Beach Cottage Family Room Before Reveal…and After

Thu 17th, Sep, 2009

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G’day my lovely blog friends, how is it out there?  I am sitting here nursing that old window back to life, boy oh boy I’m still on a junk high from that.  With my coffee this morning I reviewed lots of places for it and because of it’s bulk and because it lends itself to hooks I’ve decided it will go in the hall, here, above the old dresser.

Back to today and here I am again wowing you with the wonderful pictures of the open house of this old cottage (you can click on all photos to see them much larger)- to be honest since I found those photos on that old phone, I can’t get enough of these reveal posts, talk about spurring me on for more projects..watch out Bunnings, here I come.

So with the Family Room Before please note the stunning doors, decor and floor.

Look past that and see the light flooding in, the plain walls plus molding and floorboards, the DIY-er’s dream


So as with the other rooms (dining room before/after here, sitting room before/after here) that needed serious help in this tatty old cottage we had a whole lot of work to do in this room.  I don’t need to tell you how much I wailed and whinged.  Do I?

So we cleaned, disinfected and prepped the walls and then painted everything in a simple standard white.  Next sanded, filled, varnished and sealed the floors.  So this was a blank canvas to work with.

One of the things we liked about the cottage on that fateful Open House day was the little sitting room to the front separate from this Family Room at the back but I wanted to make this area nice also,not just a place for the kids to trash.  Though they often try.  And succeed.

I wanted it sectioned off somehow and to create a multi-functional living room with lots of places for us all to do the things we like to do.  First I used the big IKEA unit as a room divider but it didn’t work at all, cut the room up, blocked the light and encumbered the flow.  But once I’d done that I knew the division needed to be lower down with furniture and rugs to maintain the light…


So I went for sofas to create a separate area.  I think these are the biggest splurge here at the Beach Cottage and lots of people have asked me if I am totally off my head buying white leather sofas with 3 children and more are my kids or guests alowed to move?  Well now, I’m not sure if I’d buy these again, not because of the colour but more because of the leather - I have been very used with our other sofas to pulling the covers off every few months or so and shoving them in the washing machine.  Can’t quite get away with that with leather.

I wanted a blend in this area of mix and match textures – wood, wicker, linen and leather all work wonderfully together…so next I added the rug to the floor to create a distinct section and I found a coffee tableon the side of the road to contrast the clean feel of the leather with the old weathered coastal chic look of the table.  And added a couple of side tables either side of the sofas and the old whitewashed oars to the wall to integrate more natural textures and that laid-back nautical vibe. 


The computer area is a new addition, so that the kids homework and the like is kept in the family zone and means the study is now all mine.  There are wicker baskets underneath and in the unit for the kids to fill with their stuff and to add warmth and tradition to all the white


I recently added the old vintage table tucked behind one of the sofas – I found it like this, a soft grey/blue with that old faded patina from vintage furniture softened over the years and peppered with peely paint and general shabbiness.  I’ve done nothing to except clean and disinfect.  I popped an old vintage suitcase on the bottom for some character and use the top of the table for various vignettes when I’m playing Beach Cottages ;-)  

200909-Family-Room-06 200909-Family-Room-07

I cried again at the patio door, not only did I and do I still hate it, it was doubly worse because I don’t think it had ever been cleaned.  I spent days, not hours cleaning it, the layers of grime in the runner where it opened had to be chipped out with a screwdriver and the architrave was scrubbed with a toothbrush to wash away the sun-caked dirt.  Nice.
Here’s how lovely the door looked before complete with ever so stylish non-smoking sign :-0


To conceal the patio doors ladies, which I am hoping will be in a skip in the next few months, yeeeeeeehaaaaawww, I added the usual Beach Cottage window treatement, double layer curtains from IKEA.


I like white flowers and at the moment touches of green on the coffee table and in old tin cans on the side tables…oh and of course, heaps of candles and tealights ;-)


So that’s it, a budget makeover for a tiny Beach Cottage Family Room with multi uses with a casual, coastal, country-ish feel, if you want some more ideas on how to get that laid-back beachy feel without breaking the bank, I wrote some tips here

you can find more Family Room goings-on here, and here plus see the before plus a step-by-step of the blue side table here 


sofas: Freedom   rug: IKEA   table: side of road painted in Dulux Antique White   unit:  IKEA Expedit   vintage chairs:  all thrifted      lantern: Target   white metal pail:  Target   poles:  IKEA   drapes:  (white) IKEA Lenda  (unbleached) IKEA Aina   computer table:  old side table painted with Dulux Whisper White    lamps:  Vinnies + Target shades   throw: IKEA    votive holders:  glasses covered with burlap from coffee sacks  light fitting:  IKEA   oars:  garage sale   pillows: garage sale + beach shop   candle holder:  IKEA   burlap bucket bag: made by me, tutorial here


check ya later girls, guess where I’m going?  

back to my new Beach Cottage baby of course, the old vintage window ;-)

blogged for Kimba’s DIY marathon

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43 Responses to “Beach Cottage Family Room Before Reveal…and After”

  1. Pretty, pretty! And oh, so dreamy!

    The IKEA makes decorating much easier on the pocket, eh?

  2. Wow! What a beaufitul space. I especially love the oars on the wall. Thanks for sharing the transformation.

  3. Gorgeous and inspiring, as usual!

  4. Rachel says:

    Mmmm….thanks for the tour! Love it all, as you well know! :)


  5. Molly says:

    I just wanted to say I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Thanks for all you post! I love it! It only makes my urge to move down under even more. =) xoxo

  6. Alison Gibbs says:

    It looks faulous Sarah.
    I love the oars on the wall

  7. Katrina says:

    What a fantastic and fresh room that is!!!

  8. Debra says:

    Amazing transformation. Hard to believe it’s the same room. Looks great! Love the white pail.

  9. Chelsea says:

    So peaceful…looks fabulous. I love the chest under the coffee table!


  10. sara says:

    very impressive Sarah, well done!

  11. Amanda says:

    I am just so in love with your house! I never tire of looking at your photos (except I am still dying to see your kids bedrooms, hint hint)!!! Also I lurve the table you have got behind your sofa it is fantastic!!! I wish I had more room so I could collect some more furniture and my own house to house it all in……one day!!

  12. katklaw777 says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I luv the way you finished the floor au natural. It serves as a beautiful backdrop(bottomdrop?) for all the white.
    I like your touches of wicker and burlap and wrought iron etc, they pop out and reinforce the white.
    At first I thought you a we bit crazy painting so many things white, but I see now that you balance it with just the right amounts of natural colored and textural items. Bravo!!!
    I like the oars on the wall, but I wondered if you thought of separating them? I couldn’t tell there were two and I wonder if you left one there and the other maybe 10 or 12 inches above it using the same hooks that it might fill and balance the space better?????????????????????? It would give each one its own special place. Just an idea to share………………
    LUVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV the window, it is unique and you made me cry that you had any doubts in saving it. I have always been a “dumpster diver” and PROUD, do you here me girl??? PROUD to admit it. You go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. justine says:

    Oarsome!!!!! I used to have my oars in the bedroom now at front door.
    Likey the spring greens – though today felt like summer~happy days

  14. tracey says:

    WOW Sarah, the room is beautiful!!! I am in LOVE with that old gray table…it’s gorgeous!

    :) T

  15. Kelli says:

    This is really great. I love the pillows with the khaki and blue and also the khaki window treatments. Great job!

  16. Erin@GiveMomaMinute says:

    I looooove it! I especially love your leopard print burlap candle holder wraps. Bless your heart for the sliding door scrubdown. Whew! Looks amazing :)

  17. Looks great! Very warm and inviting. :)

  18. bj says:

    What a pretty room..love the burlap wrappers for the candles and the greenish table….all looks great.

  19. Linda says:

    What a great job you are doing Sarah. Perfect for Australian conditions . Cosy in winter, cool & refreshing in summer. Very inspiring.

  20. Cindy S says:

    Gorgeous! I really admire the way you marry the old and the new furniture. It looks right together. I struggle with trying to do that. Hugs, Cindy S.

  21. gabrielle says:

    Hello Sara I think my be the first time of commented on your blog. I too am a lover of white, it’s so refreshing. I love your coffee table that is one of my favorite pieces I also love the sofa table with it’s cupped handle. great blog.

  22. Jan says:

    I love your new table! It looks great behind the sofa!

  23. I love that you share where you found your treasures, so when those of us around the world admire them, we can find them as well. That is honestly a generous thing, because most people want a “unique” style.

    On our trip to Atlanta over the weekend, I finally scored one of those galvanized lanterns of yours I always admire. Like I posted when I showed her off, imitation is the MOST SINCERE form of flattery!

  24. Jennifer says:

    This is beautiful … stunning! I’m in love with it :) Thanks for letting us see your world.

  25. Lisa says:

    Oh don’t you hate it when you “inherit” someone else’s dirt?!?! But honestly, you did a great job on those doors and everything else. So inviting!

  26. Roeshel says:

    Sarah – your home is beautiful. Every time I visit and see your photos, I’m inspired. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Victoria says:

    Loving the family room! I especially like the old table behind the sofa. Gorgeous!

    The window you found is beautiful! Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  28. Morning T says:

    My how it’s all come together Sarah. Love the window treatments and all of your touches. There’s now a lot of ‘you’ in my little house too. Love your endless inspiration!

  29. Marsha says:

    Hi Sarah -

    Great Great Great.

    Out at the Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday, I nearly died when I saw an old chippy white window (no divided lights) with large black letters that said “SEASHELLS BY THE SEASHORE.”

    It was in someone else’s cart.

    The minute I got home I dug out my old window and am so going to copy.

    Marsha – chandeliermagic.blogspot.com

  30. Pomona says:

    Can I just congratulate you on how clean and tidy your house is – perhaps you could also give us some hints on that? Do you have a pen for the children somewhere?!

    Pomona x

  31. Heidi @: heidi-heartandhome.blogspot.com says:

    HI Sarah,
    Okay, so the first thing my husband noticed when I showed him the pics was the flat screen tv – thanks alot for getting him thinking about that again!!(we so don’t need a new tv right now!)
    The room is so comfy and proves even all white can be warm, if lots of textures and neutrals are used.
    You really worked hard, it shows, you should be proud!

  32. Vicki says:

    Sarah, This room should be in a magazine! It is one of the most inviting rooms I’ve seen – how wonderful that you and your family can enjoy it everyday.
    Have a happy day – how could you not in that beautiful room.

  33. valerie says:

    just one word stunning:)

  34. katie says:

    love it all! you are a constant source of motivation! I am dying to know where on earth you get the striped (tan and white) fabric for your pillows!!!! i LOVE it! please let me know!

  35. Denise says:

    I love your family room Sarah. It is so inviting, and looks so comfortable to be in. You have such tenacity with your projects, (like days spent cleaning the door.) You’re an inspiration to those of us trying to see our own projects through to completion.

    Thank you for the ongoing tour. I’m so enjoying it.

  36. So, Frau Mayer is going to bring in some difference. I don’t love your room. I find it goddamn stunning. Especially that wall installation… And the coffee table – to think u found it on the street!
    I also have a little off-topic question as I am now a happy owner of 6(!!!!) Real Living mags bought at Australian ebay. That was seriously the first person from Oz who said yes to international shipping. Lovely, right? Now she says it’s gonna cost 45 bucks and last 3 months. Well… I thought that thx to ur lil European connection u might know some alternative ways. Pls let me know if I’m right! Thanks :)

  37. You have a wonderful way of transforming a room in to something special!

  38. Before I found your blog I never would have considered unifying a room by taking old mismatched pieces and making them all white – but wow, you really hit a home run in every room! So relaxing, so beachy, and so chic.

    That whitewash you do really is a home run.

  39. Brenda Kula says:

    Where on earth am I when people are dumping perfectly good things at the curb? I must be holed up in this house like the hermit I am. And somebody else gets the good stuff. All I seem to see is trash. You’ve done a magnificent job in making this a cozy little cottage, Sarah. I sure hope your husband knows what a gift you are!

  40. laurie says:

    This room is such a beauty, and I adore the suitcases under the tables – they not only add to the look, but also to the storage. I’m going to have to be on the lookout for some big old suitcases. laurie

  41. liz says:

    Wow!! I love all of it, great job!

  42. Oh soooooooooo cottagy, dreamy, lovely, and perfect! Fab job Sarah!