what makes the most sense to us financially, but we will see!

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  1. October 7, 2020 / 9:52 am

    I am looking forward to all of the plans you have for this home. I’ve been impressed by all you have done before and can’t imagine not being so with this new place. I love the process by which you choose what to update in your home.

    • madebycarli
      October 7, 2020 / 10:16 am

      Thank you Claudia!! <3

  2. Suzy
    October 7, 2020 / 10:03 am

    I’m excited to follow along! How do you not get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done?

    • madebycarli
      October 7, 2020 / 10:17 am

      Thanks Suzy, so glad you’re following along on this journey! As far as getting overwhelmed, I definitely have my days 😁

  3. MVOR
    October 7, 2020 / 10:54 am

    Wow that’s a lot of work/potential. Looking forward to seeing you transform this old beauty!

    • madebycarli
      October 7, 2020 / 11:32 am

      Haha, you’re tight, it sure is a lot of work, its a lot different once you see it listed out like that 😂

  4. Rachel
    October 7, 2020 / 12:42 pm

    I just found your instagram/blog and love your style! I’ve been fixing up a dated 70’s house for 5 years now. So much to do, still! I can’t wait to see how you transform this house. You are very inspiring!

    • madebycarli
      October 7, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      Thank you so much Rachel! It can all be so overwhelming, you just have to pace yourself, and try to complete spaces in their entirety, that way your not back peddling to finish things 🙂

  5. Amanda
    October 7, 2020 / 3:15 pm

    This is SO fascinating and incredibly helpful to learn how to prioritize and make the list, etc. I’m SO EXCITED to see everything unfold!!

  6. Jenna
    October 7, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    Super exciting for you! Can’t wait to see the transformation 😊😊😊

  7. Jennifer Guericke
    October 7, 2020 / 8:55 pm

    I am so looking forward to all you do with this space. I found your page recently and want to go back through your 1878 too! I just bought a house built in 1889 and your spaces are such inspo to me! Thank you for this info !

    • madebycarli
      October 10, 2020 / 9:51 am

      Yay for old houses!!! So much fun! I’m glad you’re finding inspo through our home 💓

  8. Karen
    October 7, 2020 / 11:04 pm

    So excited for you (and all of us because we just get to sit back and enjoy the exciting afters! Lol). I’m looking so forward to seeing your ideas materialize one step at a time. Remember! The turtle won the race! Congratulations again, Carli! 🤗

    • madebycarli
      October 10, 2020 / 9:51 am

      Thank you Karen, we’re excited to take you in this journey! It’s going to be fun!

  9. Carolyn
    October 8, 2020 / 11:25 pm

    I had saved a photo of your beautiful back stairs a while ago and was so excited to find your IG with the rest of the house recently. Looking forward to watching the progress on your new home! We’re slowly renovating a 1949 house as well!

    • madebycarli
      October 10, 2020 / 9:49 am

      Hi Carolyn thanks for following along! So glad you found me! 💓

  10. lia
    April 2, 2021 / 3:50 pm

    wow, what a beautiful home – loved seeing it through your eyes and hearing about your plans for its loving transformation.

    • madebycarli
      April 2, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you Lia <3

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