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!


About Kris Moran

I love decorating and design – one of the favorite perks of my job is seeing all of the wonderful homes and condos that we list and sell! I love to “borrow” inspiration from them, and from decorating shows, magazines and the many blogs I am addicted to!