Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper

We’re nearing the four year mark of buying our beloved fixer upper after downsizing from twice the square footage and property. The years have flown here, maybe because there always seems to be another project on the horizon or another son moving home temporarily, or because (and this is the most likely), these renovators are getting old so time passes quickly! Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper is a peek at the DIY transformations of our work here as renovators.

European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
Hello Lovely Studio. The breakfast area of the kitchen with new white oak hardwood floors, a newly plastered ceiling, and new baseboard trim. Chairs: Belgian linen (sand), RH. Table: RH. Placemats: FIND HERE. Rug: Homegoods. Candleholders: FIND HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

We have done the renovation entirely ourselves, with the exception of the hardwood flooring, new HVAC, new windows, and new roof. Hope you enjoy seeing how far we have come!

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.

Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper Overview

This place did not look exceedingly horrible in photos when we saw it online. It was owned by the bank as a foreclosure property, and to keep their costs low, they installed cheap taupe carpet (without replacing pet soiled carpet padding), spray painted all the hardware and faucets white, and painted the walls yellowed antique white. There were critters living in the attic, a shower/bathtub leaking into the electrical box below, water damage underneath subfloors, and a jungle of weeds for a view.

European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
Hello Lovely Studio. The dining room is between the kitchen and great room and used to have a narrow opening which we widened, adding vintage French doors I found locally. Dining chairs: FIND HERE. Paint color on pedestal table: BEHR Garden Wall. Rug: FIND HERE. Chairs: RH. Lantern: Home Depot.

We Had Seen it Years Earlier!

One slight advantage we held in entering this mess of a project? We toured the property 12 years earlier when it was on the market at a time it had been cared for inside and out. The gardens were lush and beautiful, and the interiors were lovingly cherished. At that time, the home was not only too expensive, its floor plan did not make sense for our young family.

This time around in its forlorn, neglected state, we had no competition for this home! Not even the neighbors wanted anything to do with it since they watched it decline over the years with a steady stream of renters.

Inspirational quote on a pink ground about restoration - Hello Lovely Studio.
Pin me! Hello Lovely Studio

French Country Courtyard Dreams

Clearing away all the overgrown straggly bushes and weeds made way for a peaceful, pea gravel courtyard you can see RIGHT HERE. The siding on the house is light stone grey. I went for a tonal look for preowned outdoor furniture purchased from a friend, painting it a 50/50 mix of FARROW & BALL Cornforth White and Hardwick White.

European Country Fixer Upper Before & After

Before
BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Find similar wood patio benches RIGHT HERE. Find a pretty French inspired mirror RIGHT HERE. Pillows: Grandin Road and RH. Find a white lumbar pillow with ruffle HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.
BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
Exterior of Hello Lovely Studio fixer upper
DURING. Hello Lovely Studio.
BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Find industrial French metal bistro chairs HERE. Slate Rubber Planter boxes are HERE. Custom grainsack pillow: FROM THIS SHOP. Front door: FIND HERE.
Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio.

European Country Fixer Upper: Front Door Before & After

Replacing the front door was actually not a priority since I knew just painting the existing steel door could make a big difference. It was after we worked with Pacific Entries to replace most of the hollow core interior doors with solid, rustic alder planked doors that we realized we could transform both the interior entry and exterior porch in one fell swoop!

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.

We still haven’t upgraded the exterior lighting at our home, but what a huge difference. We love giving this place an identity with French Nordic cottage and European country farmhouse style.

Knotty alder front door (Pacific Entries) and country courtyard by Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Front door: Rustic Alder Exterior Door With Speakeasy. Find vintage galvanized watering cans RIGHT HERE.Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

Eventually, we would like the river rock walls topped with a natural stone, but since the tops we inherited the place were eroded and nasty looking, my idea was to remove the old top and replace with low cost concrete as a temporary solution.

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio

For under $40 (the concrete pavers were under a dollar each from Home Depot), this solution has served us well even 4 years later.

Rustic stone wall in French inspired courtyard by Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. FIND HERE candles that repel mosquitoes (which are legendary in these parts). Pillows: RH. Find a burlap lumbar pillow at a great price RIGHT HERE.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. We did all of the landscaping ourselves, and we are NOT gardeners so it’s super airy and simple with boxwood and a few knockout roses. I found the statue of Mary at a local estate sale and spent about 4 hours talking to its previous owner…there is nothing like collecting stories along with the objects of your desire.

European Country Fixer Upper Entry

I’m not exaggerating when I say the tile near the front door was the exact color of an awful bruise. It was sort of fitting since the whole house had been beaten up. We still haven’t upgraded the bifold closet doors which I despise, but things look a lot better!

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
Front entry with knotty alder door, vintage table, and vintage French prayer chair - Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. I collect these vintage French prayer chairs and they find me wherever I roam…really! Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Rustic alder exterior door with speakeasy: FIND HERE. Jute rug: FIND HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.
BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studios.

The stairs were the open riser type which I associate with the Brady Bunch, and they can be sort of charming in the right project and when they are wood rather than wrapped in cheap carpet. We needed a budget friendly fix!

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.

We closed the risers, installed a linen-hued durable carpet, and painted everything white except for the handrail. I sanded most of the existing stain and varnish from the rail and then rubbed on a clear wax.

European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. I love the beautiful Southern exposure and daylight flowing into the entry and stairway. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White. Rustic alder door with speakeasy: FIND HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

European Country Kitchen Transformation

The marketing photos of the kitchen in the house didn’t look horrible since they showed off the natural maple hardwood floors and white cabinets. Except you can’t tell from photos that the wood floor had been destroyed from water underneath and that the vinyl cabinets were worn out and well past their prime! The countertops were new navy blue laminate, the sink was a new white cast iron model, and white range and microwave were brand new.

AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio.

We salvaged the cabinetry we could and moved it with the countertop into a basement workshop. Every single thing we could re-purpose in this fixer upper was incorporated into the plan.

European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Sink: exact fireclay sink is HERE. Kohler Bridge Faucet: RIGHT HERE. Wall ovens: Bosch. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

Before & After Kitchen Renovation

As is often the case, things got far worse in the kitchen before they began to get pretty! Here’s the breakfast dining area of the kitchen before we were forced to demo the flooring (no worries – we salvaged the usable boards!) and redo almost everything except the window seat.

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
White serene kitchen with window seat - Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Table, dining chairs, throw, and pillows: RH. Rug: Homegoods.
Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Stripe Turkish Hand Towels RIGHT HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.

Care to see how things got worse? And just so you don’t think I’m making it up that the whole house was painted an awful antique white…look at the contrast of old vs new BENJAMIN MOORE White I painted the whole house.

BEFORE
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Louis style counter stools: FIND HERE. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.
Window seat with linen pillows in European country inspired serene kitchen. Come see more of my home in Hello Lovely House Tour in July. #hellolovelystudio #timeless #tranquil #interiordesign #europeancountry #europeanfarmhouse #simpledecor #serenedecor
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.

In the old kitchen design, upper cabinets flanked the window over the sink and felt so boxy and claustrophobic for me. The ceiling fan was old, loud, wobbly, and ridiculous.

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.

Polished marble subway tile taken to the ceiling brought an airy, serene, contemporary look but it did cost us storage. I tried to make up for it by installing ceiling to floor cupboards (a very English country look) on the frig and oven wall. Here’s how that wall looked before we installed cabinets and appliances:

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Beverage frig under breakfast bar: FIND HERE.

The step back cabinets to the right of the ovens (above) contain a cool appliance garage (on a hinge which lifts straight up) so I can hide away my toaster and blender.

White modern farmhouse kitchen with marble subway tile and quartz countertop - Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Cooktop: Bosch. Countertop: Viatera quartz (Minuet).
Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

This was my first cooktop (see above), and while it functions well, I kind of miss having a range, mainly because I love the look of a traditional style kitchen.

Hello Lovely Studio kitchen with window seat in white kitchen
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.

In the kitchen’s U-shaped design before, the refrigerator was located across from the sink wall. I chose a French Door Frig and moved it to the corner, adding horizontally installed wood beadboard (and no cabinets, hooks, or any clutter) to the former frig wall. (And yes, when we viewed the house, they didn’t even bother repairing an old broken kitchen drawer which was just plopped down on the breakfast bar.

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.

A simple but smart addition to the breakfast bar: horizontal installed solid wood beadboard which I painted white. It takes all sorts of abuse and wipes clean far better than drywall!

European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Counterstools: FIND HERE. Large seascape: Melissa James Studio. Wall ovens & Refrigerator: Bosch. Countertop: Viatera quartz (Minuet). Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

You can read about my journey to find the right white countertop RIGHT HERE. And just so you’re aware, I didn’t use any sponsors on any of this kitchen renovation so you don’t have to wonder whether I’m pushing a particular appliance or surface in here. We spent a ton of money even with doing the work ourselves!

White modern farmhouse kitchen with Viatera quartz countertop - Hello Lovely Studio
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Sink: FIND EXACT HERE. Faucet: RIGHT HERE. Ovens: Bosch. Countertop: Viatera quartz (Minuet).

The mirror was hung just a placeholder since we wanted floating shelves which are still all the rage with the cool kids in their modern farmhouse obsession. Still no shelves, and I’m okay with it.

Viatera quartz counterop - Minuet. European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Abstract paintings reflected in mirror by me. Cabinetry: Schuler. Cabinet hardware: RIGHT HERE. Cooktop: Bosch. Countertop: Viatera quartz (Minuet). Teapot: FIND HERE. Candleholders: FIND HERE. Range hood: FIND HERE.

Can you believe how dark this kitchen felt? It needed love!

BEFORE. Hello Lovely Studio.
Viatera quartz countertop - Minuet. European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
AFTER. Hello Lovely Studio. Countertop: Viatera quartz (Minuet). Find polished marble subway mosaic tile RIGHT HERE. Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper…photos of our cottage renovation as well as shopping resources to get the look. French Nordic cottage style and European farmhouse decor ideas…certainly lovely indeed.

Hope you enjoyed this before and after! My next post RIGHT HERE continues the tour of our fixer upper’s great room and master bedroom. Take it for a whirl too!

before of catwalk at Hello Lovely Studio's fixer upper
Hello Lovely Studio. Toilet on the catwalk…renovation reality, folks!
Round Bronze Accent Table
French Country Lamp
White Ruffle Spread + Shams
French Laundry Basket
Metal Martini Table
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Farmhouse Dining Table
Helmsley Bronze Door Hardware
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Turkish Cotton Blanket
Gertrude Wood Bench
Upholstered Dining Chair Set
White Ruffle Quilt Set
Avignon Coat Rack With Hooks
San Jose Handleset for Front Door
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 (Reinhard, 30″)
Boheme Madera Bench
Round Marble Side Table
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool
European farmhouse style and French Nordic cottage decor in our fixer upper - Hello Lovely Studio. Come see the renovation photos in Before & After: European Country Style Fixer Upper.
See the before & after of the bedroom soon! Hello Lovely Studio. Wall paint color: BENJAMIN MOORE White.

DON’T MISS Part 2 RIGHT HERE. For more French Nordic inspiration, do visit THIS and THIS.

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:

20 Comments

  1. Karen H.
    April 17, 2019 / 8:03 am

    Your home is a beautiful transformation, Michele. Lots of hard work but I’m sure very rewarding. I love the peaceful and tranquil feeling your decor creates.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 17, 2019 / 10:04 am

      It is rewarding to take something unlovely and see it through – I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. πŸ™‚

  2. Claire
    April 17, 2019 / 8:03 am

    Your home is beautiful. Love your kitchen. Can’t wait to see your master bedroom. We are in the process of giving our laundry room a face lift. I will be shopping for Benjamin Moore white paint today!

    • Michele
      Author
      April 17, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Thanks so much for tuning in and making it more fun! Happy shopping, friend. πŸ™‚

  3. April 17, 2019 / 8:21 am

    Unbelievable transformation! It is hard to comprehend that the former dark and dated space could actually look like the finished product. You really have a gift being able to see the possibilities. Keep the inspiration coming! Best, Kim

    • Michele
      Author
      April 17, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Thanks, Kim. We must have been crazy to take on such an exhaustive project! xox

  4. Karyn
    April 17, 2019 / 12:48 pm

    Hello Michele! So beautiful…

    We are planning a kitchen remodel, and your stunning transformation has inspired me for some time. Our design currently places the fridge (likely a french door model similar to yours) right next to a solid wall. I was concerned about being able to open the door on the wall side enough with that design. Do you know how far you needed (inches?) to be from the wall to make this work well? Are you happy with that layout? We would also have the dishwasher between the sink and the range and was wondering if that was “enough” space for separation of each zone. Thank you for all the beautiful inspiration in your posts!

    • Michele
      Author
      April 17, 2019 / 5:40 pm

      The frig is snug in that corner, and there’s no issue with using it or opening the door. I’m very happy with the layout – the only thing I would do differently is give myself more room in the breakfast dining area since it’s so tight. I feel like I have enough space where the dishwasher is located, but of course if there was a way to have more, I’m not one of those ‘zone’ sort of folks when thinking about kitchen design. I wish the kitchen here were bigger, but I have made the space work in a custom way for how we live. My dishwasher was far away from the range in our last home, and that was just fine with me! Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

      • Karyn
        April 17, 2019 / 7:35 pm

        So helpful! Thank you. The internet is full of “don’t put the fridge next to a wall” posts so hearing that it can work is very encouraging. Trying to update an older home is often frustrating in that you have a lot less space to work with, forced creativityπŸ™‚

        • Michele
          Author
          April 17, 2019 / 7:41 pm

          Exactly! Wow – I didn’t even know about the ‘don’t put the frig in the corner thing’ (sounds like i’m quoting ‘dirty dancing’…ha!). πŸ™‚

  5. P kovach
    April 18, 2019 / 4:08 pm

    Your house looks beautiful. I have read a lot about how difficult it is to choose white paint based on where you live and whether the exposure is facing north. My kitchen and living area only have light coming from North facing windows so I am cautiously looking at whites. Did you have any difficulties with some of your walls looking cold or too blue? I would also like to know what the finish is on the mirror hanging over the breakfast bar? It looks great with the wall tile. thank you.

    • Michele
      Author
      April 18, 2019 / 7:15 pm

      I know there is a measure of subjectivity when “seeing” white walls. I don’t see blue, but a family member who visited said she sees blue. The light we get here is so yellow and golden that it must make a difference since almost every white paint I brought home seemed to look yellow to us. I think the warmth of the oak floors also helps to keep things from being overly icy, although again, this is so subjective. I hear people say ‘well i would never want to live in a museum or art gallery,’ and i think hmmmmmm, i would! πŸ™‚

  6. Julie Briones
    April 22, 2019 / 1:24 am

    Always love a good before and after! Thank you for sharing at Homestyle Gathering! Hope to see you each week!

    • Michele
      Author
      April 22, 2019 / 9:53 am

      Everybody loves a good transformation I guess! Thanks so much for tuning in. πŸ™‚

  7. April 22, 2019 / 2:59 pm

    Michele,
    Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things. You did an amazing job of transforming your home. It is so beautiful. I know what you mean by slowing down as we get older. Not so many major projects as when we were younger. Take time to enjoy your lovely home.
    Hugs,
    Bev

    • Michele
      Author
      April 22, 2019 / 4:25 pm

      Great advice! Thanks so much for your kindness and for reading.

  8. April 23, 2019 / 8:48 am

    Hi, Michele!
    I’m just letting you know that your before and afters are one of my features this week at Homestyle Gathering. Thank you for joining us and linking-up! I hope you’ll join us again!

    • Michele
      Author
      April 23, 2019 / 11:24 am

      Thank you so much, Kim! Yay! I will be joining you for sure!

  9. April 25, 2019 / 6:57 am

    Such an amazing transformation, Michele! I love everything you did, and that front door is amazing. We are in need of a new front door, and my choice would be that one! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Thursday Favorite Things — I’m featuring it today!

    • Michele
      Author
      April 25, 2019 / 9:01 am

      Thanks so much, Pam. I appreciate your encouragement and will join you again this week! πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

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