Beach Cottage Study Makeover for Good Life Wednesday

Wed 2nd, Mar, 2011

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Morning campers!

Hope everyone is fine and dandy…we have woken up to the second day of Autumn Down Under, and after a hot and steamy day yesterday today it has cooled down rapidly, feels almost like winter…well Winter if you are a softie ;-)

Now onto the study.

This room has taken me by surprise…because I never, ever thought that it would be anything other than a room that seemed to never be tidy, that was full of the cast-offs of various things…sport, my hunting, the spare bed, various DIY things, a stack of frames and mirrors waiting to be put up…you know what I mean.

Also in there was my desk, a jumble of overflowing baskets with craft stuff…and the list goes on.


I had kinda resigned myself to the fact that it was just the ‘junk room’ and I was embarrassed for anyone else to go in there.

One day I decided that this was ridiculous and that this room, which though very small is indeed a luxury to have, could be much much nicer with a bit of love and thought…just like everything else in this old place.


The first thing that had to go was the spare bed…the desk and window above are where the bed used to be….this was a pretty big decision for us…it was nice to have a room with a bed made up and ready to go but really it didn’t need to be…with that gone the room opened up to more possibilities

…though one window and two doors (one to the laundry and one to the hallway) meant that furniture placement has been tricky and, as you can see, it all looks a bit packed in, plus taking the photos with my back up against the window wasn’t much fun.

I shopped the house for most everything…

…the old filing cabinet I got from Vinnies for $30 (more on that here)..I painted it with Dulux White on White after a couple of coats of primer…then I painted the inserts in chalkboard paint….and kept the original handles


the dresser is the one that I found from a garage sale, it had a story, it was the old lady’s Glory Box (you can read more about the garage sale we found her at here and how she cleaned up here)


On the other side, for now is this old IKEA Lack unit, utilized from the garage…I will be looking for another solution to this…I have been looking at the butcher’s block units…there is a big sticking point here though in that whatever goes here needs to be fairly narrow…as you need to walk past this area because of the two doors..and hence me trying to get a photo of it hanging onto the window ledge…

I filled it with baskets that I whitewashed…the big one in the middle has my camera and all those annoying wires and techie stuff for the computer/phone etc…hidden away in there…the other one on the top is stacked full of filing…and probably will be for the next year


The other side has an old mirror frame that I have had for ages, thrifted…it used to be in the hallway…


… added a row of hooks underneath


I used chalkboard labels and my clay tags to give everything a place (find my clay tag tutorial here)


I liked the look of these jars…used one for bits and bobs, one as a vase


The vintage bus blind (from here) I wanted to leave unframed, sorta casual and poster-like…so I just pinned it to the wall…


On the window I made a ‘curtain’ from a drop cloth (if you want to find some more information on using drop cloths there’s lots of great information at Miss Mustard Seed’s blog – I am warning you though if you go there you will be so inspired you will be running to the hardware store to buy up their stock of drop cloths….her tips for drop cloth are here).


I started with the idea for a ruffled panel for this window (and really I still am…with another fabric lol)…the top part was going to be a whole row of ruffles.

Then I started working with the drop cloth fabric and quickly realised that ahem, there wasn’t gonna be much ruffling going on…this stuff is great but it is stiff and heavy..obviously that is what it is designed for and it does not ruffle up like a dream…if ruffles up like a nightmare

So I changed that to a pleat….


I cut out a panel of drop cloth, utilizing the hems that already come on this stuff, flipped over the top for the ‘panel’….sewing a casing along the top by simply sewing a line of stitches wide enough for the rod to go through

then I cut a strip of drop cloth double the length of the width of my panel and hemmed it, pleated it, pinned the pleats in place and sewing along the top..then added this to the panel at the top…

I used a piece of burlap to tie it back…


To the left of the window I cut three strips of burlap/webbing to size, stuck them to the wall and then added various clips that I had hanging around…these are mostly for papers, shopping list, magazine rip-outs…

The top row is pegs with blackboard painted boards on the front…

The desk was an old IKEA one that had seen much better days (you can read about how we covered it here)

This is the picture of it when I first did it…


Over the door I added the pom-poms for now for a bit of girliness…I used white tissue paper for the most of them and then added blue and silver ones…all made with stuff I already had…


The peg rack to the right of the desk I wanted to hang things on…it was just an old skirting/baseboard that I found on the side of the road…added vintage hooks and a beach sign for a bit of whimsy…


also thought this would be good to hang little jars with flowers…


I am loving that this rooms feels nice now…even if it is not quite perfect….it didn’t cost me much money, I used mostly things I already had…or upcycled and re-cycled…amazing what a bit of time and paint can do


Be seeing ya…link up your Good Life Wednesday posts below :-)


So let’s see what you’ve been up to…remember you can post anything that’s ‘good’ to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays…some furniture you’ve made over, a thrifted find, a bunch of flowers,  a happy thing, you can find more information on the why’s here and please remember to link back to abeachcottage.com.


shared at Faded Charm, and wowed here thanks
(& I linked up somewhere else & then lost it…if that’s you can you let me know..ooops!)
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47 Responses to “Beach Cottage Study Makeover for Good Life Wednesday”

  1. tami says:

    Sarah, the study is looking amaaaaazing! I actually have those little chalk board clothes pins, been saving them for when my fridge is finished, or we buy a new one. I love what you did, and the little beach sign is divine! The colors are so calming for an office/study. I think that is important. I think it’s important to have a spot to read, study, learn, that is comfortable, welcoming, and beautiful. Well done, and thank you again for hostessing such a Wonderful Wednesday Party, xoxo tami

  2. Brenda Kula says:

    I use to have a guest room. Now it’s home to the hermit cat we rescued the first of December. And is still under the bed. (Yes, she eats. But only when you close the door.) I use to have a dining room. But I turned it into a sewing room. When you have a small home, you have to utilize it the way you most need it. It’s that simple. I’m happy with a small house. Less cleaning to do! I just adore that desk now!

  3. bj says:


  4. Alena Prysch says:

    Looks awesome!!! I actually have one of those jars except the lid on mine is blue/green color like sea glass.

  5. lg says:

    OH MY GOD – DROP CLOTHS! Who knew? How fabulous are they on that link? See ya later vintage blankets, hello dropcloth slipcovers!

    btw – study looks FABULOUS! Can I come over and hang?

    lg xxx

  6. Jacqueline says:

    The burlap webbing is a great touch. So original, and the things clipped there really grab your attention! Great to see this space. Glad you took the trouble!

  7. LUV your study, Sarah! All of the special little touches really pulled it all together! You rock, girl! :)

    xoxo laurie

  8. Melissa says:

    Looks awesome! Wish my study looked like that!! Where are those jars from? They are beautiful!!

  9. nicole beltane says:

    Love the look of your study, if the room where mine is wasnt so warm i would so be redecorating it and adding some more vintage touches to it.

    Ditto on the Jars love those

  10. Heather says:

    Sarah, I just love this room! All your special touches make it amazing!!

  11. I love how you used what you had to makeover this room.
    Leaves more moola to buy shoes.
    x Marnie

  12. Marcia says:

    It looks great Sarah! I love the little jar with the flower in it. Thanks for hosting!

  13. Hey Sarah,
    Great study. I left a comment here earlier , but I can’t see it?

  14. Vicki K says:

    The room is marvelous! So what kind of paint did you put on your cabinet? I assume it is metal underneath – does the paint scratch easily? Did you only paint the outside parts that would show when the drawers were closed? My favorite thing is still the gray dotty desk!

    • sarah says:

      I just primed it first with two coats of primer then regular oil based enamel…couple of scratches when we moved it in cos it is REALLY heavy, but so far so good…I can cope with a few shabby scratches lol!

      ahem I left the inside…it was pristine so just disinfected it….the drawers are so room…I can stash heaps in here lol!


  15. I love how it turned out! I also really liked the idea of a basket for all the cords etc. That makes a lot of sense.

    There was so much I liked here…….

    Good job Sarah!! It’s so pretty!
    God bless!

  16. *Tasiaa says:

    We just started with SPRING!!! (after a long winter)



  17. I love it! The room looks wonderful. Beautifully staged, not a non-coordinating color in sight. You really did an amazing job using all of those different pieces and marrying them together so beautifully. Hard to imagine that the room is really tiny, since you give it so much of a wow factor.

  18. Susan says:

    Sarah…. I used a drop cloth as my Christmas Lunch Tablecloth….. It looked so good :)

    I love love love the destination banner…. I am a Bronte girl by birth so have just flown over to that site & ordered two cards and a banner. *sigh……. I LOVE living in Noosa but man I miss my Eastern Suburb…. {not all of them just Bronte} :)

    Can I have your scissors btw????? please :)

    OH and… have you & lg tried the pre-mixed Mojitos????? too yummy for one….. Just sharing what info I can ;)

    • sarah says:

      pre-mixed mojitos??????????????

      never even heard of ‘em


      and can believe how much you must miss Bronte…but then again it’s pretty darn good where you are…

    • sarah says:

      oh and I’ll send you some scissors…mail me your addy ;-)

      • Susan says:

        You can’t be serious about the scissors???? really?? I’ll just clarify that with you before I look like a twit and email my address…… and the pre-mix is a Smirnoff one, available at all classy bottleshops.

        I tell you what, IF your serious about the scissors I’ll send you a bottle of the Mojitos…… and you don’t even have to share it with me! haha XX {I bumped into Fleur today outside our children’s kindy :)}

  19. Miss Char says:

    Your room looks fantastic, bring everything together with white was just the ticket. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. IAMSNWFLAKE says:

    The room looks amazing. Great use of things most people would dump out of the door without second thoughts. I admire people like you who take a second look and finds new life for them. I’m a fan of upcycling, recycling and transformation. Not sure I mentioned it before but you have a special touch for flower arrangements.

  21. Kim says:

    Hi Sarah, you joined my wow us Wednesdays party and so glad you did. What a great space. I love all the special details. Thanks for joining my party and I just did the same.

  22. Thanks for hosting the party! And thanks for the reminder about linking back – it’s added now. Sometimes I get so busy trying to link up places that I forget that step of the process. Love your blog, Sarah!

  23. Sibylle says:

    The room looks great! I always dream of having my own ‘crafts/paint/go crazy creative’ room! we are moving soon, so maybe this time it works out;-)
    thanks for hosting!

  24. Deborah says:

    The study is lovely Sarah, so many ideas, you really are an inspiration x

    p.s. I attempted to link with your Good Life Wednesday but put the wrong URL address so it linked to a holiday home :/.. so I tried again, I think it worked .. anyway sorry it wouldn’t let me delet the wrong one, so now theres two ha ha, I wasn’t being greedy x

  25. Elaine in Laguna says:

    This turned out so beautiful! You’ve inspired me for the weekend which is expected to be spring-like here!

  26. lucy says:

    Love your new & improved study, and I can totally appreciate all the hard work you put into it cause I have a room just like that…( collects everything and looks like a dumping ground 80% of the time..) Now all you need is a few big jars of white buttons!! I plan to hit a few thrift shops today and you can be sure I’ll keep my eyes peeled…:)

  27. Heather says:

    Just linked up! Goes with the old offic organizing theme! I’ll bet you feel like a whole new woman with your own little workspace! Makes all the blood and sweat worth it! :)

  28. Tracy H. says:

    I LOVE your beach cottage! I’ve always wanted a beach cottage. For now, I just have a bathroom that is done in beach cottage decor :)
    Maybe some day….

    I’m a new follower and anticipate reading your blog!


  29. Yvonne says:

    You did work wonders on the study and it amazes me how airy it all looks despite the small size. When I see all these non-colours I want to get rid of all my colours in the study – at least for a while. it is so fresh and calm! Maybe I will start with my husband’s study and work on that! Thank you for the ongoing inspiration!

  30. it all looks really, really good. I love the nice clean neat look, but it is still inviting and comfy. Great job. I can’t wait to see more from you.

  31. indiansummer says:

    That is incredible. I have the same problem with my office; it’s just blah, and I tend to use it as a storeroom, too. If I can get it looking half as nice as yours — no, a quarter as nice ;-), I’ll be happy. Thanks, as usual, for your inspiration!

  32. Hi Sarah love the new study……and really liked the chalkboard labels did you make these yourself or did you buy them either way could you give us the info where to get them or how to make them…..thanks have a great day!!

  33. Barefoot Liz says:

    I love what you did with the file cabinet! I really need one but have been hesitant due to their look. You may have just taken my fear of file cabinets away!

  34. What a lovely place to work in! Thanks for hosting the party! I linked up the finished Antique Silverware Mold Project #61

  35. I love how this room turned out and you have so many inspiring things throughout.

    Enjoy your sunshine and warmth.


  36. I adore the mirror that looks like an old wondow frame! Thanks for hosting your good life Wednesday once more!

  37. Melissa says:

    Just beautiful!!!!

  38. Love it! So inspiring… Especially the part about never really thinking of it as anything other than a junk room. That means there are awesome possibilities for all those messy nooks-n-crannies around here… thx, Sarah!

  39. karen says:

    I love this room! I have a question about your curtains. I see they are covering blinds, so what do the tops of your blinds look like? do they have a valence? Does your curtain valence pull across to cover all? Just wondring since you can’t see in the pictures what the blinds look like at the top when the curatin is open. We have a similar window at our house and I was thinking about doing a curtain like yours. Thanks.

    • sarah says:

      hi Karen

      the valence is integrated into the curtain….I used a drop sheets (the linen type) for the curtain, flipped it over at the top added a channel for the curtain pole and a pleat to the valence part and then just ran it onto the pole…

      the blinds are the main light / privacey thing and the curtain is mainly for decoration

      hope that helps


  40. Megan says:

    I am desperately trying to source the putty & white striped fabric you are using in your cottage. And I too LOVE those scissors, ha ha. Reminds me of my grandma.
    Do you know where I can source that fabric?