Home Tour: Classic Seaside Summer Cottage

A leisurely, light-handed remodeling project restored the architectural integrity of a 1913 Craftsman-style summer cottage.

Light-Handed Cottage Makeover

At first, this home's renovator thought the architecture too crude, too simple, too boxy to be attractive. But when the worst aspects of the house--the drapes, the carpets, the linoleum--were removed, the beauty of the home began to shine through. All the Arts and Crafts-influenced home really needed was a bit of freshening up--hardly a renovation, and almost less than a remodeling.

Pretty Porch

Over the course of six summers, the house was gradually and subtly burnished until it seemed as timeless as a summer evening, yet as fresh as a sea breeze. The renovator painted the porch floor in the original formula of one part brown to two parts black.

Welcoming Entry

Original light fixtures, paneling, windows, and even a spring-close wooden screen door give this house a timeless feel.

Gorgeous Woodwork

Lots of glowing woodwork give the interior the warm, sepia tone of an old photograph. Unadorned windows let in plenty of light, keeping the interiors from getting too dark.

Living Room

The massive fireplace of native granite gives a lodge-like feel to the living room. A Stickley armchair echoes the house's Arts and Crafts lines.

Elegant Eating Area

The 1940s kitchen was preserved as is, complete with metal cabinets, enamelware table, and glassware found in the attic. The green-painted sideboard from Argentina and the simple French chandelier look right at home with the table, a piece original to the cottage.

Bright Pantry

White walls and an undraped window keep the pantry bright. Newly painted vintage furnishings and cabinetry give the room a clean, fresh look.

Spacious Bedroom

Butterscotch walls and bedding and three faded photos found in a drawer set the tone in this spacious bedroom--one of four in the house.

Second-Floor Bedroom

French doors open from a second-floor bedroom onto a view of the Gulf of Maine.

Nautical Bedroom

This nautically themed bedroom takes its cue from sea views. The brass beds and wall sconce are original to the house. Striped bedding echoes the vertical lines of the car siding on the walls. Shutters, rather than curtains, emphasize the simple geometry of the windows.

Floor Plan: Main-Level

During this project, renovators worked to keep as much of the original material as they could. Fortunately, this house had a great deal to offer, right down to many of the original lighting fixtures. Except for the removal of a partition wall upstairs, the floor plan was unchanged.

Floor Plan: Second-Level

The results are what could be called an "invisible renovation." Though the place may never have looked this good, it feels as though it has always looked the same. And that kind of nostalgic feel, after all, is one of the main attractions of owning a vintage home in the first place.

Floor Plan: Third-Level

The deftly handled project goes to show that sometimes knowing what to leave well enough alone is as important as knowing what to change.

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