Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Before & After Living Room

One of my favorite transformations in the beach house is the living room. The living room was kind of a funny "pass through" room with not a lot going on. The combination of a wide entry to the dining room, french doors into the game room/den, and a non-working gas fireplace that encroached into the room left few options for actually living in the living room. 

Some things that the room had going for it were the vaulted ceiling and the open staircase. I wanted to really play up the spaciousness above by lightening the dark wood of the ceiling and drawing the eye up the stairs with the line of the vintage badminton rackets. And how could I forget Big Sexy? (The 4 ft. tall lamp next to the couch I got on Craigslist for $40! Score!) Big lamps are a great addition (the lamp in the before picture is a regular size floor lamp...but look how puny it looks.).


Stranded on Purpose Beach House Living Room

We reused the coffee table and just painted it white and covered it with glass. The couch was $250 on Craigslist and I had the AMAZING Mr. Moon (of Moon Sewing in Williamsburg, Virginia) redo the foam and make washable slipcovers out of a dark denim with aqua piping. The octopus throw pillows are from Tuesday Morning ($20 a piece? Definitely no more than $30.) The mid-century, split level end table is from Cabin Point Mercantile (I split a pair, so I think the one was around $30). The rug is an indoor/outdoor that I got at a clearance store called The Dump. It was just over $200 because it had a frayed corner. Hid that right under the couch and saved somewhere in the neighborhood of $500!

The fireplace was extremely dark and bulky....especially for something that didn't even work, so we replaced it with a custom built-in entertainment center (again, done by our friend Keith Mueller who did the dresser I showed you in the Master Bedroom. His prices are extremely reasonable! Probably somewhere in the $1500 neighborhood for the entire entertainment center.... 8 ft. tall and 7 ft. wide, all wood, bead board backing and doors, and we painted it. Seriously great deal!).

We also replaced the garden window (which had cloudy glass and leaked when it rained) with a standard window. Much better! The curtains were $10 from a local consignment shop. I think they might be a shower curtain, actually. Ha!


Stranded on Purpose beach house living room

The blue chairs were another great Craigslist deal--$20 each--and after much fabric drama (which I told you about HERE) the slipcovers were made by Moon Sewing. The chairs have casters, so they can easily move around for movie watching, board games on the coffee table, or a big puzzle on the floor. Versatility is key!

Stranded on Purpose beach house entertainment center

The items on the entertainment center shelves are a combination of items I had and things I picked up at Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Cabin Point Mercantile. The two aqua rope knots (under the ship) are dog toys from Target! Most everything up there is in the $20 range.

The stereo/DVD/Blu-Ray player is a half priced, display model from last year at Best Buy. Everything works great, and Sony sent us the missing owner's manual, remote control, and iPod dock free of charge. Saved over $200!

As you can see in the picture below, another problem with the living room before was that the couch was  largely blocking the entryway to the dining room, and it made the room feel very closed off. By swinging the couch over to the wall under the stairs, the space flows and feels like one big, open area. AND we could tuck a little desk and ottoman on that wall (even more versatility with seating). Win/win!


Stranded on Purpose Beach House Living Room 

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Desk

The desk is a beautiful antique I picked up for just over $100 at another local shop, Nature's Acre. The fish was already in the house, the beach sign is from Farmer Joe's, the lamp is from TJ Maxx, the chair and ottoman are from Home Goods. Our guest book, a map of the island, a binder with restaurant menus and island activities, and pens and pad stay organized in an office organizer from Target.

The stairs were previously a dark red color with a natural wood railing. We painted everything white with a turquoise "runner" (Behr's Jamaica Bay, if memory servers). A few gray pinstripes....and viola! Total transformation.


Stranded on Purpose beach house stairs

So there you go! Without spending thousands and thousands of dollars on designer furniture and decor, you can really pull together a cute look. I spent a lot of time perusing Pinterest for ideas and using it to plan the decor for this house room by room. I also scoured my local Craigslist and Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook. There are great deals to be had! You just have to be patient and keep looking. And don't be afraid to get a little creative.

Hope you are enjoying the before and afters!

~Betsy xoxo

P.S. Linking up at Between Naps on the Porch

Friday, May 24, 2013

Before & After Master Bedroom

I thought I would start to share the before pics and some details of the beach house renovation. 

Let's start in the downstairs master bedroom (technically, ALL the bedrooms are "master" bedrooms as they have their own private baths, but the upstairs rooms have nicknames and this one doesn't).

Master bedroom before

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master

The first thing I wanted to change in this room (and all the rooms) was the dark wood and dark furniture. It just didn't feel beachy to me. We painted the walls Behr Aqua Pura, and all the trim Behr Ultra High Gloss White. I love the high gloss because it cleans up beautifully, and it reflects lots of light.

Another issue in this room was that there was a lot of closet space and not a whole lot of room for a dresser (or two). We decided to eliminate one of the closets and turn it into a nook with a built-in dresser. Our friend and skilled craftsman, Keith Mueller, made the dresser, we had glass cut to fit on top, and picked up some pulls at Lowes. I love it! It makes the room feel SO much bigger. Even going from a queen bed to a king bed the room still feels bigger.

Finally, we put in a low pile Stainmaster carpet in place of the existing linoleum floors. Much nicer on the feet. The coral lamp is from TJ Maxx and cost around $40. The mirror is from Lowes. The TV was in the house. The 3 pails were in Target's $1 section. And the Sunshine sign was in the $15-20 range from TJ Maxx.

Here's the other side of the room....

Master bedroom before

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master

One of the biggest decorating tricks I've learned over the years is to dress windows really "wide" to make them appear larger. Just by extending the curtain rod way out to the sides and putting up some sheers from Target, the window feels much more proportionate to the king bed. It also gives the room a really soft and romantic feel. There are pull-down accordion shades for privacy and darkness under the sheers. They're cordless and are barely noticeable. You can get them very reasonably at Lowes. The shark is from Home Goods. Twenty dollars, maybe?

The bedside tables were in the house and got a coat of white paint. The bed was on clearance at a local furniture shop because the headboard and footboard didn't match the side rails. No problem since we were going to paint them anyway! Those awesome lamps were a STEAL at one of my favorite local antique stores, Cabin Point Mercantile. I think they were $10 each. We rewired them, painted them an electric turquoise, and picked up some new shades at a fancy lamp store. I love them so much. They are huge and provide such a nice scale to the room. Sometimes going with a couple of really big pieces makes a small space feel bigger. One of the paradoxes of decorating.

The attached bathroom BEFORE:
Master bathroom before

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master Bath

This bathroom was updated with new toilet, flooring, paint, mirror, light, faucet, towel bars, shower head, etc. Removing the wallpaper (which I told you about HERE) and simply painting the vanity gave it a whole new look. We had quite a bit of termite and water damage in this room that had to be addressed--both in the floor and the wall under the window. 

One of the easiest ways to add interest to a bathroom is with fun shower curtains. I found this giant octopus curtain on Pinterest and was able to click through to the vendor and buy it online. It was kind of spendy....$90, I think, but well worth it. Rug and waste can are from Target. 

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master Bath

Lastly, the laundry room got a fresh coat of paint, some straightening, and a few strategically placed hooks to corral the necessary brooms, mops, Swiffers etc. Oh, and a mermaid to keep you company. Because, who doesn't love a mermaid?



(I feel compelled to point out that that outlet was covered shortly after this photo was taken and before our first renters arrived.)

So there you have it. I think Chris and I even forgot what it first looked like. Hope you enjoyed seeing the transformation!

~Betsy xoxo

P.S. Linking up at Between Naps on the Porch

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Done, Done, DONE!!

It's DONE!

Done, done, done, done, dooooonnnnneeeeee!

After illness (Chris is feeling MUCH better, thankfully--that was definitely scary!), panic, and a lot of work, it is finally done .

Well, mostly.

Chris has two days of figuring out switches and HVAC stuff that is boring and not pretty and not my department.

So for all intents and purposes, it's DONE.

Wow. What a journey.

Y'all ready to see it? All of it? No more sneak peeks and carefully cropped shots to hide the mountain of construction mess lurking around the corner!

I give you the whole enchilada!

The living room:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Entertainment Center

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Living Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Living Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Desk

The kitchen:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Kitchen

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Kitchen Sink

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Kitchen

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Kitchen Door

The laundry room:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Laundry

The downstairs bedroom:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master

Downstairs bathroom:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master Bath

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Downstairs Master Bath
The game room:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Game Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Game Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Game Room

The stairs:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Vintage Rackets Painted Stairs

The "Green Room:"

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Green Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Green Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Green Room Bath

And the "Knot Room:"

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Knot Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Knot Room

Knot tying station:

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Knot Room

Stranded on Purpose Beach House Knot Room Bath

Sooooo........what do you think?? Later I will post the before pics and you can really see how different it all looks. And some other fun details. For now, my head is hitting the pillow.

Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement along the way! It has helped enormously. <3

~ Betsy xoxo

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I am convinced that part of every remodeling project is an "emotional bottom." There comes that point where the project has lingered on so long, cost so much, and/or hit yet another snag that it sends the remodeler into a state of despair. 

Whether you are living in the remodel or staying at a hotel or trying to meet a deadline, I think those of us who take on these projects know this stage far too well. 

I do believe we've hit that point in this beach house remodel.

Three days ago Chris woke up at the beach house with some serious swelling on his arm. Serious. He had been complaining about a cut on his arm that wasn't healing throughout the week. It went from a pimple-sized bump to a quarter-sized bump to a softball size bump with chills, nausea, and fever in the course of 3 days.

Thank God for the Ocracoke Health Clinic. They diagnosed him with a staph infection, gave him a shot in his hiney, some 'scripts for antibiotics, and some compliments on the house. 

Meanwhile, I had been scrambling to get some last minute items that we need. After calling and calling to find out the status of the super cool barstools I bought six weeks ago, I was finally told those stools were now discontinued with an arrival date of Never. Sigh.

I will spare you the whiny details of the multiple stores I visited (in the rain....with children in tow), the 18 stores I called, and the hour (plus) drive into the city to round up some kind of replacement barstools. Suffice to say, it was a headache and a half. Double sigh.

Chris is improving, but is pretty much out of commission.

Meanwhile, we were planning to finish shopping this week, head to the house this weekend, and have everything wrapped for renters arriving the following week.

Needless to say, we are both at the breathing in a paper bag portion of the program.

I don't know how it's going to play out. We are taking things moment by moment.

We are asking ourselves (and each other) the kinds of questions I think most remodelers ask at this stage, 

"What the heck were we thinking?" 

"Is this ever going to be done?" 

"Have we made a terrible mistake?"

I'm sure we will one day look back at this time and laugh at the comedy of errors. And I'm sure the next time we find ourselves here we will be asking the same questions and feeling the same panic. I really do think it's part of the process. I just wish it didn't suck so much.

~Betsy xoxo

Saturday, April 20, 2013

T-Minus One Month

Things are really starting to come together at the beach house. We still have a lot of details to finish and need a few more decor items. We are officially 1 month out from our first renters, so it is pedal to the metal time! Here are a few pictures from our recent work trip.

Like I said before, the siding and windows were just installed. I hadn't seen it in person until last week. It was stunning! So many folks have given us their compliments and thumbs-ups. It is a total transformation, that's for sure. Here's the deck/game room side (we are still waiting to install buy pick out outdoor lights).

Beach house

This is a shot of the other side of the house. One day I might show you pictures of the rotten wood/windows that came out. Maybe not. It was pretty gross. Needless to say, we were glad we made the decision to do this work (especially after our window guy said that  a few years ago there had been a class action lawsuit over our exact old windows for leaking/rotting).

Beach house shingle siding

Below is one of my favorite elements: The life rings in the "Knot Room." Super cute, right? And that crab pillow I got on Etsy? Perfect.

Beach house life rings

I'm also pretty tickled by the vintage badminton rackets on the staircase (they came out of a camper we bought years ago):

Beach house vintage rackets

Adirondack chairs and garden stools are ready and waiting on the deck:

Beach house adirondacks

Lots of hooks right inside the kitchen door for all the towels, hoodies, hats, baseball gloves (lol!), beach bags, etc.:

Beach house hooks

Dining room table and chairs got a nice fresh coat of bright aqua paint:

Beachy aqua table and chairs

And although we pretty much worked through the sunsets, we were up at the crack of dawn and got to see some very beautiful sunrises:


I can't wait to show you some of the other rooms as they are coming together. I've got some cool tips and some minor flops I also want to share. Priority right now, however, is to "git 'er done!" (And reapply the Icy Hot to my aching muscles!)

~Betsy xoxo