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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.

Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

28 Responses

  1. RSS says:

    You all are doing a great job. The beach house looks great!

  2. Sally R. says:

    Love the pillows with the seashells.

  3. HGTVMallory says:

    Jaw-dropping before and after. What a labor of love that truly paid off!

    • hgtvcamille says:

      Thanks Mallory! It's been a lot of work and — I'm not gonna lie — sleeping on the floor is no fun at all, but we're really happy w/ the progress. More updates to come as we finish other rooms. :)

  4. Abbi says:

    Amazing makeover! Ya'll should be very proud of the hard work that obviously went into this. Love the cameo by Sophie.

  5. Diane says:

    Love the cottage. Love Sophie.

    • hgtvcamille says:

      Hi Abbi and Diane! Sophie is definitely one of my favorite accessories — no house feels like home to me without my pups (Sophie and Madeline). They love the beach house. My sister has 3 dogs herself so we chose fabrics and materials that could stand up to sand and surf plus lots of wear and tear from our dogs.

  6. Ellen says:

    Very inviting!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Bravo ladies!

  8. Ronnie says:

    So charming. You're doing a great job. Can't wait for more pics.

  9. bellagracehome says:

    Quite a difference! I love how bright & airy it looks now :)

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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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