My Home Renovation: Hello Lovely Fixer Upper {week 48}

and welcome back to Hello Lovely’s
fixer upper journey
where we remain at work
renovating a sweet beat up cottage
which happened to be situated in
an ideal neighborhood and was
perfect for two downsizing emptynesters.

By the way, our kids moved back in
so life is beautifully complicated
and lovely again as I abide with
my three men (and a girl robot).

Almost ready for the final reveal
(soon, tired fingers crossed!),
today let’s chat about all things
rad reno and late summer shenanigans.

The master bedroom is morphing
into a simple serene sanctuary,
and I am playing with decor
while recycling old stuff:
the Paris Gate lamps are from RH,
and the wrought iron architectural
fragment with fairy lights is
a vintage find from France.
I used a dry brush technique
with Benjamin Moore’s
Revere Pewter on our
old bedroom furniture,
and I love that the
original creamy painted finish
still shines through as
a glow.

Hardware is bronze, patina-ed brass, rusty,
and even antique silver so we can safely say
there is nothing too matchy or contrived in here.

I’m sure you recognize my belongings from our last place.
My marble lamb on the dresser cozies up to an old English crock,
which I’m fairly sure is more jazzed about being a home
to petals than potted meats.

Our tub found in Madison, Wisconsin
is working out great, and we’re thrilled with how
the whole master bath is functioning…glorious natural light
and a joyful place to hang out in day or night.

We need curtain panels and a cafe rod.
Until then this Spectrum Privacy Film from Wallpops
(made in Germany) is lovely and looks like etched glass.
I plan to use it on the windows in the garage for
smart security and loveliness.

Do you know about Wallpops?

I just may have to try their Tibetan Grass Cloth Peel and Stick 
no-paste wallpaper for a fun project which will not
entail heavy sobbing whilst rolling out air bubbles.

We actually served dinner to friends the other night!
We felt rather civilized though we’re not yet used to
entertaining in a small kitchen.
It has its charms.
People are forced to bump into each other and touch
so if you join us to cook and feast here, prepare for cozy.

Our monstrous old sideboard from Belgium is
stocked with all manner of collected styling yum
(lordhavemercy, mama done lost her mind…
sheep jaws to holy water founts).

I still reign as Le Bookworm of Le Blogosphere!
Picked up Leslie Sinclair’s
Segreto Vignettes yet???

I am reviewing it toute suite
as it is a MUST HAVE for
your lovely design libraries
or your rustic plank coffee table.

And Studio Piet Boon…find me
on the kitchen table in an Amsterdam trance here.

If you have followed Hello Lovely for any length of time,
you have likely seen a hundred pics of my chair and
this industrial stool I picked up at a garage sale for
$1 and converted into a wheely side table.

please. come. hem. my curtains.

Experimenting with some holiday goodness freshly unpacked,
I will never tire of a smattering of fairy lights for
holiday occasions or a late summer Tuesday.

I even brought fairy lights along to an annual

summer sisters glamp-out in Wisconsin

where the friends you see here (and more)

who bonded as kids at summer camp,

gathered from around the country

to sleep in bunks and frolic at the lake.

(My sons are mortified about the message

on my tank which they construe as a

racial slur, but I mean no disrespect

whatsoever…I am truly a stay at home gypsy.)

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Back to the fixer.
This is a spot  for privacy, relaxation and meditation…
one can hear the birds and the bees, appreciate the trees,
and smell lavender on the breeze.

One can even be poetic.

I agree with Rohr…
that the longing for beauty we sense
is there precisely because
it is what we are made of.

*The whole world involved in a conspiracy of love.*

I commissioned a beloved artist to hand letter this sign
on a salvaged floor board, and with Mother Mary
(a recent find from an 1850 home)
it sets a tone.

This courtyard affords endless opportunities for styling

and mixing…right now it’s kind of a lazy experiment

in utilizing what we already own and helping the

boxwood and lavender establish roots.

The woods surrounding our property enchant.
If you were here in person, you would note
it’s impossible for me to discuss these trees without
tears of gratitude and tenderness escaping my eyes
as they continue to nurture and teach
me lessons in letting go.
Don’t even get me started on the
hummingbirds and squirrel I call Chubs.

I am also experimenting with fairy lights and candlelight
out here and am crazy about this
LAFCO Geranium Mint Candle – Patio.

Without citronella, this candle naturally repels bugs
and burns beautifully for 90 hours!

This mirror turned out to be a funny surprise.
It was leftover trash from the demo of our master bath,
and I used my all-time favorite Royal Designs
French Poem stencil for interest.

See another mirror I stenciled here

But its real beauty lies in watching various birds
admire themselves in the looking glass…just so presh!

Need a DIY French Courtyard in your life?

I cannot build you a wall. 
(And shall refrain from all
wall building jests.)

But it is fairly simple for one to wheelbarrow and deposit
a good measure of pea gravel atop weed barrier
after planting a blissfully fragrant peace garden.

(Except it wasn’t quite that easy for us.
Decades of overgrown shrubs, sod, and surprises
were labor intensively cleared first.)

Much more to do.
A new door.
Proper plantings in the tall pots.
Lanterns and new lighting.
Someday we will make that expanse of exterior wall
look inviting and place a gate with bells at the entrance.
I predict our petite private park will evolve with
time, imagination, and the changing seasons.


Perhaps on the next morn I snap pics out here,

I shall respect decency laws.

(Indeed. Sports bras brilliantly double as

cell phone pockets as seen FIRST on

Hello Lovely.)

I could create memes all day long.

Still smiling.
Still weird.
But nice.

image from Marjorie Salvaterra’s book HER

Not gonna lie,
m o m e n t s like the above
existed this summer.

We have been fixeruppering this place
since June 2015 and at times
question what we were thinking.

my little sisters in the old studio

There have been moments when I miss my swing
(it will return to my studio soon),
my beloved sisters
(we are no longer neighbors),
a social life and, dare I say it?


Renovation teaches us lessons of a lifetime.
Hold on! Let go! Be cautious! Be brave!
Transformation comes with costs, ya know?

Image result for most beautiful butterfly and worm

Before that caterpillar emerges,
there is a fury of miraculous rearranging

which may be mistaken for a gooey catastrophe.

But what if the catastrophe is more like a
Lego sculpture decomposing into bricks?

a Lego butterfly

Thanks for tuning into our home’s metamorphosis
which continues to be a labor of love and a
chance to see what we’re made of.

And thanks for supplying a sense of humor and order for me
during the chaos of the Lego bricks’ decomposition.

aerial from the coffee table

The final reveal has to be close, doesn’t it?????
* * *
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.)

Subscribe! It’s Free! Keep the weird but nice flowing!

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. September 7, 2016 / 11:04 am

    Good Day Lovely Lady! I love your reno updates and must say your sense of humor throughout the process makes the read so fun! Your ideas and progress are amazing and keep forging ahead soldier as I know the final will leave us all breathless. Stay happy my Dear!

    • September 7, 2016 / 8:11 pm

      i'm so glad you're laughing with me. how to make happy stay…that'll take a whole lotta love and a surrendered heart! xox

  2. September 7, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    Hello Michele,

    Your posts always make me smile. Your humor, endless optimism and beautiful light shine in every post. I love that you are so real and funny and you. I have enjoyed all of your posts about the renovation and cannot wait to see the reveal. Perhaps a magazine shoot is in order?

    Have a wonderful day and thanks for sharing your love, light and beautiful soul with the world. I feel blessed to have found you in blogland.

    • September 7, 2016 / 8:13 pm

      oh thank you, friend. oui. a magazine shoot is surely not far. all of this DIY is made easier knowing there are folks holding my hand. xox

  3. September 8, 2016 / 12:17 am

    Hi Michele, Your cottage is so you and it's lovely! I love the quote from Rohr, the lamb, the Belgian sideboard, the Blessed Mother statue, and basically everything else too! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    • September 8, 2016 / 4:19 am

      merci, friend. thx for sharing so much beauty with the world. xox

  4. September 9, 2016 / 1:26 am

    WOW, what a journey and what
    a sanctuary you have created!
    We are hoping to do something
    similar next year, as our baby is
    a senior in HS this year. Thanks
    for the inspiration and sharing
    what is possible. I concur, fairy
    lights are lovely any time of year,
    especially on a Tuesday!

    xo Suzanne

    • September 9, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      i can't believe he will be graduating! best to you, suzanne as the nest changes yet remains the safe haven it has always been. xox

  5. September 14, 2016 / 11:12 am

    It's turned out very very beautiful! Loved reading you Michele, as always and gorgeous fixer upper that one. Loads of love.

    • May 23, 2017 / 11:09 pm

      thanks so much, roy. xox

  6. May 20, 2017 / 10:02 am

    These home decor ideas and all the things you mentioned is just amazing. I truly love the passage you mentioned for privacy, relaxation and meditation. I also get the few idea how I can decorate my home. Thanks for sharing.

    • May 23, 2017 / 11:09 pm

      so glad, angela. thanks for stopping and I hope you'll keep tuning in. 🙂

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