We will be moving into the new house in about a month, and my feelings are all over the map. I still feel attached to the fixer upper home where we touched every inch with so much love. But I feel grateful to have found a beautiful property. I’m worried about cozying up Hello Lovely’s new house and making so many design decisions, yet I’m energized to transform its outdated interiors. But mostly I am concerned about the stamina, wellness, and resiliency I’ll require to cope with change. So I covet your prayers. I’m dishing about new house plans today in Our New House.
Hello Lovely’s New House & Reflections Right Where I Am
Moving & Renovating During Pandemic Season
Right where I am. At this very moment, I am in Arizona with my siblings at my folks’ house. They are battling the virus, and we are doing everything we can to prevent hospitalization. A mobile nurse just dropped by to listen to mom’s lungs, and she got a good report.
Since she has multiple underlying conditions, proper care is critical, and it may take her longer to recover. When I return home, I have no idea how all the things will get done for the move in time, so I’ll lean on everlasting arms (and maybe espresso and these energy bars too).
Psst. January should be about cinnamon bread, hot tea, and hibernating, not schlepping Rubbermaids in boots and parka.
Muddling through. It hardly seems like the right time to share reflections, but since I have never been a conventional interiors blogger, I see no reason to start now. In fact, it seems I rarely hear from other writers in the throes of pivotal life events or grief. Most accounts and stories arrive with time, resolution, synthesis, and deeper understanding.
Reasons We Are Leaving a “Done” House
Why are you moving? There is always a leap of faith with a new adventure, renovation or otherwise. And there is always the potential for personal growth (which is why my beloved and I keep opening ourselves to the new). We’re moving because we are creatives who must always be creating to feel energetically alive.
Isn’t renovation stressful (plus the 2020s are stressful enough!)? Renovation stretches you and can test a relationship. While we are very different in temperament, we work together well and love partnering on home improvement. It becomes an admiration society of sorts where we each bring our gifts and the collaboration births something new.
It’s not about flipping for a profit or business or having a project because we’re bored. It is about dreaming and growing. We would be taking on this new project whether I was blogging or not.
Reflections on Moving Forward
What if you don’t like the new house as much as the old? There’s a chance I’ll miss my sweet wooded hillside and wonder what we were thinking. It’s a risk. But we are taking it one step at a time.
Our New House!
Why this particular house? We absolutely love the location on a preserve with plentiful wildlife, trees, and lovely views out all windows. Ideally, we would build on a lot just like this, but it would cost twice what we paid for this existing home.
Construction prices and supply chain issues would be a nightmare at the moment. It is a challenge to work with fussy formal interiors when you’re laid back types. However, it helps that this is not a historic house or in the city. It’s a country house with potential to feel more harmonious with its setting.
Is it a larger home? The new 4 BR/3 BA place is about the same square footage as the home we’re leaving. However, it has a three-car garage (yay!), four times more outdoor space, a deck, and a walk-out unfinished basement to finish and add value if we wish. Even with competing offers, we paid only 7% more than what we sold our home for.
Plans for Renovation
Renovations are underway. A week ago, I was masked and breathing through dusty interiors at the new house we are renovating. It’s a well-built 30-year old Georgian style home on three acres with a very traditional split staircase floorplan.
We are starting with the first floor. Ideally, the front rooms (living, entry, dining) would be open to each other or flow better. However, the living and dining rooms are both sunken and have heavy millwork and columns to reinforce a Colonial aesthetic. Columns are all the rage right now yet the placement of them feels too formal and awkward for the way we live.
Addressing function and flow. To raise the floors of these rooms flanking foyer and halls would be quite the undertaking. So would removal of the columns which likely support the floor above. Hence, we decided (at least for Reno 1.0), to enclose the columns with new walls and allow each space to function independently. 2.0 might involve beams and floor-raising.
Open and less-open floorplans. Less-open floorplans are trending as plenty of folks work, study, and exercise at home. Modern homeowners seem to now appreciate: rooms to get away, spaces with quiet for work/study, and separation within the home for activities they now do at home.
I personally love open floor plans that flow and feel spacious and unified, but they aren’t perfect for everyone. They can be noisy and visually busy. Adding walls to our spaces will ease furniture placement as well.
Modernizing Tired Interiors
New identities for traditionally designed spaces. We rarely host formal dinners beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas so a formal dining room with a china cabinet full of dishes is unnecessary. Who needs a nothing room to gather dust?
A hearth room. I’m not yet sure how we will use the dining room, but for now I’m reimagining it as a hearth room with fireplace where the built-in was. When we move in, we’ll decide if it will become a library, dining space, or den.
Library or music room? The living room is small and may be an office, music room with piano, or even a meditation space.
Improving the view. Adding walls eliminates visual clutter in the entry and will hopefully usher in more calm. For example, I’m not a fan of viewing the powder bath’s toilet from the front door.
Symmetry and broken symmetry. The walls added to each side of the entry are the exact same size, but a window will break up the wall on the living room side while a doorway will break up the wall on the dining room side. I’m also considering a wall mural on the dining room side. I hope broken symmetry will add interest since symmetry is gentle but can sometimes be one note, formal, and dull.
Creating a Timeless Tranquil Look
Gentle quietude is needed. Our decisions are guided by a goal to add gentle, modern, and unfussy improvements while we preserve what future owners might cherish. There are doors everywhere in this house, and sometimes they open into each other! I want the clunky factor minimized.
The spirit underlying the work and changes matters. We’re making each change thoughtfully, not feverishly, and like our prior whole house DIY renovation, we’re relying on intuition, experience, and self-awareness. You must know yourself well to make design decisions you’ll live with for awhile.
I hope you’ll join me in this new chapter! I don’t know how I’ll find time to write helpful posts about the process, but I’ll do my best to try!
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Peace to you right where you are.
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Hello from Central Florida!
How exciting for you to begin a new chapter. I know renovations are tough and we’ve remodeled and updated our 40 year old house one room at a time doing most of the “grunt” work ourselves but it’s so rewarding to look back and say “I remember when we did that”. The hardest was the kitchen because we were working outside of the home and living in turmoil for a month but when tempers flared we just took a step back so things didn’t escalate.
I’m looking forward to seeing your remodel. Stay safe.
Thank you so much for the encouragement. You truly understand, and what a wonderful feeling it is to make a house a home with your own labor. I hope we can meet the challenges we face in this new adventure and live to tell about the process. Peace to you and your well-loved home. xox
Congratulations Michele! Looking forward to following you on this new adventure!
And hoping for better health and easier days for your parents. We are in the midst of a health scare with my mother-in-law right now. It can all be so overwhelming. Can’t imagine trying to move to a new house on top of everything. But I’m sure you and your husband will survive and thrive. Take care!
So sorry about your MIL. The uncertainties and vicious qualities of Covid are unnerving. Thank you for the well wishes – no idea how we are going to move through all of the demands of the upcoming weeks but will keep trusting. Don’t ever move in winter in the Midwest – there is a reason smarter folkswait til spring to house shop! 🙂
It will be so fun to watch the progress on your new home. I can’t wait to see how everything will eventually look! Beautiful.
I’m so glad you’re here for the adventure! I have so much to share, and I hope I can figure out how to carve out time for sharing! Thanks for the kind words, friend.
Congratulations on your willingness to thoughtfully and slowly discover how to create your new home.
Sending love to you and gratitude for your posts which have been warm, friendly and kind.
I am one reader who will be patiently waiting with understanding that beautiful homes take time.
I wish you an enjoyable journey!
Thanks so much. I am so happy to hear of your interest because that just makes all the planning and work so much more gratifying. Love having you on the journey and so grateful for the encouragement. xox
another beautiful beginning, dear soul.
i understand the need to create and breathe new life into a house that will become your haven…for a few months or years.
most of my dear friends look at me like I’ve sprouted three heads when i say we are looking at different properties, while living in a well loved home already.
I have a God given itch to bring spaces to life to envelope my people and all others who enter.
this is one way I worship my creator.
praying for your parents to heal and for your strength to be renewed as you breathe beauty into your new home.
Thank you, thank you for blessing me with this kindness and support and encouragement. I’m so happy to hear from a kindred spirit who loves transformation like I do. Each new project is an opportunity to learn about so much more than walls and floors. It’s a little like having a baby. 🙂 Peace to you, and thanks so much for the prayer – we rely on it and are praising that my folks are fighting beautifully!
I’m very impressed with your new home and the property. Can’t wait to go along with you on this renovation.
Awww, thank you, and we’re so happy to have you here with us on the journey. I feel so shy about sharing stuff since I feel like dannngggg, there’s no turning back now, ya know? I’m relying on so much grace right now. 🙂
Wait -what?????? Where have I been ? I had no idea but I think I’m more excited than y’all are ( yes I’m Southern). I just can’t wait to see how this new home evolves, I also think I missed the tiny house reveal that you were doing for your son. We have been going through our own health issues over her but I like to say the the key phrase is “going through” not camping out! Thank you Jesus.
I will keep close tabs on you and am lifting you up and believing that God fills you with strength ,wisdom and joy!!!
What a blessing your words of honey are to my weary ears. I have traveled all day and feel so uplifted and encouraged. What a God, and what a source of strength and goodness. Thank you for “going through.” Yes! And it seems we cannot go around it…the only way is through to the other lovely side. Haven’t given the tiny house a proper reveal because our bachelor son moved in before it was completed! It is cute, and someday we’ll style it and tour it. 🙂 The new house will be a challenge since the style is so much more classic than our woodsy cottage. Peace to you, and thank you for taking the time to share such kindness. xox
Welcome to your new home Michelle!
I trust you will enjoy this peaceful property while you purposely beautify your new digs!
I too prefer designated rooms with their own function…Have never been a big fan of the open concept ….entering the house and seeing the refrigerator just doesn’t cut it with me. I spent too much of a past life in hospitality and restaurant kitchens… I despise appliances…always cover them with cabinetry and have an appliance garae in every kitch since 1997!!
I am in the midst of buying a large home and have much space for a community table in the great room off the kitchen and like you will eliminate the dining room between the Kitchen and Living room. I also have massive loggia space in a temperate climate…so will be dining alfresco with company! The current DR has some attributes…large high horizontal dormer windows for light…and grassclothed walls. It’s life with me will be as a no digital or media reading library. Built-in bookshelves will be constructed under the dormers…..I do need to extend a wall and I plan to use the dark metal window paned doors on a ceiling track… not farmhouse style.
I enjoy your style and ingenuity and truly appreciate the time and thought-fulness you generously pour into each post …. Your affiliate links will be receiving much action this spring!
Breathe deep and maintain is my decorating and design mantra…. it all gets done…and alas the process with the journey is the inspiration not the destination…..
Godspeed to you right where you are! I trust your mother regains her strength soon.
You! Your home is going to be incredible! When can I join you in the loggia? Shelves under dormers? Yes, please. Thank you for your encouragement and reminder to breathe. Honestly, I am prone to holding my breath in times of high stress and need friends to set me straight. Wishing you peace on your renovation journey and with all of the improvements you’ll make. Keep us posted on your progress if ever you have a moment! xox
Congratulations! What a beautiful home! And those views! I can’t wait to see how you guys put your stamp on it! I hope your folks are feeling better!
Thank you so much, Donna. It is tiring to be doing this in our 50s, but here we are again! Thank you for taking the time to offer support and kindness – it truly is wonderful to have you here.
Michele, I am so sorry about your parents! I have them in my prayers and will add them to our prayer chain. I hope that you are keeping yourself safe and well while caring for them.
As for future posts, KEEP IT REAL! That it the best part of your blog…YOU! I have loved that about your blog since the beginning, you do not need to be uplifting. Just continue to be you.
Your new house is beautiful! I cannot wait to see what you do to it. It sounds interesting and intriguing already.
Take care, hugs to you,
You’re such a beautiful soul, Elizabeth. I am so happy to call you friend. Thank you for upholding my folks in prayer – they are fighting beautifully and have inspired me so much. If you all knew them, you would just love ’em! They are the cutest couple who take good care of each other. I hope we can calm this house down and make it gentle so I’ll want to stay since the property is so lovely. Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you are making good progress with your awesome blog! 🙂
Oh my goodness…congrats! And what a lovely property to enjoy as well! Can’t wait to see all the things y’all do to make this house your new lovely home. I totally get what you said about enjoying working with your hubs on projects. The thing I enjoyed MOST about building our home (yes, in our 50’s as well!!) was doing something creative on a large scale together as a team & now enjoying the finished project together! Praying for your parents to recover soon! My husband (& son) just got over it & somehow I didn’t get it or at least never had any symptoms myself…grateful!
I’m so glad your family got through it, and that you are safe thus far. My folks are doing much better, but it will take weeks for my mama to feel like herself again we think. Looking forward to showing you our progress and the before/afters but goodness gracious we are too old for it all. Today is my birthday, and at 56 plan to call this age “pushin 60” since it makes me look much better. 🙂 Peace and love to you, Amy.
I am excited to see you transform another home and make it your own!!
So happy to hear from you, Vik! Hope you are well, and thanks so much for joining me on the journey. 🙂
Hi, Michele… I’ve built two homes, but never done any extensive renovatiions, so I’m excited to go on this new and different adventure with you. Thanks for sharing it with us. 56??? You’re just a baby! Don’t play that ‘Old Lady’ card with me… I’m a lot older and know better. 🙂 Hope you and your husband have a great time!
Hahahaha – I guess I just feel worn out like an olllllddddd lady! Thanks for following along as we tackle another project. This one is challenging in fresh ways since it the floorplan is so formal. Hoping it will all calm down and feel more gentle with the finish changes since there are plenty of things we simply cannot change. There is always much to learn, and maybe I’ll be able to help folks with ideas or challenges along the way. 🙂
Girl, I’ve been following you long enough to know that you’re up to the challenge!
You’re so good to me…and a great encourager. Let’s do this! 🙂
Change is good…you will make this so great…I vote “meditation room.”
Oh I hope we can rise to the challenge – thank you so much, Mary Ann. Every home in the 2020s needs a pocket for quiet contemplation! 🙂