Beach Cottage DIY Entrance Hallway Makeover Part II

Wed 9th, Jun, 2010

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Thanks for all the lovely comments and more for your opinions on style and styling…may I just clear up though that I wasn’t intimating that I have got ‘style’ (whatever that is) more that it irritates the **** out of me when people furiously lament their skills in style just ‘cos they shop the trendy shops…

Anyway, less of that and moving swiftly onto much more interesting things…the other side of the hall…

There is no denying that this is white porn…and I am one hundred percent holding my hands up to that…I still love it, in fact as I was ensconced in Dulux White on White on Sunday I wondered firstly how much longer this might last and secondly how it started.

It started back in England when I began seriously looking for vintage furniture and was astonished at the power of white paint when turning an old sad and lonely piece of furniture into a new life…back then I liked the whole English vintage scene…floral Cath Kidston prints, oilcloth table covering, white and brights and vintage props.

When we moved here I had a lot of that stuff with me, but somehow it didn’t seem to hack it with the bright colours outside everywhere else…the climate here in Sydney didn’t seem to sit too well with vintage carpet and floral sheets… and that whole English vintage thing seemed somehow inappropriate to a life in Australia…and so I found my self one day in the Beach Boutique and thought how my old white furniture might suit a more rustic beach hut feel…

This was the ambiance I wanted here…white ‘panelled’ walls reminiscent of an old beach hut, lots of hooks hinting at the Scandinavian, the odd nautical thing, bare floorboards and sandy feet, whitewashed driftwood and putty coloured stripes…


plus of course a jug of drugstore flowers


a rustic, weathered lantern…


a bench for things washed up by the sea

Shall I tell you though that all this decoration very much has to fit in with the reality of my day-to-day, you probably don’t wanna hear that but it is very much true and reality means most of the time, it don’t look like this baby…hence this here blog…

and I hate to burst the bubble but I can assure you I am no self-proclaimed home purist…this place will be by this evening a riot of life…school bags, sports equipment, flung-off shoes, dropped jumpers, an empty lunchbox, a newspaper, homework, a briefcase dumped by the door…

…and into this white cavern there will be the males in my life who will squalidly drink from the bottle in my panelled heaven and take this whole white beachy vintage coastal cr*pola as they call it on the chin


males who I make sit with me on white sofas, sleep in frenchy white beds, carry baskets to the beach and load vintage furniture into the back of the car…

…who however much I try to pretend, will use my finds to their own ends…


But at the end of the day, when I walk in this tatty old cottage and kick the door shut I feel like I have come home…I am safe…

and that is what this whole journey my friends in this old cottage is all about.

I will see you beach chicks later


p.s sorry if I haven’t answered all your questions in the comments – for sure I read, smiled, and more, LOVED them all, I am so glad I know you guys…I am busily working on my website and other stuff – if there is anything you really wanna know shoot me an email




oh and the rugs, from that exclusive boutique Ickea….. nope I have them everywhere and they don’t curl and come up…I shove them in the machine all the time and dry ‘em on the line in the aussie sun ;-)

stacy I am looking for a garage sale buddy…it seems they are not quite forthcoming ’round here…wonder why??? ;-))

and yes Vickie in Rockaway Beach (hey I’m lurvin that) I am just so darn adorable

Sharon, I would love to come do up your brick cottage with you…watch this space lol!


hook rack :  IKEA

bench  : thrifted

glass float  : Bed Bath & Table

umbrella  :  garage sale

jug  :  Wheel & Barrow


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52 Responses to “Beach Cottage DIY Entrance Hallway Makeover Part II”

  1. Sam says:

    Sarah, you rock, I love your vibe! Sxx

  2. Sam says:

    PS are your cushions from rough linen? Thanks! Sx

  3. Anne-Marie says:

    Oh did ya hear my gasp as I saw the black hooks on the white timber on the beadboard in your cute nook!
    Oh and the darling bench and the black glossy front door….loving the hall makeover.
    I’m a lover of white with black touches here and there so I could camp in your entry Sarah and direct family traffic, no worries :) xx

  4. Tricia Rose says:

    Yes, the order doesn’t last – sometimes I feel the sock on the mantlepiece is DELIBERATE. Thank heavens for photography! And for that blissful moment when something goes together as beautifully as your bench and flowers.

    I brought my English stuff to the US and had the same rude awakening with colours: my staple Lime White from Farrow & Ball was sickly and green under California sun, and my rugs looked stuffy… Everything has since been covered, painted or discarded except the old school desk I now use as a dressing table. Sic transit furniture.

  5. Alison Gibbs says:

    Sarah, love that in all that gorgeous white on white lives a real family with real ‘cr*pola’ going on like the rest of us.
    Gotta love ‘the real world’

  6. You have captured that delicious laid back beach essence beautifully!! Love the beer bottle on the paddle…lol. I used old oars as curtain rods in the man cave. Come for a visit. The door is always open. ~~ Lynn

  7. cassie says:

    i love everything about it- everything! if you ever head to the US i have a little house you can make over. :) i wish my husband was handy- i have the sight, but we don’t walways have the execution without handyman superpowers!

  8. Oh such prettiness.. the white flowers are such a lovely addition to enhance your new wall look! I am hearin’ ya on the whole style thing.. I am of the same mindset as you & I’m making use of what I’ve got & can do. I love incorporating vintage finds with makeover whites, frosted with a little IKEA jazz. Huge kudos to you on all your DIY talent; you are a very excellent example of a woman taking charge & **making it happen** & I really admire you for that. And I agree that the coastal country chic style (we share a love for it!) is very live-able, not too mention very easy going on the pocketbook. ;)) I have a 3 yo & a 4 yo & I am constantly saying don’t touch my walls.. little handprinters..grr. I would love to do BB wallpaper for some easy cleanup. Enough rambling out of my keyboard.. enjoy that new hallway Sarah.. it’s so lovely.

  9. sarah says:

    …I never say don’t touch my walls…I lurve my kids touching my walls…flying past my walls, scuffing my walls, living life past my walls, kids bashing my walls

    that is what my cottage is all about…me feeling safe in my rough round the edges cottage near the sea…good walls or not…grubby white or not…

    come people, bash my walls til I whitewash..

    with love




  10. You’re too cute! The men folk just don’t always fully understand, do they? I can relate!
    Your entryway looks beautiful!
    ☺ Celeste

  11. hey girls! that was me above…

    dont think life here means not touching walls….my walls are touched, loved, bashed, knocked, scuffed, loved, breathed, felt

    this beach cottage is about us, about me feeling safe…at last feeling like I’m home

    about comfort and bare floors and things that throw in the wash

    …it’s not about hands on walls..

    …i hope you get that ;-)

    like really hope you get that

    somewhere in a new life
    by the sea
    the lucky country

  12. Bonnie says:

    *squealing with delight* over your white porn! hahaha

    I adore your style and your attitude about your home. Best wishes with your website!

    Thanks for the eye candy and inspiration.


  13. Morning T says:

    Beautiful as ever sweet (and hilarious) Sarah!

  14. flick says:

    Hey mate, well the hallway turned out bloody beautiful! That bench is so cute.. I am trying to imagine where it has been in it’s other lives…
    You have single handedly converted me into loving white, usually I see it so pristine and a little stark, but it’s so easy to live with when it’s casual and beachy… bright, fresh and so much less intimidating. So cheers! Enjoy your lovely new space, and I love the oar.
    :) Flick

  15. tracey says:

    LOVE it!!! Sarah I never get tired of looking at your beautiful white photos!!! So perfect and oh so pretty!!!!!!!!!!!! Did your pkg ever come??? I have been worrying about it, please let me know…

    Hugs ~

    :) T

  16. Oh, Sarah.. I was the one that said I get bugged by my little ones marking up my walls. I just want to clear that up & say I’ve never been one to think that you are about anti-wall-kiddo-livin-scuffin.. not at all.. that is great that you have that comfort zone about that! Really it is! :)) I was just sayin’ that it drives myself batty.. having to wipe the marks from 4 feet down & that perhaps if I did some beadboard it may be easier for me to de-mark.. the former owner painted the place with flat matte paint & cleaning the walls for me is a chore. I am pretty lazy about cleaning our kiddo marks.. I’m not ontop of that at all.. so they are kinda part of our everyday look. ;)) Just wanted to clear that up with ya doll! Hugs..

  17. Can’t say enough how much I love it. Simple. Peaceful. Pretty. You have a way with style, whatever that word means to you. I think you’ve found yours and it’s genuine, which is probably why so many people love you and your cottage. You have found a way to make your style work with your life and your family, which is what it is really all about anyway, right?

  18. Lark says:

    Sarah, Thanks for all the inspiration!!! You have already left a stamp on my house. I credit you with helping me design my master bath…beadboard on the walls and grey paint above that. It looks so fresh now.

  19. Bonnie says:

    I’m going to have to watch how often I say this or you’re going to think I’m off my rocker & stalking you online but… I’d be oh so happy to sleep on “the other side of that hallway.” That bench. That pillow under it. The glass float. The lantern. The flowers. I have no “style” of my own in this regard so if I’m ever able to own my own beach house (HA!), I’m copying you… I opened this post and had to fight the envy beast right back down. SO wonderful!!!!

  20. Shar Yates says:

    That post was so touchingly warm. You said it best at the end–you feel safe in the cottage when you come home and close the door. Brought tears to my eyes. Sarah, enjoy the BC youngsters and all of the crazy happiness that comes with it. It goes by way too fast. And, love the new entry so much!!

  21. donna says:

    Gorgeous, I told you that already. You have me walkin around the house looking for another wall to cover in that wonderful stuff. I think I found it but not before I was caught by my son literally “looking” at the wall. hahahaha. I’m sure he’ll just add it to his list of things that make him go “hmmm” about his mom! PS loved that ball of rope hanging from the oar. Did I read someone say it was a monkey knot? Is it? Mad, mad love…Donna <3

  22. m says:

    Yowza wowza! Looks amazing {beer and all! ;}

    m ^..^

  23. Hi Sarah,
    Well, that last photo got me laughing, because I can so relate. Too bad beer bottles don’t come in white, right?! I’m on the hunt for blue ones right now, to complete my bottle tree. Hubby (supplier of said bottles) tells me there is no such thing, so brown and green will have to do. Life doesn’t always come in the colors we want it to, to fit in with our perfect dream world homes. Which is why my home isn’t perfect dream world, but home nonetheless! And that’s what I like about yours, and you, too. Real, true, lively, homey.

    Thats HOMEY, not HOMELY!!! :)

  24. katie in WA, USA says:

    hi again sarah! thx for answering about rug curling. perhaps mine curl cuz i dry em in the dryer! i need…i want…a CLOTHESLINE!!! think my dh will go for it? he’s already wondering at my beachy vintage taste! okay okay….now i’m LOVING your hooks…but i see IKEA has the rack of FIVE hooks not 10. did you put 2 together? seamlessly? i’ve made my own over the years but i LOVE those BLACK hooks! you’re doing a GREAT job and i totally know what you mean about life HAPPENING in your beautiful house! they will be gone soon enough and then we can all have perfect houses…and we’ll SORELY MISS their noise/mess!
    love you sarah!

  25. fairmaiden says:

    lOve the driftwood looking bench…and that Marselle bag. Of course the beer propped on the oar is great! tee hee

  26. Laurie says:

    Sarah – you are so witty and creative with your writing! You always have us giggling and roaring with laughter over your BC stories and projects. Just can’t get enough of you, girl! LOL! I’m thoroughly impressed that Mr BC can drink a beer AND install a hook board! :)

    I, too, LOVE LOVE LOVE that pillow on the floor (where did you get it?????) AND the Marseille bag (where did you get it?????)!!!

    Hugs to you ~


  27. Kathy says:

    I am going to stick up for Mr BC here. Clearly not using the oar for his own ends, but merely helping you out by using the beer as a kind of spirit level…

  28. Shute210 says:

    Your white porn line hit home with me!! I adore all your white photos and your blog has inspired me to change many things in my home. We have two black dogs, so I have to keep extra white throws around so I can wash them frequently, but having a home filled with white (green accents) makes it worth every load of laundry I do. You may have to add on to the little cottage, because I would love to join all the others and live in your home. Thanks for sharing your life at the beach with us. You make me smile and dream every day.

  29. rachel says:

    Love,love, love it!


  30. Tammi says:

    Oh Sarah you are just such a genuine and down-to-earth gal…and I totally get where you are coming from. I adore white, to me it evokes a feeling of serenity that I could not live without. Never mind that there are five kids tearing through the house from dawn till dusk leaving marks, scuffs, disorder and the like in their wake…nope that doesn’t deter me one bit!
    I just love your entry and don’t think that your cottage by the sea is tatty at all….I could quite happily live in your space!!!

  31. katie in WA, USA says:

    okay, am i the only one NOT SEEING a glossy black front door? i see the before shot and POSSIBLY 3 inches of it’s glossy self (toward the bottom) in previous post …but i can’t find a finished-product pic of it here! yet i see comments on it. i wanna see it! i wanted to paint MINE black but common ADVICE was that it’d get too dusty (i live in the desert). so, recently, i thought i’d paint it beachy white. but now i’m waffling..so i wanna see your’n. =) smiles! toodles. and btw: i don’t think you ever gave the impression that folks don’t LIVE in your house! and also i have a tip for the dear gal who’s littles drive her batty w/ their finger prints and scuff marks…it’s this new thing a friend turned me on to: MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASER ORIGINAL. it’s like this white magic PAD and you rub it on the mark and POOF..it is GONE! miraculous!!! pass it on!

  32. deb says:

    At least the beer colour fits in with the general colour scheme!

  33. cheryl says:

    great story! when’s the book coming out ??
    the all white and artistic combinations you do photograph so well…….

  34. Debbie says:

    Ha..the white porn got me laughing out loud! too funny Sarah.
    Your hall-entry turned out so awesome!
    I have the same rugs from Ikea, and have thrown them in the dryer, but haven’t had any curling…hmmmm. That’s why I love them.
    Great pics as usual, and wonderful decorating.

  35. Tiff says:

    If that was a bottle of vodka or the like on that oar it would have been a true spirit level!
    I hope the white porn stage will never end! I love colour, (indeed, I have a blood red wall in my living room), but there’s something about the sereneness of white that soothes my heart at the end of a long, busy day. It makes you remember to breathe deeply and enjoy the moment.
    Thanks for providing some extra white porn in my life Sarah!

  36. Sharon Smart says:

    Woohoo!!! I made a mention!!! Trust me…you’d have your work cut out for you…lol But..I do see that Mr BC enjoys the same drop that mine does…so he’ll be happy…lol

    And yes..you do have style, and loads of it!!!

    (Hmmm have to say I am regretting telling hubby to throw the old oars in with the deal when we sold the canoe…sighhhhhh) But….he is a true “Steptoe and Son” from way back, so maybe he has another stashed in the shed somewhere! lol

  37. Kirsten says:

    Naw Sarah my husband may just want to jump down the internet cabale and strangle you. 5 months pregnant with number two i log on to your blog for my daily dose of white washed heaven and get my insirpation before lugging the child and belly off to the tip (my favourite thrift store) to settled this nesting crave that seems to have strengthened itself tenfold since the little pink line on the little white stick.
    My darling hubby often comes home to find me up to my elbows in white paint and saw dust, only to shanke his head and smile saying “the beach is 4ks form here”…
    I love your home and your decorating style.

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  38. Marcia says:

    Sarah, your blog has inspired me to paint the things I have and just stay away from the stores. So the way I see it, your style is saving us money :-) Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  39. friendly lurker says:

    I love that little bench – seriously I want!

  40. Ellen says:

    I love the pics of your entrance. Beautiful, white and clean. Just today I was looking at my “white floors” and thinking, you just gotta be kidding me. Why did I ever choose white? Because I love it. I love the moments the house is put together. I love the time I have spent decorating and dreaming. I love the piles of my vintage finds waiting to go to the booth. I love it and even if it doesn’t stay that way for 5 minutes, it’s what I love and have trained my eye to be at peace with. I love white with the neutral pieces of metal, wood and glass. And I love your home.

  41. Mary says:

    Hi Sarah, it all looks fabulous! Take care and enjoy.

  42. ilovemyhouse says:

    I totally agree with the white and also the fact tha the reason why you have the blog is that reality is different. When i got my house ( old wooden cottage 1760) i started painting everything white. Great ideas and inspiration. xx

  43. Alicia says:

    Rats I am a bit behind on your bloggy posts due to horrid germs and viruses caught from two teenagers and a primary schooler cherub. Spat my cough medicine in laughter when I spotted your noting of my blogging police comment HA!! Well someones gotta keep an eye on these things eh? By the way, the makeover is seriously amazing, am loving the decluttering, more inspiration yay! Coatrack is spot on perfect idea and works a treat, I would say my guesses were way off though hmmph ;0)

  44. This was a great post, Sarah. Loved following a little of your design story. We all have houses that actually have people in them, so your bits about that were hilarious.

    I live in a tiny house on a lake. I have to really love something, if it makes it inside.

    That little bench is adorable.

  45. Mrs. Pearl says:

    Oh, I am lovin’ that bench! Perfect touches of paint.

    ICKea?? Too funny!

  46. Your life makes me smile.
    A lot like mine….
    It’s like a tornado once the
    bus pulls up and stuff gets
    strewn everywhere.
    But, it’s my life.
    I’m so very grateful for it.
    Love what you’ve done with
    the entry.
    Think it will be beautiful
    even with all the bits and pieces
    of a well-lived life
    lying about! Thanks for the smiles!
    xx Suzanne

  47. Sarah, everyone before me has said pretty much what I would say – loving the entryway! The bottle cracks me up. Also, I love that little orange tree. Looks so relaxing :)

  48. lisa says:

    Magnifique!!!i’ ve got the same hook rack but there’s so much stuffs hung on it that you can barely notice it…
    your shots are stunning!
    A bientôt!

  49. I should have known it was a beer holder!!! What a perfectly fabulous idea ;)

  50. desiree says:

    bare floorboards and sandy feet, whitewashed driftwood and putty coloured stripes…

    I so love this sentence it is all I love and where I am thinking of a lot…. slowly slowly my house changes and more lighted wood is coming back after having thrown out all wooden furniture and changing it to black IKea stuff I have the feeling I am coming back to what I have always loved…. ;) It makes me happy thinking about the sea and beach cottages in general and I am happy to rad how happy you are closing the door and being home with your Mister BC

    Have a great weekend my dear friend.
    hugs from a rainy ;( Amsterdam…

  51. Char says:

    I love your style, attention to detail and willingness for imperfection! I’m dreaming of my own beach cottage some day and in my dreams the style is inspired by you! Thanks for blogging and helping me live vicariously through you!

  52. I had to laugh cause I know exactly what you mean when they all come in and kick off their shoes and have their way with your precious finds! I’s a riot that you are on the other side of the world and it’s winter for you now. I only get what seems like 12 short weeks of great beach weather here in New Jersey. I am often torn between puttering around the Cottage and going to the Beach. Usually only get to my Cottage Beach House on the weekends. Sometimes it’s the entire gang along with me and sometimes just one or 2 of the crew. It’s always a blast.