40 weeks ago, we began dismantling a sad fixer upper.
40,000 DIY projects later, we have learned
more than we ever cared to know.
It is taking us so long, I think Lowes actually
borrowed the whole “sometimes all a house needs
is a little love” campaign from my posts
and mission to love this house back to life.
…and for the record, sometimes a house needs beaucoup cash and temporary insanity.
If you have a sense of humor and
40 hours to spare, scroll on, friends.
The simple plan?
Love one neglected cottage back to life
and stay married.
Revival is expensive and triggers migraines.
The beauty of grace, sweet grace?
The interiors are happily beginning to breathe,
and we are more in love with each other.
This is not the final reveal.
That is at least a month away,
but I snapped the photos below
15 minutes before that dreaded
cocktail party last week
(just for you and despite the fact
rooms are not yet styled/zhushed
to blogworthy standards.)
If you have been reading this blog
since I lived in the European country house,
you will notice I have thus far
bought ZERO new stuff for
this cottage and am striving to
use what I already own.
Brace yourself for the hemorrhage of update photos!
We filled in the open stringer staircase,
installed some planking, and added carpet.
We expanded the door opening between
the kitchen and dining, and I plastered the ceiling.
We added a new fireplace surround, put in a new
subfloor and hardwoods, and painted endlessly.
“Let’s live like freaks with shrinkwrapped everything and chaos…” said no one ever.
mmmmmm. interior quietude looks good on you, quirky cottage.
Oh, how I miss my Bella Luna.
This carpet? Not so much.
Oy. All sorts of structural issues with the floors,
and I am married to a perfectionist.
What a difference expanding that doorway made.
The old kitchen may have looked okay,
but some of the drawers were not functional,
the cabinetry had laminated fronts, and at
20 years old, it was ready to be retired
to the basement workshop.
Very true to European cottage style!
For the kitchen design,
I gave us a larger peninsula and stole space
from the breakfast area to expand the work area.
I found the vintage doors at an antique store.
I totally recognize the chandelier is undersized,
but it is a sentimental piece as is the harvest table
beneath it which is way too big for the area, and
we are still debating how to deal (it is our family
kitchen table and sooooo many memories made here).
I still have to address the window seat to make it
more functional…for now, RAWR.
What a shame that water damage to beautiful
maple hardwoods meant they had to go.
We salvaged much of it to use for something special.
As I said, the harvest table is too big for the space,
but SWEET COZY MOSES, I CAN’T QUIT YOU,
FAMILY KITCHEN TABLE MY KIDS DID
ALL THEIR HOMEWORK ON.
Okay. The main bath.
Don’t get me started on an endless
string of disasters from its inner guts
(the leaking fixtures were located directly above our electrical
circuit box below…are you friggin kiddin me?)
to ventilation issues to…ohhhh, never mind.
It is coming along.
Let’s head upstairs now.
It is a one and a half story, so upstairs are two bedrooms,
one of which became an office.
Here is the master in progress.
This painting with gold leaf is by me,
and yes, I believe in custom white linen
slipcovers for boxes of tissues…
My sweet marble lamb wears a rosary
(from the Vatican) blessed by the Pope.
That little pillow on the bed does look ridiculous.
Promise I’ll get to the details eventually.
A sketch by Melissa James…we
celebrated Thanksgiving together years back,
and after dinner, I handed her a photo and a pencil.
A few minutes later, this. I knowwwwww.
Remember the outdated master bath?
The only thing worse than outdated and broken is…
Rubble and nothing.
Just a reminder, we LIVED in the house through this.
Remember the trio of Madonna cone bras?
The fact the light switches were located
outside of the room?
The critters in that attic crawl space under
The monstrous woofers and tweeters in ceiling?
The above mess magically morphed into a sweet
little bench and a perch for one of my first abstracts.
Yes. We’re fancy. We brushed our teeth here for months.
Why why why were we surprised every fixture
in this bath leaked for forever as well?
If a thing could leak in this house, it was leaking.
No more! We repaired and addressed it all.
We added a brand new furnace, central air, and a
state of the art (read: costly) water softening system.
And remember I told you we had a vintage
leaded glass window from Europe to use to
bring natural light into the spacious new shower?
Boom! It’s pretty unique.
We decided to wing it as far as a glass door
versus a shower curtain versus nothing.
And a shower curtain is the winner!
(Look mom, no hard water stains to scrub off a glass door!)
More decor to do in the upstairs office, but it is functioning well.
my studio needs a ton of attention,
but I LOVE the southern exposure and the
And this week, we are tackling the downstairs
family room and guest room which our eldest
(a high school English teacher) is occupying
this summer before starting law school.
My husband continues to inspire me with his
grit, work ethic, and brilliance whether he is
swinging a hammer or winning in the courtroom.
* * * * *
Thank you for journeying with me.
You will all be invited to the reveal
if we survive this next chapter which
will involve a whole lotta weed
(probably limited to the landscape variety).
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.)
Peace to you right where you are.