The Bucket List

Doug and I spent a lot of time driving here and there this weekend, which either gets us into trouble (like the time we decided to buy our current house before we had even been inside), or, it gives us a chance to plot and plan. For years, when we’ve seen something we love, we say “We should do that sometime!” So, we made a list of all of the renovation and restoration things we want to do. We included things that we had always wanted to do, and have actually accomplished as well. I don’t feel like that’s cheating – more that it’s actually writing down goals that we once had!

Some of this is easily accomplishable. Some of it would require winning the lottery – which would require, I guess, actually PLAYING the lottery. Some involves our house, and some would have to be elsewhere. It’s just a start – it’ll be fun to add to this list, and see where we succeed, and where we fail miserably. But, that’s part of the fun, right?

Anything in bold and striked, we’ve accomplished!

After reading our list, tell us what’s on your list. And what you think is fun (or insane) about ours!

Our Renovation & Restoration

Bucket List

(in no particular order)

1. Buy a house that’s completely rotting.

2. Turn a historic structure that’s not meant to be a house, into one (post office, bank, library…)

3. Return a Multi-Family Home into a Single Family Home

4. Install a Tin Ceiling

5. Install a Coffered Ceiling

6. Put a chandelier in a bathroom

7. Put a chandelier in a closet

8. Wallpaper Walls

9. Wallpaper a ceiling (note : if I didn’t live in a Queen Anne, I’d probably never do this!)

10. Build Countertops

11. Refinish Hardwood Floors

12. Build a piece of furniture from scratch

13. Restore and Renovate a Bathroom

14. Turn a piece of furniture into a vanity

15. Be paid by someone to design a room

16. Locate old interior and exterior pictures of the Murray Bryant House (our home)

17. Install a secret entrance to a room (bookcase, etc)

18. Build a workshop or outbuilding including salvaged materials

19. Create a wood floor with an inlay

20. Design a really intricate mosaic tile pattern

21. Make a light fixture from found objects

22. Build a chandelier from scratch

23. Take a stained glass class, and build a piece for the house

24. Learn to solder and repair stained and leaded glass

25. Upholster something difficult (dining room chairs and ottomans don’t count). If it doesn’t bring me to tears of frustration, it’s too easy and doesn’t count.

26. Hand paint a ceiling medallion

27. Learn to sew at least 10 different type of drapery pleats

28. Mill our own woodwork

29. Restore a window 100%

30. Restore a clawfoot tub

31. Have a space featured in a magazine.

32. Have a space featured in a newspaper

33. Have a space featured on film

34. Design, build, and tile a shower. Once. Twice.

35. Install a fireplace

36. Build a library

37. Antique a mirror

38. Restore a Victrola for use in the house (we have Doug’s Great-Grandparents’ Victrola!)

39. Restore a Wax Cylinder Machine for use in the house (we have Doug’s Great-Grandparents’ Victrola!)

40. Own a house with a Turret and a Balcony

41. Install a slate roof (or, pay an expert to do it!)

42. Own a backyard that’s gorgeous, has plants that are living, and isn’t just a place to spray paint things or strip paint.

43. Create a room that’s just a workshop for restoring lighting

44. Open a lighting store. Or at least a booth in an antique store.

45. Become landlords

46. Install a newel post light

47. Install a pocket door

48. Do some masonry

49. Build an outdoor fireplace

50. Restore a Mid Mod house

51. Restore an Arts and Crafts house

52. Restore a weekend house (Lake, Cabin, Beach)

53. Unearth a scrap of wallpaper big enough to have someone recreate it

54. Restore an antique stove

55. Weld Something

56. Intall Lincrusta. We have it already in our dining room, but I want to install it ourselves somewhere.

57. Upholster walls

58. Host a dinner party based on the movie “Clue.” Though not technically a renovation goal, it’s an important moment for the house, nonetheless.

59. Successfully work to have a building placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

60. Work on a Habitat for Humanity build.

61. Grow something in the yard to make food. We kill EVERYTHING we plant. This might be impossible. Even growing an herb would be a win.

62. Sandblast something

63. Flip a House Back : Take a historic house that someone flipped with modern or builder-grade materials, and flip it back using historic and salvaged materials.

64. Build or repair plaster details (crown moulding, medallions) with molds.

What are we missing? What should we add? We’re all ears.



  1. I can’t believe you haven’t done #11 yet. You could get that one knocked off soon.

    I want to see #46 installed on your staircase. That would be awesome.

    I thought you had done #47 in the kitchen?

    Ideas: Plaster/fix your own walls? Oh, wasn’t using spray foam insulation on your list – and you’ve done that!

    1. We hope to do 11 soon, but we have some ceiling and wall demo to do first! 46 is in the works – the landing light is perfectly suited, and we even have a light we think we will use! I didn’t cross 47 off, because we still have to router for the hardware and install it. So I felt I couldn’t cross it off with 95% done! Soon!!!

  2. I will check #15 off the list for you when we buy our bed and breakfast. I’m guessing you may want that one to happen somewhat sooner though.

  3. I used to teach stained glass classes! I still have my equipment, however finding a local stained-glass supply is a bit of a challenge these days. I also like to garden and have 15 raised-bed gardens….the only way to garden for busy people! they are much easier to care for and look neat and tidy in the lawn……Ohhhh, a Victorian Herb garden would be AWESOME!

    1. Brenda! That is so good to know. I actually have a piece that needs leading repaired. Maybe I could hire you to teach me! And a Victorian herb garden would be amazing.

  4. Done:!!! Now 81, single female (husband left me (for his secretary) with four teens and an 1879 Eastlake Italianate to finish). Worked, then spent 3 years in Morocco, empowering women to make money (where I restored my riad). Just finished restoring (to a 7.5) Arts and Craft ‘kit’ home in an historic area (where I worked to get signage for an historic Luna Park that burned down in 1923). Now back to painting with a smaller brush and ‘tubes’ of oil paint. Shieks, camels, small boys, girls holding sheep; colossal canvases from my North Africa years. That’s my story and I am sticking to it until I run out of options.

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