The Intentional Home

This post is part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. To learn more about this project, start here.

I am so happy to hear many of you are starting your own projects or will be working alongside with me! Please link up each Thursday and share your progress. Sing your praises in the comment section ff you don’t have a blog or collection of photos online. The mundane, when done as a group, can become extraordinary. I promise. If it wasn’t for this blog–knowing I had to report here every week with a project of some sort–I wouldn’t get done half as much as I do. I suppose that’s why Stephen R. Covey says accountability breeds response-ability.

The first link up will be this Thursday. Are you ready? I am, mostly. I need to edit pictures and write the post. Everything else is done. This is why I picked Thursday as the link up day. On Wednesday I’m wrapping up whatever project I’ve decided to do so it can post Thursday. That gives me Thursday and Friday to think about what I will do the following week. If it’s something big, I have the weekend to plan and execute. If I don’t have time on the weekend, I still have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to wrack my brain for something to do.

Actually, that’s not true. I always know what to do because I have a long, extensive list of potential projects. That crazy list is my number one tip for anyone just starting. I did it for the October series, and I am doing it for this one, too, even though it’s only once per week. It’s my plan of attack. I’m busy. I’m scattered. I forget things. This list helps me remember what I need to do, because even though I dig through my overflowing sock and undies drawer every single day, I still can’t remember to clean it out.

If you don’t have a project ready to share on Thursday, share your list of potential projects. You’ll feel better just for having written it out.

My list is…extensive. First, I’m a detailed person with a tendency to over-think. Writing out a list like this is natural to me. Yours doesn’t have to look like this, and probably won’t because splitting hairs doesn’t make your blood sing like it does mine. But sing it does, even when I put in items I know we couldn’t afford in a million years. This drives the Mister batty. He can’t understand why I want to focus on something we can’t have in the foreseeable future, like complete bathroom remodels for two out of three bathrooms. I can explain my reasoning.

First, just because we can’t do it today, doesn’t mean we can’t do it tomorrow. We could win the lottery. We could find a buried treasure. I could be approached by a major corporation desperate to work with a small blog with a weird name. Anything is possible, anything can happen. You just need to be open to the possibility. Second, I find it much more depressing to turn away from a dream than face an unlikely reality. Also, new bathrooms would be useful and beautiful. So there.

Dream. Put it all down on your list. When we are done, there won’t be anything in our homes that we don’t find useful or beautiful. I say we try to get both at the same time.

Here is my list. Please, don’t feel you have to read it all. This is to keep me organized and inspired. I wrote my intention for each room before I listed line items to keep me on track. I’m not looking to create a showboat home or keep up with the neighbors. My goal is to have a home that reflects our family, the contents of which are useful, or beautiful, or both.

p.s. Need more inspiration? Rachel at Small Notebook likes to Clear the Clutter every Monday, and Nester is hosting a Home Goals link up tomorrow. I’m sure there will be plenty of posts about home goals–including this one–linked up and waiting to inspire you to spit shine your abode.

Kitchen: A point of entry into our home for family and friends and a place to create nourishing meals. It is welcoming, clean, and feels like as comforting as cookies and milk.

  1. Repaint kitchen, at least the ceiling.
  2. New floor in kitchen. (A temporary fix is okay if it can be reused somewhere else.)
  3. Caulk and paint window trim in kitchen.
  4. Create family organizer system in kitchen.
  5. Frame and hang prints, photographs.
  6. Organize medicine cabinet.
  7. Plant flowers or pots in planters flanking kitchen entrance.
  8. Repaint kitchen threshold.
  9. Replace cheap shades and inadequate window treatments.
  10. Organize and purge corner cabinet.
  11. Organize and purge dish cabinet.
  12. Organize and purge drawer under ovens.
  13. Organize and purge food processor cabinet.
  14. Organize and purge junk drawer.
  15. Organize recipes.
  16. Organize and purge freezer.
  17. Scrape and re-caulk kitchen counters.
  18. Switch to all glass containers.

Laundry Room: A bright, orderly, and invigorating room that functions efficiently.

  1. Scrape off wallpaper in laundry room.
  2. Paint and patch walls.
  3. Repaint pantry doors in laundry room. Replace door handles.
  4. Organize broom closet.
  5. Organize and purge shelves in laundry room.
  6. New rug.
  7. New shelves.
  8. New washer and dryer.
  9. Put back original window that previous owner removed.
  10. Remodel and convert into mudroom/laundry room.

Yellow Guest Bathroom: An interesting, quirky and cheery room. You know, for a bathroom.

  1. Decorate yellow bathroom: paint, shelves, medicine cabinet, rug, and general zhushing.
  2. Install baseboards.
  3. New toilet and sink.

Dining Room: A gathering place for family and friends where one can linger in comfortable chairs to discuss the day, play games, and share meals.

  1. Purchase new, made to last dining room table and chairs.
  2. Purchase dining room rug.
  3. Purchase china cabinet to match/coordinate with dining room table and chairs.
  4. Sell current sideboard.
  5. Sell IKEA display case.
  6. Sell midcentury china cabinet.
  7. Replace sliding doors with something safer.
  8. New window treatments for sliding doors/something safer.

Family Room: A cozy, embracing room where bodies sink into stuffed sofas and chairs to read books and watch movies. The lighting is plentiful, flattering, and comfort reigns over form. 

  1. Repaint family room a calm, comfortable color.
  2. Create a sense of warmth and family with pictures.
  3. Scrape acoustic tiles off family room. Drywall.
  4. Find a media cabinet, preferably with shelves for display or books.
  5. Replace with good quality, family friendly materials the sofa, coffee table, chair(s), window treatments, and lighting.
  6. Create a reading nook.
  7. Install floor to ceiling bookshelves along one wall.
  8. Replace carpet, preferably with hardwood and rug.

Living Room: An nattily dressed room that exhibits an appreciation for nature, music, and art in an approachable manner.

  1. Purchase jute or flat weave rug.
  2. Purchase cowhide rug.
  3. Purchase an upright piano; purchase stand for Mikey’s guitar.
  4. Style the piano.
  5. Shutters for picture windows in living room.
  6. Buy large plant for picture windows, preferably fiddle leaf fig.
  7. Remove fireplace mantel, possibly replace.
  8. Organize campaign dresser drawers. (Part 1: Respecting Money)

Master Bedroom: A respite where we go to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. A soft place to land.

  1. Clean out jewelry drawer.
  2. Clean out and organize drawers: unmentionables, . Donate clothing.
  3. Paint master bedroom a calm, relaxing color.
  4. Replace door handles and drawer pulls on built in closet.
  5. New window treatments.
  6. New blinds.
  7. Create rosary/meditation station area.

Master Bathroom: Clean, bright, and from the 21st century.

  1. Completely gut and remodel.
  2. Clean out and purge cabinet under sink.
  3. Clean out and purge medicine cabinet.
  4. Clean out and purge cabinet above toilet.

 Mikey’s Room: A charming room for a charming little boy.

  1. Organize and purge dresser drawers.
  2. Organize and purge nightstand.
  3. Organize and purge expedit shelf, secondary bookshelf, and toy storage.
  4. Organize closet.
  5. Convert into shared bedroom for Mikey and Nico.

 Nicholas’s Room: A charming room for a charming little boy.

  1. Organize and purge dresser drawers.
  2. Organize and purge nightstand.
  3. Organize closet.
  4. Organize and purge bookshelf and toy storage.
  5. Remove train table, donate or sell.
  6. Convert to guest bedroom.

Boys Bathroom: The bathroom in a men’s club if the men in such a club would get over themselves and have a sense of humor.

  1. New outlet so I can play music while I get ready.
  2. Install shower rod/head combo, possibly call plumber for this since it’s not standard.
  3. Install shower curtain.
  4. Repaint ceiling.
  5. Purge and organize medicine cabinet.
  6. Replace overhead lights.
  7. Completely gut and remodel.

Office/Outside Studio: An invigorating, comfortable room that promotes creativity.

  1. Complete purging and organizing project started in October.
  2. General zhushing, make comfortable and inviting for the Mister—and maybe me?—to work in at night.

Garage: A place where people park their cars, not store junk.

  1. Purge and declutter, sell contents of discarded items form 31 day series.

Hall Linen Closet: A place where linens and things hang out.

  1. Organize photo drawer. Create memory system. // part 2
  2. Replace pulls and door handles, possibly repaint.
  3. Create wrapping paper storage, do something with all the gift bags.

Entryway: A welcome point for new friends and a place to store the incidentals of school and sport.

  1. Rug for entryway
  2. New window treatment or film for front door window.
  3. Station for school backpacks, purses, coats, etc.
  4. Hang photographs or prints in entryway

Back Porch: A place to lounge and hide from the sun while enjoying its warmth.

  1. Install ceiling fans and lighting.
  2. Purchase outdoor rug.
  3. Create inviting seating arrangement.

Front Porch: A place to sit and watch little boys ride bikes, play in leaves, and catch bugs.

  1. Landscape flower bed.
  2. Bench for lemonade.
  3. Pot and arrange grouping of plants.
  4. Purchase good quality, stylish door mat.
  5. General zhushing.

Backyard: A casual expanse of green with spots of color coming from modest beds of flowers. 

  1. Plant flowers around Chinese Elm.
  2. Plant flowers or plants along flower bed in the backyard.
  3. Purchase fire pit, new patio furniture.
  4. Purchase new grill.
  5. Install twinkle lights.
  6. Plant herb garden, vegetable garden, regular garden.

Front Yard: A happy, humble, tidy yard with a welcoming approach.

  1. Plant flowers in front brick area.
  2. Completely gut and landscape.

Miscellaneous: We all have those things that don’t really go anywhere but need to get done.

  1. Paint all trim in the house.
  2. Scrape and paint all exterior windows.
  3. Blow up and hang two favorite pictures of boys.
  4. Add images to family wall of pictures.
  5. Reframe painting from Helena’s parents, find permanent place for it.
  6. Paint all doors in the house.
  7. Replace all doorknobs in the house.
  8. Repaint top of board and batten.
  9. Polish and maintain brass candlesticks.
  10. Polish and maintain all silver.
  11. Replace wire and plastic hangers with wood.
  12. Return items that belong to others.
  13. Return items to various stores.
  14. Repair, reupholster vintage chairs in garage.
  15. Organize car to accommodate sport equipment.
  16. Thoughts on tidying up the house.
  17. Organize instruction manuals.



Join the List


  1. Love the post Jules – what an impressive list. We make a “if only one day ….” list too. It involves big stuff. Helps us save the pennies so we have a focused goal. I’ll be following you! I started yesterday – cleaned out two cupboards in my kitchen and ridded myself of misc mugs with logos that are ugly and stray tupperware lids that have no bottom. Next up: create a functional shipping table in my basement so all my shipping supplies are within reach and easy to use. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • That’s another reason I put down the not-likely on my lists. I tell my husband I can’t know how much to save if I don’t know how much everything costs!

  2. 100 points for using the word ‘zhushing.’ You’ve got to love a word that makes the mundane, fabulous. And yet the poor little fellow has been neglected . . .

    Needless to say, great list. If nothing else, it reminds me of all the things I need to get done. Can’t wait to see you check things off!

  3. That is like the queen mother of all lists and I love it! I am almost afraid to say that when I read on Facebook yesterday that you have a list by room I had a total “Duh.” moment. I use to be so organized, back when I worked. Sigh. My lists typically jump from hang hooks in garage to purge CD collection. Yours is a written walk thru of your home. Last night I started on a new list and hope to have it done today so I can tackle something tomorrow.
    Here is to finding some buried treasure along the way.

    • My October list was pretty crazy. That’s why I broke it down this time. It was hard to find little projects to do with the list just one big list of line items.

  4. Loving your list. My favorite part is the description of each room. So descriptive and welcoming. A real breath of fresh air reading each description.

    • The description is to keep me on track and not get swayed by blogland, which can make you want things that are pretty, pinnable, and completely impractical for living.

  5. I really like your idea of summarizing your vision of the look, feel and function of each room. A while back I began doing a room-by-room breakdown of what we’d like to accomplish, but petered out on it. You’ve inspired me to revisit it.

  6. 1. Props for using the word “zhushing.” Excellent.

    2. I don’t know if you ever read Jess from “Makeunder My Life,” but she often writes about living intentionally, about getting rid of the things in life that bomboard and crowd. She encourages readers to write letters to themselves at the beginning of each year, full of what they want to look like and how they want to live by the following year. (You can find more info on her website.) Basically, describe how you want to look and feel in the coming months, how you want your home and your business to look and feel. By the end of the year, you’ll be able to see whether your goals and intentions were accomplished, whether the year was all you hoped it to be. I think you’ve done that with this list. Even more than making a great room-by-room to-do list of all the things you want to accomplish for your home, you’ve also made really intentional-sounding purposes and descriptions for each room, and I absolutely love that. I love a good list, but it’s those descriptions that have inspired me. (My favorite? Hard to choose, but probably: “The bathroom in a men’s club if the men in such a club would get over themselves and have a sense of humor.”)

    • I don’t read her regularly (I stop in maybe once or twice a year) but I know she is very much into intentions, decluttering, etc. I also know about the letters she writes to herself and that she encourages other to do the same. She’s a driven person and will go far in life.

      I very much did set out to write intentions for each room. I don’t want to lose focus and get tempted like a little magpie when I see something shiny, sparkly, and completely impractical as I work on each room. Each room must reflect who we are as a family, not what I think the internet would like to see.

  7. Massive list. Props for adding a vision for each room. Inspiring. And I may kick myself for this, but I am on board the William Morris train. See you on Thursday!

    • You’re also the one who was running like a chicken with her head cut off trying to be less than ten minutes late to our final Camp Mighty dinner gasping, “I have ninja fast getting ready skills! Right? Right? I have ninja fast getting ready skills!” while I applied blush two hours ahead of schedule. πŸ˜‰

  8. I too, want cozy rooms and sinkable cushions! I found your blog during your 31 days of William Morris project and since then, I have looked around my house almost every day and asked myself if I love it or if it is useful. I hardly have anything decorative, our house is pretty sparse. I’ve never been one to buy trinkets or collect things. I think now it’s because I haven’t found things I LOVE yet. I also hate to shop. Seems most people need to declutter, I think I have the opposite problem! Love starting my mornings with you!

    • Thanks, Missie! You know, I’m the same way. We took the Christmas decorations down and the house looks like people are moving in, or moving out. It’s barren in here. I’m gun shy when it comes to buying decorative items.

      • I’m SO there with you! My 8 yr old son walked in one day during the Christmas season and said “I love this house!” Now it feels empty. Although part of me was ready to get rid of the holiday “clutter”. Just need to find a happy medium I guess!

  9. Holy moly, that is a LIST. I want to play along, there are several goals for several rooms of my house…but they may be awfully mundane at the beginning. No pennies in the piggy bank right now for anything major. Question: can it be something tackled recently? I totally redecorated my daughter’s room in early December (but haven’t blogged about it yet), so could that count for a Thurs. link up?

    • Of course! And please, there are no pennies in our piggy bank. I really don’t know how I’m going to wing most of the items on this list, but it will work out. Ya’ll will have to be bored with posts about painting thresholds or scraping paint, both of which can be done for free. For my project this week I spent $6.

  10. Love the list. Worked all weekend on the first of the 52 projects, and crossed-off multiple lines of the don’t like list. Trying to get another project done for this week for Thursday’s post – but my (paying) day-job is monopolizing my time πŸ™‚ Will have to get the rest of the supplies today and be somewhat more efficient this evening.

  11. I cannot tell you how inspiring this is. I need to work on a list and specific projects, but this past weekend I got rid of a “top layer” from almost every room in the house. Several bags of trash, several to the thrift shop, and a carload (trunk and packed back seat) went to my daughter’s high school which maintains a warehouse for homeless/needy students and their families. Although I’ve been a long-time supporter of thrift shops (we always had a “Goodwill bag” going in my mother’s house), it’s even easier to get rid of things when I know they will go right into someone’s hands who really needs them. We send clothing and household goods primarily, and the ESOL teacher who manages the warehouse tells me it is gone almost right away.

    I’ve been feeling “not good” about having so much stuff recently when so many don’t – believe me I like stuff and am no saint about it at all! – but this project fits so well into my desire to give more. I don’t want to give out of guilt or shame – knowing I am doing this because I want to make a better home for my family means giving serves us as well as someone else. Don’t mean to sound preachy or to say that this project is only about getting rid of things – that just happens to be what our home needs the most.

    Thank you.

    • You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

      I got rid of a top layer, too, in our bedroom and gah! I forgot to take before and after pictures. Oh well. It still looks good and I know I did it.

      I think this project is a win-win. You’re passing on to others items you no longer need, while making your home a reflection of what and who you love. We aren’t promoting consumption for the sake of consumption around here.

  12. And another thing (don’t know why I have so much to say today) is that splitting hairs makes me happy too. Listing things that can’t happen yet helps me because then when I say to my husband “I bought a new living room rug today.” because then he knows I’ve been thinking and planning that for months and it wasn’t a whim.

      • I just started following you on pinterest and was thrilled beyond measure that you have a rainbow board. I love rainbow-colored anything – when I have taken art classes in the past with both my daughters, I let them be really creative while I paint/draw/collage rainbows. It’s all I can ever think to do. Anyway, I tagged an amazing rainbow cake for you – different from the other ones I’ve seen.

    • Thanks, Ris. Big and small–that’s the way it has to be, right? Life can’t be one big reveal after another. Someone has to polish the silver and paint the thresholds. God knows the elf on the shelf won’t do it. πŸ˜‰

  13. Hi. I’m officially delurking. I love what you said about including projects even if completing them is impossible in the foreseeable future. I have quite a few projects like that. And all they do is frustrate me. Perhaps adding them to the list because MAYBE we’ll be able to tackle them at some point will help. I’m gonna do it.

    I’m also delurking because this is a community of which I want to be a part. Your writing inspires me to work on my writing. Your topics resonate with me. I want to join the book club. I never comment anywhere because I don’t figure anyone is going to respond. But you do. And I would love to build community on my blog as well.

    Bottom line: you’ve inspired me to take a chance.

    Hi. I’m Sarah. Can I play, too? πŸ™‚

  14. Jules, I followed your October William Morris series avidly, and with these Thursday check-ins, I’ve no excuse but to join in the fun. My husband and I are house hunting for our first home, so my main focus will be purging and donating or selling whatever is not useful or beautiful from our current apartment. The end goal being that we purchase and move into a home with only useful and beautiful items, and then strive to keep our purchases very intentional. How often do you get the opportunity to start with a clean slate?

    My husband and I been talking about this type of intentional home for a long time, and this project is right along those lines.

  15. I love how your lists start with how you want the room to feel when you are done. I might not be able to get something done every week but I am sure going to try. Thank you for the inspiration. Off to make my list . . .

  16. This drives the Mister batty. He can’t understand why I want to focus on something we can’t have in the foreseeable future… Oh heavens, I can totally relate. I had three unsupervised trips to hardware stores this weekend to collect ceramic floor tile samples for our basement makeover, which is in process and cannot move forward without this decision. What I brought home was armloads of backsplash tile samples for a kitchen makeover that will actually take place about the same time you receive your AARP membership card in the mail. I am the captain of HMS Epicfail. But I love your room descriptions. What a wonderful home you are creating for your family.

  17. You KNOW I love your William Morris project, Jules! I’m going to put this list together (I had it on my to-do list for the month) and report back! (and blog about it too..duh! πŸ˜‰ )

  18. Awesome. I am inspired by your list! My list is much shorter because the condo we currently own we will be selling in two years to move to a house (which possibly may require a cross country move). So, our focus is to finish the projects we started and have everything beautiful and useful.

  19. Oh how I love this post. And the list! Can we just talk about your list for a minute? Brilliant. And I think exactly like you do. I have multiple lists going on here and there over the years for each room/project that needs to be done, but I’ve never sat down to compile them in one big list. That’s my plan for this weekend, though! πŸ™‚ I love the idea of linking up (reporting back) since it will make me feel so accountable. It’s funny how these things work…after I did NaBloPoMo in November, I thought wow, I should do a project every 30 days every month. Clearly I must have celebrated a bit too much on New Year’s Eve that I thought that was an idea I could actually follow through (reality being what it is), but I think the accountability really worked for me! I’m excited to see what we all do with this cool project. Great idea as always, Jules! πŸ™‚

    • I joke that I was MADE for 30 day assignments. Assignments in general, actually. If I could do a new 30 day challenge every month, I’d be like a cat in cream. Thanks for being here, Kristen. πŸ™‚

  20. I found you through William Morris too. Decluttering a la the standard blogs doesn’t work for me (I don’t have a gazillion outfits in my wardrobe and I like having 80 cook books. Working on improving that culinary heritage) and William Morris’ quote makes it much more personal. Yes, I want to get rid of stuff, but not an arbitary number of books or scarves.
    I’m a huge fan of lists (hereditary- we used to joke my mum had to write something on a list after she’d done it if it wasn’t there before, just so she could cross it off) and I love the room description at the start. Sometimes you do need to remember what you’re aiming for.
    I’m in!

    • I don’t connect with other decluttering blogs, either. Who says you only need 4 scarfs? What if you love scarfs, and they are part of your signature look? I’ll bet someone who loves and adores scarfs takes much better care of their 25 than I do of my 3 or 4.

      I also don’t care for the organizing blogs that are stuffed with organizational and labels and downloads and whatever. It seems to defeat the purpose, but I know they are of great help to a lot of people. To each his/her own.

  21. Your list makes me feel like a total slacker! “Organize recipes” alone would take me about 3 months. I wish you well in tackling those items…and I wish me well in tackling my approx. half dozen items!

  22. I love the detail on your list and I’m grateful that I’m not the only one who does this – hubby sometimes thinks I’m a little crazy..but I’m not. I just like detail!

  23. This list inspired me to go back to my google doc and update it. Of course the list got longer as I added lots of new things (thanks for the ideas), but it also was nice to delete some items I’ve actually done since the last time I updated it.

  24. You may not need to replace doorknobs, I took mine off and painted them with oil rubbed bronze spray paint and they look great!

  25. I followed your blog last year and did some of my own projects. This year I am starting the year off right with my own list of projects (with a link back to this page). I am curious, though, where does the term “William Morris” come from?

  26. I absolutely love your list. It’s great knowing that I’m not the only one whose blood sings when they split hairs. All of my friends and family think I’m crazy for having so many detailed lists but I don’t mind because I would be crazy if I didn’t have any at all. Good luck with completing your ‘intentional home’ and I cant wait to see all your home dreams come true!


  1. […] Morris Project has helped them and she encouraged us to share our progress every Thursday. I love Jule’s list where she wrote about her home and the intentional plans she has for each room. I have a list like […]

  2. […] to keep a piece of family “history” that I don’t even like to look at. Well, this “William Morris Project” that I found through Jule’s website is changing me and that old thinking…I resolve to […]

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