August 19, 2014 No Comments


August 19, 2014 No Comments

When I started this blog, I decided I was not going to stick to any sort of a publishing schedule because to me (at the time) it felt too calculated/disingenuous. One of my goals in starting this blog was to keep it 100 percent authentic, so forcing myself to write x times per week/month regardless of whether I felt inspired to do so didn’t seem like the right way to accomplish that.

With that being said, I’m disappointed that I’ve been on such a blogging hiatus this summer. I’m mentally telling myself “bad blogger!” So maybe there’s something to this whole editorial calendar idea. Whatevs…moving on.

Things have been pretty crazy lately over at this House of Mitchells. Since May (when Ryan passed the PE and Porter got his tubes) we kicked our house projects into high gear and decided to tackle re-landscaping the entire backyard. I’ve made no secret that we bought a fixer to anyone who asks me about my house. Before we even moved in, we went into construction mode.

Here’s what was done prior to moving in last summer:

  1. Removed a wall
  2. Popcorn ceiling removal/retexturing
  3. Installed new flooring
  4. Installed new baseboards throughout the entire house
  5. Rewired all the outlets and light switches and installed GFCIs (also replaced each light switch and outlet cover)
  6. Replaced all the lighting throughout the house
  7. Installed a new front door handle/lock
  8. Purchased new door knobs for all doors in the house (we still haven’t finished installing them all) 😀
  9. Painted every square foot of the ceilings/walls/trim
  10. Spray painted all AC vents white (they were yucky 70’s darn brown)
  11. Installed mirror closet doors in bedrooms (also straight from the 70’s, this house had fake wood paneled closet doors)
  12. New window treatments

I think that’s it, but I’m probably forgetting something. I was at the end of my pregnancy when this all was happening, so my memory is a little hazed from being full term in 100+ degree heat. My naive first-time-mom self thought I’d be able to jump back into #projecthouse mode by the time Porter was three months old. Ha. WRONG. Little did I know, I was about to have Mr. I have reflux/I have constant ear infections/you won’t sleep for eight months mommy.

Here’s what we’ve been working on this summer:

  1. Killed the “lawn” (I put lawn in quotes because it was more like mowed crab grass/weeds)
  2. Used a rototiller to rip up the dead lawn and loosen up the dirt
  3. Built two 4×12 planter boxes and installed underground taping irrigation systems in both (had soil delivered, planted a few things)
  4. Installed a french yard drain system – there were so many boring steps involved in this, so I’m omitting the details; It was a lot of work…we’ll just leave it at that
  5. Surrounded the planter boxes with shredded redwood (wanted to avoid walking in mud when tending to the garden, but I’m not really into the gravel look)
  6. Prepped a section of the yard for sod (again, lots of steps involved in this, but they are boring so skipping the details)
  7. Laid the sod

As I read over my list, I feel like it so doesn’t do justice to all the work we did. SO SO SO much digging and dirt moving! I definitely helped as much as I could, while juggling taking care of P, (we also had a few other helpers here and there) but so much of this work was done by Ryan. His stamina truly amazes me and his engineering skills came in handy when designing the french drain. He took measurements, wrote and equation and made a graph so he could make sure the slope was absolutely perfect. As someone who’s never been very good at math, I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw what he was doing (but also gazed wide eyed in admiration). It’ll all be worth it – we love being outside, so it was a major priority for us to transform our yard into a desirable hang out spot. Our next project is the fire pit section of the yard, which I’m so excited for.

the "before" pic - we hadn't done a thing to the yard at this point - I hadn't even furnished/decorated the patio when this was taken
The “before” pic – we hadn’t done a thing to the yard at this point – I hadn’t even furnished/decorated the patio when this was taken

Going to town with the rototiller
Going to town with the rototiller

Constructing the planter boxes
Constructing the planter boxes

Done 🙂

The trench for the french drain
The trench for the french drain

The final (for now) product
The final (for now) product


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  • Jessica August 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    So impressive! I have very little talent or knowledge when it comes to home improvement, and I think it’s awesome to be able to put your personal stamp on your home. Looks like a LOT of work but your house will feel so much more your own 🙂 We went for new construction, so while we don’t have updating projects to do, we are trying to think of ways to add some personal character to our house (e.g. add French doors to the patio, paint walls, etc.) to make it feel more like our home.

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    Hi! I’m Bethany and I live in Sacramento, CA with my husband and two little boys. Most of the topics you’ll see on here involve motherhood, fashion, recipes, wine, beauty and relationships – all the things that make my world go ‘round. Thanks for stopping by! Read More



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