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Three years ago, my sister bought a rundown fishing cottage on the NC coast. While any beach house is certainly better than no beach house (I’m not complaining!), this particular cottage was in pretty bad shape. Check out more before-and-after photos here to see what I mean.

Before: Dark, mismatched and cramped, the kitchen was a mish-mash of colors and materials. The yellow cabinets were constructed with the house in the ’70s while the previous owners added a few white pre-fab cabinets (front left) in the ’80s for extra storage. In addition to being just plain ugly, the sheet vinyl flooring had definitely seen better days and was cracked and peeling up.  Dark, dated and dingy beach house before makeover

The yellow kitchen cabinets put up quite a fight, it took no less than 2 coats of primer and 4 (yes, 4!!) coats of white semigloss to make them over. Other than A LOT of paint, shelf liner and caulk, the cabinets stayed the same. If you look again at the before photo, you’ll notice we had a board cut at the hardware store to fill in a pointless empty space above the sink. For less than $10 for the brackets and board, we added a cute shelf that gives the cabinets the cottage look we wanted.

After: We briefly considered laying tile in the kitchen but decided to continue the wood flooring from the adjacent living room for better flow. Isn’t it amazing what a few gallons of paint (and A LOT of elbow grease) can do?!Paint works wonders to brighten up this beach house kitchen

Before: The fridge was tucked into an L-shaped wall that concealed it from the dining room on one side and the living room on the other. This also meant that the kitchen felt really cramped and wasn’t fully open to either room.Paint works wonders to brighten up this beach house kitchen

After: Moving the fridge and water line to the opposite wall allowed us to entirely remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room and turn the wall separating the kitchen and living room into a small bar area. Bonus: Moving the water line meant my brother could plumb in the dishwasher so we no longer need to roll it over to the sink to run a load of dirty dishes (which was a serious pain in the butt).
Paint works wonders to brighten up this beach house kitchen

After: Here’s another view showing how open the kitchen is now to the dining and living rooms after we removed the partial walls. The column conceals a necessary steel support so it stayed, my dad boxed it in with leftover paneling and trim to make it a design feature. A thrifted brass bell (just $3) lets everyone know when it’s dinnertime.
Removing walls opens up this sunny beach house kitchen

*Three years later, the beach house is still a work in progress, keep checking back for more thrifty transformations.

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room

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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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