Beach Cottage Update: October 2011


So here is the thing with renovating an old house: it is fun, exciting, crazy, messy, stressful, dusty . . . there is blood, sweat (lots) and tears (lots and lots) . . . add in a very busy toddler and things really get interesting!  I have come to the realization that it may be the next beach season before I have any one room completed enough to do a full before and after reveal, so I thought I would share the bits and pieces around our cottage that I am loving right now . . . it is slow going and hard work, but it is still a dream come true for me.

I have about 100 projects going at any one time.  The floors are mostly done and are A-mazing.  I think they are the coolest hardwood floors I have ever seen, but I am probably prejudice after spending about 70 hours on my hands and knees hand sanding and applying polyurethane to each and every board.  They are the real deal-thick solid wood planks with knots and oodles of character.   We did not stain, just applied the poly.   The natural shades of the wood really gleam.

I love my English roll-arm sofa. It has beautiful lines.

This is a vintage finial that I purchased from White Flower Farmhouse to dress up our staircase. I pulled the carpeting off the stairs and removed approximately 1,000 carpet staples with pliers.  I painted the stair risers white and left the steps their original wood.  I will do a full post on the staircase when I am done with it.  I am contemplating painting a striped ” carpet runner.”  There are fun pictures on Pinterest, but I am worried it would not wear well?

Every beach house needs bright colored stripes.

Metal beach buckets are ideal for holding matchbox cars and other odds & ends. Their scale is wrong, I know, but they are cute and useful so for now, they are staying.


The front door is done for now, after a coat of oil-based exterior primer and five coats of Benjamin Moore Heritage Red.  I bought the school house light for the entryway at Lowes.

 A trio of my favorite pictures hanging next to our bed.

Chandelier in our bedroom.  You can find similar lighting at Lowes, where I found the first light, or online through sites like Homeclick who sell Hinkley Lighting.

Pages from a vintage Golden Book that I mounted on canvas for Wynn’s room.

The monstrous ceiling project that I started about a month ago. 

 Mr. Marvelous was on a business call at about 10 a.m. and I was antsy, so I started pulling down the drop ceiling tiles in the living room.  He came down from his upstairs office and was less than thrilled to see the ceiling laying in bits and pieces all over the living room floor.  What can I say?  Drop ceilings do not belong in beach cottages.  I have now pulled 100,000 staples from the ceiling (each square of drop tile was stapled into the ceiling), primed and painted.  The ceiling itself is a soft blue called Love in a Mist by Martha Stewart for Home Depot.   The “beams” are white washed using the left-over white paint from our walls.  I have been painting on the white paint and then immediately wiping off a good bit of the paint with a paper towel to allow the wood grain to show through and to give the wood a distressed weather-worn look.  I cannot wait to do a full post on the ceiling before and after!!  See the remnants of drop ceiling still in these picture?  Yes, I have a ways to go.  The bronze lanterns are Smith & Hawken.  It is so fun to sit with the candles lit on date nights at home.

I suppose that is all for tonight.  I hope that everyone is having a great week and thank you so much for following along!


  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean about renovating an old house! We are in the process of doing the same thing! I cannot imagine having a toddler and living there while doing it! Your cottage looks gorgeous so far…can’t wait to see the rest!

  2. I love all your homey touches, especially your photographs that add so much warmth to a space!
    I wanted to tell you that I did a painted runner on our garage stairs this summer and they get used 1,000x a day. So far they are holding up but I think I will really like the patina they will get from lots of use. I’m sure I’ll end up freshening them up once in a while but I am SO glad I did it! Good luck with all your projects and enjoy this journey! -Lisa
    (Here are my stairs if you’re interested!)

  3. So amazing. I have loved reading about your move and new life and am so thrilled to get a glimpse of life inside your new home. It is just how I knew it would be: stunning! Enjoy all the hard work and all of the comforts of home.

  4. The floors are gorgeous! Love everything you’ve done so far. We painted our back staircase and our stairs going down to our basement and they’ve held up quite well. A painted runner would be beautiful.

  5. love all that you are doing…you are so right….renovations are a lot of blood, sweat and tears…it’s hard to do it slowly because living in it all day, every day is hard.

    you guys are doing a great job…can’t wait to see some full before and after posts. 🙂

  6. I love what you have done. It makes me want to go out and find a beach cottage to restore! Good job, hang in there!

  7. You are so fantastic! So proud of you for hanging in there through the good, bad and the ugly! The cottage looks awesome, friend. XO

  8. Those floors are gorgeous!!! I now need to run to Lowes to buy that school house light 🙂 Love it.

  9. Wow! How beautiful and inspiring these photos are! You are so talented, Erin. I love all of your design ideas…I think I am going to paint my front door “Heritage Red” now, too! Love all of these pics!

  10. Oh, I love everything. Looks very “cottage.” ;)The floors are fabulous. How fortunate to have the original! I have that same light from Lowes at my front door! 🙂 Can’t beat it. :)Oh yeah, I love the “the beach is where my heart is” picture too! =D

  11. Ginny, go for it!! The Heritage Red is such a great color-very cheery! It is going to be great with greenery for the holidays!

  12. Oh Erin everything is looking GORGEOUS! I love the ceiling and LOL’d at picturing Edward’s face when he discovered what you were doing. What a labor of love! And your staircase project takes me back to when we did the same thing to the staircase in our old bungalow. 🙂

  13. Erin, it all looks so cozy and lived in, already! Those floors are STUNNING! We, too, have moved into an English Tudor style home that needed a kitchen and bathroom gut. We are nearing the end of the major things, all while living with a 5 yr. old, 3 yr. old and one month old–so I totally feel the pain!
    I would love to know how you put the vintage Golden Book on canvas. I have some vintage books from when I was a little girl and would love to use them for my children in this way!
    Thanks so much,

  14. Hi Melissa! I did make the bunting, I am getting ready to list an identical one for sale soon on my (soon to be open) Etsy shop! Stay tuned! 🙂

    I would like to do a tutorial for the canvases soon as well!

  15. Thanks so much for the feedback, Erin. Can I already reserve that bunting from that soon to open shop?!? 🙂

  16. Hi Erin,
    I’m just checking in on your blog and saw your response. I’ve just emailed you.

  17. oh. gracious. OH. GRACIOUS! It’s beautiful!! I’ve followed you for ages but have I commented yet? Oh, this tired momma never knows what she’s doing. We’re renovating our house and I’ve just found myself a ton of inspiration in this post. I love it. And I love your sweet spirit!

  18. Where did you find your chandilier? It looks like what I need for my daughter’s bedroom. Thanks.

  19. Hi Erin, I’m considering the Carlisle sofa but it’s had some not so great reviews. Just wondering how yours is holding up? Thanks!

    • Hey Nicole!

      LOVE our carlisle sofa! It has held up great and that’s with a very rambunctious little boy. I do wash the slipcover every six weeks or so. I would buy it again. Not sure what the poor reviews are but I can’t think of anything that I have been disappointed with!

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