Thank you for finding That Old House amidst the chaos of the Internet. We are delighted that you are here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Coming On Autumn At That Old House!

It is September 1st, and That Old House is reluctant to relinquish Summer.

Do over!

On this Second Time Around and Three Or More Tuesday, I am going
to drag myself into a Fall-ready attitude, which for me always means:

What am I going to get accomplished before Thanksgiving?

Check at the end of the post for links to the these blog parties,
to see what others are up to this first day of September.


Every Fall I write up a To Be Done By Thanksgiving list, a list much dreaded by my dear husband.

My TBDBT list can include something as simple as "clean the chandelier bulbs in the center hall," to something as not-simple as "construct a 2-car garage in the side yard."

Clearly, my TBDBT list is a Wish List. Not everything will be accomplished, at least not by this Thanksgiving, but it gives some structure to my project planning after a summer of just sort of drifting from one can of spray paint to another.


But there are three things on my list that I really must accomplish, and I want to share them with you so you can keep me honest and focused and remind me of what I want to accomplish, and also send threatening emails to my husband if he's caught napping on the sofa on a Saturday afternoon instead of doing my bidding.

So, the Top Three Things on my TBDBT List:

Goal #1: Make the butler's pantry usable. Up until this past weekend, it looked like this:

It was an interim, slapped-together fixup, but it worked, especially as a hot beverage station for big parties. Then, that little pine chest of drawers got a new coat of white spray paint, and made its way to my daughter Anne's new apartment. Now the butler's pantry looks like this:

And I've got boxes full of stuff like this, things that were stored in the dresser:

And things piled on my kitchen shelves and counters like this:

Yeah, it's a mess.

The butler's pantry needs storage space and counter space.
Any ideas? We need, again, a temporary fix.

Eventually I want the upper cabinets replaced with glass-front ones that will go to the ceiling, and shallow base cupboards, ideally with a bar sink . . . but that's not going to happen this year!

I'll let you know what we come up with, and if you have any brainstorms, let me know.

Goal #2: Cutting the isthmus in the kitchen down to size, and adding shelves above it.

What is the isthmus? Take a look at this picture of our kitchen, before we moved in. There's a deep counter on the left -- it is 40-inches deep, and 60-inches long. It would make a great island, but it's attached along one side, and it's too deep to be practical.

It's not an island, it's not a peninsula -- we just gave it the name isthmus because that seemed better than calling it what it is: stupid huge awkward counter that attracts junk like a magnet.

But I have a cunning plan.

It involves sweat equity, re-purposing parts of the original, and the loose change I've got piled up in a Williamsburg earthenware pitcher. It's a cheap fix, and I was going to outline it all for you, but I'll spare you, and just show you the pictures when it is done.

I'm challenging myself to do it with spare change, emptying out my purse and the ash tray in my car.
Love those CoinStar machines.

Goal #3: Replace kitchen faucet.

It's leaking. I'm working on Howard to do it himself, as he's replaced faucets before, and he is way cheaper than a plumber. (I can't pay plumbers with the same currency I use to pay Howard, if ya know what I mean . . . .)


Meanwhile, there are way more than 3 things already on my TBDBT list, including
doing something to the center front hall, which looks awfully, well, awful right now.

And paint the old brass of this fixture to a bronze-y color, to go with the new faucet in this bath:

There are several curtains that need taking down and re-sewing, among them the draperies in
our master bedroom, which I haven't shared with you yet. It's so unfinished!

The little swags on the four parlor windows are okay, but I need to take them down,
tweak them, and re-hang them with loops and tassels for tiebacks.

The yellow guest room draperies have the wrong lining. Gotta fix them!

Plus there are the perennial things on the list: polish the old silver, locate the table linens, press the napkins, design centerpieces, assign serving dishes to side dishes, count bed linens and assign beds to overnight guests, and stop Howard from going all Hunter-Gatherer on us and bringing home a 36 pound turkey that won't fit in the roasting pan.

I love my Thanksgiving To-Do List. :-)

Now, you want to be scared? Like, really really scared?
Take a look at this picture, for it is a peek into the future:

Aaarrgghhh!!! I can hear the screams all the way in New Jersey!
Yes, that's our kitchen, early December 2008, with about half -- just half -- of the Christmas decoration storage boxes down from the attic.
I need a 12-step program.


I hope you'll get a kick out of seeing just which of the
TBDBT items I get done before Turkey Day!

Meanwhile, for 2nd Time Around Tuesday, I shared some of my Second Hand House, and some of its special issues. I will be creatively re-using some secondhand items (including some you saw today) as we tackle The List.

Do you keep a list, too?

Visit Diane at A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words for
Second Time Around Tuesday. Click here!

And as always on Tuesday, don't miss joining Tam at
The Gypsy's Corner for Three Or More Tuesday. Click!
Happy September. Oh, how it pains me to say that. . . . Cass


  1. Oh my!! Wore me out.
    Think we'll just serve hot dogs at the park, in the rain, and cut out all that work. =0))

    Blessings and hope you get done what you want to.

    Barbara Jean

  2. Cute post! I can sympathize with you, trust me! Our LIST has no name because we know it will NEVER get any attention. Chuckle!

    Love your curtain on the door, now I know what to do with mine.

    Have a great week. TTFN ~Marydon

  3. What a grat idea for a TBDBT list. I'm a great listmaker but have never done that (although I am now working on a cleaning list -- i.e. under sink cabinet, china cabinet, etc.)

    I love your plans for the Butler's pantry . . . I wish I had one but alas, Linderhof is Butler pantryless (although it DID have a maid in earlier days)

    Keep us advised as to what you've done.

  4. OK Cass,
    I'm tired just reading about it! I have to say though, we always have a running list too and does it ever end? When one thing is done, we find another. Oh, and I am stumped about that kitchen isthmus thingy. If I brainstorm something, I will let you know. I think my Christmas boxes may look about the same as yours so I can't say a thing. Maybe, we can 12 step together! Great Post, Cindy

  5. Great idea, "To Be Done By Thanksgiving" list. I have never done that before but will now. Loved your post.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  6. You think you have it bad Thanksgiving in Canada is the second week of October. I'll be lucky to vacuum by then if I don't get my computer running properly.

  7. I have an ongoing year round list but I try not to think about it because it never ends! LOL!


  8. Stopping by to say thank you for your sweet comment on my blog, and especially for your prayers*!
    ((hugs)) _Ashley*

  9. I am laughing as we make a list and then we spend the weekend reading it or buying what we need for the list and then we swear we will start it the next week and the process repeats itself. I guess some year in the future we will finish our list. Now you really do have tons of Christmas things. I have limited myself to only 4 large tupperware containers and that is it. Your 12 step comment made me laugh.

  10. I do keep a list, but I think you have more success getting your list crossed off! Everything looks great. Love your black eyed susans! :D Jewel

  11. Nope, I am just not ready for Fall....cuz then those Christmas boxes, which I swear multiply on their own...have to be unpacked for what???4 maybe 5 weeks. is just too soon. Maybe Fall 2010???

  12. Hold your breath!!!!! It'll be November before we turn around...eeeeks We're doomed...not enough hours in our days or maybe not enough energy to get it all accomplished....I'll bet you get it all done!!!

  13. I know you'll come up with great fixes and inspired solutions for the issues you've described (and photographed!). Good luck .. and keep us posted, OK? ;)


  14. I can totally relate to the picture with all the Christmas bins in the kitchen. I have around 25 HUGE plastic bins of Christmas stuff that have to be brought up from the basement every year to put out for Christmas. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love Christmas and decorating for it!!! Good luck with your "to-do" list. I have one too and hope I can get a lot done this fall. My basement looks like a war zone! Love & blessings from NC!

  15. I'm such a list maker and since we are coming into spring down here I'm sure my hubby's honey do list will have plenty on!

    Your going to be busy,busy,busy I'm tired just reading your post :)

  16. Oh my gosh and I thought I had a lot going in a short amount of have me running and hiding now! Wow, I would be having to work myself to death to get all that done. By the way, love the house. Beautiful. Good luck on all the projects and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  17. Cass, love your post!! love your honesty and I sure keep lists. I want to do one on my blog like I've seen where they put a line thru the stuff they accomplished?? Gotta figure out how to do it. And, believe it or not...I bought a gorgeous basket for 90% off at HobbyLobby for our shoes and gave it to my friend for her new house instead of keeping it.

  18. Now I am tired. :-) I have many lists and about the only attention they have gotten lately is when I add something else to them. I just posted about my lists yesterday. :)

  19. I got your list beat! I on for getting a lot done before surgery Oct. 21. I think you should take the doors off the butlers pantry for now. Use them as open shelves, until you get the glass doors! For underneath, any outdoor furniture? Another piece of furniture to go underneath. Or use something for the bottom and place, lay the doors you took off and use them for the top. Any plant stands, you could use? Barrels? A swing turned upside down? Sewing cabinet? You have to have something, you could use! I know it will look great!
    Love how you spray painted and added the mirror for your daughter! And I been using a brush for painting! Where is my spray paint! lol

  20. PS wish you could come to the Mississippi Magnolia Southern Belles and Friends Luncheon On the 25th. Oh, just say those coins and hop on a plane. lol

  21. Hi Cass :)

    That list looks like mine LOL I found an idea for your pantry:

    Too much??


  22. Cass, I AM scared, but not by the picture of the decorations in your kitchen, but just at the THOUGHT of what it's gonna take to get my house ready for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!
    Oh, well, if we just take one project at a time, it will all get don...always does....

  23. Okay you have me inspired, I am making list!


Thank you for visiting That Old House; it's always exciting to find new comments -- they are treasured! Because of increasing spam, I have reluctantly eliminated "Anonymous" commenting. Legitimate anonymous commenters, please forgive me! You might try using "Open ID" instead. Blogger's spam software worked for a good long time, but, sadly, no longer.