My Home Renovation: The Fixer Upper {how we got here}

Even though we’re just three weeks
into our journey to fix up a quirky cottage,
I thought I would share a little history as well

as a few shots of our prior project, a spacious

European manor styled home we designed.

Last winter, we received a request for a one-time

showing of our house, and wouldn’t you know?

Somehow, in a crazy buyer’s market,

our treasured home–the one we designed

from scratch–SOLD.

Just like that…we were homeless.


art works by me


We shopped for a project with these parameters in mind:
>cheap
>tranquil location
>not far from work
>half the size of prior home
>half the property to maintain
>more privacy
>x-factor

HALF was a theme.

We were so tempted to buy another big place
or build a downsized version, but this
vision of simplifying by eliminating
HALF kept us focused.

We sold HALF of our home’s furniture and belongings
to ease the move into a small rental while we renovate.
Offers were made on four other fixers
(historic home, a foreclosure, a short sale,
and a white elephant) before we found the cottage:
a HALF-lemon, HALF-diamond-in-the-rough.

Those two HALVES should add up to a WHOLE
bunch of DIY adventures in HELLO LOVELY LAND, oui?

The cottage is a one-and-a-HALF story, extremely
neglected property which sat vacant for a time.

Swallowed up by a jungle of weeds, not one bit of quality
exists inside…so why did we proceed anyway?

Location, trees, price, and the fact we are indeed HALFcrazy.
Also.
*cue the gong*

The  X – f a c t o r… 
it captured my husband’s imagination. 


our old kitchen was a dream to live in!

It helps to embark on a fixer upper adventure
when your partner is courageously persuasive and says:
HONEY, THIS IS THE ONE, AND SHOULD YOU
NOT LIKE IT IN THE END, WE’LL SELL.

It helps too when that partner is handy
with electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.




So we have decided to love this place back to life.

Meaningful metaphors seem to emerge daily
since making this commitment to renovate…
so do construction woes.

I won’t be HALF-hearted in my blog posts.
I plan to share the pitfalls and unlovely as well as
the gratifying triumphs of the makeover.

For up to the minute updates, like my facebook page here.

After all, resurrecting, reviving, repairing,
and nurturing something used up and broken and
then ushering it into a beautiful new chapter?
Powerful, enlightening stuff.

The process has already been educational,
dramatic and challenging.

For example, I don’t sleep well.
HALF the time, I cannot imagine we are ever going to
actually live in that big ol’ mess, let alone make memories there.
Yet I have hope.

Thanks for following our journey,

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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14 Comments

  1. July 18, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    Your other home was so lovely, so YOU!! I am going to thoroughly enjoy seeing what you discover about yourself and how you put your lessons to use in your new home. You will touch every corner with love and it is going to be fantastic, an ongoing project and many opportunities to use your creative juices!! Thanks for letting us follow along!!!
    Kathysue

    • July 18, 2015 / 11:29 pm

      thanks, kathysue. can you believe how far back you and i go now? gotta hop over to your blog to find out what is happening in GOOD DESIGN LAND. peace.

  2. July 18, 2015 / 8:28 pm

    Michele, these are gorgeous photos of your last home! It's so much fun to hear about your progress. Good things just don't happen, they are created and that's exactly what will happen here. How exciting and I can't wait to see the progress:)

    • July 18, 2015 / 11:31 pm

      amen to 'good things don't just happen!' and i have decided this time around to stop working so hard to make things look easy. know what i mean? getting things right is hardly ever easy! thanks, leslie!

    • July 20, 2015 / 1:59 am

      heavy on the challenge right now esp when trying to stick to a budget! thanks, elizabeth!

  3. July 20, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Love following this journey! I feel for you I too have had to put blood sweat and tears into this old place.. but it makes you feel like its really yours in the end. xo K

    • July 28, 2015 / 10:11 pm

      i totally agree. by the end, i will have touched every single solitary surface with my paintbrush!

    • July 28, 2015 / 10:12 pm

      you would know gorgeousness, julie! thank you for following.

  4. July 22, 2015 / 5:37 am

    Oh I love a good story. Sharing pictures of your beautiful former home is such a nice way of sharing your family's history…all the memories and love and creative energies that went into that home. I'm curious how you feel when you see those photos now. I was quite surprised by the absence of any sadness when I see pictures of our old place. Even though I loved that home. I guess that's a sign that it was the right decision for us. Although I do miss living in a 'pretty' home that's for sure and since we're living in our place while the work happens around us, it's teaching me all about patience. I am so happy to be following you on your new home adventure Michele, I can relate to the excitement and mystery that is part of the process. And I have a feeling you can teach me a thing or two about calmness. I only wish we were closer and could talk house projects over a glass of wine!
    xo
    Leslie

    • July 28, 2015 / 10:15 pm

      thank you for sharing this journey, leslie. i sooooo enjoy being on this one with you. i do feel some sadness when i see photos of the old house, and it may be because i parted with so many belongings in addition to the house. but life there was not all beer and skittles so i am happy to leave a few things behind and re-invent in this fun new chapter.

  5. July 23, 2015 / 2:25 am

    Michele,
    It's going to be a whole dream home not half when you place your stamp on it.
    I am so looking forward to all the old new you add to this home.
    There is such a beauty in down sizing creating a less is more cottage feel to a home.

    Although your home that so,d was amazing, there is just something special that I feel will come out of this cozy cottage.

    Looking forward to all your progress.

    Xx
    Fondly,

    Dore

    • July 28, 2015 / 10:17 pm

      i am truly starting to feel the charm and specialness emerge, dore. it's a very sensual thing, oui? i mean this neglected cottage was closed up for so long and did not smell a bit rosy! now that we have gutted it and cleaned every nook and cranny, it smells new and fresh. so that's one thing we've got! merci for your kind encouragement.

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Silver Rectangle Accent Table
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing