When the water said, “Finish the house.”

scenic wetlands on a bike ride trail | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Could you imagine flying all the way to some dream travel location, then unpacking to a condo that had unfinished floors, or half done trim?

Your first thought would probably be… “Wow, did they not respect me enough to provide me with a pretty place?

So…. once I got home, slowly but surely, my eyes started darting to all the imperfections, in sharp contrast to what I HAVE been enjoying all summer long.

Ugh. So much disrespect.

I’ve been attempting to find a starting point since getting home, but when everything needs you, it’s harder to focus.

Flower Market branch ladder plant stand on a patio | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Here’s what the patio looked like last summer. But if you look closely…

unpainted trim on a patio

This is what the rail was like.

So I did the only thing I could do… I plunked myself down for my morning coffee on my very dusty patio out back, then proceeded to stare at the chipped paint on the rail.

painting patio trim on a deck full of pallet wood furniture | funkyjunkinteriors.net
painting patio trim on a deck full of pallet wood furniture | funkyjunkinteriors.net
That motivated me enough to gut the junk off the patio, (except for the sofa I always sit on for coffee) grab a scrub brush and soap, then a can of paint, and started in on some trim painting. Just like that.

painting white patio trim | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Woa. Who lives here?

painting patio trim with General Paint HP 2000 | funkyjunkinteriors.net

In case you’re interested: my favorite indoor / outdoor white trim paint is by General Paint in Canada (now Sherwin Williams) called HP 2000. I just get a few drops of white added to it to make it more opaque.

But… then the spell was broken. I was due to go elsewhere… and as I washed the paint brush, I was secretly hoping I’d catch the fever again to finish what I started.

With good reason.

Yesterday I went through something similar. I was sitting on the chair in the backyard, when I gagged at the weeds in front of me. So I got up and started pruning trees and weeding flowerbeds.

weeding flowerbeds

I didn’t make much headway because there was just too much to do… (the right is done, the left is not) So there all my gear sits on the lawn, waiting for me to continue.

And then I painted trim today instead…

Squirrel much?

When I got home later today, I couldn’t pick up on either task. Bingo…

I needed out. I was once again, completely unplugged. So I wandered over to my bike, urging it to take me to a better mental place.

A quick ride down to the river in search of water landed a pretty nice spot! (which I’ll show you soon)

Anyway, once I sat on a chunk of driftwood overlooking the babbling water, thoughts came rushing.

“Where do I go from here?”

“I don’t know. But I always feel better near water. I need to be near water. A place near water…”

“Yeah, well, you aren’t even CLOSE to getting a place near water, because your place couldn’t sell like it is.”

“Sell?! I’m not selling! I can barely weed a flowerbed or finish painting a patio rail, let alone focus on packing an entire house! NO WAY.”

“Yeah, but if you want something else, you’d have to, right?”

“No! I don’t know… what’s the clear cut answer here?”

And then…. you ready?

“FINISH THE HOUSE. Then do fancy stuff. Then if you decide to stay, you’ll like it more. But if you decide to move on, you can.”

Boy, am I brilliant, huh?

Ok… so these weren’t my own original thoughts. About a year ago, a good friend told me to finish my house, so it was sellable, because I had been complaining about wanting something different. I just chose to ignore him and make peace with where I am.

But while I was sitting on those pretty Hawaiian beaches where all was right with the world, I also had a few thousand chats with myself.

“If you don’t like some stuff in your life, you should change them. You’re where you’re at because of YOU.”

Fine! I give up to good reason. I’m going to focus on finishing the house. Paint rails, finish inside trim I started a year ago, finish a tile floor I started 8 years ago, hire out the things I can’t do myself… etc.

In a nutshell, while my eyes are wide open, and much more objective at the moment, I’m making a BIG list of things that a vacation home or a home for sale simply wouldn’t put up with. 

Finish the house.

Then do fancy stuff.

Then… who knows.

Pretty natural river setting during a bike ride | funkyjunkinteriors.net

All I do know is, water seems to make me smart!

– – – –

Are you guilty of unfinished business too?

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Categories: Inspiration, Junk Drawer, Personal

40 thoughts on “When the water said, “Finish the house.”

  1. Thanks, for giving me some insight. It seems im feeling stuck right now. There are so many small projects I need to get done. I usually end up doing fun, crafty stuff instead. Winter is just ahead, I need to do my outdoor repair work.

    • YES! I told myself the same thing, Judy. If the weather is nice, I like to be outdoors, so I’m making a huge outdoor list too.

      What pulls me down are the undone things that I look at over and over again… it’s like it fatigues the ‘ol eyes… and if done enough, I will ignore them once again. Here’s hoping the list will help me keep seeing them…. I wish you and I good luck! haha

  2. We’ve been working on our house since 2010 so, yes, I know what you mean. The difference is that my husband has been working constantly and keeps coming up with new projects. We are finally arriving at the end of the projects, I hope. I want to start enjoying clean, open rooms. I’ve also reached a point about end of last year that I actually know what goes where so I’ve been downsizing. I am working on the theory that everything has to have a place which really helped making decisions. Good luck on your journey and if you’re stuck, just start small, anywhere, just start.

    • Eileen, remember when that purge book came out everyone was raving about? One of her theories was, ‘everything must have ONE place’. You are right ON! I’ve been working on that too, and it truly makes a difference.

      And agree… starting small gives you a gentle push towards the productivity zone.

      My issue tends to be, I want to make changes where changes aren’t actually needed, but rather, wanted. I love change… it keeps me from getting bored.

      Kinda cool it’s your husband that is coming up with the projects…. sounds like he loves to tinker. I could keep him busy here for MANY years to come! 🙂

  3. Very guilty of unfinished business and water does make me smarter, I love it and as a teenager growing up in Puget sound I spent many afternoons at the beach trying to figure life out. I never did figure it out but over the years I’ve learned it’s better to know how to close a door so a new one can open. Not all business needs to be finished, I realized this as we approach getting our farm up for sale. We have a few projects left undone because quite frankly we’re tired of this place, for me it’s pulling me down I’m just done here. Sometimes it’s not important to finish every little detail. So pick and choose what you complete because most times new buyers come in and do what they want or sometimes do nothing at all. But ask yourself are you finished there??

    • I hear ya loud and clear, Carole. When I got my 5 acre farm ready for sale, I hired out for the stuff I couldn’t do… my goal was to get top dollar, which actually did pay off. It took a solid 6 months of back breaking work to get it complete.

      Many things weren’t perfect, but like you say, owners will step in and add their personality too. It’s the things that don’t work that I attacked. The rest is just icing on the cake.

      Incidentally, blueberry farmers bought the farm. They yanked out all the old trees, bulldozed barns, tore out so many elements I felt were key to the property being as charming as it was. I truly doubt they barely blinked at the unfinished painted trim inside the house. 🙂

      Just goes to show… it really depends who buys your place.

      And to answer your question… ‘are you finished there’… mentally, yes. Physically, I doubt it! haha

      I’d like a new challenge and a space that would function a little differently, I’m pretty limited where I am. I’d love a small outbuilding by the road for periodic junk sales, a barn to host workshops… BUT not on a massive property. But something where I don’t have to keep everything pristine perfect. And bonus points if water is involved! Always a farmer’s daughter…

      Once my son is finished school, the sky’s wide open… love your question, thanks!

  4. It’s easy to get distracted with fun things while the regular work of a house is put aside. Good for you for switching your focus!!

  5. Donna- Sounds like you have a plan in the works! OMG I do the same thing… I plan to just sit outside and “veg” and I see a 1/2 dozen items on my to-do list. I cleaned my entire garage on Saturday and it felt so good! Get going on that to-do list! laura

    • Oh my goodness… I LOVE the feeling of that clean garage! I don’t even want to fire up the saw after a deep clean! I need to do that too! Love putting it all on the front driveway on a nice day, and fill up the truck for the dump! 🙂

      Enjoy your pretty, new garage! So… what’s next? 😀

  6. Do I leave things unfinished? I am surprised you don’t hear me laughing all the way to your home. Oh my goodness, I wouldn’t know where to begin. And it is true that when so much needs to be done, it is too hard to see clearly to finish anything,let alone start something. But is also true that we are where we are by our own choice. I really needed your post today. It is speaking volumes to me in so many ways. I sometimes wish something would make the choice for me, but alas, not so. I think the water speaks to your soul just as the outdoors do. It’s soothing and rubs away the sharp angles in our souls and thoughts, just like water smooths surfaces over time. Now unfortunately the water works slowly over time changing the surfaces, but as it’s doing it and when done, it’s flawless. Maybe we could be more patient and believe that each little step we take is smoothing a path or surface for us. Beautiful words and thoughts that don’t come easily to us mortals. But I do think it is worth reminding ourselves when we need it, as often as we need it. Over and over again. I appreciated Donna that you put your thoughts on paper. They are so similar to me and others. And on an eager-to-see-finished product, I am looking forward to you completing the inside trim. I remember you started it like a year ago. Thanks for the post!

    • The trim! Oh it’s going to be gorgeous… GOING to be! haha You’re right… I got a brainstorm about a year ago to switch out my hallway trim for farmhouse, and there sit all the frameless and unpainted doors… except for the ONE that I completed. CRAZY how fast I lose focus.

      This was one of the ‘fancy’ things I probably shouldn’t have attempted. But it looks so pretty… see? This is where I get into trouble! 😀

      I think I need a handyman to follow my quake. I start, he/she finish. I’m not even kidding!

      One of my own big faults is doing something twice, or over and over again. Production work drives me insane. My thing is moving forward with new stuff. I just want to CRY with boredom if something takes too long…

      Love your analogy of water and life… that’s beautiful!

    • YES. Carole’s question at the end, “But ask yourself, are you finished there?” triggered a big ‘ol response from me.

      I asked myself several years ago what I felt I needed. If you ask me the same today, it’s all the same answers. I can see something in the works…

  7. I sure do know what you are talking about. I have so many unfinished projects I think I am overwhelmed by it all so much that I don’t know where to start and on top of all that I don’t think I am going to stay here. I am considering a divorce and at my age it is a scarey thing.
    Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and go with your heart.

    • Oh Patty, I’m sorry to hear about your life change. That’s a hard journey to take.

      I’d say to tackle the ‘broken projects’ (things that actually don’t work or are complete eye sores), leaving the pretty cosmetic changes for last. Then assess if they really even need to be done.

      That’s my plan, anyway. We can do it!

      • I don’t know for sure yet, I just know I’m not happy and I don’t know why, but life is to short to not be happy and the older I get the more I realize it.
        Thank you for your kind words you are such a blessing to us all.

  8. I’m so guilty of not finishing projects. I’ve had a good inner search as to why and came up with, I get bored when it takes a long time to complete some, and finish those that I can get done quicker. So I’ve decided to work in timed increments moving on to another project to work on to keep the boring task ones more interesting and able to finish. This works so much better for me and my satisfaction is at a higher level than ever before. It’s amazing the solutions we can come up with when we analyze ourselves about why we procrastinate with finishing certain tasks. I’m sure your home will be absolutely beautiful when you’re completely done with it. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

  9. This is exactly what I do, you’ve inspired me to put my own list together.

    “Finish the house, then the fancy stuff.”


  10. Not only am I guilty of having several unfinished projects, I take on other new projects all of the time. How smart is that? Currently, I have a broken brick pathway on sand and a glider to finish, plus I need to re-stain/paint several pieces of outdoor furniture. In the meantime, I’m bottle feeding 3 abandoned three week old puppies, fixing up another house I’m renting and keep volunteering for things I should say “no” to.

    • I could have written your comment… you are NOT alone! haha

      Want some objective advice? Take care of the rental first, then you are free and clear of deadlines to work on your own.

      Why is it always easier to ‘help’ others vs. yourself? 😀

  11. Felt like you were speaking right to me. I am guilty of the exact same things.
    You are so right we are stopping our own progress. I just read somewhere recently that if we do one, just one thing a day , even if its just a drawer at the end of the month we will have taken care of 30 things.
    You have inspired me, thank you.

    • I’m so happy to hear this, Galinda! 30 things sounds like a lot.. maybe I should keep track, I like that count idea! 🙂

      When I feel like doing nothing, I often say to myself, “Just get ahead with ONE thing. ONE!”

      As long as I do one thing, I feel like I’m still at least moving forward…

  12. Lol…everything is unfinished! On the list are the little things…bathrooms are renovated, but no towel hooks or decorative pieces. Always something left undone as we move onto the next project. You’re not alone!

    I have enjoyed the way you’re writing and wondering what you are seeking. You inspire all of us, but I sense that you’re looking for a new challenge!

    • Bhahaha…. a blogger’s life indeed!

      And I fear you may be right… just gonna keep moving forward and see what happens. I made a list… and good grielf… it’s going to take me 10 years to complete! Plenty of time to pack… hahaha (word…)

  13. Boy, does this posting strike a nerve. During the school year, I think I will tackle all the jobs that I don’t really want/like to do during the summer break. However, realistically, just because I have time, doesn’t change my mindset toward some of these jobs. Plus, the heat is a killer, without air conditioning. Now, as the summer winds down, I am looking at all the unfinished jobs and trying to not get down on myself for not completing so much. Perspective is needed. I am easily distracted, I love stimulation and new things, I am an idea person but not so great at the follow through. So, many times, I find that I am out and about, discovering more new projects and then have to escape the house because all the confusion and unfinished business is depressing and challenging.
    One thing that has helped me is to stop and realize that whatever I DO accomplish is a good thing, tying into what one of your readers said, about tackling just one thing. I didn’t make this mess/confusion overnight or just in one summer, so realistically, the solution will take a while.
    Funny, you seem like someone who accomplishes so much so it is interesting how we are colored by our own perspective.
    Thanks to all for their thoughts and ideas and good luck all!

  14. Seems pretty clear from an outside point of view.
    Find your view. The one that makes you gasp everyday. I put a crazy thought out into the universe. It showed up nine years later. Exactly as I had imagined, only better.

  15. My little house which was built for me in 1992 is still unfinished inside. Perfectly liveable, but some walls & trim not painted beyond a sealer. Library bookshelves are not yet built in along the long hall where they’re supposed to go, just temporary bookcases full of books there. Then it turned out that a friend for whom I dogsit when he goes on vacations, offered to paint for me in exchange. Now my bathroom has been repainted beautifully, as has my front entry hall. Next up is finishing the wood trim in the front hall. So things are working out for me in a marvellous way!

  16. Last year at about this time I took a good hard look at the projects that where piled up in front of me and set my mind to FINISH things! I made a partial list – a complete list would have been overwhelming and set at getting things done. I have have gotten so much joy and relief from finishing things. When I feel defeated by what I have left I make myself celebrate what I have accomplished. I must say life looks much brighter now.
    Go for it – you can do it!

  17. This strikes a chord. It feels more difficult as I rent and the landlord refuses to fix anything. Some I could fix myself but then it bugs me that they’re not doing it.

    But overall, clearing out is needed. I haven’t been able to make decisions on possessions since I got divorced a couple of years ago and especially as I live in rented right now. “What if I need it later?!”

    Keep on keeping on.

    • That’s a tough call, Victoria. I’d be inclined to keep what I’m using now and love. You can always collect again if it’s needed… with nice new stuff!

      I hung onto too much when my life changed, and over time, eventually replaced all of it. I’ve never regretted it yet!

  18. Oh wow… I am struggling with this exact thing. Everything you said. I don’t like my house, but I couldn’t sell it because it needs a bunch of work; mostly cosmetic. Time and money are in short supply, but I could do more if I got serious and more intentional about it. Thanks for the shot in the arm!!

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