Tool Girl Renovation Progress

A dramatic sunset seen from my backyard

I’ve been working on my house on weekends, and it’s looking pretty great (partly because my painters finally fit me into their crammed schedule, so the interior walls are now all finished). Here are some before and after photos, so you can see the progress.

The very brown living room before furniture (with just Arabella and my antique Persian rug).
The living room after painting the brown walls a pale sage green and a very pale sky blue. Plus adding furniture and art!
The dining area and kitchen before (realtor’s photo).
And now, with a new sink, open cabinets, and a new fridge and microwave in the kitchen.


Looking down the dark hall before….
And now–so much more inviting!


My office–the smallest of the upstairs bedrooms before….
My office now, with plank floors instead of icky carpet, and walls that are not brown. (The other two upstairs bedrooms have been similarly transformed.)


The family room downstairs in its brown phase before…
And now.
The bonus room off of the family room, formerly dark and very uninviting, with brown walls and no windows, transformed into a library.


My bedroom as it looked for the first month…
And now (yes, that’s me reflected in the window).


Both bathrooms, upstairs and down, got new shower heads. For this one, I had to replace the supply pipe too, a whole new learning curve. But doesn’t it look fancy!

I’ve done a bunch of other things that don’t show in the photos above, including insulating the garage and giving it a pegboard wall for tool storage, replacing the old mercury-based thermostats with new programmable ones, and replacing dated and leaky faucets in the upstairs bathroom. I’ve never done electrical or plumbing work on my own before, so I’ve had some interesting learning. Turns out I’m not bad at it.

What’s next? In this reflective time as the days shorten in fall, I’ve been assessing where I am and what I hope to do, and reading and thinking about new and old ideas. By the time Winter Solstice comes around, the sun shifts on its apparent journey south, and lengthening nights yield to lengthening days again, my aim is to have sorted through what I want to carry with me into the year to come and what I’ll let go.

One thing I’ve already decided on is that I’m going to give myself the gift of a self-directed writing retreat this winter, so I can focus on the next book.

I’ve found a charming cottage in a town about an hour from the Guy’s farm in western Colorado where I’ll hide away. (“Charming” because it’s got a sweet front porch and steeply pitched metal roof shaded by two enormous old cottonwood trees; “cottage” because it’s all of 672 square feet in size, perfect for the one of me.)

And yes, it needs some work, so I’ll bring my tools with me so I can putter between writing sessions.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! If you need practice finding things to be grateful for in these times, this post from two years ago might be useful.

Blessings to you and yours.

The writing-retreat cottage….

6 thoughts on “Tool Girl Renovation Progress

    • Thank you, Beth. I intended to do some other projects too, but I think I’ll wait until after my writing retreat. 🙂

  • It looks and sounds like . . . that life is good. As it should be, for you! Love where you live. Perfect! Xo susan

    • Thanks, Susan! It’s not perfect, but I’m not after perfection. This house needed love, and I needed a place to land. So we’ve been good for each other. xo to you too.

  • Connie Spittler says:

    What happy photos, Susan. You create warm, inviting spaces wherever you go. I especially loved the sleeping bag bedroom contrasting with present day and image of you as photographer. Every room reflected you, your treasures, and inner writerly soul. Plus your construction talents increase with each project and may not always be visible since many are hidden behind the walls, but add to comfort and home pleasures.

    • Connie, what a lovely compliment! I especially like the before and after of my main bedroom too. I spent five weeks sleeping in that sleeping bag on the floor, and I can tell you that when the movers finally arrived with my bed, I was was thrilled. For me, working with the house “guts,” the hidden infrastructure, is very satisfying even if no one else sees it. But my creative side also really loves the art of adding visible beauty to each room, and allowing each space to show off its essential beauty.

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