Eight years ago, we left our French country manse to take on a neglected fixer upper across town. We gutted and renovated that home ourselves, and I started sharing glimpses of the journey on Hello Lovely. Since just one whole house DIY is not enough, we also transformed a vacation home in Arizona. With those two homes complete, we moved again, starting fresh with a Georgian style house on three acres. Our home’s great bones and picturesque setting on a forest preserve make the hard work worth it. In this post, Shop My Home: Hello Lovely, find links to Modern French decor, furniture, lighting, fixtures, paint colors and resources from our projects.
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
Shop My Home: Hello Lovely
This post was updated April, 2023.
16 years ago, we built a French country home for our family when I worked as an academic tutor and my husband practiced law. Years later, my sister and I were diagnosed with BRCA2+ genetic mutation, had prophylactic hysterectomies and double mastectomies, and a new anti-cancer journey emerged.
This was me recovering from reconstruction surgery with our little shihtzu, and you’ll get glimpses of the interiors:
Two years later, as Emptynesters, my husband and I took on a fixer upper we completely remodeled ourselves. You’ll see it in this short video of what my work from home life looks like:
Dining Room & Entry at the Georgian
The dining room was pretty even before we did a thing, but we didn’t like the formal skinny columns between it and the entry. So the walls with the mural you see were added by us. We ripped out a built-in china cabinet (it’s in the kitchen now), added a gas fireplace, and use this space as a music room.
Kitchen at the Georgian
The dated kitchen needed a lot of attention, expense, and labor for its transformation. From dark brown 90’s kitchen to serene modern French timeless.
Calacatta Gold marble tile is a material we love working with because of the warmth this stone brings to kitchens with a pale color story like ours. SW Eider White is the color of the walls, and it is just right with the marble.
Do not freak out if you click through to my gilded iron Elizabeth chandelier designed by Thomas O’Brien in the breakfast nook and note the price. It is a masterpiece, and I bought it from an estate rather than brand new. Along with gilded iron, it is made with real quartz, some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. With the marble, the chandelier inspired the direction of the kitchen design.
Primary Bath at the Georgian
Like the kitchen, the bath was a dark brown dreary formal dull space that didn’t function for our lifestyles. We’re actually just finishing up our bath with art and decor, and these are the design elements that came together.
Dressing Room at the Georgian
While the entry and staircase were the first projects we tackled at this home, a small awkward bedroom was next. The goal was for it to function as a dressing room, closet, and flex space for working from home. We left enough room to add a bed in case the room needs to live as a bedroom as wel.
Home Office at the Georgian
My beloved Belgian linen covered swivel egg chair is in our sitting room, and when this lift desk (a pneumatic lift, so no motor or noise or power, but the height adjusts so I can stand and work) came into my life…instant mobile office.
Entry Accessories at the Georgian
I love pieces that are multipurpose, and these planter baskets with plastic inserts work inside, outside, as wastebaskets, and for storage. The little terrarium is darling!
I don’t go to a lot of fuss for Christmas decorating, and these worked out great on my antique French console in the entry.
Kitchen Resources at Our Fixer Upper
We gutted the kitchen in our last home and were after a modern French, classic, minimal, ethereal look. New white Shaker style cabinetry, stainless appliances, white oak hardwoods, marble backsplash, and fireclay farm sink played starring roles.
Girl’s Guest Bedroom at Our Fixer Upper
This guest bedroom served as my music room (I play piano everyday), and this was one of its last iterations. I wanted touches of pink and Paris, and I love how it stayed rustically elegant with those knotty alder doors we installed everywhere.
Bath at Our Fixer Upper
We dramatically transformed our primary bath which had a Jacuzzi, platform, black fixtures, and a very odd mix of mysteries. It became a vintage classic spacious spa-like bath we very much enjoyed.
Bedroom at Our Fixer Upper
A vaulted ceiling, his and her closets, and a pretty window were existing, and this Modern French bedroom’s reno surpassed our expectations. Adding the reclaimed pine planks (Stikwood) only took one evening of work and totally elevated the design. I painted the furniture BM Revere Pewter. The sconces flanking window are antique, and the floors we added are white oak hardwoods with no stain, just matte poly.
Guest Bedroom at Our Fixer Upper
This bedroom is directly across the catwalk from the primary one, and I used it often as a home office. It became so much more pleasant when we installed the Photowall mural (Trees White which I mentioned earlier since we have it in our entry and dining room at the Georgian).
Bonus Room at Our Fixer Upper
Our basement was finished at the fixer, but this bonus room was dull and had nothing interesting in it until we added tree wallpaper and cozy factor.
Guest Bath at Our Fixer Upper
This bath didn’t exist when we bought the property so it added great value when my husband built it from scratch.
Courtyard at Our Fixer Upper
The courtyard was originally an overgrown (I mean you couldn’t even see it!) forest of weeds until we cleared it, brought in pea gravel, added a little gate, and gave it a modern French accent.
Laundry at the Fixer Upper
This utility space is a pass-through from the garage to the hall near the kitchen, and with a few design ingredients (marble backsplash, curtains to replace bifold doors, beadboard, and new lighting), it was just right.
Entry at Our French Country Home
I experimented all of the time at our big French country manor house, and things changed constantly. This little moment near the front door reflects the neutral, unfussy mix I love.
Peeks of Our Home & Modern French Style
European country is probably more accurate when it comes to describing my style. But I do prefer a very pared down and light look which is where “modern” comes in.
Here’s our modern Belgian living room at the Georgian:
and the family room:
Fixer Upper Overview
The impetus for leaving that picture perfect French country house we built? We wanted to downsize as Emptynesters and were ready to trade excessive landscape and maintenance hassles for a simpler lifestyle with half the square footage and acreage.
So swallowed up in weeds and overgrowth, you couldn’t even see our fixer upper from the street before we got to work!
Upgrading Fixtures & Finishes Was Key to the Design Progress
An ocean of new but cheap taupe carpeting was everywhere, and the yellowy painted walls felt wrong and outdated. There were holes in the lumpy textured walls along with a multitude of bad wall repairs.
We found SO many strange design choices (some of which I cannot mention on this G-rated site) including giant woofers and tweeters in the master bath ceiling!
In fact, all of the existing hardware and faucets (which were 20 years old) had been spray painted white. Now, I’m all for painting almost everything white, but cheap decades old worn out faucets…JUST DON’T.
What was the style of the home?
Modern with lofty ceiling heights and openness, yet also traditional with design elements echoing the past. It felt like a contemporary California cottage in the woods with plenty of windows to enjoy the woodland creatures and trees. River rock accents the courtyard and attached garage, and the exterior was designed humbly and simply to fit its woodsy context (despite the neighborhood’s fancier homes!).
Modern French Decorating Resources & European Country Cottage Design Features
My casual, rustic, unfussy, white, modern French inspired style guided the direction of the interiors. We kept it simple, and where possible, used natural materials to stand the test of time. Influences include Pamela Pierce and Brooke Giannetti.
There I love typically aren’t bling-y, glossy, polished, shiny, fancy, or newish. I’m always after a timeless tranquil look that leans in the rustic yet refined, European inspired direction.
Louis style French chairs, Belgian linen, and Swedish style painted furniture are a few of my favorite things, and we have moved them with us to several homes!.
Rustic White Farmhouse Accent Wall
An ugly wall in our bedroom became a design feature when we added reclaimed pine peel and stick wood which I still love! It took us one evening (about 3 hours) to do this entire wall!
A Favored European Textile: Belgian Linen
Oh, this is a fabric I have adored forever! The longer we live with Belgian linen upholstery, curtains, and pillows, the more I’m sold.
It’s not just the color and nubby woven texture of the Belgian linen I admire but how wonderfully durable it is for living. No matter how we abuse the linen, it holds up to everything and continues to look fabulous.
Oh nubby linen, I can’t quit you!
Rustic Alder Front Door With Speakeasy
Oil Rubbed Bronze Handleset on Front Door
Pure & Bright White Paint Color for Fixer Upper
Read about it HERE.
Rustic Alder Interior Doors
Lots of character and knots in these beautiful doors that transformed the spaces.
Egg Door Knobs Look Vintage & Solid
Barn Door in Lower Level
I don’t have decent images to share of the lower level since it’s a work in progress, but this door is a sweet addition since there was no door to the family room.
Natural White Oak Hardwoods
Over the years, I have been asked countless times about the stain on these hardwoods…there is none. They are left natural and sealed with a matte finish.
Living room pieces are from RH (Belgian Slope Arm style) and upholstered in Belgian Linen (Sand is the color).
Alternative to Wood in Secondary Bedrooms at Fixer Upper
I can also vouch for the ease and livability of this laminate option. This product was installed in two first floor guest bedrooms, one of which serves as my studio where paint is often dripped! It is a dream to wipe clean, feels great under bare feet, and was a quick easy installation.
Timeless and Tranquil White European Inspired Kitchen
Quartz Kitchen Countertops
Rustic Lantern Pendant
I found the lantern pendant HERE, and it’s actually an exterior fixture which doesn’t even have glass in it.
Cottage Style in Primary Bedroom
Reclaimed Pine Peel & Stick Stikwood in “Hamptons”
Campaign Style Side Table
Unfussy, Simple, Rustic Yet Refined European Country Inspired Style
Outdoor Furniture & Decor
I used these chairs on the back patio in spring and summer at the fixer upper and on the front porch at the Georgian.
French Country Decorating in the Courtyard
See this French courtyard story for resources and info about how we transformed this space!
Resources for Our Arizona Vacation Home
I would love to hear from you and am happy to answer any questions about the decor!
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
Peace to you right where you are.
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