Is it STILL Winter

Does it feel like Winter never ends?
My kids keep saying, “…It’s still Winter?….” as if they are reading my mind.

 Augh, YES it is still Winter.

Winter in my house means more video game time since it is too cold (and WET) to play outside. Winter in my house means Basketball Season, which to us is easy peasy compared to Baseball Season. Winter in my house means house projects. And house projects mean I lovingly enlist hubby to donate his muscle and power tools.

This winter has been a slow process of new lighting downstairs, a half done mantle redo, master bathroom barn door installation, visions of a redo for the half bath (still on the to-do list) and an over haul of our laundry room/pantry/under stairs closet.

I called Frisco Home Organizer Beth Conner for help on this one. Beth is part of my tribe. Back before kids she and a group of my tribe would escape the city at least twice a year for Scrap Weekend at our friends lake house. In the beginning we would bring car loads of craft supplies to make sure we had everything we needed to perfectly scrap our weddings, vacations and births of our children. As we all kept having kids the car loads got smaller. Who has time to plan ahead enough to print pictures and who has time to actually pack up all the craft supplies? I was perfectly happy packing yoga pants, wine and chocolate. We were just grateful for the weekend escape.

Years ago while we were sitting around scrapping, talking, drinking wine and probably watching HGTV I asked Beth what she would do with my completely dysfunctional under stairs closet. Beth is known in my tribe for her keen eye for crafting, cake decorating, menu planning, couponing,  organization…..all the mom life hacks to help made life prettier and life simply work smoother. She probably was on the planning committee for Pinterest. Beth had the vision then and she came to the rescue now.

With Beth on the project and hubby waiting in the wings for his instructions it was time to make this over haul happen!

Beth came over to see it, so I left it in true Johnson working fashion:

laundry room redo
Laundry Area Before
Under Stairs closet redo
Under Stairs Closet Before
Laundry room redo
Pantry Area Before

We have lived in this house almost 6 years. We moved when the boys were small (ages 1 & 2) hence we literally just moved in and used the space. Now it is time to make the space work for us! Beth took pictures, took measurements, asked me what is important and what is not essential and by the evening she was sending me plans. Beth was able to use the IKEA project planner to redesign the space and send me the shopping list all in one. She also put everything in my cart via the Home Depot in-store pick up tool so all I had to do was submit it to my Home Depot and send Hubby to pick it up. With a few other details from Amazon and Target ordered we were ready to get to work!

I cleaned it all out. Trashed some, kept what I needed and sent the rest to donation.

Beth got her power tools out and started hanging shelves inside the closet. We used included an on the door shelf to make sure to use every inch of space.

The boys were in charge of demo. The old laundry room/pantry had built in shelving that had to go, but the boys loved being able to tear it all down with hammers making as much noise as possible.

under stair closet redo           pantry redo

The under-stairs closet over haul into pantry was only a half day project. Once all the shelves were hung, we started loading them up with goods.

under stiars redoOne of my favorite things about the pantry are these baskets from Target to organize all the little stuff. Beth found these dry erase labels that clip onto the baskets for easy searching. Another great thing Beth had me use was the shelf liner by ClosetMaid made especially for their wire closet system allowing the baskets to easily slide in and out.

under stairs pantry

By the end of the day I had a new, more functional pantry under my stairs.

under stairs pantyunder stairs pantryunder stairs pantry

For the old pantry space I wanted a Mud Room area. I needed this for backpacks, shoes, jackets, hats and sports bag storage but with out giving up storage area for house essentials that have to go somewhere. Living in Texas a coat closet is wasted space except for maybe the month of February. And let’s face it, who has time for “Put your jacket on” power stuggles at 7:25am?

After demo was done, the boys got to work making a cedar ship-lap wall. With a few measurements, a saw and nail gun this space was already looking new and fresh.

ikea hack   Daddy's bench


Hubby used an IKEA hack with the Billy Bookcases to frame out the sides and bottom, adding more Cedar for the bottom bench. My Dad had built and stained the other bench which fit perfectly against the other wall. This bench is one of my favorite, unplanned details of this project.


After finding just the right baskets and hooks, re-purposing an old rug the new mud room was coming together. BUT it was missing one thing. Our family signature.

mud roomOnce the ABCD (Andrea, Brandon, Cooper, Dillon) was hung I was HAPPY!

The laundry area just needed a couple more baskets for organization and some cleaning up to make this project complete.

Here are the Before & Afters of the over haul:The Frisco Home Organizer helped me make this space work for us.

Now it is more functional for my family and looks so much better.

Having a Happy Home helps me have a Happy Mind.

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One thought on “Is it STILL Winter

  1. Andrea, your overhaul looks wonderful and so functional. I was so glad that you were able to use your Dad’s bench! It looks great in your mud room. My pantry needs to be next!!

    Love you, Mom.

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