Although we’ve been sharing lots of little peeks of our beach house progress on social media, John and I realized it has been nearly THREE WHOLE MONTHS since we gave you a full tour of everything (since this video tour from back in December!). And not only have there been some big projects since then, like building in a pantry and constructing the bunk beds, there have also been a flurry of smaller updates that we haven’t posted about at all – some that we completed as recently as this past weekend. And thus, this post was born.
As usual, I’ll kick off the post with the video tour because it’s the easiest way to get the full update on everything (if you scroll past it and check out the pics, you’ll get a general gist… but no amount of photos + words can compare to a moving video through a space – and I dive into a lot of bonus stuff in the video just because I like to flap my gums). Oh but we realized afterward that, most likely due to my aforementioned propensity to jabber, I forgot to walk into the mudroom and the downstairs bathroom – but the mudroom is basically just a holding room for our tools and scrap wood right now, and the downstairs bathroom looks the same as the last time we shared video footage, so you’re not missing much.
Anyway, the rest of the house is covered, so you can get a detailed wak-through of the progress we’ve made (and the areas that are still, shall we say, lacking) right here in the video. Note: if you are viewing this in a feed reader you may need to click through to the post to see the video. You can also watch it here on YouTube.
If you can’t dive into the video quite yet, I’ll give you some highlights via photos (the video has a lot more POVs though). First is the project that John was surprisingly enthusiastic about since it has been a long time coming: finally putting a top on the secondhand coffee table that I found it for $5 on a local buy/sell/trade group. Up until now, you’ve probably stared curiously at that strange octagonal wood cage that floats around aimlessly in the middle of the living room, just begging to no longer live her life topless and alone. You can see it below in this photo from way back in October when we first moved in furniture (before we switched out the light fixture for something larger with more light, added a rug, and hung curtains).
We’ve been attempting to get a top for it for MONTHS now. First I got a few quotes for having an octagon-shaped marble or quartz top cut for it, but they were staggeringly expensive (as in more than $500 and sometimes more than $800 – even for remnant slab pieces) so that was out. But we were set on the idea of a light colored stone look, just because the rug and the couch are dark and we want to break things up with something nice and light in the middle.
Then we realized we could create a white concrete top that would do just that if we built a wood top and used Ardex feather finish to skim coat it for that solid white concrete look – sort of like we did to our old kitchen counters. We love that it’ll end up being lighter & easier to move since it’s just a veneer of concrete, and we’ve never used the white concrete feather finish yet, so we’ll definitely keep you posted when we get to that step. So far we’ve just constructed the wood top:
Also in the living room, you may have heard us debating several pink chairs on our podcast (and previewing them as they came in and immediately left on InstaStories – ha!). We kept coming back to the fact that this cane chair that we’ve had for years was a better fit than anything else we could find. And I swear it’s much more comfortable than it looks (let me tell you, John “Practical” Petersik does not tolerate uncomfortable chairs for purely decorative purposes) so that’s a legit endorsement to give cane chairs a chance and just sit in them to see if they’re really bad or really good.
I just added a seat cushion that I found at Pier 1 (the flamingo pillow is from HomeGoods years ago) and it’s starting to look right at home. I only wish we could find another identical chair so we could have a matching pair in there. We found this one at a thrift store ages ago, so maybe someday one will pop up on Etsy or something?
This weekend we also got to hang some big art to anchor a large empty wall in our kitchen. It’s from Urban Outfitters of all places, and it was perfect in just about every respect: the theme (it’s an aerial photo of the sea meeting a sandy beach), the color scheme (pink + blue), and the price ($199 for a giant 30 x 40″ print that comes framed!). The fact that the natural wood frame is so similar to our 100-year-old pine floors was a pretty exciting revelation for me when it arrived. It also comes in other sizes and other frames and it’s 20% off right now if you’re in the market for some art.
You’ve may have also noticed that we finished hanging curtains downstairs (extra long curtains + 9′ ceilings are great for bringing the eye up and emphasizing the added height) and I finally got around to hemming them all this weekend. We have been buying Lenda curtains from Ikea, washing them to pre-shrink them, and then cutting off the tabs before clipping them up. Some still need more more steaming. We finally found a steamer that does the trick after returning another one that did not do a thing (this Mac daddy upright one from Target was the winner) but even if they’re a little creased, they’re already helping the house feel more complete and oh so beachy. Long breezy white curtains FTW!
We also got the new cabinet all installed where the mini-fridge used to be (over the last few months we realized we never used it and decided more cabinetry and counter space there is so much better than a secondary fridge) and added cabinets along the right wall of the walk-in pantry. They’re shallow 15″ cabinets, just like those flanking the back door in the kitchen, so it’s really nice to have them continue in there.
Assembling and hanging the cabinets wasn’t hard (we built them one Friday night and installed them the next Saturday morning) but we always forget all the little dangling to-do list items after that, like adding the hardware, cutting new counters, and reinstalling the baseboards and toe-kicks. We finally got that done this past weekend. They just need some paint touch ups and they’ll be 100% completed. Have I mentioned the pantry is one of my favorite rooms in the entire beach house and I wish so badly I had one in our kitchen at home? That pendant is original and we had it rewired so it’s all safe and updated. (*Insert dreamy lovestruck sigh here*). Note: you can see how we built the shelves along the left wall of the pantry here.
We’re still assuming that not all of this room will be dedicated to food storage since it’s just a weekly vacation rental (but we do hear that people bring lots of those large boxes of cereal and chips and even things like beach coolers, so it’s nice to have a spot where those things can all live). We also think it may become useful for overflow kitchenware (extra dishes, cooking gadgets, etc) and even some extra towels or linens, since the house doesn’t really have a proper linen closet anywhere. Time will tell! We’re just grateful to have concealed storage space to spare.
As for upstairs, if you caught our podcast show notes a few weeks ago, you’ve already seen most of the bedroom progress. We got more of those breezy white curtains up everywhere (these still badly need to be steamed) and they really help anchor the rooms and make them feel softer.
That picture above is the front bedroom, and before when there was just a wide headboard sitting in front of that skinnier-than-the-bed window it felt kind of odd and unfinished. But once we hung the curtains it was immediately so much more balanced and finished looking. So if you have a room that necessitates that bed-in-front-of-the-window placement (the only other free wall in here has two windows, so the bed needed to be in front of a window any way we sliced it), consider adding some curtains hung high and wide on a nice substantial rod. Really makes a huge difference.
The middle bedroom has sort of a warm/brass thing going on. It started with the lamps, then I added some of my favorite gold frames with handmade prints that I picked up at a local craft fair last year, and we even hung a mobile in one corner. I can’t explain how simple this room was to put together (matching side tables, matching lamps, two pictures, simple curtains, neutral headboard and bedding, etc) but it feels so serene and beachy. The breezy gold mobile is like the icing on the cake.
The back bedroom, which is where we sleep when we stay there, also got curtains and otherwise has just seen some small tweaks: we lowered the sconces and simplified all the stuff on/under the night stands (there were baskets under them, and some leaning frames and books and stuff on top). I keep saying this, but the beach house is SO SIMPLE and such a nice breath of fresh air to us – so I didn’t want to lose that feeling by piling in too much stuff.
All of those less covered surfaces at the beach house are inspiring me to pare down at home, too! You know that simple and uncluttered and uncomplicated feeling you get in a nice hotel room? We have that at the beach! And now I’m greedy and want it at home. Why not?! If less works out there, can’t it work at home too? Of course we have backpacks and schoolwork and a home office here at home, so it won’t quite be the same, but needless to say, there are a lot of things getting donated or put in some large plastic bins labeled “duplex decor” at home, just to thin things out around here too.
Back to moving the sconces for a second, because we get questions about them every time we show them. Thankfully, moving them was super easy since we designed them with Shades of Light to just be plug-in (so it doesn’t require an electrician to move them and they only make a few small screw holes in the wall that can be speckled if you change their location). There isn’t a junction box behind them or anything – they literally just need to be plugged into the wall to turn on, and then they’re just hung on the wall like you’d hang a mirror or a picture. That’s it, and they’re all “installed” – so easy.
The only other big accomplishment this past weekend was locking in a plan for the backyard, including the size and placement of a shed, choosing a material for a patio, and nailing down a strategy for a nice but not too expensive pathway from the street to the back (it’s like 100 feet long!). But that, my friends, is a conversation for another day and another post…
P.S. To see other beach house posts as we’ve pulled this vacation rental together over the last year, click here. And for all of the paint colors and sources for every last room in the beach house, here’s a page full of that info.
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