I mean, if this doesn't scream coastal living, then I don't know what does! LOL! The assumption for a beach house is that it should be filled with natural light and cooled by the ocean breeze. Well people, this baby completely broke that stereotype! The interiors were painted a putrid green from top to bottom, sucking up any type of light coming in. And that light was pretty minimal to begin with, since the balcony was given a DIY roof covering that blocked out not only the light, but the ocean breeze.
To begin the transformation, the walls were sanded down to get the paint party started. I went with white because (for me) it signifies freshness and purity of light. I also love the look of the white sailboats we see so often crossing the horizon, so I thought it was a great tie-in to this upside-down boat house. Finding the “perfect white” is an excruciating process. It’s enough to make a girl cross-eyed from staring at the hundreds of paint swatches to choose from. But no matter what your painter or favorite blogger swears by, you really need to suck it up and put some samples up on the walls. Yeah, that wasn’t a typo — ALL 4 WALLS. You’re fooling yourself if you think that paint is gonna look the same on every wall at every hour of the day/night. Painting swatches on all the walls will help narrow down the choice so much better! And don’t feel obligated to use the same white paint in every room. Sunlight doesn’t always play nice with every room. I had to use a different white for our east-facing rooms, which don’t get the same love from the sun as does our west-facing rooms. So please, save yourself the trouble of repainting… choose the paint that looks the best for YOUR ROOM and not because of the brand or what a decorator used on a fave Pinterest save. My swatch test consisted of 2 proven winners from the past, a couple of decorator choices, and 2 unknowns, and guess which ones ended up winning?!? YUP, the 2 dark-horses, or in my case, the light-horses! ;)
Once the color was chosen I decided to go with a semi-gloss finish for ALL the shiplap walls and ceilings. My painter had doubts about my choice and I understand why… normally you go with semi-gloss to enhance detail millwork spots like your baseboards — not to paint entire rooms with! But I wanted to allow the sunlight to bounce and reflect against as many surfaces as possible in order to give me bright sunny rooms. I also still had sailboats in mind and wanted the look of their shiny finish. For the rooms with drywall, I did go with a SATIN finish, which still has more of a sheen than the normally more popular EGGSHELL option. Being so close to the ocean, I also thought satin would be a better choice than eggshell because of the moisture level in the air. If this isn’t a concern for you then in general, eggshell is the choice for low-traffic areas like bedrooms and non-moisture rooms. Satin is easier to clean than eggshell so best for kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas. But once again, I have to encourage you to test, test, test! That perfect white that looked so fresh in a flat finish swatch may look sterile when painted in a semi-gloss. Just as sunlight can change how the color looks, so can the finish. And if that weren’t enough, the amount of reflectivity can also change from brand to brand. So you know that Benjamin Moore white that your paint shop just mixed up for you in a lower priced brand? Well it may not look the same even if it does share the same color formula. So what should you do to save yourself from wasting time and $$$?!? TEST, TEST, and TEST again!!!
My handyman was really pushing for sandblasting the beams but I always try to let the natural finish of the wood come through whenever possible. Once they were stripped of their paint wash, I knew I had made the right choice. The douglas fir beams provided the perfect contrast against all the white surfaces, so all we needed to do was give them a clear high-gloss varnish to help against the ocean air. And remember what I said about testing? Well this is another case where the name “high-gloss” first scared me off. This time it was my painter who gave the “trust me” speech. After the test was applied, it had no high sheen to it and instead, looked completely natural.
WALKING ON SUNSHINE
The dingy carpet was removed and replaced with light stained wood laminate flooring, to again, create as much reflective surface as possible. The cost wasn’t any cheaper than some real wood choices available. This had to do with the ones we chose, which had the hand-scraped finish that makes people second-guess if they’re “real or not”. So for the price, we went with better-looking laminate over cheap-looking wood. For us, a big factor was durability. The Beach Lodge is a vacation rental, so I didn’t want to worry about every scratch that real wood floors would take on from people who may not be as careful because (1) it’s not their house and (2) all they’re thinking about is rest & relaxation.
THE BIG UNVEILING
Installing a wider sliding glass door and removing the rooftop that enclosed the balcony allowed a tremendous amount of sunlight to finally come into the house. Not only that, they also allowed for the ocean breeze to flow naturally into the space and eliminate any costly need for air-conditioning. We did look into accordion doors but decided on sliders for 2 reasons: (1) Cost. For the width span we needed, the price was substantially higher and staying within budget was too important of a factor for us. (2) Space. The accordion doors would have needed more surrounding space to fold into place. We just didn’t have it to give, or at least not for that purpose. We much preferred to use to give the indoor and outdoor dining spaces as much breathing room as possible. The accordion doors would have required us to move chairs out of the way each time the doors needed to open and close. By opting for normal sliders, we still got the openness that we wanted. In fact, we were able to get an even wider opening because of the savings that the sliders provided. Now, let me say it again...