BEACH HOUSE Part I - BIG renovation - LITTLE budget

I love working at this little house.  The hottest days are cooler here, and the days that feel a little cooler at my foothills home, are warmer here at the beach.  

Then there's the air, and the smell of the ocean, and the laid back lifestyle,
Bleudog Fotography

and this quirky little house we are turning into a home.  I posted a while ago about the renovation on this cute little beach house.  It belongs to my friend, Shawna, the photographer.  (Yes, she's the photographer I use for my projects - those beautiful photos that make my work look so good!)  She's divorced but still working on the settlement end of things... so currently poor as a church mouse.  (Of course he isn't...right?)  She's struggling to make ends meet and provide a home for her kids.  So - the budget, when we can find one - is tiny, tiny. We rely on volunteer labor and lots of good finds.  While we have made progress, its mostly been behind the scenes. There is a lot to do because, like most old coastal homes, there have been additions to it over the years.  The plumbing and electrical that were added in the past additions turned out to be sub-par and possibly dangerous, so those items needed to be taken care of - pronto!

Still, the house has its charms, and I'd be less than truthful if I didn't tell you I've completely fallen under the beach house spell.  Silly round windows, odd angled additions, mismatched flooring, it has tons of charm.

And fresh Pacific breezes.  I also haven't told you the most important part...  

We are doing this renovation as cheaply as possible, and as green-ly as possible.  We are reusing, recycling, reclaiming wherever possible - and we will be posting our progress and our DIY solutions to making this home fat on comfort and charm and skinny on budget.

Shawna has such a wonderful eye and her work is filled with beautiful light - (see her work here.)  It's so fun to work with her, because she doesn't blink when I suggest something completely out of the box - in fact most of her suggestions are in that neighborhood, too.  Can you say 'unconventional'?  We were destined to be friends.

And...if you haven't signed up to follow this blog yet, over there on the right side (top), do so now, as you won't want to miss a single installment of this renovation.

We've actually made quite a bit of progress, although, as I mentioned,  its not all stuff you can see... We started in the master bedroom - a long and narrow room, made narrower by the addition of a long closet along the inside wall of the room.

My client is a seeker of light - loves it - and her photography is all done in natural light so its kind of her signature as well - and this room was a dark cave.

The laundry was also located here in the master bedroom - (I did mention this house is quirky, right?) -

I think this was the result of not one, but two additions to the house, as the flooring stops and starts a couple of times and it just feels a little awkward.

from the too large bed - looking to the laundry spigots...
now that's a master suite to be envied!
So, we made a plan to remove the washer/dryer hookups and make that into the clothes closet for this room. The existing closet was the main cause of this room being narrow - and once it was removed we would gain much needed space for living.

But first there were a few obstacles to move...like vent pipes and drains that were hidden in the closet needed to be moved...

Shawna also wanted to add a french door and replace old non-working aluminum framed windows. (I think if she could, she would have french doors in every room.)  She started the search at salvage yards and Craigslist.

Because space was at a premium here, we also needed to replace her large, chunky 4 poster bed with a more streamlined bed.  She was very fond of that bed... but she was on board with whatever we needed to do to make the space work.  She also needed clothes storage and somewhere to put a flat screen.

And a floor.  She really needed a floor.  She was walking on a combination of old floor and sub-floor.

old narrow oak flooring and sub-flooring meet in the master bedroom

We needed better lighting in this room and we needed to figure a way for her to have privacy since all windows in this room are street side.    Here is our check list and progress:


Removed popcorn ceiling

The popcorn acoustic removal was easier than anticipated,
thanks to our volunteer crew!  It pays to have friends!
Finished basic electrical for this room.

Moved laundry out of bedroom
and thankfully, some of those friends have mad skills...
Created closet where laundry area was and
added closet doors
the louvered doors were a salvage yard find...

Removed existing closet
Shawna discovered you don't need mad skills for demolition....
Moved drain/vent pipe found in closet
(see picture above..)

Added french door
These amazing diamond pane doors were a salvage find.  
(I'm taking her with me when I shop flea markets from now on - 
this girl has the best luck finding wonderful things!)

Created a dresser for clothes storage
Basic kitchen drawers, made to fit this alcove, work just fine for clothes storage

The dresser top was created from the demo'd old fence around the property...

The leaf shaped pulls were a Home Goods find..

Installed new flooring
we went way out of the box here - we used simple pine planks for flooring -
(its a beach house, after all)
and a custom mix of stain was all it took to make it look fabulous

and yes, we will be telling you all about it, and DIY blow by blow, on a future post...

Obtained a smaller profile bed frame
Used. A Craigslist find...
A tight fit, but it works..
Found a desk
another Craigslist find...
it was green and gold when she brought it home

Shawna is currently in the process of transforming this desk with Annie Sloan 'Old White' chalk paint.

Found desk chair to go with desk...
A Home Goods find... it was perfect

Installed a privacy curtain
another Home Goods find...

Shawna feels quite cozy at night with the curtain drawn...

Privacy fence installed
you can see the completely inadequate existing fence next to the patio table

ahh... much better - and the yard is immediately larger, too.
Replace and move window  
Ceiling fan
Beadboard ceiling treatment
Recessed ceiling lighting
Bedside pendant lighting
Pocket door to bathroom
Comfy chair
Window treatments
Rugs and Accessories
Top coat treatment for floor - polylurethane

If you would like to help in this renovation - we are open!  If you have a salvage or recycle business, have reclaimed wood, old windows, gently used furniture or appliances or fixtures, or know of someone who does - please please let us know.  We are serious about making this a budget conscious, green minded project!  We need your help and are happy to feature your business as we go along!


Hi Claudine,
Your blog is super informative and you certainly know your stuff!!

I desperately need some advice and hoping you can help.  I recently painted my living/dining room Balboa Mist, and it turned out really cold with a very strong blue undertone showing through.

 I was hoping to update and modernize my home from the yellow paint that I had inherited from the previous owners.  I did some research and found that the blue undertones in the paint may have been brought out by the  Brazilian Cherry floor (which I also inherited).  The room is not very bright, but there is a window in the living room facing west, and a smaller window in the dining room facing east.

I have been religiously reading up on the greige craze, and would like to incorporate some of that into my home, but not sure if there is a warm and bright enough paint colour that would suit the room.

I have tried out test samples of revere pewter and it looks awful and really muddy with blue/green undertones.  I was thinking of maybe lightening it by 50%.

I am also wondering if Edgecomb gray or Pale Oak would be a good choice for the room.  Or should I just abandon greige altogether and go for the traditional beiges like Manchester Tan/Natural Linen?

I also just saw a really nice colour "Gray Mirage", what do you think of that?
Please help!!

Ahhh, the trial and error stages of paint selection.  I would certainly say that Edgecomb Gray is a lovely color, as is Pale Oak.  You may also try Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige and Amazing Gray.  The ticket, as you have been experiencing, is trying it out first.  The direction your home faces, the amount of greenery around it, the size and shape of the room - the existing colors in the room - all of these factor in to how paint colors will look.  I wish I could tell you that Manchester Tan, or Gray Mirage are going to look great and are fail proof - but that is just not the case with color.  So many factors contribute!  You just have to try them....   I can say that if you are continually getting blue or blue green undertones, that you probably have north light.   But I can also say that your neutral wall color will become background once your furnishings are in place and your accessories and fabrics are set. Sometimes we panic when we just really need a little time for things to settle.  But try some of these colors, and the SW Colors - I think if you go for more of a warm undertone you may find a color that works.   Accessible Beige is a good one to try.  Good luck!  

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