The Little Known Cure For Renovation Procrastination

William McLure-fireplace mantel



Dear Laurel,

About a year ago, I purchased my dream home in my dream city. I feel so blessed to have been able to do this. So, before moving in last December, I had all sorts of plans for renovating it.


It is nearly ten months later, and I have yet to finalize the plans. I guess you could call it renovation procrastination?


However, I vowed I wouldn’t do what I did the last time, which was almost nothing except for one room. In the end, that was a good decision, but this time, I was hoping it would be different.

So far, it’s not, and I’m hoping you can do or say something to help me out.

The reality is that I live alone. And, although I’m making lots of new friends in my new city, I still have to do it all on my own. Ironically, I was married for nearly three decades. But, while I don’t regret for one second that I’m no longer married to that individual, certain aspects of life were far easier when I was.

Oh gosh, I sound like a whiny, ungrateful bitch. Pardon my French. I bet you’ll tell me to hire someone and then make a decorating and design plan and just do it. Easy for you to say!


Oh, I’m sorry, Laurel. I shouldn’t put words into your mouth. Please tell me the secret to get past my renovation procrastination.


Thank you in advance. Love you, girlfriend– and your blog! Oh, and I’ve purchased ALL of your lovely interior design guides. I can’t recommend them highly enough.






Darling Laurel, (pretty name) ;]


Please don’t be so hard on yourself! Frankly, I think it’s wise to be in a home a minimum of one year before beginning any renovations. Therefore, you’re actually right on schedule.

Also, I don’t know if you realize this or not, but there’s this virus going around that’s killed millions of people? Have you heard about that? And, if you moved last December, that means that you did so in one of the most challenging times in history.


So, please, girlfriend, lighten up.


I very much recommend you listen to the following classic Bob Newheart video.



So, yes. Make your plan. Hire someone if you need to, stop the kvetching and just do it. Yes, I know; it’s going to be:


  • painful
  • expensive
  • inconvenient
  • take twice (maybe three times )as long as the contractor says it will.

And, yes, you might even make a mistake or two.

However, when it’s over, you’ll be so proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished.

Back atcha!









Did you just write yourself a letter and then answer it as if it was someone else?


Uh-huh, yeah, I did. I mean, who else is going to listen to my crazy thoughts but me?

And, you know when I fell flat on my face two weeks ago? Well, before I went out, I made a list of everything I needed to do and had vowed to do as soon as I went to the store and had dinner.

Well, clearly, that didn’t happen. But, gosh, I hate to think that I fell on my face as a means of procrastination. That idea is seriously disturbing.


Of course, at the top of the list was my renovation procrastination, as I’ve been feeling quite low about it in recent weeks.


It’s just that I’ve had the (unfinished) drawings on my portable drafting table that has been sitting on my dining table since June.

And, it is now mid-October. Oh, well.


Who else out there is prone to procrastination?


I see a lot of hands. Awesome! That makes me feel so much better!

But, Laurel… no way are you are procrastinator! I mean, you put out two blog posts every week, plus your HOT SALES.

And then, there are the FIVE guides you wrote.


Uh-huh, yes, I know. But, I also know that it only LOOKS like I’m not a procrastinator. Believe me, I’m one of the worst.


Okay, so what’s the secret for getting things done when one has no motivation to do so?


One) Money

Two) Accountability

At least that’s how it goes for me. And, since no one is paying me to get my stuff done, I need to be accountable. Fortunately, I can call upon that whenever I really need it.

So, it is noon on Saturday the 16th of October. I will do as much as I can today to finish so that I can show something to the contractor I’d like to hire.


Therefore, let’s take stock of what’s been done, what still needs to be done.


And, where the renovation block stemmed from.

What’s been done and I’m happy with:

The downstairs bedroom level re-design is one I’m super proud of. It might need some tweaking. But, I totally love the basic design, which you can see in the link above.

I also love the kitchen with floor-to-ceiling cabinets at the far end and no upper cabinets, and I haven’t finished the elevation drawings.


The hang-up has been the entry, not in terms of function, but form.


Functionally, I need a pantry, utility, and coat storage. Well, there’s a seven-foot span to accommodate that. The problem is the doors. There are the four tall kitchen cabinet doors, the front door, and the door adjacent to the bathroom, plus the proposed French doors to close that area off.

And then, the closet doors.  Four of them.

Hmmm… That’s a LOT of doors.

Funny, the other day, I received a delivery for some little end tables flanking my settee. Well, the delivery guy tried to let himself out through the closet!


That’s when I stopped working on things, and I lost the momentum.


But, one day, it came to me. In fact, I even wrote about it a little over a year ago.

Hidden doors! Yes, secret doors for the entry closet.

Now, I can design a beautiful door for the bathroom closet, beef up the front door so it’ll be obvious that’s the FRONT door. And, then let the glass kitchen doors and French doors be the star and co-star of the show.

However, the entry can still be a solid supporting player.

What if we did four hidden doors. (Jib doors) and did a beautiful wallpaper mural over them that continued around the entire entry.


Below are some additional examples for inspiration.


Okay, what’s left?

The fireplace mantel –

This one is pretty easy. I want one very close to this one in a former home of William McLure.


William McLure-fireplace mantel


carved pine fireplace surrund circa 1910 - Georgian style - via 1st Dibs

  • Mouldings – One thing I had spent a tremendous amount of time on is the research of mouldings, particularly the crown moulding. That should be a separate post!


And, these, below are separate posts, as well.



my Back Bay Living Room LBI

  • Iron Security Bars – Ugh. The prison bars suck.
  • Stair railing – Let’s first see if the typical staircase is possible without having to spend $150,000.00!
  • Floors – They are not actually a priority, but at the very least, I would love to replace the den floor because it was laid on top of the original floor. This was originally a butler’s pantry; I’m pretty sure.


Oh, how I wish I had the original floor plans of the building.


  • Air Conditioning – I very much want to put in a mini-split system, and I can do that because I can put a condenser in my little garden.


Okay, it’s after midnight, and I’ve been having fun.

But, did I finish?

No, not yet, but let me show you what I did do.


William McLure- Georgian fireplace mantel sketch - Renovation procrastinationI turned William McLure’s mantel into a line drawing through photo editing and then some filters in PicMonkey. I don’t know which ones I used, but I just experimented until I got the desired effect.

My opening is roughly a 27″ square. For the size of my room, it’s ridiculously small. However, if I use some honed black granite, it will give the illusion of a bigger opening.

You might also notice that I added in some elements that I like from the carved pine mantel.

Later, I can add some dimensions to the drawing.


fireplace wall with art

I forgot about this mockup I did when I had the exciting but impractical idea to make some HUGE digital art. haha.


renovation procrastination - kitchen

The view looks towards the blah, dated kitchen, and entry with the Allison in Wonderland doors. I say that because they are minute in relation to the big opening over nine feet high, and in reality, they are a standard 80″ height.


Okay, get ready for the transformation.


Renovation procrastination no moreOh, man. I think I want to live here!

Wait. I DO live here. lol

And, no. I didn’t finish everything today, but I do believe I have cured my renovation procrastination.


Thanks, guys. I very much appreciate your help.


So, I’ll just finish up by going over a few things.

Yes, behind the wallpaper mural, which incidentally is from The Mural Source, will be four jib doors. Remember this closet post when I was considering doing some sort of wardrobe? That’s not a bad idea, but not for this space with this particular plan.

Jib doors, if you don’t know or recall, are the hidden doors with hidden hinges we looked at here.


best dining rooms vogue magazine

best dining rooms with a pretty jib door – vogue magazine


To the left, which is the vestibule leading to the den and bathroom, I think it would be very cool if it were painted a deep color like Farrow & Ball Down Pipe, perhaps.


Farrow & Ball Down Pipe


Interior Design - Whittney Parkinson - Sarah and Rachel Photography - hoffman - farrow & ball downpipe bulter's pantry

Interior Design – Whittney Parkinson – Sarah and Rachel Photography – Hoffman – farrow & ball downpipe butler’s pantry.


Chris Loves Julia black and white tile floor

I’d love to do a black and white floor as Chris Loves Julia did. If you are looking for the post from August and can’t find it, it’s because I was asked to take it down. The tile is from Bedrosians.

But, I think this would also be awesome in our building’s entrance hall if it ever gets a makeover.

The blue you see in the kitchen is the ceiling, not the wall. There are some beautiful blue, green, gray colors in the Laurel Home Paint Collection.


Benjamin Moore Opal Essence


Benjamin Moore Opal Essence is one of my favorites.


Below are two beautiful Paul Montgomery murals you can purchase and the beautiful lantern in the kitchen.


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renovation procrastination - before and after design mockup for my kitchen and entry

This is just the look I’m going for.

Thanks again for your help!



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES


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