Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.

Last year we remodeled the bathrooms at UMASS’s Chi Omega sorority. 

Why? Because I’m a sister (Mitch and I met the day before I graduated from UMASS), and they asked for help.

This year, I’ve been asked to sit on their House Corporation board as Vice President, helping with all things household design, construction, and maintenance related. 

I graduated from UMass with my BS in Construction Management so this is the perfect match for me with my background, but also for the blog. We can do more and create more than an unrelated designer or contractor since we are also creating content for you guys. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Whew.... now that I got through that huge background! Let me tell you about this project!

This summer we are doing some amazing things to really amp up the household for these sister’s and future members. We’ve had to balance the budget (because who doesn’t have one of those), the looks, and most importantly the functionality of certain areas. Not only do we not have the budget for everything in one summer, but we don’t have the time before the members move back in.

So what’s on the docket you ask?!

All New Windows

The original 48 year old windows have served them well but are in serious disarray. It was the first thing on the list to address. LOTS of Windows = LOTS of $$$ so this is our biggest project possibly since the house was built In 71’.


Replacing various ceilings throughout. Because the oldest tiles were in disarray as well. I had tried to get every old ceiling done but had to settle on all the bedrooms. A few other spaces will wait until next year. 

We have to wait on some ceilings since the sub-contractor had limited time this summer . We have an amazing General Contractor whom I’ve worked with for years. Now that the team is assembled we will know what projects/timelines are needed in advance and can get on sub-contractors schedules.

Kitchen Makeover

Since we have two large functionality projects going on we decided on a quick kitchen makeover to tide the space over till a remodel can take place. New paint, storage, and all new cooking supplies.

Here is the before:

Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-2081.jpg
Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-2082.jpg

As you can see the finish is in really bad shape on this cabinetry, although they treat it as best they can (40+ members live in house, 100+ altogether). Thats a lot of woman using the kitchen. We need a much higher grade cabinet when we do a full-remodel in a few years.

Entry & Living Room Re-design

Probably the most exciting projects (who am I kidding ALL of this is exciting to me) is the entry and living room overhauls!

Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-5.jpg
Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-2294.jpg

The entry will have all new bench’s, hooks, lights, a mini command center and a whole lot of style! The benches are a DIY mid-mod look and the space will finally be truly functional for them with lots of comfy seating (for while the wait for the bus to take them to classes).

The living room (which is like three rooms in one) is getting all new EVERYTHING. And as Mitch noted the other night when we dropped off another car load of materials “these girls aren’t even going to know what do do with themselves once your done Susie” —- thanks hubby you have to say that! But I’ll take the compliment. 

Here it is in 2018 before I found them a new rug:

Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-5907.jpg

A new rug helped tremendously as does re-arranging some furniture for flow, but the burgundy (or red) & yellow color scheme kills me.

If you never listen to anything else I have to say listen to this! Just don’t do the red and yellow together. Both red and yellow are colors that induce hunger and aggression. Not at all what you are looking for in your home and especially not in a Sorority!

Chi Omega’s colors are Cardinal and Straw (or red and yellow) which also might remind you of a certain fast food restaurant…… ekk!

Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-2079.jpg

If they are absolutely your favorite colors of all time and it makes you immensely happy to have them together in your home, please do its with accents. Keep most of the home neutral and let those favorite colors pop out at you and bring that joy.

I have made it my mission to eliminate these colors from the walls of this household (it doesn’t help that our home we purchased in 17’ was ALL YELLOW). The members will still have some accents as well as name tags and outfits that will indicate their pride and love for all things Chi Omega, which I fully support.

A few weeks into this project we realized the engineered floors needed replacing, they haven’t handled wear and tear well. Engineered flooring may have come a long way in over those ten years but a commercial vinyl is much more durable.

More on that over the next few weeks, but here we are now:

Big project in the works! The before pictures, what we’re doing and why.-2710.jpg

Mantle will be getting a substantial overhaul as well with the wood being stained and a couple other surprises! For all the Alumni reading this, don’t worry I’m not painting the brick, for fear of my life!

I’ve got a breakdown of the living room with mood boards and all the details coming at you next week so wait for that.

We only have till mid August to get everything done so I’m off to work (or play depends on how you think of it!

Remember to follow along on Instagram and Facebook for the behind the scenes and tips/tricks!