My Home Renovation: The Fixer Upper {how we got here}

July 18, 2015

Even though we're just three weeks
into our journey to fix up a quirky cottage,
I thought I would share a little history as well
as a few shots of our prior project, a spacious
European manor styled home we designed.

Last winter, we received a request for a one-time
showing of our house, and wouldn't you know?
Somehow, in a crazy buyer's market,
our treasured home--the one we designed
from scratch--SOLD. 

Just like that...we were homeless. 

art works by me

We shopped for a project with these parameters in mind:
>tranquil location
>not far from work
>half the size of prior home
>half the property to maintain
>more privacy

HALF was a theme.

We were so tempted to buy another big place
or build a downsized version, but this
vision of simplifying by eliminating
HALF kept us focused.

We sold HALF of our home's furniture and belongings
to ease the move into a small rental while we renovate.
Offers were made on four other fixers
(historic home, a foreclosure, a short sale,
and a white elephant) before we found the cottage:
a HALF-lemon, HALF-diamond-in-the-rough.

Those two HALVES should add up to a WHOLE
bunch of DIY adventures in HELLO LOVELY LAND, oui?

The cottage is a one-and-a-HALF story, extremely
neglected property which sat vacant for a time.

Swallowed up by a jungle of weeds, not one bit of quality
exists why did we proceed anyway?

Location, trees, price, and the fact we are indeed HALFcrazy. 
*cue the gong*

The  X - f a c t o r... 
it captured my husband's imagination. 

our old kitchen was a dream to live in!

It helps to embark on a fixer upper adventure
when your partner is courageously persuasive and says:

It helps too when that partner is handy
with electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.

So we have decided to love this place back to life.

Meaningful metaphors seem to emerge daily
since making this commitment to renovate...
so do construction woes.

I won't be HALF-hearted in my blog posts.
I plan to share the pitfalls and unlovely as well as
the gratifying triumphs of the makeover.

For up to the minute updates, like my facebook page here.

After all, resurrecting, reviving, repairing,
and nurturing something used up and broken and
then ushering it into a beautiful new chapter?
Powerful, enlightening stuff.

The process has already been educational,
dramatic and challenging.

For example, I don't sleep well.
HALF the time, I cannot imagine we are ever going to
actually live in that big ol' mess, let alone make memories there.
Yet I have hope.

Thanks for following our journey,
and peace to you right where you are.

See a video of the fixer here.

More fixer upper posts here:
we found a house
week 1 - update
week 1 - reflections
week 2
how we got here
week 3
week 4
week 5
week 6
week 7
week 8
week 12
week 16
week 24
week 28
week 32
week 36
week 40
week 42
week 44
week 48
Before the Fixer Upper
week 52

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  1. Your other home was so lovely, so YOU!! I am going to thoroughly enjoy seeing what you discover about yourself and how you put your lessons to use in your new home. You will touch every corner with love and it is going to be fantastic, an ongoing project and many opportunities to use your creative juices!! Thanks for letting us follow along!!!

    1. thanks, kathysue. can you believe how far back you and i go now? gotta hop over to your blog to find out what is happening in GOOD DESIGN LAND. peace.

  2. Michele, these are gorgeous photos of your last home! It's so much fun to hear about your progress. Good things just don't happen, they are created and that's exactly what will happen here. How exciting and I can't wait to see the progress:)

    1. amen to 'good things don't just happen!' and i have decided this time around to stop working so hard to make things look easy. know what i mean? getting things right is hardly ever easy! thanks, leslie!

  3. Wow! This sounds like both an adventure and a challenge. I cannot wait to see what you do with this little project.

    1. heavy on the challenge right now esp when trying to stick to a budget! thanks, elizabeth!

  4. Love following this journey! I feel for you I too have had to put blood sweat and tears into this old place.. but it makes you feel like its really yours in the end. xo K

    1. i totally agree. by the end, i will have touched every single solitary surface with my paintbrush!

  5. Your home was beautiful, but the new one will be to...just a little love and hard work and its going to be gorgeous!

    1. you would know gorgeousness, julie! thank you for following.

  6. Oh I love a good story. Sharing pictures of your beautiful former home is such a nice way of sharing your family's history...all the memories and love and creative energies that went into that home. I'm curious how you feel when you see those photos now. I was quite surprised by the absence of any sadness when I see pictures of our old place. Even though I loved that home. I guess that's a sign that it was the right decision for us. Although I do miss living in a 'pretty' home that's for sure and since we're living in our place while the work happens around us, it's teaching me all about patience. I am so happy to be following you on your new home adventure Michele, I can relate to the excitement and mystery that is part of the process. And I have a feeling you can teach me a thing or two about calmness. I only wish we were closer and could talk house projects over a glass of wine!

    1. thank you for sharing this journey, leslie. i sooooo enjoy being on this one with you. i do feel some sadness when i see photos of the old house, and it may be because i parted with so many belongings in addition to the house. but life there was not all beer and skittles so i am happy to leave a few things behind and re-invent in this fun new chapter.

  7. Michele,
    It's going to be a whole dream home not half when you place your stamp on it.
    I am so looking forward to all the old new you add to this home.
    There is such a beauty in down sizing creating a less is more cottage feel to a home.

    Although your home that so,d was amazing, there is just something special that I feel will come out of this cozy cottage.

    Looking forward to all your progress.



    1. i am truly starting to feel the charm and specialness emerge, dore. it's a very sensual thing, oui? i mean this neglected cottage was closed up for so long and did not smell a bit rosy! now that we have gutted it and cleaned every nook and cranny, it smells new and fresh. so that's one thing we've got! merci for your kind encouragement.


Your comments add to the beauty...thanks in advance for your kindness.


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