Updating A Beach Cottage: A Love Story About White Paint

Hey friends! The past few weeks have been rather hectic. Between launching the new business, buying a new car, being determined to clean out our basement storage, me getting violently ill (my body is a wonderland) and getting ready to make a mini move to Rockport, MA for the summer...We have been just plain nuts! 

Oh yeah, annoucement: We will be splitting our time between Rockport and Charlottesville, VA this summer. People always say, "Isn't that a bit much, to worry about traveling back and forth?" Let me explain. Nothing beats New England in the summertime. Nothing. It is perfect. And Jason runs a national program training baseball and softball catchers and he is going on his 17th year of running his summer camps in New Hampshire, so now he is close by for that. And I am still taking on projects in both locations and can basically decide week to week where I need to be! Rockport for a few days, C'ville for a few days. Happiness for all of the days except for the ones spent in the car. So yes, it's a bit hectic, but in a really good way. We get to have the best of both worlds and I couldn't be more excited. And for the price of taking 2 weeks of vacay at a beach house, we can get an apartment for a whole summer. SCORE.

Which brings me to my point of where we are in Rockport. We came up here a few months ago to scout a place to live. But Rockport, like most summertime beach communities, has some pretty expensive rent prices for just a seasonal rental. I'm talkin' 3k+ a month if you want a small furnished one bedroom by the beach. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. But we happened to find a house that was subdivided into one bedroom apartments that was in our price range. Here's the catch: It isn't furnished. So most people may think it's crazy to furnish a place for only a few months, but I think it's genius. Because we were able to rent it for a fraction of the cost! We are just a few blocks from downtown and beaches. And luckily for me, I always have a small cottage worth of furniture sitting in storage at any given time. So I've got that going for me... 

So on Sunday we packed my new truck to the brim and drove our furnishings up over night to Rockport. We arrived here at 8:45am Monday morning, and spent the next hour unloading and then after that I had fully furnished and 90% decorated the apartment the following hour. I snapped a pic of part of the living room to send around to my gal pals and thought it would be fun to show you the before/after. Without further adieu, here are the before shots from the last tenant:

The homeowner decided to put a fresh coat of white paint on everything before we came in. And I love the difference that it makes. It is a first floor apartment and while I am impressed by the consistent glow of natural light that it gets throughout the day, it's certainly not a super sunny spot inside. So a great way to fix that is with fresh white paint. And I am loving these gorgeous wide plank heart pine floors and the beams. Such  cool rustic design details that have been maintained over the years. 

So how did we take this from grandma's antique apartment (no offense to all my grandmothers out there) to a cozy, beachy summertime cottage?



And here is our new living room! When in doubt, jute it out. Jute rugs are SO utilitarian, cost-effective and useful. The natural fiber is great for this space. And that sofa is my absolute favorite. I purchased it back in 2010 and it has been a total work horse. It's from the Harborside collection at Crate and Barrel. The slipcovers are totally washable and have taken a beating and rebounded. Like the time I tripped and spilled red wine all over the side of it a week after we got it. Came right out! The cushions are SOOOOO comfortable. Many of my gal pals have slept on it when visiting me over the years. It's big enough to comfortably sleep a 5'5 chick. Just ask Maranda, Stef, Melissa, etc (shout out to my couch-sleeping friends!) This is the 6th house/apartment it has been in since I got it. SIXTH. I wish my furniture could somehow accrue miles that I could cash in since I move it all so much. 

I also grabbed up the live-edge coffee table out of our living room in C'ville and brought it up here. A trip to HomeGoods got me these beachy throw pillows for a total of $50. The side table is chippy plant stand that I picked up for free years ago. Our landlord was kind enough to donate the bamboo chairs, mirror, and the lamps. I wasn't sure how the modern/glam gold lamps would work in the space, but we have 2 of them in here (another next to dining room) and they absolute work.  Normally I would have the sofa against the back wall, but it just didn't make sense in this long, rectangular space. So we cut the room up a bit and added that round glass table and bamboo chairs for a nice seating nook. Since we both work predominantly from home, now we each have a space to work on our laptops in the morning- someone over here and someone at the dining table.

 The mirror is West Elm and check out what it does to that formerly dark/dead wall! This side of the house doesn't have windows, so a great way to deal with any 'dead' zone in your home is to add a mirror to reflect natural light and also reflect the plants/trees outside. It helps to warm up the space and brighten it up. A well-placed mirror reflecting the natural light can do just as much as a task lamp for lighting a space during the daytime!

So, all-in-all, this is my recipe for updating a small rustic space:

1) White slipcovered apartment-sized sofas are great and washable. 

2) Natural fiber rug, leaving some of the charming original floors exposed.

3) Well-placed mirrors to reflect light

4) Natural blond/honey wood toned furnishings will help make the place look bright and cheery.

5) Canvas directors chairs would be a great, cheap seating addition to this room!

6) WHITE PAINT WHITE PAINT WHITE PAINT. Did I mention white paint? Yeah. White paint.

7) Add some plants and fresh flowers in to brighten the place up!

I will try and grab some more pics of the rest of the apartment over the coming week but this is what we got done in an hour yesterday! We had to take a break for lobsters from Roy Moore's and catching the sunset at Plum Cove Beach with a bottle of white wine since it was a gorgeous 90 degree day yesterday. Because, priorities.