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My sister bought a fixer-upper beach house almost two years ago which we’ve slowly but surely been hammering back into shape. In addition to a long list of structural changes, we needed to find a house full of beachy furniture and accessories on the cheap. I hail from a family of bargain hunters/diy-ers so the beach house has been a fun challenge for us.

Before: We started in the main living area which was dark, crowded and just plain sad. Sunny yellow trim did nothing to brighten up the driftwood gray paneling. Unfortunately, you can’t see the pitiful greenish-gold shag carpet which, thanks to leaking windows, had mildewed and actually smelled worse than it looked (hard to believe, I know). Dark, dated and dingy beach house living room before makeover

Mid-Makeover: First we removed the decades-old shag carpet and padding (yuck!) then got to work sanding, priming and painting the paneling a creamy golden tan: Valspar’s aptly named Sand Between Your Toes. For about a year, we slept on air mattresses and sat on folding chairs while we spent long weekends and family vacations replacing or repairing things one room at a time.  Beach house living room after painting and removing carpet

 After: And here’s how it looks today. We waited until all the painting was finished (including the bedrooms and bathrooms) to install the flooring and bring in “real” furniture. For the flooring, we chose SwiftLock Brazilian walnut 12mm click-and-lock which has a rustic, handscraped look. All the furniture and accessories you see are fruits of our bargain-hunting labors: the chairs ($250 each) and ottoman (just $25, a real score!) are from the Broyhill furniture outlet in Hickory, NC. The long black console is our parents’ old stereo cabinet which my sister, Dad and I made-over for just the cost of a quart of paint and the handblown glass lamps were scored on sale at Stein Mart. Open, bright and sunny beach house living room after makeover

Before: Here’s another view of the living room when my brother-in-law first went to check it out. In case you’re wondering what sold them on a house that needed so much work — see that little patch of blue beyond the sliding glass door? Yep, that’s the Atlantic Ocean. The house is a short walk to the beach on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.
Cramped, crowded beach house living room before makeover

After:  The living room is open to the kitchen and dining room — which is perfect for family entertaining. Keen observers will note my Schnoodle, Sophie, napping on the ottoman: Open, bright and sunny beach house living room after makeover

Quite an improvement, don’t you think? The house is still a work in progress with more indoor and outdoor fixes to come. I’ll share more photos and project ideas as we go.

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

24 Responses

  1. Ida says:

    Love it! Love the pillows, especially. You have been doing a wonderful job!

  2. Jane G. says:

    The console and lamps on them do it for me. I really like the way that looks. You and your family are so fortunate to have a wonderful place like this to go to. Great job Camille.

    • hgtvcamille says:

      Thanks Jane G. I love the console too. More info to come @ how my dad disassembled the old stereo cabinet to make it work as a handy storage piece.

  3. [...] I know I’m not alone here. Most of the HGTV.com editorial staff is taking turns seeking sunshine. Camille hit up her sister’s beach house for a little R&R (relaxation and remodeling); Lili just got back from a family vacay in Hawaii [...]

  4. Carol says:

    HI, GREAT JOB! I was hoping you could tell me what color you used on the walls. Thanks!

    • hgtvcamille says:

      Hi Carol, it's Sand Between Your Toes by Valspar, which is available at Lowe's. It's the perfect soft golden tan and really brightens up the space.

      • Carol says:

        Thanks for repeating yourself! I probably would have caught that had I read a little bit more of the descriptions. I was too busy admiring the pictures. :-)

  5. MollyKB says:

    Sorry! I think that the colors used on the walls are a bit too drab for a beach cottage on the Atlantic oceanfront. I would have preferred a more fresh and nautical ambiance.

  6. Edwin Jones says:

    Nice job done…… http://mondital.com

  7. D.Gardner says:

    absolutely love everything! we collected maritime items and paintings for years and loved the sea. At 85 I don't take vacations anymore…this house would be a year-round vacation for the winner and their family! *:*<3

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H. Camille SmithCamille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors...

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