Horror Reveal Take II – Beach Cottage Dining Room

Thu 10th, Sep, 2009

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G’day lovelies.  Showcasing yet another revolting before to after at the Beach Cottage, you get all the good stuff here, right?

Someone recently emailed me regarding a project I am working on (more of that soon) and said something along the lines of ‘don’t be embarrassed about the before shots’, I kinda took a double take at that, errrm that’s the whole point of a doer-upper is it not, the before shots and why I started this blog because I think I could spend just about all day looking at befores and afters – I am the before/after Queen – loving to gawp at rooms, gardens, old men’s clothes refashioned into cute little girls’ skirts, tired sad and lonely furniture spruced up with a new look.  I mean hello, I breathe befores people.

Anyway this again (like last week’ssitting room post) is for those of you who often email me asking for advice (keep ‘em coming) and might be wailing (like I often do) ‘poor me!!! I have a hideous house with no sign of potential, it will never look nice, it has green shag pile carple, gold light fittings, mould on the walls and I have NO money’  yadda yadda yadda

So this was the dining room when we came to the Open House, yep these people really did have an Open House in this state.  Too funny really, we won’t even mention the dead rodent in the back garden, I’ll save that for the next before I think.


Here’s what it looks like now…of course it was all very much DIY (and go see Kimbafor more) and of course on a shoestring budget.

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The floor when we viewed it was dressed in all manner of coverings , you can see from that before shot that this section where they had a table had a piece of linoleum underneath it and on top of this was carpet with a ‘corner’ cut out for the linoleum, to add a bit of glamour there were a couple of rugs in very different styles strewn through the middle.  Do I need to mention the errm cleanliness of this area?  But we sneaked down and pulled up the layers…and underneath was wood. 

As we walked around with lots of other people also looking or should I say gasping, we began to think that this could be the one.  It was just near enough to the beach and the school, commutable for Mr BC’s job, it was on a big plot, in a quiet road, with a lake and bush park 5 mins one way, playing fields just down the road and the beach 5 mins the other way.  And because of the state of it the price meant we could afford to keep our house in England.

The funniest thing was, as I look back, that there was an almost frantic feel to all these people looking around this hideous Open House, this suburb is very ‘tightly held’ as they say in estate agent speak and although this was the worst house we’d looked at (and we’d looked at heaps), in terms of all those things above we knew it was while not quite a diamond in the rough, it was gonna go quickly. 

But the day we took the keys we didn’t think that.  I cried.  A lot.  There was wailing too.  In fact I think all five of us wailed a bit.

Anyway so we spent days just in this room on the prep stuff, not my forte, but it had to be done, you can’t see from the photos but there was 30 + years of grime in here from these owners, first we prepped the walls and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned –  we washed, bleached and disinfected it all, the ceiling, floors and walls and scrubbed the wood and doorframes with toothbrushes.

Next we sanded, filled, varnished and sealed the floors and added the rug to make this area a distinct section of the room…


And then the walls which unlike the older section of the house, thankfully, had no wall coverings on and it was just (ha!) a case of cleaning and painting.

The table and unit we already had – were bought for the first house we lived in when we came to Australia and had absolutely no furniture because it was packed in a container somewhere on the back of the ship making it’s way to us here.

The table is a great budget piece, when I bought this I wanted very plain, very square simple lines and it needed to have a leaf so it could extend – and something that would act as a contrast to vintage shabby chairs at the end and could be piled with old china…no heirloom of course, but the great thing is this table works for our family at the moment – it’s like one of those adverts for living (tho I’m not the oh-so-smiley mum in the floaty dress *wink) – with kids arts and crafts scattered all over it, teenager’s homework, my sewing stuff, tea and then good old IKEA it all wipes off and dresses itself up again, as if by magic…


The other side we slotted in the unit for the time being, but it’s doing well actually, it’s great for all the kids’ junk – the baskets just pull out and they can throw it all in…I’m on the lookout for a vintage dresser for here, but one without a top, chunky…above I want a line of floating shelves…or vintage shelves…haven’t found them yet…

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We recently stuck a couple of floating shelves on the end wall, the skinny ones, and this means you can change the look all the time with different things leaning here and there….gotta love a vintage mirror…

On the table, some layering going on for this tablescape (go see Susan’sfor more dressed up tables), a few tealights, of course my white pitcher and white flowers…no tablecloth, too easy.

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So I guess that’s it, let me know what you think, the multi-tasking dining room in our tiny little cottage by the sea ;-)

You can find more of this dining area, dressed up and ready to work for it’s living, here, here, and my favourite tablescape, including a video (!)here and if you want tablescaping tips on how I do it go here.

see ya…

table: IKEA Bjursta   chairs: IKEA Henriksdal   rug: IKEA   unit: IKEA Expedit  baskets & white boxes:  Freedom + IKEA   decor balls:  Beach shop + Freedom   blackboard frame:  thrifted, tutorial here   mirror:  thrifted   print: Etsy here   whitewashed wine box: garage sale

of course *wink, I did a video for ya!

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70 Responses to “Horror Reveal Take II – Beach Cottage Dining Room”

  1. Fabulous redo. It doesn’t even look like the same house. Great job!


  2. You have done such amazing work on your lovely cottage. You inspire me to keep plugging along on my little place.

  3. Janie Gore says:

    Wow, you have amazing decorating skills. Love what you have done with the place!

  4. Lisa says:

    Really great! Love the cubes/shelves!
    Hugs, Lisa

  5. It so reminds me of our own remodel. And I am glad it is over. Now it’s fun to look at all the before and after picture. Your home looks simply amazing!

  6. So clean and simple. Just perfect!

  7. Alliso says:

    You’re doing a great job remodeling! Very calming.

  8. Michelle says:

    So simple and elegant! Love your home


  9. Atticmag says:

    I like the bookcase on that wall very much. The color and texture of the wicker baskets lends itself perfectly to your decor. Your transformation skills are inspirational ;D

    Jane T.

  10. justine says:

    woo-hoo what a turnaround
    love it, love it, love it!! {in a sing song voice}

  11. I love the baskets in the bookcase idea. Great for last minute hiding of things.

  12. laura trevey says:

    I desperately need those cubbies with the organizational baskets in them!! Love this wall ~~

  13. Beth says:

    It is GORGEOUS!

  14. Natalie says:

    Love those and I’m absolutely coveting your dining room chairs/covers. Beautiful job!

  15. starz says:

    Love it!,hope I do so well when we take on the house from hell in 7 weeks.
    Our open home had twice the clutter,twice the dirt and one room smelt of wee…but it was cheap,huge and had character.

  16. Ms. Sharlotte's...Southern Reflections says:

    Love the room. Your table is so fresh and clean. Love all the IKEA storage solutions. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Jane says:

    So cool! Must feel great!

  18. Another beautiful room makeover! Can’t wait to see the next one!

  19. Alison Gibbs says:

    How wonderful that you could see through all the junk and grime and see what you could turn the beach cottage into.

  20. I love the neutral color scheme with the pops of black. Very chic!

  21. So fresh and lovely –a magical makeover! FRESH!

    Love it Sarah!

    Stop by!

    love, kelee

  22. Wonderful transformation! I especially love the cubed shelving…interesting and so practical.
    I always get wonderful ideas from you.

    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  23. Katherine says:

    Wow! Great job! Beautiful white tablescape!


  24. Sarah says:

    Love the white. You’ve done an amazing job! ~ Sarah

  25. stefanie says:

    it’s GORGEOUS!!!!!

  26. kim says:

    You have kids—it looks toooooooooo clean! lol
    Love it–love the clean simple lines. Love the shelving are too—I like the way it goes with the table.

  27. Denise says:

    I absolutely love the wall unit with the baskets. The before and after photos are inspiring to those of us trying to do our own beach cottage style makeovers. Can’t wait to see what you have planned to show us next!

  28. Wow. WOW! I just love the cubbies, and again — the VISION you have! I may have cried *before* even buying the place. :-) I am so proud of you for being able to see the potential. The Beach Cottage must breathe a sigh of relief every day — as if she is saying “THANK YOU!” each time those gorgeous wood floor boards creak. ;-)

  29. a vision in white! Great transformation!

  30. Dining Delight says:

    Would never have believed the “before” with a transformation like you’ve accomplished! Terrific job! Love the crisp freshness of the white.


  31. Esther says:

    Oh, the cleaning with toothbrushes and bleach.It brings back painful memories of my own house. I’ve only had the guts to tackle one room so far. And I’d say we’ve got about 60 years of grime built up.
    Your room looks great.

  32. Lululiz says:

    Awesome transformation!

  33. astrid says:

    WOW! What a stunning AFTER transformation! I’m sure I would have cried & cried if I’d had that BEFORE as well!

  34. It all looks so lovely! You’ve got to have a great eye to see past all that clutter and muck. Can’t wait to see the next before & after!

  35. Hanna says:

    Beautiful! Even your bookshelf looks good with beautiful things only.

  36. Whitney says:

    We bought a fixer – upper last month and it feels like it is going so slow. Thanks for the inspiration!

  37. janet says:

    having exp the horrors of “before”, i congratulate u for perservering…always worth it in the end but an absolute nightmare while “in it”. you are made of steel.

  38. Serene and beautiful. Just a gorgeous room and tablesetting!
    ?, Susan

  39. Renda O. says:

    ok. You make me sick. Just kidding. You are SO TALENTED! I look forward to reading more.

  40. Brenda Kula says:

    Sarah, I just wish you had those folks address who sold you their “little diamond in the rough” and send them these pics. Make them hopefully ashamed of themselves for living like veritable squatters.

  41. June says:

    Wow, looks so spacious and fresh!

  42. Linda says:

    What a fabulous job you are doing..I love it all..Any hints for a faux wood, brown kitchen? Can’t get a new one.

  43. Deanna says:

    So enjoyed your post today for Tablescape Thursday…ESPECIALLY the talking video!
    God Bless,
    d from HomeHaven

  44. Christine says:

    Beautiful coastal dining. Love the transformation!…Christine

  45. DeniseMarie says:

    very fresh and hip and young! I bet the home is breathing a sigh of relief.

  46. Shelia says:

    Oh, what a difference! Your beautifulness is all over this room!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  47. Such a delight to visit you. Your home is always so delightful and obviously decorated with love and a good eye.

    The transformation is wonderful and i enjoyed your video!

    If you ever have a chance to stop by — would love that!


  48. Robin says:

    A simply stunning room. I love how clean and organized it looks. Also love your pictures ledges. I have a set in my dinning room also and I never know what to do with them. Thanks for the idea’s. Robin

  49. Tanya says:

    What a beautiful “after”. It’s a perfect beach cottage!

  50. Leanee says:

    I love the contrast of colors and texture. So relaxed feeling. You did a beautiful job!Thanks for sharing your beautiful room.

  51. Sheri says:

    Lovin’ the shelves. Looks great!

  52. Liz says:

    Awesome! This is a beautiful table scape in a lovely and elegant new dining room.


  53. Pomona says:

    What a transformation – well done for seeing below the surface of that house!

    Pomona x

  54. Roeshel says:

    I love seeing happily ever after photos. Your transformation is amazing and hard work paid off. I would never believe that was the same space. It’s beautiful (of course it is!). ;)

  55. Courtney says:

    You’ve done such a wonderful job with this room. I love your videos too. It’s so fun to get a tour of your cottage as well as your decorating advice.

  56. joanne says:

    It just shows you can make a place look beautiful on a budget.I love it,oh and I love your English accent too!Take care,Joanne

  57. bj says:

    Enjoyed the before and after. Yes, I can see white paint and work can make things looks a hundred and fifty percent better…Your little cottage by the sea is proof of it!! :O)

  58. Amanda says:

    Your house reminds me so much of my house we used to own when we first bought it. The people before us had lived there for 60 years and it had green carpet and different coloured wall paper in every room! Once we pulled the carpet up and painted the walls it was like a different house, its amazing how a few small changes can transform a home and your house looks gorgeous now you should be so proud!

  59. Paula Jean says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful transformations! I love the clean look of the white with all your fun finds and accents.

  60. Sarah you brave girl, you’ve done absolute wonders!
    We’d done similar years ago, rat and mice skeletons in the kitchen cupboards, an outside toilet! – never again

    Loving following your progress, your efforts will be well worth while as you have picked a Gem of a neighbourhood

    happy weekend treasue hunting

  61. Holley says:

    Wow, your blog and your dining room are absolutely beautiful!! Stunning, like the pages of a magazine.

  62. Befores and afters are really quite fun, aren’t they? Although the befores sometimes remind us just how badly we might need an aspirin or two. . . but the afters are very much worth the hard work! Your dining room looks wonderful–just right for a beach cottage. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  63. cufflinks says:

    That looks unreal!

    If you had not pionted it out i would not have realised that the rooms were the same.

    I love what you have done on a shoestring budget.

    Do you fancy doing my house!

  64. maryleigh says:

    I love the white freshness. It’s so peaceful! I don’t think it would last long with a house full of boys, but I so love it! You are blessed with a beautiful gift!

  65. Great to hear you, with your accent – bit of english and aussie mix going on there!

    We too have acquired two Buzz’s in our house, except we only have ONE boy!

    Great tour, and I love the before and after pics.

    Just shared on of our room of gloom (bathroom) this week on my blog – hoping that will keep motivating me to get the makeover done on it.

    Also bought I sign this week (also on the blog) which reminded me of you, only it wasn’t in white!

    Have a good weekend.

  66. Very Nice. Love the storage space!