Wednesday, January 6, 2016

AN UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT... LOVE CURES ALL ANXIETIES...

Hi, Everyone!

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL holiday season. I know I haven't been around to wish you all a HAPPY and especially HEALTHY new year! Today is the perfect day for an IWSG post because it is also the EPIPHANY... for those of us who are Catholic or Christian, you will know what this is... it is the day the Three Kings arrived to adore the baby Jesus. 

SO, I am thrilled to be able to post pics of my new loft, fully decorated for Christmas. I may be late, but better late than never. 

On this special day, many millennia ago, gifts were presented to our savior. But the greatest gift of all was LOVE... I sort of forgot that for the past several months when I nearly lost my mind with taking on such a monumental project. My life wasn't my own. Insecure doesn't even come near to what I was experiencing emotionally. I hit BRICK walls everywhere I had turned. It was a very tough few months, culminating into another stressful move. The thing I dreaded the most happened. My place wasn't finished and my lease was up. 

As many of you know, living in a construction site is not fun, AT ALL... I had been through it once when I remodeled the kitchen in my last condo. But this wasn't just a kitchen it was a complete apartment. EVERYTHING had to be done. From the brick walls to the plumbing, electrical, and inside walls. This is an 1880's brick building... a former children's book publishing/printing company.

My stress levels were beyond anything I had ever experienced. Contractor's quotes were twice what I had expected. I had to be super creative and find individuals to do each job. And that took time. Lots of time. Yes, I had saved a lot, BUT, it ruled my life for almost four months. I had no life. That is why I was so scarce. 

I am sure many of you have had these high stress levels in your personal life and in your writing. Stress is stress. But there is nothing worse than feeling at the end of your rope. But I survived. AND, so will you! LOVE is always there... whether from family, friends, or your faith. You will get through the rough times in your life.

I was also sad that I had missed out on so many writing events... I so wanted to submit something into the IWSG anthology. I have been a member since it's beginning and it holds such a special place in my heart. Thank you, Alex... It has grown to such an amazing and helpful source in so many of our lives. So please drop by and visit other IWSGers and be inspired and offer help to those who are STRESSED... And thanks to Alex's cohosts L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose,  Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!  

I moved into my Loft. Walls still rough and unpainted. Baseboards, doors, glass, and the kitchen backsplash uninstalled. Furniture, clothes, and construction debris all over the place... The first two weeks was a living nightmare. But, after three fifteen hour days, the place was livable. Then I burnt out...

I hated where I was. I dreaded this place. I had made a HUGE mistake. I stepped back and had a minor meltdown. Then Christmas was just around the corner. I had my lovely 9ft artificial tree littered in three different sections. I dug them out and put my tree together. Then it hit me. Ignore the walls, lack of baseboards, etc. and just DECORATE. Hang pics on the unpainted walls, drape the tables with Christmas and festive cheer. And so I did.

As Christmas approached, each day I did one or two things. Hung the bathroom mirror. Had the closets installed. Organized ALL the clothes piled all over the place. And before I knew it, by Christmas, my place looked shockingly nice. 

I was nervous about how much money I put into this place. I decided to invite my realtor over for a holiday drink. He warned me not to invest more than 35k in the rehab. HA! At this point, I was at 50K with at least another 5K to finish.

He stepped through the newly positioned front door and he stopped. A grin crossed his lips. "Ah, this looks like more than 35k, Michael." 

I cringed.

He walked up the steps peeked into the bedroom and then turned down the long hall to the bathroom. Still grinning.

"Well," I said.

He cleared his throat. "When I told you not to put in more than 35k, I had no idea the degree of designer you are. This is one of the most stunning rehabs I have ever seen." He smiled, brilliantly. "And if I was to put this on the market tomorrow I'd put it up for 300K!"

I nearly freaked. For what I had paid and what I put into this rehab, I made back the money I had lost in my last condo. So I calmed for the first time in four months. You just never know. Not only that, he is hiring me for a multi million dollar listing he wants me to stage next month. YAY! 

And even though I told him the place wasn't finished. He actually LOVED the unfinished walls and FLAWS... because the architecture and upgrades balanced out these flaws and created a very unique living space.

SO remember this whenever you feel your manuscript isn't as perfect as you think it should be... it may have just the right balance of roughness and polish! Again, you just never know.

Now... add a new puppy to this foray...... LOL A few weeks after I moved it, I decided I needed a fury friend to keep me company... Here's Hamlet... the Holy Terrier...



DON'T let that sweet, innocent face fool you. LOL

AND NOW FOR THE PICS! Many of you will remember I had posted pics of the loft when I had first bought it and as I started the rehab... It's pretty amazing what a creative mind can accomplish whether in design, art, music, or writing!



















Thank you all for dropping by. I know this is a bit longer than it should be, but I just wanted to share my experience with all of you.

I would also like to express my affection for all of you. I have been blogging for five years now, and I truly believe that we are blessed to know one another. We all share a passion for writing, art, music, and all forms of creativity... this is what makes all of us special.

May this year bring you all the love, health, and happiness we all deserve. HUGS to you all!!!

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE!








68 comments:

  1. Just, wow! The renovations, the decorations - incredible. And now worth $300,000? Whoa.
    Amen that you remembered that greatest gift and decided to decorate for the occasion. You found your hope and your spirit again.

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  2. Michael! Super duper fantastic! I'm with your realtor--I like those unfinished walls. The brick is such a friendly colour. I could happily live with it. But, hey, isn't it amazing that you got work from it. What a great advertisement for your design skills. May it bring an avalanche of work your way.

    Your blogger friends have missed you, but we knew a little of what you were going through. It's been so worth it, and I'm glad you got to Christmas decorate it.

    Thanks for sharing your journey and your skills with us all! You've got nothing to feel insecure about in either of your professions.

    (My contractors didn't even turn up before Christmas, so no mess to report at the beach...yet!)

    Denise :-)

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    1. Thanks Denise. I often get work from my residences. Where I live is my calling card. Many of my clients what to see my home because it is a reflection of my work.

      Thankfully you will not be living there during the renovation. All the best with it!

      Yes, real estate in Chicago is far less than Australia, but other parts of the US, such as New York City, LA, and Boston can be unaffordable for many of us, including me. I grew up in NYC, and I couldn't afford to live in the house I grew up in, that's for sure.

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  3. And I should say--$300k would be a very cheap apartment in Australia!!

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  4. Michael, it's beautiful! You just took one day at a time and made it happen. Glory to God.

    Hamlet is adorable. Everyone should have a pet. Now, would you like a little black kitty with behavior problems?

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    1. Lol. I LOVE black kitties, but sadly I am allergic. I had a gorgeous black Norwegian Forest cat for about a week and had to give it back to the breeder. I almost died. Not fun.

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  5. Holy shite, Michael! Your place looks awesome! And a puppy, too!!! I really love what you've done with the place. What a difference from the last pics you posted! I am so happy for you and your new addition; he's adorable :) May the two of you live happily after ever in your new digs.

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  6. I think the place is looking wonderful Michael. Makes me think of the pix in magazines. It really is impressive and I am so glad your realtor friend gave you the unexpected present. Happy New Year.

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    1. What a lovely compliment. Thank you, Jo!

      Yes, me too!

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  7. Love your sweet dog and what you've done to create a beautiful home. So glad you're happy about it. Happy New Year!

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  8. Wow, this story almost made me tear up!! So happy for you, Michael. And the pictures are absolutely stunning. What a beautiful home you've created!! And of course, Hamlet is a living doll. So precious!!

    Happy 2016 my friend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Julie. I really appreciate it!

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  9. Holy moly. Now that's a change. Yes, I remember those first pics, and I was like, "Yeah, no thanks" having flashbacks to NYC and being miserable in my tiny living space, but you've turned that into something truly epic. Way to go!

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    1. No, kidding about the tiny living space, Crystal.... But I wish I had THIS MUCH SPACE in NYC... It would be worth a few million... The key to small spaces is to utilize EVERY INCH and put in LOTS of furniture. LOL.

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    2. Too true. Manhattan living is all about going vertical rather than spread out.

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  10. Alex mentioned your renovation in a blog comment - and WOW! he wasn't kidding. That's the mother of all renovations and you should be so proud of yourself! Imagine your realtor saying it's now worth 300K. It was worth all the hard work, and I loved the analogy you made to writing manuscripts. Wishing you the best 2016 ever!!

    (I'm in my own construction nightmare, made worse by the fact it's not a renovation like yours but merely fixing water-damaged ceilings. So nothing better, nothing new, it'll just make my husband happy. I've lived with the damaged ceiling for 2 years and really don't give a damn. Having workers in my house and seeing it turn into a dirty hellhole is my worst nightmare.)

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    1. Oh! I forgot to say congrats on the puppy. He's adorable!! <3

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    2. Thanks Lexa! Fixing water damage is a real biotch. I may be getting a place in Florida that has tons of water damage in the only bathroom... UGH.. another rehab... But I need to have a place in the sun. That is the reason why I bought a this dated small loft, so I could have two places. Granted it cost a small fortune to create, but in this case it paid off...

      Funny, I feel that way about my unpainted walls. I may never paint them. It adds character... lol

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  11. Oh my WORD! That is simply stunning. I think we have the exact same tastes in style and design. Holy cow. I'm in shock! I just got a master bathroom reno for Christmas and I'm loving it. Now to convince the hubs to do the rest of the house;-) Love the puppy too!

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  12. Beautiful! It's amazing what you've done to the place. Looks like a little writer's paradise to me! Happy new year! :)

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  13. Hi Michael - gosh you worked hard and it's obviously been worth it - looks quite stunning ... so well done. Then welcome to Hamlet - he looks adorable ...

    Have a very happy year ahead - looks like 2016 is on its way to coming together .. especially with extra design work - sounds very good .. cheers Hilary

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  14. Your renovations are STUNNING! Oh my gosh. I want to live there...for free. lol And the fact you'll be working on a multi-million dollar listing...WOW! That is a great opportunity. Congrats!

    Happy New Year!!! I hope 2016 continues to bless you. :)

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  15. It is gorgeous! You did an amazing job and how cool that it led to another. Congratulations. Look forward to seeing your posts again. Love the new friend too.

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  16. The loft is jaw-droppingly lovely, Michael. Takes my breath away. But as talented as you are, it's Hamlet I can't take my eyes off of. I'm such a sucker for puppy face. :)

    VR Barkowski


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  17. It looks amazing! I'm so glad you were able to make your home.

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  18. Your place looks fantastic, Michael. And your puppy is adorable. :)

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  19. Wow. How gorgeous. I could definitely live in that place. And that puppy is adorable!

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  20. Michael, this is amazing! WOW! You did a beautiful job, it's stunning. But I knew it would be you are so creative! Love Hamlet, such a wonderful joy to add to your life!
    Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true!


    When I checked my blog role you'd disappeared from it. I think those losses you spoke of might have something to do with this because I didn't delete you! But I have added you back. :)

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  21. I cannot believe it's the same space! Absolutely incredible. You have such great vision. Most people would've been crippled by their first glimpse of Apollo and King Tut but you charged forth and you did it!! Congratulations. Wish I could've seen your realtor's face.

    Can't wait to get the real life tour and have you point out exactly what used to be where - and I'm equally excited to get to play with the Holy Terrier!!

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  22. Holy reno!!! Just gorgeous! I love your kitchen and living area. Party perfect. And the door on the rail ... I've always wanted one of those. It made me smile. But honestly, my kids would tear that place down in less than a day and I would freak! Note: no kiddos allowed. Seriously, I am thrilled and so thankful your renovation was such a success! You bring such light into other's lives. Why shouldn't you share in some of it? Happy for you... Wishing you much success, happiness, and peace during 2016.

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  23. Michael, your loft is gorgeous! Isn't it amazing how differently we see our work from the way others do. I'm so glad your real estate friend gave you such great feedback on the remodel. I agree that's what we need from our writing--either from critique partners or beta readers. I hope you'll get your writing back on track. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016.

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  24. Oh wow!! You are a true designer! Those pics are brilliant!! I renovated a kitchen once; that was enough for me.

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  25. I am glad to have 2015 behind me. Did not have it as rough as you, but it was still very stressful.

    New year, new me.

    And new you, apparently. My gosh, those are absolutely stunning pictures. I never dreamed how awesome it could look. You are such a creative designer - I need you to design my home, when I get the budget for remodeling. I am super impressed.

    I was sure Christmas would inspire you. I know how much you love the event - but especially the decorating.

    What a sweet puppy too. I remember seeing pics on FB. I am glad you have this little darling to keep you company. Might inspire some pictures, maybe a picture book.

    Happy new year Michael. The best is yet to come I'm sure, in your new home, all that beauty, and the fluffy excitement of Hamlet. A good name for him :)

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  26. Ok so as SOON as I got to the pictures, I instantly enlarged them!!

    And I already knew why your realtor hired you for this big reno project... Michael, you are an interior designing Superstar!!

    Your place is beyond gorgeous (and I'm a "Flipping TV Shows" addict... you kicked ass here, my friend:)

    And, I love, love, love that you're living in a former publishing house... that's so cool... (you should see if you can find a copy of one of their books... put it up on a shelf, instant conversation piece... (not that you need any!!)

    Bravo!!

    And, if I win the Powerball tonight, I'm going to hire you, too!!

    PS: Reading this make me realize how busy you were when I asked if you'd help with the REVIVAL book tour, so *thank* you...

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  27. Eep! This is awesome, Michael! I'd love to have come by for Christmas cocktails... Congratulations on all your hard work! And doggie is cute too :-)
    Love your bed! And the shower! And those sconces! Wish you could deisgn our space...

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  28. Holy crap... it looks MORE than amazing. Absolutely phenomenal, Michael. So proud of you! Way to turn a dreadful experience into something magical. But that's what you do. That's your life. It's a beautiful thing to watch. And your furry little friend is PRECIOUS. :)

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  29. I'm totally impressed. Do you need visitors? I'm volunteering to come and revel in the beauty you've created.

    Having rebuilt a house (unfortunately while living in it) I can understand the meltdown and I appreciate the comparison between that project and writing.

    Yay for you Michael.

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  30. WOW!!!!! AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!! Michael you should be proud. I love it!!!!

    And what better way to top it all off is with a new addition. Love your adorable puppy.

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  31. That is an amazing turn of a place. I remember those before pictures. Totally breathtaking! Congrats.

    Oh, and that puppy is fooling me with his sweet face.

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  32. Hi Michael, that is super gorgeous! Congratulations!!! Happy New Year!

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  33. Wowza!!! That's an amazing renovation! I remember the original pictures. Congrats, happy new year, and Merry Christmas (late) to you and Hamlet! :)

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  34. Holy Cow! Your place looks AMAZING! Seriously! I'm glad it all worked out for you and you've gotten some stress relief.

    Hope you had a great holiday and your new pal, Hamlet, is too cute!

    Best wishes.

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  35. I love your space! I scrolled all the way back to see the before and the middle. Fantastic work! I'm not surprised your Realtor hired you to stage his new project. You'll excel. Well done.

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  36. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! The loft looks amazing! I live in a decently sized house, but it's dingy and desperately in need of some touch-ups. If only I had your skills! Well done!

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  37. What a stunning job you did! I wouldn't do another thing. It looks amazing as it is.

    Construction, re-modeling is a Gordian Knot affair. Sometimes you just have to slash it through the middle and get to it.

    You were very wise. You climb Mt. Everest one foot at a time, tackling each setback with whatever works at the moment. Inch by inch and it is a cinch, right?

    I am so happy your Realtor hired you for that assignment. But remember the lessons from this task: work on one section at a time and innovate, using conditions forced on you as part of a new design. Be flexible.

    Love Hamlet. My kitten, Midnight, meows Hello to you both!

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    1. You have a new kitten! That's wonderful! Love the name.... I gather he is BLACK... LOVE BLACK CATS... they are my favorite. Sadly, I'm allergic to them...

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  38. AWESOME!!! So exciting to see these changes, and I loved reading about your realtor's reactions. Woo!--congrats on the prospective staging job that came about 'cuz of it, too. (That will be FUN for ya!) I enlarged the pics and pored over them. Simply bee-YOO-tiful!!

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  39. Michael, your new place is fabulous! You've done an amazing job. I'm so glad the realtor gave you good news. Now let's talk about that puppy...absolutely adorable! Good luck getting through the puppy stage.

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  40. Oh, Michael, you've done an amazing job! Your new abode is anything but humble. I absolutely love it. Though you went over budget, it was worth every penny.

    I agree with the $300,000 price...I'd even bet that you'd get in a bidding war when (and if) you ever sell.

    Thanks, also, for remembering the reason for the season. It seems like the new trend is to distance ourselves from God (like that is possible). You've earned new respect and affection from yours truly.

    Have a fabulous year, dear!

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  41. Ahhhhh! Love it, love it, love it all! :D

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  42. Wow! Stunning photos and you must be so please with your new place, now that a majority of the stress is gone. Having your realtor over was very wise- as it took off a lot of pressure you were feeling. You do have an eye for design and how wonderful that another opportunity opened up for you.

    I am so glad you decided to decorate for the holidays and started taking projects one at a time. That is good writing advice too- because when we feel overwhelmed we can start taking small steps and eventually work will be getting done and the task at hand won't seem so daunting. :)

    Happy New Year!
    ~Jess

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  43. Michael, this post was exactly what I needed to read this morning. I love how you wrote it and appreciate how you share your experience with us. I'm so glad things came together in your mind as you prepared for Christmas-- to realize how beautiful your place could be despite its flaws. Isn't that the way life is?? I need to constantly be reminded of this fact myself. Although seeing the photos, I couldn't see any flaws. It is gorgeous!

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  44. MICHAEL!!!!!
    The angles! The walls! The wood! The lighting! And let me say it again, The angles!!

    I am overjoyed that your realtor reversed his original opinion -- and I'm sure you know how hard it is for them to admit they were wrong. But you truly are a brilliant designer. Sorry I'm so late getting to this post, but I am so happy I didn't miss it altogether.

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  45. Michael you are not only Mr Blurb King...you are also Doctor-Take-It-From-Drab-To-Fab!
    (Now I need to find a proper design title for you...LOL)
    Your place is out-of-this-world...you are uber talented!
    Happy New Year, my friend. I'm sooooo glad for you!

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  46. Wow! You really have an amazing talent for design. I've never done a remodel job, but I don't think I'd have the ability or patience for such a thing. I can understand the frustrations of your journey, but now I think it definitely looks worth the efforts you exerted.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  47. It looks amazing! You've done a great job and there's a chic industrial feel with the brick wall, but it still looks warm. And you even got a job opportunity out of it. Also, very cool to live in a former publishing company. Hope you pick up some good vibes that inspire you!

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  48. Hi Michael,

    Wonderful, thoughtful articulation, good sir. Your loft looks amazing and the positive environment created, despite all the stress, anxiety and a modicum of uncertainty, bodes well for your future.

    And no pun such as the cost of loft conversions have gone through the roof!

    Have a wonderful 2016, Michael.

    Gary :)

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  49. HAMLET IS SO CUTE!!! I love terriers. They are adorable.

    Your place turned out so nice! It's amazing.

    I know what you mean about the end of your rope. I'm there right now, and it took Christmas and a broken rib before I was reminded that I'm not alone in the middle all of this.

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  50. You've done an outstanding job remodeling, Michael! Every detail from the lighting to the armoire and freestyle kitchen island is a work of art. I love how you opened up the kitchen and made everything flow effortlessly, though I know how much work you put into it! Lots of windows add natural light, and how wonderful to have a fireplace! I also love how your bathroom turned out! Lots of masculine touches in a warm and inviting environment is not easy to pull off, my friend! Bravo Michael! Happy New Year!

    Julie

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  51. Happy 2016 Michael. Love the pics. Your post sounds very cheerful, which is wonderful.

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  52. Oh my gosh it's BEAUTIFUL! I'm so happy that it turned out this way for you.

    Hopefully the rest of your year will keep on going up.

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  53. Wow, what a beautiful dwelling. You did an excellent job.

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  54. Oh my gosh! I absolutely LOVE it!!! Totally the style I drool over lol. And Hamlet is adorable :D

    Sorry, I'm late here. I had eye problems for a while. But better late than never? o_O lol

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