My Home Renovation: Hello Lovely Fixer Upper {week 5}

Still with me on our journey to
love a worn out cottage back to life?

This was one of those weeks where we plugged away
but have precious little visible progress to show
for it…yet inner beauty (i.e. updated plumbing)
matters big time!

So, remember when we were at this stage of
the main bathroom’s reno?

We thought we were on our way and soon added
beadboard to the walls. Then I began an endless
pursuit of painting coat after coat of our favorite
shade of white…but then 2 things happened
that brought everything to a halt:

(1)When it came time to install
the shower fixtures, my husband discovered
outdated hookups and had to open up the wall
in order to make updates.

A couple of NONfun evenings where
welding occurred in here, and a smoke detector’s
awful squeak became the soundtrack of our week.

(2) The beadboard is real wood (oak),

and since wood swells, guess what the walls did?


So more painted boards were ripped down.


But success was sweet!

Shower fixtures went in, sconces went up,

and I went back to painting my life away.

We knew we wanted to do something to the

ugly textured ceiling in here and explored

several options before deciding on

simply adding a skim coat of drywall mud.

My husband installed the faucet on the vanity,

and very soon it will travel to its ultimate destination.

Taking a cue from the grey in the marble top,

I painted an existing slatted bench which

we’ll probably place across from the WC.

This week, my paintbrush was permanently attached
to my hand, and I put more snowy coats on staircase parts.
(I don’t think our budget will stretch to allow us to do
wood stairs yet so we’ll start with carpeted steps.)

I also put another coat of porch paint on this bedroom
floor…you may remember the flooring in here is a bit
of a mystery…not sure if it is a laminate or engineered wood,
only that it was destroyed by large dogs who inhabited this room.

AND I refinished a few craigslist finds I plan to incorporate.
The small walnut secretary got polished, and the chest
was chalkpainted and waxed.

This is one of my favorite Shabby Chic Couture fabrics
designed by Rachel Ashwell* (Wisteria), and this week
I referred to it as I envisioned a decor plan.

The men demo’d this half of the kitchen wood floor
a couple of weeks ago, and today my son and I
carried the salvaged planks down to the basement.
Not sure how we will recycle them, but I’m
sure we will be able to get creative.

Remember my shopping trip for vintage last week?
Well, we selected a few vintage doors we hope
to use in the cottage as well as some old barn wood
which will become shelves.

I thought we would get to demo the kitchen this week,
but no time! It will happen soon as the wood floors
will be installed within a couple of weeks.

soon and very soon, our attention will turn to this space.

Lessons Learned in Week 5:
*Renovating? Does not always translate into tight abs.
I’m weary like a lot, and the McDonald’s drive-thru keeps
promising tender love (frappes, hot fudge sundaes,
comforting gorgeously fried nuggets of glory).

*While one remains busy McDoubling one’s McCalories
and searching for warm weather spanx & fat sweats,
one’s husband will declare SAAA-WEEET,
he has not been in such fantastic shape in years
(we will forgive him because he is a superstar
and now looks like one as well).

*Even when you are certain you are tackling projects
in the correct order, drama will come knockin’…
it’s not just for ratings on ‘Love it or List it’,
the struggle is real, kittycats.
(Closer inspection of the bath/shower fixtures
when walls were open may have revealed trouble
at a better juncture.)

*Though it slows progress, getting the inner guts
of a house functioning perfectly and making updates
to an older home are THE SMART WAY TO GO
(we could have lamely left the plumbing as-is,
slapped on cheap fixtures, and called it a day).

*I kind of hated daily decisions in week 5:
>hot fudge AND caramel on the sundae?
>shall I paint that, that, that, or that?
>puncture wounds and impalement
schlepping nail spiky floor planks OR
vertigo city, painting 2-story walls?

*Spending so much money in a short period of time
is not my favorite…the employees at the big box
stores know me by name and embrace me
when I enter (knowing I alone am responsible
for their record breaking sales month).

Please come join me
in this DIY adventure by
clicking here for all my fixer upper update posts!
(And thanks for subscribing here so you don’t miss an episode.)

Coming soon:


Peace to you right where you are.




  1. August 5, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    I can totally see progress! I love your bathroom vanity. Where did you find it? I'm on the lookout for a small one, and they're either hard to find or crazy expensive. I love the color you painted the floor, the whole room looks really pretty already, very airy. The Rachel Ashwell fabric is wonderful.. but best of all is the first photo of you with a big ole glass of wine. It made me laugh…


    • August 6, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      i will message you sources for the vanities i found, babycakes. thanks for journeying with me and always making me smile, cindy. 🙂

  2. August 5, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    Hi Michelle, I'm loving this journey! You are an inspiration for sure! I'm a major fan of bead board, even have it as a backsplash in the kitchen! Love your vintage finds too:)

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:05 pm

      i have loved beadboard since living with it in our very first home in chicago. this is the first time i have taken it all the way up the wall…kind of an experiment but a necessary move imho because the walls have lots of ugly texture and repairs that don't blend in! thanks for journeying with us, holly!

  3. August 5, 2015 / 11:45 pm

    Hi Michele, You have been one very busy lady and it looks like some great progress, I know it feels slow but from this point of view, you can call me impressed!!! Love the way you write about your journey, always a pleasure to follow along and I am dying over the FABRIC choice, perfection comes to mind!!
    xo Kathysue

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:07 pm

      i need you here in the midwest, California!!!! i honor the way you are attacking your design project and am so envious at this juncture of what it must be like to be working with brand spankin new construction. so excited for you!

  4. August 6, 2015 / 12:44 am

    Oh, it's so much fun to read your hilarious adventure with this fixer-upper, Michelle! You write so creatively that I feel like I was there the whole time with you! lol The transformation is absolutely beautiful! Keep on goin', girl! You'll make it! 🙂

    xoxo laurie

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:08 pm

      thanks, laurie. i have to temper the seriousness of so much of our lives with humor or go (more) insane. thanks for the encouragement, beautiful heavenly author.

  5. August 6, 2015 / 5:27 am

    Michele, you are living it;) The plumbing was a big deal in this house and I remember showering in an open bathtub with no roof and a blue tarp around the tub.. yep;) Keep the wine going and expect the unexpected. We are finishing our office and downstairs powder room over the next two week and then we need to put some finishing touches on the kitchen (I need more marble tile around the range and window). Next will be major outdoor construction.

    I am amazed at how quickly you are getting this done! xxL

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:29 am

      The plumbing is one of those things we can't see but it's such a big deal! Love what I see so far Michele!

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      yep! livin it is right. and soon i will be livin IN it. it does not appear we will have a working kitchen when we move in so things could prove very interesting and dramatic quickly. how will it all get done? i have no idea and appreciate those who have gone before me like you, girlfriend!

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:10 pm

      trying to finish it up and get it ready for its closeup, elizabeth. thanks for following, lovely one.

  6. August 9, 2015 / 7:38 am

    Now I feel like a total slacker since my Projects are minuscule by comparison to your Trials! Of coarse we just moved out of a Century Old Home into a New Home so all of my current Projects are by Choice rather than Necessity, which was always the case at the Beloved Old Historic Homestead. I applaud your tenacity and progress… all of our previous Homes were fixer-uppers because we loved the challenge… and Old Homes… and how cheap we always got the Labor of Love Homes. But now, at this advanced Season of Life, the Labor of Love had such an emphasis on Labor that I was no longer up to the job. This is the first Home I've ever owned that didn't need Rehab *LOL* and so I'm finding voluntary things to do in order to put my stamp on it… but Moving is such hard work I hope this ends up being our Forever Home now. I'm so enjoying your Journey of Loving a Home into Greatness, it is Inspiring me to quit being so wimpy about my Move. *Winks* Blessings from the Arizona Desert…Dawn… The Bohemian

    • August 11, 2015 / 2:31 am

      good for you, dawn! i honor your decision to skip the rehab…honestly i can't say i would do this again. it's just not fun to constantly make messes, clean em up and destroy things again. and we're just getting started! reno is for the young people! thanks for following, lovely bohemian woman!xox

  7. August 9, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    I remember feeling the same way when I decided to refinish my kitchen cabinets…and your doing a whole house! Girl, you make sure you rest..we don't want you getting sick!

    • August 11, 2015 / 2:32 am

      you are right, and i feel like i'm never gonna get enough rest to cope with the ups and downs, but plenty of people have been in our shoes so i am counting on the happy ending! thanks, julie.

  8. August 9, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    This is so weird. I feel like l'm watching my alter ego here. That's the same vanity we chose for our bath remodel. It's going to looks fabulous. And those sneaky electrical issues ouch. We had those too. You are making me feel very old …..all that painting is no small feat. I know because I'm doing it too. Love that floor…gee I think you've given me an idea for our ugly orangey wood floor in our kitchen.
    But I need your vitamins

    • August 11, 2015 / 2:35 am

      hahaha! of course we chose the same vanity–we're sisters. it's classic, yes? the painting just will not end, but it is nice to pay myself!!! i hope my white floor lasts…i wouldn't mind painting it annually but i don't think i can live with constant chippy bizness. love to you, leslie.

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