Open thread: What’s your longest running, un-finished house project?

vintage-paper-dollPROCRASTINATION. I am now up to Year Seven in terms of not finishing painting the trim around my living room/dining room window.  Really, it’s totally ridiculous, because this is not even something kind of hidden — these windows are right in the heart and center of the house. The reason for the delay? My windows are huge, vintage Andersen Windo-Walls that are really heavy and hard to take in and out. And now, the paint for the job is all disgusting and rotten in the can. Will I find the energy to tackle this gosh-darn project this spring? Don’t bet on it.

So…What’s the project in your house that’s taking you the longest to complete, and why?


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  1. says

    It’s definately the BATHROOM! We moved into our house and started renovating it… It’s been downhill ever since. Gold Wallpaper – had to come down because of possible mold behind. Removed wallpaper & discovered hole in wall. Hole in wall turned out to be water leaking… for who knows how long. Took out the entire wall, to figure out how bad the damage was… It’s bad. Now, we’ve discovered a hole in the floor – that leads to the outside. And then the mice tried to move in… We stopped that right away! Tried to clean the sink & toilet… Will not come clean. There’s Pink tile on the floor – trying to save that, but I want to tile up the wall with something. All plumbing now needs to be replaced. However, just found out that I’m getting a FREE Aqua or Turquoise colored 1950’s Sink & Toilet from someone who is re-doing thier bathroom (and apparently they are in EXCELLENT condition). And they may be able to save the tile for me too! So, we might actually get around to this project… 🙂

    • pam kueber says

      RetroReDesign, your bathroom escapade sounds like it should be turned into a board game!

  2. says

    Oh, dear. My kitchen has been half-painted for about 5 years now. In my defense, the half that still needs painting still has wallpaper backing stuck to it, and it’s behind the gas stove that I don’t want to pull out too far, resulting in a very awkward rehab for a clumsy gal like myself.
    The kitchen floor has needed fresh tile all along, but since I’ve never officially started that project, I can’t consider it unfinished. 🙂
    I did finally swap out most of the cabinet hardware last summer, but I still have four more pulls to install. That’s right, four pulls. A whole 8 screws that I’ve been putting off for a year!
    Oh, and I never did get around to staining the baseboard molding in the dining room…

  3. Betsy in Michigan says

    Our sad joke is that we’ve never put the baseboards back (which actually involves staining and finishing new pieces) in the front hall after having lovely Marmoleum flooring (red – it works in a small space!) installed 9 years ago. Then we had tornado boy (after having bookworm girl). The good thing is that he is extremely mechanical, and is close to actually being helpful. But there are lots of other things – we just say that the kids are our favorite home improvement projects!

    • pam kueber says

      I also have shelving that was never installed in one kitchen cabinet. I’ll call that one 10 years.

    • nina462 says

      My Mom has never had her baseboards replaced either ….going on about 20 years. We keep thinking about it, but just never do it.

    • Danika says

      Um, thank you for this comment…. we too have had children and no baseboards. The worst part is we’re selling and the realtor said, “Don’t touch anything! You won’t get back a penny.” Thankfully prices are holding and even rising but the project will be for another person. Seriously!

  4. Virginia says

    When my husband and I moved into our house 23 years ago, some of the interior doors were in pretty bad shape. So he replaced the door to my office with an inexpensive, unfinished one, promising to finish it sometime soon. It’s still unfinished. I’m luckier than our 16-year-old daughter, though — her room still has the original door, with a big hole in the outside panel!

  5. nina462 says

    having the outside soffits replaced. I keep thinking every summer that I need to scrap & paint them. Then last year (going on year 4 now) I discovered a HOLE. So, now I just have to have them professional redone. That will be this years $$ project.

  6. Kit says

    We recently sold our large family home and downsized as empty nesters. I can’t tell you how many years long unfinished projects got done in the weeks befor that house went on the market. Hated to leave, it never looked so gorgeous!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, isn’t that always the way! Our homes never looked so awesome as when we have to get them ready to sell!

  7. Amy says

    I would love to hear updates from the folks who commented in 2009 on the original post! How many got around to finishing? Goes to show, us newbies need to be realistic about our diy ambitions.

  8. says

    Hmm… I’ve been doing a major remodel for 2 years and am planning out everything I can possibly procrastinate on because I’ve kinda had enough.

    But more relateable might be my parents. When they bought the house in 1996 my mom told the painters they could skip the wrought iron railings because she wanted to replace them with wood. 10 years later or so, I wire brushed and painted them. There are bits of quarter round sitting in place, not nailed and pieces of trim cut to size and stored in my bedroom’s closet.

    Then there’s the stuff. My grandmother moved from her house to a condo 5 years ago and to assisted living in December. Lots of things got boxed and it’s going to be a bit of an effort just to take inventory and figure out where everything is going, and I’ve promised to spend my time off from renovating helping out with that. I think this is better than letting some estate clean-out person haul it all into the trash though.

  9. Richard Douglass says

    We had to leave our fine house when the British occupied New York. After the war was over we went back and found out they had trashed it fairly well. We repaired everything except a big cannon ball hole under a front window. My wife demanded we leave the hole as a sign that we were never Tories, so it did not get repaired. That hole was still there 40 years later when…

    Oh… that was another lifetime. Sorry.

  10. Teri F says

    Our has has been 100% GUTTED since 2008. No interior walls, no bathroom walls, no kitchen, no permanent electricity, no air conditioning, no ceiling. We have a roof, exterior walls, running water, a furnace, a fridge, skillet and microwave. It’s safe to say we are the most extreme procrastinators! Always got some excuse or another, but we are reinvigorated and hopefully will make serious progress this Spring. Did I mention we have no a/c AND we live in Kansas? Lol!

  11. Mike says

    The toilet from my 1/2 bath has been sitting in my living room for 73 months. The wax seal was leaking and I didn’t discover until it soaked into a lot of a cheap parkay flooring job done by the previous owners. I pulled the toilet, then pulled the floor, then decided I didn’t like the wall paper. When I pulled the wallpaper, there was another layer of wallpaper under that but wasn’t sized or even painted under the first layer of wallpaper. Some of the drywall paper came off in that removal. I fixed some of the holes and installed a new floor but couldn’t decide on a new design so I left it. Hey don’t expect me to work on anything while football season is going on. I’m slowly getting there now but still don’t know what I want.

  12. Sydney says

    Our fireplace is still unfinished after six years this spring. We had a rustic, camping-lodge style stone fireplace surround in our 1950 stone Cape Cod. It was in our knotty pine living room–it looked cute, but not in that great of shape….. It began detaching from the wall, and my husband discovered that in the crawl space, its “supports” consisted of sand and old asphalt shingles.

    So, it came out….as did the non-supported slate floor and hearth area. We had a hole in our living room floor for about two years, sealed with blankets and two by fours. Classy!

    Then, I got pregnant with my son, and said “it’s time to get serious!” We picked some (no longer mined) mid century appropriate bluestone slate from a local quarry’s scrap pile, and had our big plan. It took another year for anything to get built, but he did fix the foundation and hearth…. I guess even he would agree that deadfall traps and babies don’t mix.

    Eventually, my husband built the fireplace, the mantle took another year (Walnut milled from a felled tree on our property). Now, all that’s left is for him to lay the remaining slate up to the ceiling The original had knotty pine above the mantel, but the boards over the fireplace had rot, so we’re carrying the fireplace all the way up.

    My boy will be three in May, and I’m crossing my fingers that this will be the year!

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