5 Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures

Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures travels beneath the surface of real life renovator highlights and pitfalls. There’s more than enough home improvement musing out there about the economic and lifestyle benefits of tackling a fixer upper and upgrading spaces we want to live in. We need those stories and wisdom. Yet my interest as a spiritual seeker extends to the invisible happenings below the surface, where at more subtle frequencies, the old gives way to the new.

Belgian style living room with fan windows, French fireplace, and antique sideboard - design by Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

This post contains affiliate links which I hope you will use since they won’t cost you a penny extra yet may earn this blog a small commission.

32" Concrete Base Table Lamp
Exact lamps: 32″ Concrete Base Table Lamp: FIND HERE
Rustic oak Belgian antique cupboard in European country styled living room by Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio

5 Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures

I’ll share peeks around our home, mostly from this week, and do know any peacefulness emanating from the photos was preceded by a good deal of mindful intention. Peacemaking is a process, but if you need encouragement that your home is ripe with potential for transformation, let this be it!

Romantic Belgian linen accent chair with antiqued silver table in bedroom by Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio
Milo Upholstered Dining Chair
Milo Upholstered Dining Chair

Have you been reading Hello Lovely for awhile? If so, you won’t be surprised to find me diving into deeper waters in spite of the tendency for decor matters to splash safely in the shallows.

Inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio about seeing: The way we choose to see the world, creates the world we see.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.
Peaceful and serene kitchen with window seat, neutral decor, and Belgian linen - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio.

After all, it does seem as if the whole purpose of investing time and tears into thoughtful redesigns and renovations is largely rooted in the soul. We’re interested in renewal and improvement because they enhance the daily rhythms in our lives we hold dear. Purposeful changes made at home help us to become energized in healthy, life giving ways and enjoy our relationships against a lovely backdrop which supports our deeply held values.

Minimal, modern rustic vintage desk and country chair in a room painted Benjamin Moore White.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

We Had No Idea There Were So Many Lessons In Store!

Surely my journey to becoming an ‘I don’t know it all’ began with this DIY whole house makeover. Renovation will change you. Working together as a couple to problem solve and design will too. And living with less? It’ll teach more than I can say.

Modern farmhouse white kitchen with farm sink and Shaker cabinets by Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio
Bridge Kitchen Faucet #bridgefaucet
EXACT KITCHEN FAUCET: Kohler Bridge Kitchen Faucet: FIND HERE

Soulkeeping Lesson No. 1

Laughter May Trump Romance

Our personal decision to downsize then breathe new life into a neglected cottage, completely doing the work ourselves, grew out of a desire for a creative challenge as high achieving emptynesters. Looking back, that desire was largely romantic and naive for such educated people experienced in home renovation!

Masculine, modern, and European inspired study with swivel chair from RH - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Gutting bathrooms and living without a kitchen for a stretch? Typical whole house renovation challenges that can quickly dispel romance yet still pave the way for LAUGHTER and LIGHTHEARTED adventures in crazytown.

Inspirational quote about struggle: Let difficulty transform you Pema Chodon quote - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio

And in spite of the dust and grime, it was still a romantic time for us as a couple – we are an admiration society for each other, and each project relied largely on trust and patience.

Vintage chair, white painted farmhouse bench, and animal print throw - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Soulkeeping Lesson No. 2

Living With Increased Cozy Factor

Our kitchen here at the fixer upper required total gutting, and the renovation process came with its share of disappointments. For example, we discovered we would not be able to knock down the wall adjacent to the dining room to enlarge the kitchen and create a more spacious hub for family to gather.

Classic white traditional bathroom design with carrara topped vanity and Kohler Purist bathroom faucet - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

We were left with a smaller kitchen but a gift: cozy intimacy. If you have a small kitchen, you may know what I mean. Rubbing shoulders with people you love and being able to hear whispers is not the worst compromise one must make.

Inspirational quote about relationship: Where "I" is replaced with "we," even illness becomes wellness - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.
Black and white vignette with Child perfume and white roses in a bathroom by Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Child Perfume Roll-on, 1/3 oz: BUY IT HERE

Soulkeeping Lesson No. 3

Subtle Shifts in Seeing

When we inherited this fixer upper, one of the features I did not admire were the fan windows. I wrote about them when I was chronicling our adventures weekly, and a blog reader who admired them sweetly suggested they were ‘church-like.’

Classic white bathroom with vintage clawfoot tub, plantation shutters, abstract art, and staggered tile floor - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

While it may strike you as silly that reading a simple description in a comment could trigger a shift in my spirit and mind, it did! Turns out, there are always within reach these mysteriously subtle shifts in perspective which may open you in profound ways and even zhush your filter to see with fresh eyes.

Romantic cottage bedroom with Belgian linen accent chair, white oak flooring, and rustic alder door - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is campaign-style-end-table-300x300.jpg
In case you’re in the market for a similar side table: Find it HERE!

I’m not going to pretend to understand this soul talk with any measure of confidence or authority. It is mostly mysterious and ethereal territory not unlike spiritual experiences inside a chapel. Or inside a renovated cottage with a slightly monastic, prayerful, and serene mood partially set in motion by light entering church-like fan windows.

Detail of vintage clawfoot bathtub and porcelain tile floor - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.
Picadilly 59" x 28.75" Soaking Bathtub

THIS TUB IS SIMILAR: Clawfoot Tub: FIND HERE.
Inspirational quote on Hello Lovely Studio: The past is your lesson. The future is your motivation. The present is your gift.
Hello Lovely Studio

Soulkeeping Lesson No. 4

Letting Go Creates Spaciousness

Our French courtyard’s birth is one I have shared on the blog as one of the easiest yet dramatic projects here at our home. When we bought the house, weeds and dead shrubbery had completely overtaken the front entry area. You might never know it from the street though. Weeds and overgrown bushes completely shielded the entire house exterior from the street!

French country Provence inspired pea gravel courtyard with boxwood, bench, and vintage decor by Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

The remedy for all of the overgrowth entailed broad strokes of subtraction and creative vision.

Exterior of our home on a hill - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio

With a teeny tiny budget, we extracted all but one plant (a burning bush), then planted boxwood and lavender. Wheelbarrows of pea gravel came to live with .94 cement pavers, placed on the ground and atop eroded stone walls. With labor and love, we created an airy, French-inspired courtyard canopied by mature trees and just right for meditative morning stretches.

Vintage rusty white bicycle against stone wall in pea gravel and fallen leaves by Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Letting go can be tricky on a soulful level where unhealthy habits of being, reacting, and thinking have become firmly rooted. Old ways of coping, analyzing, and behaving may not easily budge because of tendency to cling to them. So often we fear the idea of scarcity and space.

Galvanized buckets and pinecones in fall by Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio

Gardening is an excellent prescription for soul work indeed. Digging in the dirt with an open heart seeking the grace to let go is powerfully good soul work.

Every act of love is a work of peace - custom sign on Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Because when the space in the soul grows wider from purging, pruning, and letting go, a new capacity to RECEIVE emerges! More spaciousness for the flow of love and light to enter and have its way with us!

English Trough Planter Basket
24″ English Trough Planter Basket…certainly lovely indeed.
Inspirational quote by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio: Tears falling are the soul's rising, and your lovely soul can be trusted in all matters of direction.
Hello Lovely Studio
Neutral study with French pot, and a mix of vintage and modern - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Soulkeeping Lesson No. 5

Work Can Become Spiritual Practice

Sometimes we are unaware of what may be waiting for us when we slow down to work. Does slowing down to work sound like an absurd notion? Because work need not always be a feverish hustle to the finish line.

Romantic vintage style white bathroom with clawfoot tub and Louis French chair - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

My long list of tasks during this renovation may have been overwhelming was I not immersed in significant soul and wisdom work at the time. Not only was I studying daily as a student in a spiritual formation program at a Chicago university, I was deep into studies in wisdom and contemplation.

Martha Stewart Living Seal Harbor Sconce. #vanitysconce #bathroomsconce #marthastewart
Martha Stewart Living Seal Harbor Sconce: FIND HERE.
White vintage style bathroom with clawfoot tub, French Louis chair, freestanding vanities, and tile floor - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.
Purist Widespread Bathroom Sink Faucet with Low Cross Handles and Low Gooseneck Spout
EXACT PRODUCT: Kohler Purist Bathroom Faucet with Cross Handles (Chrome): FIND HERE

I began to learn to work from and in stillness, and in so doing, the work became sacred. If what you want to achieve in the end are rooms with an energy of tranquility, calm, serenity, and heartfulness, I can think of no better way to approach them in your spirit of labor.

Abstract painting in blue-grey by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

Chores at home, painting a room, changing a light fixture, or rearranging furniture need not be a frantically paced endeavor. In fact, rushing through such tasks is not healthy for your body at the cellular level either.

32" Single Bathroom Vanity Set
THIS VANITY IS SIMILAR: 32″ Single Bathroom Vanity With Top: FIND HERE
Detail of a bathroom sink vanity in a white vintage style bathroom - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio. Soul Keeping Lessons From Renovation Adventures…certainly lovely indeed. Personal Reflections: Spiritual Lessons Learned from Our DIY Whole House Renovation. Photos from our fixer upper and wisdom gained from home improvement.

Is classical music your passion? Let it fill your ears as your muscles address unsavory tasks at home you dread. Are there home improvement tasks requiring hours of physical labor but limited concentration? Listen to podcasts that enrich the soul and mind. (I listened to recordings of a favorite teaching pastor while I painted ceilings, and the time flew!)

Inspirational and faith quote on Hello Lovely Studio: Until God opens the next door, praise him in the hallway.
Hello Lovely Studio
Round Bronze Accent Table
French Country Lamp
French Laundry Basket
Metal Martini Table
Farmhouse Dining Table
Helmsley Bronze Door Hardware
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Turkish Cotton Blanket
Gertrude Wood Bench
Upholstered Dining Chair Set
Bonjour Pillow
French Linen Upholstered Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Rustic Wood Candleholders
French Linen Dining Chair
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
PARIS Framed Print
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
Oak Accent Stool
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute Area Rug
Leather Club Chair
Reclaimed Wood 3 Leg Stool
French Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Magnus Table Lamp
Belgian Style Lamp
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Round Woven Placemat Set
French Country Wood Mirror
Fireclay Farm Sink
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

Real Life Renovation

Renovation stories are so often sugar coated and shown on fast forward when the truth is, only a very few lucky homeowners have a staff of 30 working round the clock on their home! Here’s a snapshot of a charming French cottage in the South of France, and I love the authenticity and humility which shines through the narrative.

White bathroom with staggered porcelain tile floor and clawfoot tub - Hello Lovely Studio.

Thanks for tenderly reading these reflections on renovation, which are fond reminders for me as much as they are for you that we can indeed do small things with great love.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Support Hello Lovely by shopping Amazon RIGHT HERE for anything (not just products mentioned here) to keep the inspiration flowing!

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Click HERE to find cost conscious furniture and decor for your home too!

Follow:

4 Comments

  1. March 13, 2019 / 12:04 pm

    Seems to me that we’re almost always renovating/repainting/repairing something around here. Kitchen is a French Provence dream. Main bath is set somewhere in Tuscany. Front rooms quite colonial Williamsburg with brass fixtures. I thought we were done after our “final” room painting project, a soft Benjamin Moore grey in the guest room. Now, it’s time to start over with a fresh perspective, especially freshening up all the white woodwork. And, once a foot of frozen snow disappears, I can revisit our courtyard and tackle a nearly ruined garden. Sense of humor along with grace, where are you hiding?

    • michele
      Author
      March 13, 2019 / 7:19 pm

      It’s time to repaint woodwork here too! How can that be!?! The snow almost completely disappeared today so we’re now enjoying the Chica-goo. So messy! 🙂

    • Michele
      Author
      May 16, 2019 / 12:55 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear it, Bev! Thinking of you as you feather your new nest and get creative! Can’t wait to join the party again this week and appreciate your time and talents in hosting it. 🙂

Leave a Reply

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