Fixer Upper {Winter 2016}

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

I am back with an update on our Chicagoland cottage makeover

which is happily *this close* to being a wrap, though

the last few projects are extremely labor intensive and

important to get right.

 

If you have visited the main Fixer Upper page (by clicking

Fixer Upper in the grey bar at top of this page) which contains

the chronicles of our DIY whole house reno, you may

have seen my response to whether I would

ever take on a project like this again:

It still captures my sentiments, but at this very

moment, I think it’s likely we’re nuts

for taking on so much…knowing full well

life is bound to keep happening

(illness, visits from relatives,

kids moving back home, aging…),

and the holidays!

 

I mean. Christmas time is here.

How DOES one navigate the holidays

with two fixer upper projects going?

 

Christmas decorating…

I have always been a minimalist when it comes

to Christmas decorating, not so much due to

laziness, but since I’m allergic to clutter.

 

If you saw my post about my mom’s house

with its pretty halls decked with

Swedish Christmas touches, then you

understand I grew up surrounded

by beautiful decor yet developed

a more spare aesthetic.

 

I’m a creative vixen and change it up each year.

For my Christmas decorating this year,

I kept it so simple, a baby could do it.

 

Fresh greenery (most from a giant tree in my yard),

white fairy lights, gold balls, bleached pinecones,

and a few collected vintage and galvanized pieces.

 

I snapped these photos today as the

snow fell very gently initially before piling up quickly.

 

Important elements missing from the images

are: fresh flowers, colorful personalities,

and all the delicious goodies

I’ll be baking this week…so imagine laughter,

empty pedestals piled high with gorgeous

frosted cookies, and fresh blooms in the

evergreen/twig arrangements.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
White Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

 

Please pardon the gnarly Frasier Fir wreath.

 

Oh my lord, she looks like we got in a fight,

(no evergreens were harmed in

the making of this post)

and I emerged the clear winner.

 

I’m not skilled at working with fresh greenery

(um…you can’t shape the branches without wire

which I will put on my list), but I will give

her a trim before guests arrive Christmas eve.

 

Remember where the kitchen began

when we bought this neglected house?

 

It was way worse than it appears in photos

because the vinyl cabinets were in terrible condition,

and there was water damage to the hardwood floors.

 

The cabinets and laminate countertops

are now used in a workshop in the basement.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Kitchen – Before

 

After we gutted it, it looked so small, didn’t it?

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Kitchen – During Renovation

 

It is still just as compact and cozy,

but all the bright white helps.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Kitchen – After

 

I’ll never forget that Friday night when we

made the impulsive decision to knock down

the wall between the kitchen and dining room.

 

Oui.

Real life fixer upper types hang out

at work sites on Friday nights and

in weak moments of

ignorance groupthink drunkenness

curiosity + optimism,

sledgehammer the frack out of

drywalled, load bearing walls.

 

We discovered quickly that to keep it open

required expensive construction we had

not budgeted or planned for

(at this point we quickly became

the dramatic cliche emerging in

EVERY HGTV episode,

of every renovation series…

ginormous beam,

construction crew,

and buckets o’ cash,

or no wall-ee coming down-ee?)

 

We compromised.

We widened the opening

and added vintage French doors.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Opening up Kitchen/Dining Room Wall

 

If you are new to the blog (welcome!), you might

be interested to know we lived in a rental

for 6 months when we began the DIY whole house reno

(part time in our spare time since we both have jobs)

and when we moved in, we still did not have a

working kitchen…how did we survive that!?!

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Adding vintage French Doors

 

Below is an image of demo-ing the floors,

and you can see the window seat which we kept.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Removing damaged hardwood flooring

Still need a cushioned window seat, yet it will
be a happy day when such pretty details materialize!

Things look better in here today.

Today, a simple tablescape not terribly different from
Thanksgiving’s simple, romantic, and thrifty one
is set the way I plan to serve Christmas morning’s
Swedish Pancake breakfast…they are one of my
specialties, and I don’t mind the extra work entailed.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Modern farmhouse tablescape

My baby sister made the paper wreath on the window,
and it lived outside in the courtyard all summer. 🙂

My plan for this kitchen?
European-mdern-farmhouse style where full use
of vertical space for cabinetry is utilized…so it was
necessary to move the range to a different location.

Before, the range was located under the yellow-ish rectangle
you see below where the old microwave was on the wall.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
The kitchen almost gutted

Here it is today.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Light, bright kitchen – After

The image below shows that widened opening
between kitchen and dining room (which is open
to the living room and feels informal as a result).

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Dining and Living Room – Before

I hated the kitchen and dining room’s swirly 70ish
ceilings so I plastered them…what a mess that was!

Things look a whole lot better today!

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Dining and Living Room – After

 

You won’t see much red in our house even for the holidays

since I prefer warm neutrals, and with all the

white walls, black makes sense.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Coffee Table – Restoration Hardware

 

Ultimately, what I see on this etagere in the

library/dining area are a few modern sculpture pieces

and maybe some books…bare shelves are just fine with me.

I need to add gold ribbon above my Oscar Wilde panels…

seeing this photo actually makes me wanna blow up the room

and start over!

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Etagere, Bar Stools, Dining Chairs, Lantern – Restoration Hardware

 

For the holidays, some ironstone pitchers with

greenery from the yard and vintage gold balls

in old marmalade crocks.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Bleached pinecones and a vintage European ice skate

in an old croquet box which came from the cellar of

our very first home: a 1920’s bungalow in Chicago.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

The sun was so bright when I was shooting this room!

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

More greenery from the yard on the mantel.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

My little dog came from a vide grenier in Paris.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

I’m so glad we did not sell this monstrous cupboard from Belgium.

It stores a ton of things inside and fits perfectly on this

wall in the living room.

 

The book on top is From Manger to Throne from

the 1800’s with beautiful etchings depicting

the life of the birthday boy, the Prince of Peace.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

The tree is a Frasier Fir we had fun

(if you’re into frostbite) selecting,

decorated with handsewn felt stars

(most made by me) and delicate Swedish

wooden snowflakes and hearts.

 

Also in the living room is a galvanized advent calendar

from Restoration Hardware for which I made little

matchbox presents to sit inside the cubbies with

a few gnomes I have owned since childhood.

 

image result for hello lovely studio galvanized advent calendar
Advent Calendar – Restoration Hardware

 

I covered plain old grocery store matchboxes with

felted wool, buttons, and vintage Swedish trim.

A simple and surprisingly satisfying craft.

 

image result for galvanized advent calendar by hello lovely studio

 

 

My thought is, if ever I have grandchildren, I will

tuck tiny treats or messages inside for them to open.

 

image result for hello lovely studio galvanized advent calendar and red boots

 

In the entry, for now I have an old dropleaf table

in as found condition…can you believe I did not

paint or scrape the thing naked?

 

The French prayer chairs are special to me,

and here’s some Christmas red for purists.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Let’s trot up the stairs so I can show you one project

we are in the middle of and one we just completed.

 

The master bath is coming together nicely…

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

especially when you consider a few months ago,

the above space looked like this:

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Master Bath – Before

 

then this:

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Master Bath – Gutted

 

then this:

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Master Bath – Tub Area Plumbed

 

and after gutting the whole thing, moving

fixtures, expanding the shower, building a wall

and adding a clawfoot tub and vanities, we still

had not addressed the window which overlooks

a circle driveway and was begging for privacy.

 

We have been living with the windows

covered in a high quality etched privacy film

which allowed filtered light and looked great

from the outside, but we were ready for

a grown up option.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Plantation shutters by Riverwood Shutters and Blinds

 

We felt plantation shutters were the best

option since we wanted to enjoy the sunlight

AND privacy, and I found a great company that

creates custom shutters called

Riverwood Shutters and Blinds.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Installing plantation shutters

 

I worked with Riverwood’s owner, who made

the process easypeasy and so gratifying.

 

I was nervous about taking proper measurements

and choosing options, but Riverwood helped me

every step and constructed a product we installed

quickly and without a hitch.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Installation complete

 

Without a hitch? Seriously?

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation pacific entries alder door
So much better!

 

Seriously.

I love the wide-louvers.

The plantation shutters function beautifully, open up fully

and make every single day of using this space

so much more pleasant and comfortable.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Riverwood Shutters plantation

 

And did you notice the new door to the master bath!?!

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Pacific Entries knotty alder door

 

My husband recently installed a new door

to the master bath, and after giving up on

finding solid wood vintage doors for the cottage,

I was thrilled to find these 2-panel unfinished

knotty alder wood plank doors from Pacific Entries.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Pacific Entries knotty alder door

 

The gorgeous wood doors feel like velvet to the touch,

and as you can see, the color changes quite a bit

after the water-based sealer goes on, but the warmth

works nicely with the white oak floors, and we like

the contrast with the existing white trim.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Pacific Entries knotty alder door

 

Here you can see the job progressing, and

Pacific Entries‘ patented reversible jamb system

made ordering the doors and installing them a breeze.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Below you can see the hollow colonist 6 panel door

to my closet on the left which will also be upgraded

to a solid alder door.

(You may also note the plantation shutters had

yet to be installed.)

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

I knew I wanted the inside of the bathroom door

to be white, so I painted it before it was installed,

and I can’t tell you how beautiful these knotty alder

doors look painted…I don’t know what I expected,

but the door has such a rich, aged appearance with all the

character in the wood, and I absolutely love it.

 

The oval door knob from Pacific Entries

also has the modern farmhouse

feel I am after, and is heavy and solid.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Pacific Entries knotty alder door white

 

Below you can also see the oil-rubbed bronze hinges

which come with the door kit…the large painting

is by me, and I think you can see why the door

needs to be white in here since we desired

less rustic and more spa-like.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Some close-ups of other fixtures in the room:

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Kohler Purist with Cross Handles

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover
Clawfoot Tub Fixture

 

image result for luxury white bath towels Vizcaya JR Industries hello lovely
Vizcaya Luxury Bath Towels

 

I have to tell you about these luxurious bath towels!

 

I have always invested in good quality towels

for the bath because they are daily lifestyle enhancers

well worth the extra initial expense since they keep

delivering comfort after EVERY SINGLE SHOWER.

 

They are Vizcaya made by J.R. United, and once

you discover their better-than-hotel-towel quality,

you will see what I mean.

 

image result for Vizcaya JR Industries white luxury bath towels

 

No need to check into a lovely hotel

when we can check into luxury at home.

 

image result for Vizcaya JR Industries white luxury bath towel

 

See how plump/fluffy the bath towels are below?

 

When I upgraded from the Restoration Hardware

bath towels I loved, I was pleasantly surprised.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Find them here.

 

Moving along to ongoing projects…

the door (below) to the master bedroom

was just installed last weekend,

and what a difference it makes to

have a solid door that fits, doesn’t make

a horrible noise when it is opened, and

looks so rich and custom!

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Pacific Entries knotty alder door Helmsley oval door knob

 

Remember all that crying I did about feeling

bad about my doors?

 

And how I got serious about finding replacements

and researched the heck out of rustic farmhouse doors

as evidenced in this post?

 

image result for beautiful collection farmhouse wood doors

 

Well, the door installation continues, and let me tell you,

trying to address such renovation during the holidays

is exhausting and mentally tricky.

 

We have lots of these to address:

 

image result for Pacific Entries knotty alder rustic interior door

 

And of course, we will require just

as many sets of these:

 

image result for Pacific Entries Helmsley oval door knob set oil rubbed bronze

image result for Pacific Entries unfinished sliding barn door farmhouse style rustic

 

This custom sliding barn door will be installed

where there currently is no door at the base

of the stairs leading to the lower level

media room.

 

This barn door from Pacific Entries

is desperately needed since

there is a noise factor we need to correct,

but in addition to the function, the door will add

rustic modern farmhouse architectural interest.

 

And won’t it be swell to upgrade

to this beauty below, also from Pacific Entries

with its working speakeasy, in its pre-finished,

gorgeous European walnut color?

 

image result for Pacific Entries rustic alder exterior door speakeasy walnut farmhouse

 

The handleset is handsome and classic.

 

image result for Pacific Entries oil rubbed bronze handleset Rockwell San Jose

 

Let’s step outside for a glimpse of the current front door

which I snapped for you today on this relatively

warm day (15 degrees).

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

This poor door has been through a lot with

its break-ins, dents, and history of being mauve.

I painted it charcoal and slapped on another

wild Frasier Fir natural wreath.

(BTW, regarding working with all this fresh greenery:

what a royal mess! I love the scent, but oy, the

sweeping and vacuuming!)

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

A close friend hand lettered the sign for me from

a piece of salvaged flooring, and I move it

around the house, loving it everywhere.

 

I will add white lights to the tall planters

and embellish them further, but this is

as far as I got today.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

image result for rustic prayer chair galvanized bucket wood lantern christmas front porch farmhouse

 

You may remember I salvaged this mirror

from our master bath, and stenciled it with this

French Poem stencil from Royal Designs.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

I’ll keep tweaking and figuring out

how to balance and deck the porch, and

hopefully I’ll do better with each holiday.

 

So nearer to the finish line we must still:

 

Finish and install interior doors and hardware

Finish and install sliding barn door

Install front door and hardware

Install Stikwood wood planks in master bedroom

Paint a few ceilings

Bedazzle the little laundry room

 

It won’t be long til it’s d o n e!

 

In the mean time, let’s head back to the kitchen…

 

image result for cranberries vintage dishes martha stewart holiday baking rolling pin

 

where I am so ready to begin baking and make

preparations for Christmas Eve dinner.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

I must also address housework since blogging
has stolen me away from too much of it,
and there is nothing quite like the sparkle
my spirit feels in a freshened, clean home.

I have grown attached to Murchison-Hume
products which have such pleasing packaging and
wonderful scents.

image result for Murchison Hume cleaning supplies brown bottles

I love their inventory: all of these
smart, quality-made essentials at friendly prices.
Their bamboo caddy corrals all sorts of littles.

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

And their dish brushes
work hard and look good.

image result for Murchison Hume kitchen products on hello lovely
Murchison-Hume goodness

 

image result for Murchison Hume cleaning products on hello lovely

image result for Murchison Hume cleaning products brown bottles bamboo caddy on hello lovely

 

Yep. I plan to get trigger happy this week.

 

image result for hello lovely fixer upper renovation cottage makeover

 

Still with me?

 

image result for holiday baking flour sugar cranberries rolling pin hello lovely

Let’s finish up with a peek at my informal

yet festive white farmhouse table.

 

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

I used pretty gold animal print
giftwrap for a runner.

image result for hello lovely Swedish christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

The small plates are by Rae Dunn, and we have
been using them daily for many years…

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

image result for vintage bowls baking holiday rolling pin cranberries martha stewart book

The Martha book is an oldie but a goodie,
and I have created many of the projects inside.

image result for vintage dishes holiday baking cranberries hello lovely

My pretty blue FireKing Swedish mixing bowl
is a treasure, and the most genius shade of blue.

The Amish Butterpint pattern in turquoise on
white milkglass is a longtime family fave:
My parents received pieces of it as
wedding gifts so I grew up cooking
with these dishes.

My mom and I have been collecting the pattern
(translation: scouring eBay) forever and still love its
delicate farmhouse charm and Scandinavian feel.

image result for holiday baking vintage dishes rolling pin flour sugar hello lovely

Did you get  the recipe for my Christmas cookies

that won a contest for Country Home magazine?

image result for hello lovely fixer upper Chicagoland kitchen

Let’s get our Viatera quartz counters
covered with cookie dough!

image result for white farmhouse sink christmas decorating kitchen wreath

image result for white modern farmhouse kitchen holidays christmas decorating

image result for white kitchen window seat farmhouse holidays hello lovely

image result for white modern farmhouse kitchen farm sink shaker cabinets

image result for hello lovely white modern farmhouse kitchen

image result for hello lovely christmas holiday farmhouse tablescape gold white green

Thanks for following this

very very real fixer upper journey, friends.

I’m tired and so ready for hours of fireside

reading, naps, and buttercream iced cookies.

 

Find all the updates here, and I’ll

soon be bringing you specifics about

installing these doors very soon.

 

Peace to you right where you are.

Follow:

9 Comments

  1. December 17, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Michelle, you have transformed your home into a cottage of peace, tranquility and beauty! I love everything you've done. You so deserve to celebrate a job well done!

    • December 18, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      thanks, holly. peace to you.

  2. December 17, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    I love it Michele! Enjoy this special time with your family:) xox

  3. December 18, 2016 / 12:00 am

    You're home is gorgeous. Wish I could afford $45 for a bath towel. How luxurious that would be.

    • December 18, 2016 / 4:31 pm

      thanks so much. i hear you. mine is a strong bias for luxury at home so i'd rather eat ramen for an indeterminate time or forego starbucks or good booze to towel off in luxury! 🙂

  4. January 2, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    Michele,

    Your home is gorgeous!!! I live in Chicago but in the city. I love your wooded lot. Can I ask you what suburb you live in?

    Best,
    Pam Kennedy

  5. Gwen
    December 15, 2017 / 7:36 am

    So pretty!!! Would you mind sharing the actual dimensions of this kitchen? Thank you.

    • December 15, 2017 / 10:25 am

      Our kitchen is approx 13′ x 26′. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Leslie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *