HOUSE: Newburgh + Life + Health

Weekend to-do.


Look how much snow there is in the garden! I love how pristine it is. Not even a single squirrel has ventured to cross. I know I should probably bring the Hardoy chairs into the basement during the winter, but I always forget. It doesn’t help that our basement is such a crazy mess; I’m not even sure where we’d put them. (By the way, I’m determined to clean up the basement this spring. I think we need to take a week off and just spend 10 hours a day down there cleaning and organizing and scraping and sanding and maybe even painting. It’s basically a dungeon at the moment. I hate going down there to do laundry.)

The weekend is already slipping away, but I’m determined to make a little dent in my ever-mounting list of winter projects. I’m not sure how realistic this is (I blame the dogs—they’re just sooooo warm and snuggly…), but I’m going to do my best.

• Clean out/organize the kitchen cabinets and pantry.
Sand plaster on ceiling in upstairs hallway.
Install new medallion and change light fixture.
Caulk, prime, and paint ceiling/medallion.
• Measure and cut shades for living room windows. (I did one!)
Have Mommy and Bernie over for dinner.
Grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc.

Not so crazy, right? I figure if I can do everything but the shades and the priming/painting today (i.e., within the next five hours, in order to have time for dinner guest), I’ll be in pretty good shape.

Tonight I’m going to make Eggplant & Lentil Chili Mole from my new favorite cookbook. I asked my mother to bring dessert, and I think it’s going to be baked apples. My mother is one of those people who can make something delicious out of any two ingredients that happen to be in her house, so I’m sure they’ll be super yummy.

P.S.: I have a tiny blurb over on the Elle Decor blog this week. I don’t usually do things like that, and this is a perfect example of why—all of the other “design insiders” commented on, well, things related to decor (which makes sense, of course), and I shared a link to a blog about pencils and talked about my affinity for school supplies. Sigh. Once a nerd, always a nerd.

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  • Reply allison January 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    that’s an amazing blog! i am totally a school supplies nerd.

    i just organized my kitchen cabinets yesterday (well, the food & spices anyhow) such a rewarding feeling! (ok, for me anyhow. i’m not sure my fiance noticed.) ha!

  • Reply Peggy January 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Do you change your own light fixtures or do you hire someone? I’ve wanted to try doing it on my own but I’m afraid I might end up electrocuting myself!!

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      We do that ourselves, along with changing out electrical outlets and switches. It’s SO easy. As long as you have access to your electrical panel and can turn off that circuit, you’re not going to electrocute yourself. You can even buy a voltage detector (about $10-15) to make sure there aren’t any surprise live wires hiding. 🙂

  • Reply me @{life or something...} January 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    my list of to do’s is longer than that, i made it last night, when i was feeling ambitious.

    This morning, when i woke up, i was feeling lazy – so i went for a coffee, wihch ended up being breakfast, and cupcakes, and window shopping. Now i’m heading to Toronto’s Interior Design Show (which was on the list for tomorrow) and changing the date on my to do list to next week. I wish I had some of your ambition.

    PS: notepads and journals make me weak in the knees, and I can’t stop buying them, even though i have a whole pile of unused ones on my desk. like i tell my friends – nerds are the new cool! cheers!

  • Reply jodi January 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    good luck with your to-do list. i am attempting to make brownies from scratch. just checked on them, and am now worried about my choice to use pyrex over metal. eep.

    also, pencil revolution? maybe my new favorite blog. thanks for the link!

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Oh yeah, metal is usually best for brownies and other baked goods. It conducts heat better. (Really, though…how bad can even the worst brownie be?)

    • jodi January 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      they actually turned out pretty well! just needed a few extra minutes in the oven. smitten kitchen ftw!

  • Reply Dusa January 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    All hail the Nerd, yea verily unto the Office Supplies! Nothing makes you feel open to possibilities than a newly sharpened pencil, an unopened box of crayons, or the crisp white pages of a fresh notebook!

  • Reply Maatsista January 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Speaking of electrical, did you all ground your outlets yourself too?

    And when you plastered the ceiling upstairs, were you repairing cracks in the ceiling? Would love to see a post on that. Not sure if you did something similar to this or not:,,1630910,00.html

    Dinner sounds great, by the way.

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      We had an electrician do all of the “real” electrical work on our house. There was a very scary situation going on here when we bought the house (water from melting ice leaking in THROUGH the electrical panel in the basement…YIKES!), so we took care of all of that stuff right after we closed.

      The ceiling I’m working on today was patched over the summer when we closed off a decommissioned skylight. It’s right next to the light fixture, so that all kind one project. All I have to do is sand down the rough plaster—no biggie. 🙂

      We did repair LOTS of cracks all over the house when we first bought it, though. A family member of ours is a genius with plaster, so he did all of the hard stuff—and yes, the process is pretty much like that video. If I have to do it again at some point, I’ll definitely document it!

  • Reply alis January 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I’m a stationary junkie myself, my current obsession is Whitelines notebooks. I bought a couple from London and still haven’t used them because I don’t want to waste any pages with my scribbly drawings 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      I can’t count the number of blank journals I have that I never write in!! So much of the joy is in the potential, though. 😉

  • Reply John January 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks very much for the shout-out for Pencil Revolution!

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Thank YOU for allowing me to better embrace my inner pencil-geek, John!

  • Reply nanne January 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    when you get to the shades, i really, really hope you’ll post a tutorial!!


  • Reply Jeanne January 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I always love reading your to do lists, and seeing how much you get crossed off. I make lists for myself all the time, but I struggle with completing even just a few things. Also, I’m curious to see what you’re doing with the pantry and cabinets. And how are your spices organized? We have about a million spices, and lots of duplicates shoved into a skinny cabinet above our stovetop; I know there’s a better way to store them but nothing’s clicked for us.

    • Anna @ D16 January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Jeanne! I’m not really doing anything special with the pantry and cabinets other than taking everything out, cleaning the inside, and then putting everything back in a more organized fashion. I tend to get a little crazed when I’m cooking and just shove stuff in there, so every now and then I need to start clean. I’m also pretty sure there’s stuff hiding in the back that’s a little less than fresh. 😉

      I blogged about my spices a while back, actually—you can check them out here. (I keep the bulk packages in my pantry, and just store small amounts in the little jars.)

  • Reply nicole January 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Anna, yours is the most interesting recommendation on that Elle Decor blog post! I love some of those other bloggers, of course, but yours was a great DESIGN comment. If that’s an example of you doing “things like that,” please do more! xoxo

  • Reply Callista January 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I LOVE that you talked about pencils and school supplies. I, along with many other people I know, also love school supplies. Have you seen these beautiful pencils from Etsy? It seems like it’s right up your alley. I’ve always wanted to buy a handful, and then leave them in random places for others to find.

  • Reply Lucy January 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Your to-do list looks like the one written on my kitchen wall! Kind of. House projects and cooking projects and such 🙂 I am going to click over to your favorite cook book because that recipe sounds divine!

  • Reply Holly January 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Just popped over from apartment therapy. Love the blog and your house is wonderful. Your stairs are BEAUTIFUL!!
    Stay Warm.

  • Reply Vanessa January 30, 2011 at 12:08 am

    My basement is a dungeon too..can’t wait to see what you do with yours!

  • Reply Sharon L January 30, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I gotta share, this past spring our basement was flooded with extreme rains. I am sure the entire east coast of the US was. My husband being disabled could not help with the cleanup and every company I called was inundated with jobs and backlogged for months! I had to do it myself! Part of our basement is still dirt floor and the water receded to a muddy cruddy layer. One bag at a time, I got it all out and loaded it into a 30yd container. Even if I did one or two bags per day, it got done. By time I paid for the dumpster I could have hired someone for cheaper because it took me months and months to part with it. This spring for sure we need to pour the concrete on the rest of our basement floor so if that ever happens again, there will be no mud! You can do this, one bag/box at a time. A little something done, is better than nothing! and the Bonus would be that you don’t have to spend 10 hour days in the dungeon!

    • Anna @ D16 January 30, 2011 at 10:36 am

      Sharon, that’s such an awful story! Last summer we carried a ton of gravel into our garden—one bag at a time—through the basement because we don’t have side access (it’s a row house), and it was absolutely grueling.

      Fortunately we do have a concrete floor in our basement already, albeit a very uneven one under many layers of dirt. The main problem we have is with the walls. It’s a stone foundation, and it’s been painted several times over the years with non-weatherproof paint. As you can imagine, this means there is a LOT of flaking, powdery paint everywhere. It’s hard to know how to deal with it, since we want to let the stones “breathe”. It’s a mess, and it’s going to take a lot of work and time.

    • PhillyLass January 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      Perhaps you’ve addressed this before and I missed it, but how have you dealt with the possibility of lead paint? That’s one aspect of buying an old house that terrifies me!

  • Reply laura January 30, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Good luck w/your projects! Isn’t this laundry space dreamy?

    • Anna @ D16 January 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Ugh, YES. I have that photo in my inspiration/fantasy stack, believe me. My basement doesn’t have that kind of potential (it’s more of a “cellar”, if you know what I mean), but it’s still fun to dream…

  • Reply Anna January 30, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Long live the pencils:) Love your amazing blog!!


  • Reply jja January 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    You are really hard working! My weekend was some house cleaning, grocery shopping, party yesterday evening till today morning and sleeping in until afternoon, reading and coffee until now…hm.

  • Reply Holyoke Home January 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I have completely deluded myself into believing I can solve our ‘basement situation’ with more shelving, when clearly it goes well beyond that.

    • Anna @ D16 January 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      Yeah, we tried the shelving thing. It didn’t help. The shelves how just become more clutter themselves!!

  • Reply Meridith January 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Your house is AH-MAZING. I love all your before / during / after photos. I secretly want to come and peel off that incredible Orla Kiely wallpaper in your vestibule, so I can have it all to myself… but that would be mean 😉

    One thing that I just love about your house, is you never settle for mediocrity. You’re willing to experiment, but when you do something you do it right.

    well done lady.

  • Reply kat January 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    ah, but yours was the most interesting link!

    I’ve linked to your blog on mine but for some reason blogger can’t detect a feed so your link languishes hidden at the bottom of the latest posts list. Any idea how I can rectify that?

  • Reply Anne February 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Hi Anna! I love the peek at your snowy backyard, so peaceful. How do your butterfly chairs hold up against the summertime elements? I have one that I’m considering putting outside this summer, but I didn’t know if I had to seal the frame somehow. Will leaving it outside in the rain damage it? I know once I bring it outside, like you, I’ll be too lazy to bring it back in! 🙂

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