My “Hop To It” List: Redo the Backsplash and Fix the Stairs

I have an annual tradition of being incredibly late to make my resolutions. Nothing different this New Year — here I am, eight days later, finally getting around to it. And I’m TERRIBLE about keeping to New Year’s Resolutions. 95% failure rate. BUT I’m really, really good with knocking things off a to do list. So this year, I’m making myself a Hop To It List, instead of resolutions. For now, I’m only letting myself put two projects on the list. Once I knock one off, I can add another. That way it won’t feel insurmountable. Which is good, because these projects aren’t the ones I’m raring to tackle as it is …

(P.S. This is the post where you get to see the parts of our house that aren’t exactly camera ready. Which, if I’m being honest, is most of the house most of the time. I know how good things look in photos, but our house is as messy as the next on a normal day. We’ve got a dog, cats, a toddler, and two working parents. Trust me, House Beautiful it’s not.)

Here goes.

NUMBER ONE: Finally get around to tiling the backsplash in the kitchen.

We did a full kitchen renovation when we bought our house in 2010, and finished the kitchen two weeks before our daughter was born. Needless to say, tiling with a newborn wasn’t a priority, and then the project just kind of sliiiiiiid to the back burner. For three years. Ooops. We’d always imagined we’d go with some sort of white tile, either hex or subway, but the motivation to get started on a major project like that just hasn’t been there.

However, the wall behind the stove is bearing the brunt of daily wear and tear. Splashes from cooking, steam from boiling water, spatters from the griddle – the wall is still in good shape, but we need to hop on this. Plus, gleaming white tile will look SO nice. This backsplash done seven ways does give some cool ideas for other materials, though …

NUMBER TWO: The stairway. Oooooh boy.

This is another project that is leftover from when we moved into this house, but this one didn’t quite get back burnered. It got buried behind as many excuses as I could think of to avoid it. When we bought our home, every single room came with two, if not three layers of TERRIBLE wallpaper. We’ve scraped, spackled, primed and painted every single other room. But this stairway is going to require staging, ladders, overhead poles — the works. And I do NOT want to do it. But it’s time to hop on it. Are you ready for this? Witness my shame: 

The worst part is this view is the first thing you see when you walk in our front door. It’s TERRIBLE. I got as far as pulling off the old wallpaper before we had a newborn in the house and wallpaper became significantly lower priority, so what you see is the paper backing left on the walls. It needs to be scraped off, and then the walls need to be primed and painted

Obviously, it’s a two story hallway, so it’s not going to be as quick and simple as all of the other rooms in the house to scrape off that wallpaper backing. Boooooo. 

Pretty, huh? You can’t see it, but I’m cringing. We cover this beauty up to keep Elsa safe, but that’s a whole mess of ugly right there. And finally, the stair risers. 

Obviously, there was either carpet or a runner on the stairs at some point. As soon as I’m ready to paint, these guys are going to get a crisp coat of white paint to match the trim, after we fill in all the holes. After that, I might do a decorative treatment on the risers, but I’m not quite sure what yet … Maybe something like this?

Or this?

And very, very soon, I’m going to try really hard to trust that my baby girl is grown up, very well coordinated, and can navigate the stairs without TWO gates. We’ll leave the one at the top of the stairs for a while longer, but I think it’s time for the bottom gate to go. Which will be great, because then guests coming in the front door won’t feel like they’re walking into a jail.

So there you have it. The first two biggie items on my Hop To It List. I’ll keep you all posted on our progress and I’ll show before and after pictures once I’ve crossed each project off the list.

What about you? What projects are at the top of your list for the year?

If the stairway is on your list too, check out the gallery below, which shows you how to paint a staircase runner.

4 Responses

  1. MarcioWilges says:

    It is so true that New Year resolutions often have a high failure rate. I think it is due to the fact that those resolutions were made on impulse and not a list that was carefully thought of. It was more of an impromptu set of purposes which you thought could be achieved. However, the motivation will die of sooner than expected when you come to realise that those resolutions were either too big to handle or not as important as you have initially thought. I really like your hop-to-it list which is more reasonable to achieve.

  2. The education has successfully changed the complexion of the lives of students. They feel great satisfaction and productive changes as a result of education. The soft power of education is the most penetrating power in the world.

  3. Farima@HGTV says:

    I will have to make a Hop To It list, as well. Great idea because I always break my resolutions! The top on my list is tearing down an interior wall that I've hated since moving in in 2009. It's time! Good luck with your projects!

    • Minnow + Co says:

      Hi Farima! I wish I was better at resolutions, but at least I'm knocking off a few nagging projects before we get too much further into 2014! Good luck with that interior wall – we took one down between the kitchen and living room when we moved into our house and it was SO nerve-wracking, but it made a huge difference! Now I can't even remember the house with the wall! Thanks!


About Ellen Foord 


A tight budget has never stopped Ellen Foord from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every day as one of life's smaller celebrations. A freelance writer and ...

More About Ellen Foord