My Home Renovation: Hello Lovely Fixer Upper {week 42}

You guys!

It’s time for more

ugly pics of the fixer upper!

Showing you the unlovely is not my fav

yet what I promised I’d do.

Remember where we began a year ago?


This is our stunning entrance boasting:

*mauve door with assorted dents from break-ins

*dying shrubbery, weeds and grass surrounded

by dying shrubbery, weeds and grass

*ant-infested stone walls with eroded tops


*more overgrown garden beds than

you can shake a selfie-stick at

I mostly felt all:

Ya know?


We wanted a professional landscaper to address it all,

but  since no one could fit the work into their rotation

for another month…


Power tools and RED BULL.

No, the interiors are not done.

But we hightailed it outdoors since we’re

depleted from indoorsy DIY.

(Catch my tone there?

I continue to struggle through this

weird complete sobriety treatment for chronic migraine…

relying on a lot of grace, comfort food,

and magnesium right now.)


Here is the path from the driveway to the

front door…weeds to the left, moss to the right.

The woods are beautiful and create an

incredible buffer from the street below.


This path downhill to the street was

invisible for years until our son cleared

the trees and brush to bring it to life.

*a pretty pause and palate cleanse*

This was hand delivered by our realtor friend

one year to the day we closed on the fixer.

Thank you, Cleo.

(Lots of emails from friends over the last

year inquiring about all the merch at Target

with my blog’s name…i haven’t seen a dime,

and it’s a tad annoying til I remember

a phone conversation with Rachel Ashwell

years ago…she told me she absolutely

loved what i named my site…Rachel’s

stamp of approval–that’s superior

to cash for me, so carry on, posers who

continue to hijack thunder and traffic

of the original Hello Lovely.)

One of our first outdoor projects was painting the

garage doors which were a khaki color

and did not relate to the siding.

Powerwasher and paint sprayer to the rescue

for the doors and furniture I scored from a

friend’s glam sale.

Here’s a similar set if you need one or twelve.

I mixed half Farrow and Ball’s Hardwick White
with half Cornforth White.


This is the south side of the property.


And this is north.


The patio is something I long to salvage

(much to my beloved’s dismay) and since it

was sinking and graded improperly, it had

to be demo’d and regraded, which is

as far as we got


my three men

began to curse and directed their

attention elsewhere.

How does that shift play out for a peace-loving,

sober, chronic migraine sufferer

living among 30 thousand

unfinished projects

and a patio in pieces?

Actually I am very grateful they were willing
to even address it.


(The upside?
The bid was over 3 grand just
to re-assemble…so there’s that.)




These dirty kids once lived behind

my belly button; now they are my world.



I found this trellis at the sweetest estate sale…

this will someday be a charming path from

the driveway to the back door.


I imagined hostas along the path

to the front door then changed my mind.


Taken from the stairway, you see the men cleared
hedges and shrubs inside the courtyard
except for a burning bush
which needs to be thinned.

See where I’m going?

Lavender, boxwood, pea gravel…

very French courtyard meets quirky cottage.

I kept it wispy light.

Still  a work in progress,
it’s now functioning and evolving nicely.

We will soon cap the wall, add accessories,

and tamp down the gravel, but I can
already tell you I love how it looks and feels
under bare feet–beachy with no jagged edges.


The east side of the property was lush with sickly plant life.


Resurrection will happen soon.

This area is on the east side, and I’d like

to transform it into an outdoor dining oasis,

enveloped by the beautiful mature trees.

Mary is from a historic 1858 property across town,
and the owner would like us to buy the house
(be careful about complimenting a homeowner’s property!)
but is not yet ready to allow me inside!

The path is looking cleaner with roses and box
and dressier than if I had massed those hostas.

I plant herb filled pots every year: this one is
rosemary/thyme/basil/parsley/mexican heather/stonecrop.

I brought home all sorts of samples of stone to use in the
courtyard but liked the simplest concrete pavers best.
You can even make your own…click here.

This pile times 30 is what we have been burning.


We demo’d everything outside the courtyard walls
and planted more box and roses to soften the landscape.



Is it time to light the friarwerks yet?

No, ma’am.

If you had told me a year ago that we would
opt to work on the landscape ourselves,
I would have…

But after all this wild indoor DIY, why not?

We are tired.
I doubt we will ever
take on anything like this again,
my sense of humor is still intact;
I still feel like this about my man:

you make me so happy, KYLE HANAGAMI!

My heart FLOWS with sweet gratitude
for the many lessons
(even the Owen Wilson WOW lessons)
along the journey, and I can’t wait
to share the pretty pictures of the future
we hopefullymaybemostlikely will
collect someday at completion.

And I am so thankful that you would
take the time to tune into our journey.
You have made us feel supported
and cheered us through challenging days.
You are beautiful souls. You are.

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.


Leave us some comment love!



  1. July 14, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    Everything is turning out so – well – LOVELY! Doesn't surprise me. Can you please come over and do this to my house?

    Lisa D.

    • July 15, 2016 / 4:25 am

      thanks so much. i'll be right over when this place is ready for its closeup, lisa.

  2. July 14, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    OMGoodness, you have taken on a huge job but it is looking amazing! I am anxious to see it all completed!!! Beautiful job!!!

  3. July 14, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Wow! What great outdoor space. Everything is lovely.

    • July 15, 2016 / 4:26 am

      thanks so much for visiting. xox

  4. July 14, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Looks great Michele!! I know what you mean about taking a break from the indoor DIY projects. I'm wanting to buy furnishings and my husband is wanting outdoor stuff .. working it out;) xo

    • July 15, 2016 / 4:29 am

      it's still a big mess out there but bed by bed, we'll get there. i am trying to remember how much money we are saving doing the outdoor work ourselves, but we're too old!!! thanks, friend.

  5. July 15, 2016 / 12:31 am

    Michele..Michele…you continue to amaze and delight at every turn. The progress is so fun to watch, your design choices stellar (LOVE the Boxwood), and your sense of humor is beyond! After a long day, what a treat to tune into your words and wisdom. You make me smile and huge high-fives to all continuing the hard work. Take care Lady!

    • July 15, 2016 / 4:30 am

      i'm takin' all those high-fives you're layin on me. thank you for your lovely encouragement, beautiful blogger.

  6. July 15, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    And you are still smiling….that says somethign. WOW you are brave, I cannot imagine taking it on but look at the amazing progress you are making. And think of the 24/7 gratification you will feel knowing that every bright green blade of grass was your doing. On a side note love that patio furniture, gorgeous!
    You made me laugh with the power tools and Red Bull comment, only you Michele!
    So sorry about the migraines as someone who suffers also, I feel your pain literally and figuratively. Hang in there, hoping you will have relief soon.

    • July 15, 2016 / 6:46 pm

      i should probably have qualified that the RED BULL is for my 3 men only and not me. my headache doc is most likely reading this! love to you, tina. xox

  7. July 15, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    It looks beautiful Michele. It is a lot of work that takes time. Now you have a lovely place to sit and listen to the birds wnen you need a break from the continued indoor reno work.

    • July 15, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      yes! using it as an outdoor office for my work (writing)! thanks for following, sea lovely blogger.

  8. July 15, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Your gardens are lovely; you have such vision and are a beautiful soul! Can't wait to see what's next! Always a blessing to have a team with a lot of muscle to support your vision!

    • July 15, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      you are absolutely right. it's all them and their muscle. i can only be trusted with clean up and planting. digging out these mature shrubs and trees is backbreaking work. xox

  9. July 17, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Home sweet home, and a life you gave this home falls nothing short of wonderment and relaxed calming beauty.
    I love that stone wall, it must have had your heart at first glance, I know it sure clinched the deal when you first posted the potential possiabilaty that this could be your next home.

    I will enjoy watching your home grow with life.
    Always enjoy your posts my dear.
    As for your migraines suffering and finding what works for you?
    Had you ever been introduced to Topamax ??
    My daughter would end up in the hospital with such sever migraines and with trying everything from her young childhood on to college it's been the final medication that does the job, she can now go months without a migraine where once it was a way of life to have 3 to 4 a week, costing us hundrePds of dollars a month on meds until now with TOPAMAX !!

    See you and all your humorous beauty soon.


  10. July 18, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    I just love your fixer upper! I will be featuring it at SYC this week.
    xx Jo

  11. July 19, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    What lovely landscaping and what a warm, humorous way to share it! I am all for French and I'm in love with boxwoods….jealous just a bit:) Thanks so much for sharing at our Vintage Charm Party! xo Kathleen Charm Bracelet Diva {At Home}

  12. Michele, it looks fabulous! I cannot believe the transformation of the courtyard and the rest of the property. You have way more patience than me! Everything you have done has heel well thought and executed. Keep up the fabulous work. You are blessed with your husband and kids!

    So sorry to hear about the purloined name Hello Lovely to make a profit off of you! Sadly there are people with no morals.

  13. July 20, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    So this is what you have been up to! It looks amazing! Thank you for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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