Before & After – a beach condo

 I’m putting my toe in the water and starting to market my services for staging and photography.  My first “official” job was a big one – this condo was purchased as a foreclosure so it was completely empty.  It needed everything – furniture, linens, accessories, artwork, mattresses, flat screen tvs, dvd players, kitchen supplies like plates, silverware, pots/pans and patio furniture.  To further complicate matters – I had 2 weeks to come up with a design plan and order or purchase everything and I had only2 days to install it before the first renters checked in!  (Praise the Lord for good friends with trailers and SUVs to help a sister out!)  Whew – it was a lot of work and this was all done in July – the absolute busiest month in Destin traffic and tourist wise.  And did I mention this project needed to be on a budget?  In the end it cost just under $10,000 to purchase everything…not bad considering a sofa sleeper is almost always $1,000, the washer/dryer was over $1,000 and the TV’s were also over $1,000.  I love the way the condo turned out and so far the feedback from the renters has been terrific and the condo has been rented every single day its been open!  Feast your eyes on the before and afters…

The living room before was a blank slate….check out the gorg views…did I mention this condo is Gulf front?

before and after beach condo -

Here are the after photos of the living room.  The first thing I purchased was the painting above the couch that served as the jumping off point for the rest of the condo…

before & after beach condo -

You are probably thinking – a white couch for a rental?  Its a slipcover so it can be removed and washed.  And I purchased the stain protection package which promises even red wine won’t stain!  Sleeper sofas have a tendancy to be on the ugly side and have a commercial look.  This was about the only option that I liked!

before & after beach condo -
Renters want big TV’s and wifi service so I put a 52″ in the living room and a 42″ in the master bedroom…before & after beach condo -

I added baskets filled with board games and puzzles.  I also purchased a tv “strap” that you attach to the back of the tv and then to the furniture and the wall.  A great idea for TV’s that aren’t mounted to the wall – I’d hate for a renter to knock it over or for it to injure someone in the process. 

before & after beach condo -

The dining space was tight so I found a long and narrow table.  I added two slipcovered host chairs (I went through 2 cans of Scotch Guard) and some smaller metal chairs that could tuck under the table easily.  I also had a glass company custom make glass tops for the dining table, coffee table, end tables and nightstands…for less than $300 this cost was worth the peace of mind of damage to all this beautiful wood furniture!  (It was installed after the photos were taken.)

before & after beach condo -

before & after beach condo -

The kitchen had all new appliances and granite counters…

before & after beach condo -

You might recognize the bar stools from my own kitchen here….I love them so much I had to use them in this project as well.  The kitchen is fully stocked with beautiful blue pottery dishes, glasses and lots of pots, pans and baking supplies.  Providing additional items than “required” is always a good idea – it keeps the renters happy and coming back again and again!

before & after beach condo -

before & after beach condo -

The Master Suite needed to be somewhat luxurious and definitely inviting.  I used quilts that can be easily washed versus those hotel style polyester comforters that make me squeamish – I want to put on gloves while I remove it and never touch it again during my stay!

before & after beach condo - before & after beach condo -

When you are laying in bed you can see the “Beach” directional sign…

before & after beach condo -

The hallway bunk beds received new mattresses, quilts and beachy pillows…

before & after beach condo -

 before & after beach condo -

There are 1 1/2 bathrooms…

before & after beach condo -

before & after beach condo -

before & after beach condo -

before & after beach condo -

And last but not least – the balcony.  I added a high table and 2 high chairs for better viewing over the balcony.  I also added two smaller chairs in each corner so renters would not be tempted to pull any chairs from inside to the balcony!

before & after beach condo -

I wish I could give you a source list, but most things in this condo were one of a kinds, purchased from Home Goods and Marshalls.  I also scored some great pieces at amazing prices at a moving sale of a local furniture store.  Other finds from Pier 1 Imports, Target, WalMart and a few on-line stores.

If you are interested in renting this condo, you can rent it here!

If you own a condo along the Emerald Coast and want some fluffing, staging or just plain need some help, you can contact me at Seaside Staging and Photography – you can follow along for more great before and afters when you “like” our Facebook page here!

Happy Hump Day!


Before and After – a Beach Townhouse

 south Bay Townhouse - at the beach with kris

     This little gem (at South Bay by the Gulf) was purchased recently by my clients – it is SO close to the beach and they fell in love because it has 3 bedrooms – plenty of space for their family of 4 when they visit Destin!  It also has a nice yard for their dogs and you can see the swimming pool from their front door and the master bedroom.  What they didn’t fall in love with was the décor.  They embarked on a trip to the beach for closing and brought with them a trailer stuffed full of all kinds of Home Goods goodness!  The initial plan was to be here for an entire week for this extreme makeover, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, they were only here for 2 days.  You will be impressed with what they did achieve in 2 days – I will post again once they come back and do more – they really wanted to tackle the peach paint and the kitchen, but there just wasn’t enough time.  Here are some photos of the 2 day mini-makeover…

before & after - living room - at the beach with kris

In the living room, they added new throw pillows, switched up the artwork, added a sisal rug and new tables and lamps

before & after - living room tv- at the beach with kris

We’ve gone from Motel 6 to beachy chic in the living room tv area!  I love this transformation!  I’m always surprised at how many properties I show and sell that haven’t replaced the old TV’s with flat screens.  When I am working with buyers, they chuckle when they see the old TV’s and it is a turn off – definitely replace your TV’s when you are selling or even just renting!

before & after - living room tv view - at the beach with kris

before & after - master bedroom - at the beach with kris

The Master Suite is my personal favorite – the added splash of pink is just so fun!  New curtains, bedding, artwork, lamps and tables complete this room.

before & after - bunk room - at the beach with kris

The guest bedroom was cute before, but now with the two sets of bunk beds, the townhouse can sleep 2 more guests which is great for rental income!

before & after - guest bedroom - at the beach with kris

The guest suite looks nothing like its former self – its much more soothing and mature now – pretty much everything changed!  Decorating note – whenever possible, have the bed facing the door so you see the bed when you enter the bedroom!

pool - at the beach with kris

pool - at the beach with kris

patio - at the beach with kris

rear view of townhouse - at the beach with kris

If you are planning a trip to Destin, you can rent this townhouse here!

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Before & After – a Beach Condo on 30-A

     Now this is what I call a top to bottom, fabulous renovation!  This condo, located in Seagrove Beach on Highway 30-A, was not much to write home about when it was on the market.  The new owners were lucky enough to purchase this condo well below the appraised value and did a beautiful, thoughtful renovation in my personal favorite style – coastal.  The home is now on an exclusive rental program and available for beach vacation rentals – a big plus is this management company launders the sheets AND comforters for each guest!  It is 4 bedrooms and is just steps to the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Enjoy the before and after photos with sources and details at the end!

Before & After Beach Condo Reno

before living room 2












Before After Kitchen to LR

before kitchen

Notice they removed that awkward pantry!



These bar stools – gah!!!



before dining





Before After Master Bedroom


DSC_0553Before After Master BathDSC_0557

 Before After Front bedroom

DSC_0550before After bunk bedroom


Before After Beach bedroom











 before exterior

 Sources & Info:

Floors – the main living areas are a ceramic tile that looks like wood – $5/sqft; travertine in bathrooms and new carpet in bedrooms.  (Total Cost – $15,000)

Paint – All colors Sherwin Williams – main living areas “Softer Tan”, blue rooms “Sea Salt” and Master Bathroom “Comfort Gray”  (Total cost to paint the entire condo $12,000)

paint colors

Scott Antique Market -( omgeee I get to go to Scotts for the first time in March and I’m beyond excited..I need to sell 12 houses and rent a U-Haul before I go!) The kitchen barstools (I covet these), coral art in Master Bathroom and the driftwood bowl centerpiece on the dining table.

Ballards and Ballards Outlet – all rugs and the guest bedroom burlap bedskirt, curtain panels and linen headboard ($250)

Lighting – all lights purchased at Lowes except the dining chandelier is from United Lighting in Destin  ($380)

Kitchen – the cabinets are from Discount Cabinets in Panama City – best price after 4 quotes  (Total cost $19,000 for cabinets, granite, appliances and sink)

Living Room – furniture and artwork from Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin; fireplace mantle was custom made and distressed Cypress

Hallway Artwork – painted by the owner’s sister, an artist

Media – 5 televisions installed, dvd players and router ($7,000)

Resin Artwork – Sharon Kator of Glass-Eyed Seahorse

Other – most of the other accessories, linens, lamps, hallway art were purchased at Home Goods, Kirklands and Steinmart

Furniture – $25,000

Condo – we sold this condo (as a short sale) for only $436,000! 

TOTAL renovation cost – $100,000!

Want to escape winter and rent this stunner?  Click here!

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Happy New Year!



Before & After – A Destin Condo



     The one and only thing that did not change in this remarkable before-and-after is the views of the Gulf of Mexico from the balcony!  If I were in the market for a condo, I would want a fixer-upper just like is one so I could make it just the way I wanted.  But through the years of working with all kinds of buyers, I have un-scientifically determined that 95% of people do not have a vision of what something “could” look like!  I can walk in and know immediately what I would change and I could visualize the end product.  But most buyers prefer the turn-key product.  We had this condo listed and had tons of showings, but it took a while to finally find that buyer with vision to convert this “Granny Chic” condo to what it is today.  I would say this renovation has a masculine, Asian flair to it.  Without further adieu, here are the before and afters…

The kitchen was completely gutted – new appliances, new cabinetry, new floors, new lighting, new backsplash and a more open floor plan…

Before After Kitchen

The living room has all new furniture, new paint, new floors and smoked glass mirrors…

Before After Living Room

The Master Suite has plush new carpet, new furniture and new black out blinds…

Before After Master Suite

The guest bedroom has plush new carpet, new furniture, new black-out blinds and a flat screen tv plus an xbox for the kids…

Before After Guest Bedroom

Removing that upper bank of cabinets really opened up the kitchen…


 The glass tile backsplash really pulls in the colors of the granite counters…


Here you can see the tile embellishments and the tile floors that look like wood – so great for wet and sandy feet!




The Master Bathroom has double sinks and was completely gutted…


The guest bathroom was also gutted… DSC_0859

 The dining area…DSC_0855

     This condo is now on a short-term rental program and is located on Holiday Isle in Destin, FL.  The owner has really taken the time to think of the little details that are important to his guests…he has large flat screen TV’s in all rooms with high-def channels and streaming Netflix, (have I mentioned I am now addicted to binge watching on Netflix and just started “Breaking Bad” and I can’t wait to see what Walt and Jessie do next?)  an xbox for the kids and memory foam mattresses. #signmeup   If you are interested in renting this condo, click here.   

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How to Create Your Own Two-Toned Kitchen



     Phase I of the kitchen update is complete.  Whew, it was a lot more work than I anticipated!  Since my dream kitchen is still in the early planning stages, I decided to take on the project of creating my own two-toned kitchen to lighten up the space.  I’ve been making changes in my house room by room, slowly but surely lightening things up…what a difference!  When we moved in this house 10 years ago, I was drawn to dark colors and woods and now I want everything to be in shades of white.

   After painting all the walls in my house Benjamin Moore Indian White, I tackled the kitchen.  I had quotes to have the doors sprayed by a professional, but it was too expensive considering this is hopefully going to be torn out in the next year.  So DIY it was!  I did a lot of research on how to do the best cabinet paint job, especially considering I was changing dark cabinets to white.  I started with a great primer call Stix from Benjamin Moore.  All of my doors and trim are painted Sherwin Williams Dover White, but I wanted to use Benjamin Moore’s “Advance” paint which my research showed to be the best paint for cabinets.  In all, my supplies were the Advance paint, Stix primer, Floetrol, a sanding block,  a “best” small paint roller, a small paint brush and a package of Solo cups which I used to hold the cabinets above the ground so I could paint the sides.  I allowed a lot of drying time in between coats, and in all I used 1 coat of primer and FOUR coats of paint.  I was not counting on 5 coats of paint and hence the small project turned large.  And mid-project I came down with a flu-like illness that kept me down for 2 weeks.  So we lived for a few weeks like this:


Here is what I started with:




I started with the backs – that way if any dents occurred after they were “flipped”, they would be on the least visible side.  I numbered the cabinets with sticky notes and I removed all the hardware…tedious but necessary. I also sanded the cabinets front and back and cleaned off the dusty residue.  With the Stix primer, they say you don’t have to sand, but I didn’t want to take any chances.


I let the primer dry for 24 hours before I started with the paint.  Because my cabinets are not a flat shaker front, I had to be very careful to watch for drips and pooling paint in the corners.  I used the end of the roller to try to get the inset part of the cabinets as smooth as the doors.


On top of the kitchen changes, I have ordered some new furniture for my family room.  On my dining table you will see the items I have slowly been selling on Craig’s List.



I also had to sand, prime and paint the cabinet sides and trim.  Once it was all done, there was a lot of caulking to be done where the ceiling meets the trim – you really notice any imperfections with the white cabinets.



And now the “after” photos…





And for the side-by-side comparison…

Kichen Collage - before and after

I told you in my last two-toned kitchen post that I’m not a huge fan of this trend.  And I’m still not.  I’m so busy this month, but I plan to paint the lower cabinets (not the island) in November.  Call me crazy!

Here is the round-up of the supplies I used…

I did a light job of sanding the fronts and backs.  My cabinets have a shiny, glazed finish so I felt this was important, even with the primer.

sanding block

  I propped the cabinets on Solo cups and primed and painted the backs

I used a roller from the home improvement store labeled “Best” for cabinets:

small roller

This Stix primer was recommended by the guy at the paint store.  You can paint almost any surface with this primer, even glass or tile.  It makes shiny surfaces like my cabinets paintable and promises no sanding. 
I loved it and it will be my go-to primer for any future projects, especially for painting furniture.

stix primer

I used Advance paint by Benjamin Moore, but I mixed a Sherwin Williams color in a semi-gloss finish.

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

Even though the point of the Advance paint is it doesn’t show brush marks, I added some Floetrol anyway.  I will always add this to my paint for anything but walls from now on.  Loved it!


FloetrolThis is my paint color – Sherwin Williams Dover White.  Be sure to check it out in person – it is much whiter in real life.  I call it the perfect creamy white.

sherwin williams dover white

Well folks, that about wraps about the story of how I painted my kitchen cabinets, which then led to wanting to paint more kitchen cabinets.  I might be certifiable for doing this when I know I am going to tear it out soon anyway, but in the end I’m glad I did it. I much prefer the lighter feeling of the kitchen…as much as I dread having to paint more cabinets!


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House Stalking – a Beach Condo Before & After

after - balcony view   

     I sold a condo to a lovely couple earlier this year – they bought it right before spring break rental season so they didn’t start any renovations until the break between that and the busy summer rental season.  The building is called Pelican Beach – one of my top picks in Destin when customers are looking for great rental income.  You might remember the first condo I showed on my House Hunters episode was at Pelican Beach!  This condo had average interiors – good enough to rent, but the owners have really taken it to an all new level and I’m sure their rental bookings reflect that.  Here is what the owner said about her renovating adventures:

     “We still have a few things we want to do like stainless appliances and new occasional tables. The most important thing to have in a vacation rental is a comfortable bed. The mattresses are worth the investment. The floors were also worth the investment. We went with porcelain tile called Roma Beige that has a travertine look without the cost. For the small bath vanities my husband went to some of the granite places looking for remnants left over from other jobs and found some great pieces. He also added a backsplash in the kitchen glass and stone backsplash in the kitchen that was not very much. This just keeps the unit looking undated and new.

     In all of our condos, I like to use cotton quilts on the beds instead of big heavy comforters because they can be thrown in the washer often. These are from Steinmart and were $29 each. I like to layer them and add fun pillows. The bar stools and tiny white tables(less than $100) in the guest bedroom are from Pier 1 and the tall skinny lamps are Old time Pottery for $25. The dining room table and chairs are very unique and the tropical colors just jumped out at me at Gordon’s of Mandeville. The whole set was under $900.  You should have seen my minivan packed to the gills on every trip.

     Best bargain: The light fixture was a challenge. I returned 2 that were too big and was trying to keep the cost down. When I explained to the electrician that we may have to postpone until I found one, he starting sending me pictures of fixtures he had removed on jobs that people no longer wanted. I saw one I loved but knew in the store it was $400 and didn’t want to spend that. Turns out it was missing a screw cover and the metal rod so it hung from an ugly black cord. For $60 I was willing to take a chance. I grabbed a $2 fabric scrap at Walmart and some peel and stick Velcro and my daughters roommate made a fabric cord cover. We were able to salvage a screw cover from the old fixture and paint it to match.

     Repurpose: She also faux painted an old mirror that was left behind with $3 of acrylic paint. It works until I can spend some time there to find the right art work.

     Small World: I couldn’t find the right sized rug for the dining area anywhere and just as I was going to give up, and you recommended Rug Décor. So off I go to find it and they had the perfect size and soft seagrass that I wanted. The owners and I started talking and it turns out they were from New Orleans also and moved to their condo in Destin permanently after Katrina. As the conversation went on we realized that they were the couple who had bought our aunt’s magnificent house and were still living in it when Katrina destroyed it!

     Doing a remodel is quite a challenge when you don’t live nearby but we got it done in about 4 weeks thanks to my husband running back and forth and staying on top of the installers.”

  Enjoy the photos from this fabulous, beachy renovation!  The “Before” photos are from the original MLS listing and the “After” photos are taken by yours truly.  I also wanted to mention the entire condo was painted Benjamin Moore Feather Down and the trim is the same color in a semi-gloss finish.  I fell in love with this color and have added it to my personal favorite paint color list.  It is a dark white with brown undertones – not yellow or pink like many whites can be!


First up is the living room.  Gone is the extremely strange carpet/tile combo and the floral curtains.  The couches were in good condition so those were saved.  The new owners put tile throughout the entire condo – a great choice at the beach with lots of wet and sandy feet!

before - living room


after - living room

after - living room from balcony

after - living room fixed

 Next up, the dining area – this is the light fixture she was able to get for a song from the electrician – always ask your contractors what they have in inventory.  They usually have lots of faucets and light fixtures they’ve replaced for others!

dining area - before vertical


after dining room to kitchen

after - dining light

after - dining area fixed 

Moving along to the kitchen.  They added the stone/glass backsplash which really added an upscale touch for not a lot of money!  The dark rugs in this condo did it no favors – think light, bright and beachy when furnishing your beach condo – its what renters want.  They want something different from what they left behind at home!

kitchen - before

after - kitchen

The Master Suite opens to the balcony and has great beach views – gone is the dingy, dark brown carpet, funky lamps and art work…

before - master

after - master suite

before - master tv view

after master suite other view

The guest bedroom is dramatically improved…

guest bedroom - before

after - guest bedroom

The bathrooms both received new granite counter tops…  (Note to all – hire a Realtor who knows what white balance means!!!)

before - bathroom

after - guest bathroom

The balcony has new furniture including those reclining chairs that everyone loves…

before - balcony

after - balcony

I love this vintage looking chalkboard by the front door – it has a big piece of chalk resting at the top, just waiting for guests to write their messages…

after - chalkboard entry

The paint color is a must on your favorites list – Feather Down by Benjamin Moore…

benjamin moore feather down

     When furnishing your investment property, just like this condo at the beach, you can make it fabulous on a budget.  Think about what would be important to you if you were renting your own condo.  For me, I want a good mattress – not a cheap, hard one.  Invest in a good quality mattress and advertise that fact!  Paint can really transform a space – pick a light neutral color and jazz up the space with your accessories and art.  If you are replacing flooring, choose tile and tile the entire condo – you will find carpet will need to be replaced often as sand and wet feet are hard on it.  Plus, I think tile just feels more clean than carpet – I’m one of those people never takes my shoes off in a hotel room!  Take time on the details – stock your kitchen with nice flatware and dishes and stock up on extra cooking and baking equipment.  We rented a house in Orlando one year with a few other families and there was nary a cookie sheet or cake pan, ghastly dishes, cheap flatware and cloudy glasses – needless to say, we did not rent that house again!  Lastly – think of the kids.  Leave a pack-n-play and/or high chair in the guest closet.  Have a gaming system like an Xbox and consider a small library of books – that way everyone is entertained if there is bad weather.  Leave personal touches like a family photo and a guest book – it reminds your guests that this is not a hotel room and hopefully they will treat it accordingly!

If you want to rent this fab beach condo next time you are in Destin, click here!

Click here to see another fabulous before and after condo or here to see a beautiful beach house in Crystal Beach!