My Home Renovation: Hello Lovely Fixer Upper {week 3}

Tons of progress made this week!

T H E  B O Z E M A N  C R E W
(aka Gramma and Grampa from Montana)
arrived with their usual determination and energy
to get down, get dirty, and make it all look so easy.

Yep. They traded this:

For this:

remember the exponentially growing subfloor problem in the living room?

No more worries, uneven floors, or shih-tzus tumbling
into the basement thanks to the husband
and his nimble, pose-striking daddy-o.

Meanwhile, Gramma was often high.
On ladders, kids!
White-i-fy-ing walls with paint.

remember the basement’s ‘galactic eye cabbage?’

She wasn’t havin’ it. Get down, Gramma, get down,

after all, how much more gratifying is covering

basement eye cabbage than cycling in paradise at home:

Gram proceeded to transform, I think, absolutely every

room in the whole cottage by cleaning up messes,

hauling out trash, smashing up tile, extracting nails,

and the list goes on and on…you wouldn’t believe

this reno-ssance lady’s talents (she also sings and dances)!

Remember the main bath demo halted by subfloor drama?

Game on, baby.

The cast iron tub went in and cement board went up.
Keep in mind, there is still no air conditioning,
and temps were in the 90’s this week…

Despite the heat,

the guys installed subway tile (4 x 12s).

the tile team drenched in sweat and mortar

Then they installed hexagon marble flooring and…

oak beadboard on the walls.

While my husband saved the world at work,
outdid themselves destroying awful barf-hued entry tile
with sledgehammer, saw, and muscle.

Wow! Here it is now in particle board glory.

They found tile demo so enjoyable, they moved
on to our wee laundry room and tore up
that evil floor too.

I painted walls, sanded/primed/

dreamed up a cost effective facelift for the staircase,

met with the hardwood flooring guy, and spent

a ton of money on appliances, vanities,

sinks, faucets, tile…

We occasionally allowed our guests to eat and view the
Tour de France, and Gram and I even
strolled in the rain through one of my favorite gardens:

Anderson Gardens

Beautiful Japanese gardens offer everything the
work site is missing…

peace, fresh air, and beauty.

However, thanks to the great help, we are
well on our way to capturing those qualities
at the cottage…we can never thank you enough,
Grampa and Gramma.

Before they fled crazycottage town, the in-laws managed
to remove and salvage half of the wood floor in the kitchen
(hated to lose this beautiful maple but water damage
and design plans required it) and rip out the whirlpool
and platform shown above…woo hoo!

Lessons learned in Week 3:

*I am gay for white paint. Love buckets of latex joy just rule.

*You’re the one in charge of design decisions
and not everyone grasps the vision?
Be strong and poised for the B-word (not that it gets
uttered, but you see it in their eyes at times).

*Citizens of Montana possess superhuman endurance.

*Plumbing and electrical repairs require a special skill set…you may need to hire a contractor for a job like this!

*Sticking to a tight budget?
Helps to keep design plans loose to take advantage of
clearance sales and incentives…I scored the oak beadboard
for 75% off and ordered appliances offering a 10% rebate.
Alternatively, forget budget and snag a second job via Craigslist
(there are folks seeking a “beard mentor,” “Jedi labor inducer”
and “someone who will velcro me to their body
and jog because I despise exercise.”)

Coming soon:

Kitchen and master bath demo,
choosing wood flooring,

Please come join me
in this DIY adventure by
clicking here for all my fixer upper update posts!
Thanks for indulging us on our nutty adventure,
and peace to you right where you are.




  1. July 23, 2015 / 5:35 am

    Wow! So much progress and what a team you all make!! We also have family in Bozeman .. and they are super-human like that too;) 🙂 It's impressive to see EVERYONE helping. The bathroom looks great .. the tub and tiles are classic! Exciting Michele .. keep your sense of humor and have fun! xxL

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:14 am

      thanks, leslie. a very cottage bath for a cottage!

  2. July 23, 2015 / 11:08 am

    You are one lucky girl and I loved seeing this become a true family affair, all I can say is you have you some mighty strong genes! So sweet how everyone's doing their part, it will truly be a house built out of love. You know you will be blessed when you move in! Look forward to continuing progress….good luck and smart girl to take those little breaks!

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:15 am

      very very fortunate to have all these folks who enthusiastically pitch in, tina!

  3. July 23, 2015 / 2:49 pm

    I am so excited to see all of this great progress – know you are! Your crew definitely personifies team work…loving your subway tile – so clean and fresh!

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:16 am

      thanks so much for following, ladies!

  4. July 23, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    I can't believe how much you guys have done!!! My gosh I never seen a cuter Grandpa and Grandma, and so talented too. So that's where hubby learned his invaluable DIYer skills! That will definitely help you keep costs down. BTW–you entry has great bones….it's going to be gorgeous after you get through with it.

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:17 am

      they are an awesome team and so determined to get it done sooner than later. i'm a lucky girl. thanks, leslie!

  5. July 23, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    Yep. It's going to be wonderful. Are you just using white off the shelf?

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:18 am

      no no no! i will be blogging about the paint color very soon, karen. many many samples were painted on the walls before the right one revealed itself.

  6. July 24, 2015 / 12:28 am

    lol You are so hilarious, Michele! I loved reading this post, but I could just feel the sweat pouring off those hard working bodies! lol Amazing job! Watching this transformation is so exciting, and you are doing a fab job supervising it all, girl! lol

    xoxo laurie

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:19 am

      i don't know if i will do it this way again, laurie–what a difference being a fixer upper at 50 and not 30!

  7. July 24, 2015 / 5:29 am

    The cottage is coming along nicely, but I gotta tell ya….Gramma has it all going on. What a stylish woman!

    • July 25, 2015 / 5:20 am

      hahaha. thanks for following.

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