Just a Glimpse…

       Did I tell you that the renter of our Beach House is a professional wedding and beach photographer?  Her work is stunning – really, I should have negotiated a photo shoot into the lease!  She shoots weddings along the Emerald Coast – usually in Seaside and Rosemary Beach.  Her plan when she moved in was to use the entire sunroom as her office.  She has meetings with brides there and also has a big flat screen to run proofing sessions.  (If you are planning a wedding or vacation to the Destin area – send me an e-mail for her contact information!)  I always wished I had been a professional photographer and had a little hut on the beach – but on the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t love it so much if it were my job?

     Well, lucky us – she sent me a few photos of the completed office.  She found the table and chairs on Craig’s List for only $75 and then painted the entire set with chalk paint.  Her canveses look stunning, even from this glimpse…

      I’ve had a lot of e-mails about Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac – the short answer…we are fine!  The track initially had Isaac heading straight for us, but now it has turned west towards New Orleans.  Hopefully the storm will not gather strength – New Orleans deserves a break.   Its a lot of work to prepare for a hurricane – just moving everything from the outside in is no easy task.  Our schools are cancelled tomorrow – but I think more of a precaution because we will have some winds and rain.  Yesterday we took advantage of the pre-storm surf and took the kids surfing at the beach.  This is only son’s second time surfing (after 2 years of me begging him to take lessons) and just like little kids do, he pops right up – now he wants a surfboard for his birthday!  Daughter is a little more reserved – maybe next time!

And here is the photo you will never see on the Weather Channel… 


The Beach House Part II

    Lets get right to it – there are a few more rooms to unveil in the completed Beach House.  The Before & Afters are pretty remarkable if I do say so myself.  Pretty much the only thing that we kept in the house was the cute vintage tile in two of the bathrooms.  The Master Bath has black/white tile that is super charming and beachy.  The Guest Bathroom (we call it the Yellow Bathroom) also had some neato yellow vintage tile that we salvaged.  Both bathrooms were steam cleaned and then re-grouted to look shiny new.  Then there were new toilets, new sinks, faucets, vanities, lights,blinds, towel bars, hardware, etc…  But enough of my blabbing, here is the photographic proof:

Master Bathroom – Before & After:

    The shaker front cabinetry is from the same local cabinet maker “Cabinet Creations” as the kitchen.  The cabinet hardware and sink/counter are from Lowes; the light, mirror, faucet, shower hardware, and towel bars are all from Home Depot.  The paint color is Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue.  The old bathroom had a pedastal sink and zero storage.  By adding the vanity and over-the-toilet cabinetry, we added a ton of great storage.

     Remember my inspiration photo?

The Guest/Yellow Bathroom –  Before & After:

The Yellow Bathroom got a new coat of paint (Benjamin Moore Mascarpone) plus a pedastal sink (not sure what they were thinking with that old sink?), new elongated toilet (only the best!), new lights, new faucet, hardware and window blinds that aren’t 3 feet too long for the window.

Guest/Yellow Bedroom Before & After:

This guest bedroom adjoins the yellow bathroom.  It has new concrete floors, new paint (BM Mascarpone), new ceiling fan, new blinds and revitalized closet (no longer Pepto Bismol Pink).  Funny and true story – I have a friend who is a great-deal-shopaholic and has too many clothes.  Well, you can never have too many clothes so lets just say too many clothes for her closet.  So many clothes that twice her large walk-in closet imploded!  So her handy husband built her a gorgeous new custom closet that can hold the weight of her collections.  (My husband would not build me a custom closet, he would cut up my credit cards, just sayin’!)  So lucky me, she gave us all the old closet shelving and we used that for all of the Beach House closets – thanks, T!!!

The 3rd Guest Bedroom – Before & After:

The third bedroom used to be the garage at some point in this home’s history.  Someone started on its renovation, but didn’t get very far.  There were actually vines growing through the spot on the floor where there was no wall.  This room required a LOT of work.  All new drywall, ceiling, electrical, ductwork for A/C, new window, new flooring and paint.  From the outside, the door was removed and we hired stucco guys to blend the wall with the rest of the house.  They were supposed to make it flush, but sometimes you pick your battles.  This room is HUGE and could serve multiple purposes.  If we convert this home to short-term rental and furnish it, we would make it a bunk room with 2 sets of bunks, a couch, a gaming system and a big tv on the wall – what parent could resist!?!?

Its hard to believe I started this blog a year ago to follow this renovation and a long year later, it is finally complete…Looking forward to our next investment project!


The Beach House is Finished!

     Pardon the Olympic sized pun, but this was no “Bolt” across the finish line.  But nonetheless, the Beach House is finished and a darling family of 4 has moved in!  I had lofty ideas of taking magazine style photographs for this page of the blog, and an unveiling party for our friends and family to show off the house once it was complete.  But in my non-Martha world, none of those things happened.  Instead, we returned from vacation just a few days before the family moved in.  I battled horrendous traffic on a rainy day to arrive at the house on the eve of the move and snapped the photos.  It was a rush at the end  to have the house ready – the blinds were installed just days earlier, insulation was blown in through the attic, additional electrical outlets were installed to accomodate a 2012 family with  computers,  tvs  and  all that necessary stuff, and the home was professionally cleaned.  Now that the home is complete, we need to build up the coffers and look for the next project.  Or, perhaps work on some projects in my own home that I have been dreaming of!

Living Room – Before & After

     We removed that awkward fireplace, and added beachy wood paneling throughout the living room, new baseboards and crown molding, recessed lighting, concrete floors, new front door, window blinds and of course a fresh coat of paint (Benjamin Moore Mascarpone).  This room is so large and accomodates any kind of furniture arrangement.

Kitchen – Before & After


     The kitchen is my favorite room in the house – I wish this kitchen were in my own house!  The cabinets are painted wood and have the upgraded soft close feature.  Again, I wish my own cabinets had that!  The counter tops were another splurge – they are Cambria “Whitney”.  Cambria quartz costs about double the price of granite.  The appliances are all Frigidaire Gallery and the stainless steel farmhouse sink was a steal from Overstock at under $400.  The clear glass lights are from Home Depot.  The pantry is super spacious with nice pull out drawers.  The kitchen was extended by removing a window that looked through to the sunroom.  The wood paneling was also extended throughout the kitchen and serves as the backplash and really adds a lot of beachy charm.

     I don’t even have any great “Before” pics of the kitchen because it was so.Scary.Larry.  The cabinetry was red and each cabinet was a different shape.  A friend did take a few of the cabinets and painted them to hang in her kids’ playroom…I’m sure they turned out cute.  I’m also sure she removed the naked people cabinet hardware, but she has yet to confirm.  I tried to find a home for everything we removed from the house so it didn’t end up in a landfill somewhere.  In the end I think we only filled 2 small dumpsters, which, considering the amount of demolition is pretty darn good.

Sunroom – Before & After


     The Sunroom saw a lot of change as well.  All new windows and a french door leads to the newly landscaped back yard with a brick paver landing and patio.  We removed the french doors to the bedroom and removed the sort of cool (but extremely rusty and severly painted over) vintage window to the living room – I think this room was enclosed at some point and that was an original exterior window.  This room also has concrete floors, fresh paint, new baseboards and molding, new lighting and a new front door.  This room also has a large closet that we revitalized.  Oddly enough, this is the “true” front door of the house because this is the street of the home’s address.  This is where we added a new gravel driveway and sidewalk leading to this door if you remember from my earlier exterior photos.

Master Bedroom – Before & After

     The Master Bedroom is another of my favorite rooms.  You might remember it was accidentally painted Benjamin Moore Pallian Blue and it is so pretty and peaceful.  In addition it got a new french door that leads to a covered brick paver patio, a new wall for better furniture placement,  new blinds, new ceiling fan and light plus 2 revitalized closets and a fresh new bathroom.

     Check back later this week for photos of the rest of the house!  I want to leave you with one last photo – a birthday surprise.  One of my dear friends loved the post I did way back when about the Greek church that sits very near the Beach House.  She didn’t know it existed and drove over to see it with her mom and 11 year old daughter.  Her mom loved the church as much as I do!  So my friend surreptitiously had her daughter paint my photo at her art class and then gave me (and her mom) the framed painting!  She is a talented little artist for sure and it warmed my heart more than words can say that she painted this for me – sniff, sniff, this is my most treasured birthday gift!





The Beach House Exterior

     The Landscapers finished up on Friday night – this was a big job and it sure changed the curb appeal of the house!  Gone are the weeds and the years of overgrowth.  We trimmed and saved the large oak tree, but everything else had to be removed.

This is the side yard, AKA the jungle, before:

And now…

We planted red oleanders which are on their own drip system so they will grow tall quickly.  I made sure not to plant them under the windows so the view from  inside won’t be blocked like it was before.  The oak tree looks like it is going to make a full recovery – it likely had years of only being watered by the rain.  Now it has some friends:

The front door was a mess and is still a work in progress.  The satellite dish had more wires wrapped around the house than you can count – I don’t think this was a professional installation!  So that is still being untangled before it is removed.  Here is the front entrance before:

And now:

This was the back yard before…

And  now… we’ve done a lot to the back yard.  The new french doors in the Sunroom and the Master make such a difference!  We added a brick paver patio to the Master and a landing by the french doors.  Now there is lots of green grass and red azaleas.

Still some painting and trim work to be done here, but the new doors and windows look great!

The Master now opens to the brick paver patio – a perfect perch for a small table and chairs to enjoy your morning coffee:

Remember where we started?

The new blue shutters turned out great – if I lived here I would add a group of bright blue planters filled with bright colored flowers:

You can see them in the photos – but here are the new exterior lights.  I read the reviews and they are great in locations close to the beach – salt air tends to corrode things and it is hard to get inside to replace a bulb after salt air exposure.  So these are open and I love the way they look – and under $25 at Lowes.  I think they would look equally great in a kid’s bathroom!

This isn’t the exterior, but I had to share a photo of the new open shelves in the kitchen.  I saw a picture of shelves like these on Pinterest and just had to have them.   So we ordered the corbels and Mr. Contractor built and painted the shelves – love!!!


     The other day when I was driving  to the Beach House, I saw a For Sale sign at the Inspriation House!  Later this week I’ll give you a tour of that Gulf Front beauty!



The Finish Line

     Last week the Cambria countertops were installed in the Beach House kitchen – these counters were MADE for this kitchen – the perfect color and a gorgeous amount of silvery sparkle that makes me smile every time I see them.  Right now they are covered in plastic and construction debris, but trust me, they are gorg!  The lights were also installed the other day and they are perfect.   You might remember these from my post about a Before and After Beach Condo – yes, I “borrowed” the inspiration from this condo and bought the same lights with a larger matching one above the sink.

     The last two weeks have been the “down and dirty” work.  All the little details in the house are being worked on and outside we are seeing progress, people!  We have trenches dug for sprinklers, a well is being dug today (around here we have wells to water our grass instead of city water), and we have a shiny new gravel driveway and sidewalk!  We have an existing driveway at the front of the house than can park two cars.  But the TRUE front of the house (the one where the address and mailbox go) was sorely neglected.  The whole front entry is being revitalized – it is pretty ugly right now.  We do have a new door, the harvest gold Brady Bunch sidelights have been replaced with clear glass and there will be a new column and overhang soon.  With the new driveway, the home can easily park 4-5 cars which will be great when it becomes a short term rental property.

Here is Daughter, about to explore the gravel delivery: 

And here is the new driveway and sidewalk:

Here are the new side lights – a huge improvement, despite the fact that I photographed this like the house is lopsided (it isn’t) – but if I took the time to edit, edit, edit all these photos, I would never have time to post!

Yesterday they were cutting through the concrete block to add the new french doors – hopefully these will lead to a pool next summer!

The Master Bedroom is getting a door also which will lead to a brick paver patio.  Check out the blood red paint we found when we removed the trim!  The ceiling fan was also replaced – I picked out plain jane white ceiling fans that would just blend into the ceiling:

I’m probably going to gross you out with this one, but what an improvement the new white ceiling fan is compared to the original:

Remember when I told you the floors looked like they had poured Elmers Glue into some weird Aztec design?  Well, they didn’t stop at the floors. Every door has the same crazy design.  The painters are not excited to have to sand down all of these doors but fingers crossed it works and we don’t have to buy all new doors!  Ok, can you imagine this door in a room with blood red paint?  Scary Larry!


The Master Bedroom closet used to be Pepto-Bismol pink – a really nice accent to the blood red walls, don’t you think?  The closet is now white and will have new shelving and hanging bars.  The Master actually has 2 closets.

A peek of the interior:

The stainless steel appliances were delivered yesterday!  The contractor is installing them all today so I will get a great shot of the kitchen next week.

     And last, but not least, the landscaping.  The sod and plants are being installed on Monday.  This will be the most dramatic part of the renovation yet!  I told you I put a “For Rent” sign in the yard last week.  Well, I pulled the sign the next day and decided to wait until the yard is done – the house just didn’t command the price I wanted when it was surrounded by the weeds and brownscape!

     And on a personal note…


…we have been in the dog days of summer, still playing baseball and softball.  Both kids made their Little League All-Star teams and competed in a tournament that just finished up on Tuesday night.  It was a very exciting time – here in Destin, no team has ever made it to the Championship, much less won.  Ever.  It was a lot of pressure, a ton of practices which meant zero summer play dates,  but the boys and the girls both made it to the Championship!  The hardest part of the tournament, for me, was that the kids played on the same days, at the same time, but in cities 1 hour apart!  So we had to rotate parents.  In the end, the boys won it all (woot woot) and the girls came in 2nd (woot woot)!  Now I feel like I want to stay in my pj’s for at least a week and not leave the house…

Have a great weekend!


Beach House Progress

The concrete floors were finally finished yesterday.  If everything stays on track, the Beach House will be done in 2 WEEKS!!!  My Contractor surprised me last week – he called and asked me to stop by and check out the front arbor.  Remember our architect’s rendering?

     Well, it is now a reality!  I had no idea they were working on this while the floors were being done.  It added SO much curb appeal to the beach house – it will be sealed with a clear waterproof sealer and some additional trim pieces will be added before it is complete.   I can’t wait for the doors to be painted and the blue shutters to be installed.

     The concrete floors turned out great.  It was an interesting progress to say the least.  We used Garrett at Big Dog Concrete – he is a hard worker and was there every day for a week straight, even Saturday and Sunday.  I guess the guy he had working with him quit mid-job so he finished up on his own.  Kudos for staying on schedule – each day is so precious right now. 

     Today I stopped by to see the finished floors and to meet the landscaper.  On Monday we are starting on the sprinkler system and the yard overhaul – sod, palm trees, red azaleas and bright red oleanders – I think the red will look great next to the blue accents.  We are also adding a side gravel driveway so the house can park 5 cars total.  I think the landscaping is the final touch to really make this house look great – all the weeds and dead shrubs are really an eyesore. 

     Today I put a FOR RENT sign in the yard!  That was exciting to do.  I waited until today as we have already had quite a few people just walk right in the house and start looking around.  I didn’t want that to happen with the wet concrete floors.  That would be just my luck!  So literally less than 5 minutes after I installed the sign, I had my first phone call.  The more we do to the house, the more I adjust the price.  Rentals are hard to find in our area so I am not even worried about renting it – we are SO close to the Beach anyone would love to live here…myself included!

     Here are some pics of the concrete floors in process and today.  I forgot my camera today so pardon the iPhone photos:

This is after the concrete overlay and before the stain and sealer.

This is a close-up of the scored floors. You can pick any tile size you want!

And this is the floors today – stained in “Mocha”

The sunroom

This is the 3rd bedroom/bathroom.  This was all tile that had to be jack-hammered – what a mess!

And this is the 3rd bedroom with the concrete floors.

     Next week I am going to pressure wash the front patio and driveway – the Landscaper is letting me borrow his large professional one so it shouldn’t take long.  The Cambria Quartz countertops are being installed in the kitchen tomorrow and the appliances will be delievered next week.  Look for photos of all this progress next week!