My Home Renovation: Hello Lovely Fixer Upper {week 52}

Lots of peeks today even though it’s not quite
reveal time with shiny happy pictures
of styled polished spaces;
my best estimate now is Christmas, and
I’ll be so relieved to not so much show it off,
as begin to relax and make memories here.

Remember where we began in week one?

We had no idea week two would bring more surprises.

or that this bathroom actually didn’t look half bad…


since things got a lot worse before they got better.

during…week 8

almost there…let’s do something to that window!

One of my favorite vignettes from week 16

which honestly depicts where we brushed our teeth

each morning…yes, the bathroom faucet had been

spray painted white to look new in marketing photos

online…yes, I must have been out of mind to not

even tidy the basin up for a photo for you.

Two thousand projects later,
there are a few left…upcoming adventures?

New doors!
(read the pity party rant and don’t judge)

A garden shed.

Completion of landscape
(oh my gosh, you guys, we
just went ahead and tackled
it ourselves)


Media room*
*that’s fancyspeak for “making the lower level
less dungeon-like yet still moody for TV and video games

It’s hard to fathom that a whole year has passed
since we moved into a cottage
swallowed up in weeds with:
no kitchen, leaky plumbing,
stained yellow ceilings,
one working bath,
and a hundred projects
requiring our attention
and checkbook.

We had never done a whole house.

if i have my way, these closet doors are buh-bye

By ourselves.

I grew teary reflecting tonight since
a year ago, our Bella Luna was
struggling and couldn’t
do the stairs, could barely see
or hear, and was in pain at a time
we ourselves were struggling
to get comfortable.

We have learned so much
about the costs of renovation.

It’s not just the body and some sanity you sacrifice in the work.

You forfeit a social life.

the dining room wall in week 6

And a sense of comfort at home amid chaos.


during…week 8

getting there

There’s this domino effect we all see played out
in “reality” shows on TV where addressing
one problem leads to another and then another.
Except  that invisible crew of 30 tradespeople
who resolve the issues in less than 30 minutes
of air time are absent when your reality
is a DIY whole house reno and you
and your partner have careers.

Exhibit A.
It’s not just that the shower leaked
for years, but that said shower floor is located
directly above an electrical circuit box
below…and moisture within walls breeds yuck…
and addressing yuck involves demolishing walls
that you never intended to demolish and then re-build.
Right? Yeah, you get it.

Fixing and replacing and updating
is gratifying, but it leaves little time
to enjoy the fruits of the labor.

It would all be just too much if it weren’t for…

L O V E.

We love each other and love design.

We love our sons, and both are back
at home with us, bringing joy and laughter.

We love creating.

the wild and the dead

We love breathing new life into the brokendown.

We love learning new skills.

okay, that chandelier did NOT work and is gone baby gone.

We love mending things.

We love beauty.

We love to adventure…and share it.

I am so happy my husband chose this house
for us to revive because it is beginning
to bloom with hope.

Friends, don’t give up on the imperfect
or let fear keep you in your comfort zone.
The uncomfortable zone has its charms
and is where all the growth happens.

week 32 was still pretty gnarly

We may have downsized, downgraded, and
maybe downplayed the challenge,
but we have also profoundly re-learned
what living in abundance looks like
(hint: it has nothing to do with
square footage or the view
from your kitchen window).

We have been given an opportunity to let go.

Let go?

Of the illusion we are in control.

Of needing so much perfection.

Of concern about what others may think.

Of a lot of egoic ridiculousness.

oh you were ugly, mouse infested attic in my master bath week 16

4 months later it was still not usable

Letting go has freed our hands to receive…

more grace,

more mystery,

more wisdom,

and more courage.

To see more of our journey this year,
visit the adventures here and pretty please
leave comments below so I know you
are out there viewing the good,
the bad, and the ugly of this project.

I will be back with an update soon on
the remaining fix ups and with lots
of secrets and sources.

What are your thoughts on this
ongoing transformation, fixer upper brethren?

p.s. If you follow me on instagram and facebook
(and I hope you do so I can follow you back!),
you will begin to see hints of what is on the horizon
for the next fixer upper even before this one’s a wrap.

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. October 21, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    Lovely Michele, this transformation is actually breath taking!! Truly. I feel calm, serene and happy inside just perusing your pictures, I can only imagine sitting in your home drinking tea and talking for hours. You two have done an absolutely amazing job. I can only imagine if your home could speak it would say, "Thank you, I love you!!"

    • October 22, 2016 / 12:26 am

      we would definitely be chattin it up. what a kind thing to say!

  2. October 21, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    Oh i love it! So feminine,light,airy. Sigh. You done good. The toe shoes are perfection.

    • October 22, 2016 / 12:26 am

      thank you for the encouragement. xox

  3. October 23, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    Michele, I really enjoy your posts and am always excited to see a new one in my mailbox! Your journey inspires me and I feel your pain when you describe your losses. Sending you love from NC on a beautiful Fall day.

  4. October 24, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    thanks for the love, katherine. and thanks for joining me. xox

  5. October 25, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    I love how you keep showing the progress mess….makes your beautiful shots even more impactful. Great job. Give each other a hug.

    • October 28, 2016 / 5:02 pm

      i so appreciate you following along, lovely mary ann. it can be embarrassing and vulnerable to show the process so thanks for your encouragement. xox

  6. October 27, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    Michele…….that tub… We tried to put a standing tub in our bathroom and it just didn't work with our space sadly. This transformation is amazing and you have so much to be proud of. I hope you felt it was worth all the effort as the end result is no less than stunning. How wonderful it will be to celebrate with family this holiday season in this gorgeous new home!

    • October 28, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      i'm so glad you approve! we found that on craigslist and it came from the nicest gentleman who was happy we were giving it a good home. i am hoping it will be worth all the effort and someday feel complete! xox

  7. Rhonda
    August 25, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Hello Lovely Michele! I'm new to your blog and I'm obsessed! I'm slowly making my way through your journeys (and tend to grumble when I'm interrupted). So many bloggers these days only toot their own horns, but you, sweet you, toot so many others. I share your love of the same designers, particularly Giannetti and Pierce! ooh la la….
    Your home renovations are beautiful and I hope you are finding peace and tranquility in them. You are certainly inspiring me to do the same. For the first time in a long time, I want to get my paint brush out again with a fresh blank canvas….even amateurs like me can find grace in the simplest things.
    Thank you!

    • August 25, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      What a treat to read your words, Rhonda! Thank you for finding me and hanging out in lovelyland. We're thrilled you are finding inspiration. My creative soul would be bored senseless if I only posted about my house! Too many pretty ones to discover. Peace to you.

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