Bland to Beautiful Cottage Renovation

After waiting nearly 100 years for its first major renovation, this California cottage got the contemporary facelift it deserved.

Discover the essence of cottage style decorating and how to capture the look in your home.

Get the Look: Cottage Style

Discover the essence of cottage style decorating and how to capture the look in your home.

Quaint Cottage Conversion

This 1910s cottage maintains its original charm while gaining a new color scheme. The owners updated the exterior to a subtle blue-gray that outclasses its original hot pink hue. Parallel to the patio and beneath a pergola lies a long dining room table that seats ten, perfect for entertaining on cool California nights.

Before: Disconnected Dwellings

Before the home's remodel, the sunroom and living room were two separate spaces, split by half walls, beige paint, and outdated cabinets. Although the homeowners liked the half-wall structure, they hoped to unite the rooms and brighten the cottage through color and decor.

After: Cozy Living

Coats of white wall paint brighten the new and improved library, which was renovated to merge with the sunroom instead of exist as a separate entity. A consistent blue color scheme and blend of old and new furniture make the two rooms feel like extensions of each other. The fireplace is a standout feature in the living room thanks to its charcoal paint, which complements rather than matches the rest of the colors in the room.

Chic Breakfast Nook

Natural light pours into this charming breakfast area, where the family enjoys most of their meals. The white paint works with the windows to keep the room light and bright. Banquette seating makes the nook cozy while drawing the eye to an array of blue hues that can be found throughout the house.

Bold and Beautiful Dining

Vivid red leather seating brings this otherwise muted dining room to life. Roman shades in the distance complement the warm color scheme. The designer used a half wall to link the space with the nearby breakfast nook.

Sunny Window Seating

Although most of the house emphasizes cool colors, warm hues rule in the dining room. Red, pink, and orange accents make the seating area inviting and complement neutral accents. Cushions and piles of pillows layer on comfort in the existing bay window seat.

Before: Closed-Off Kitchen

A single kitchen window does little more than draw attention to dated countertops and off-white cabinets. With limited lighting and a less-than-perfect color scheme, the kitchen looked dark and grimy. The couple did a complete overhaul of the kitchen to bring it up to their modern standards.

After: Classic Meets Contemporary

New windows on the rear exterior wall pull backyard views into the kitchen. Outside, a pergola over the patio filters sunlight. Wood floors wear a daring shade of turquiose blue paint, giving the space a bright and happy outlook. A subway tile backsplash creates classic appeal.

Custom Kitchen

The kitchen is sleek and polished with accent pieces that provide quirky charm. Copper pendant lights bring a nautical, vintage look to the brand-new kitchen, while a customized island with a marble countertop keeps the look clean and simple. The slim island provides extra work space without impeding traffic. The kitchen now flows seamlessly into the breakfast nook and dining room beyond—no more chopped-up, closed-off spaces.

Do-It-All Laundry Room

The laundry room, which is off the kitchen, is now so sunny and functional that it doubles as a butler's pantry and mudroom. Gone is the old seafoam tile and off-white paint; in came white subway tiles, brass hardware, and a farmhouse sink. Pulleys lower the drying rack from near the ceiling.

Before: Bland Master Bedroom

The master bedroom once ducked under low cilings while abundant attic space lurked above. To gain space and update the look, the couple kept the hardwood floors but scrapped everything else.

After: Marina Masterpiece

This master bedroom isn't huge, but the tall ceilings offset its modest size. Raising the existing dormer on the front of the house and elevating the ceilings to follow the roofline gave the bedroom height, air, and scale. Horizontal beadboard installed in the window nook adds seaside charm. A weathered coffee table and sandy color scheme continue the nautical theme.

Spa Escape

The master bath, built into a second-floor addition, features a claw-foot tub made to look original to the home with coats of gray paint. Vintage brass sconces, also called nautical lights, hang above the vanity—the perfect accent for a cottage by the sea.

Double Up

Before remodeling, space in the master bathroom was limited. The addition of two vanities grants everyone their own separate space on opposite sides of the room. Hand-glazed subway tile, which continues in the walk-in shower, has a slightly irregular surface; dark gray grout defines each tile. A beachy painting pays tribute to the ocean, just a stone's throw away from this cottage retreat.

Stylish Shared Bedroom

The kids' bedroom is no exception to the nautical theme that flows through this home. Its vaulted ceiling and low-hanging rafters visually expand the shared space. A wallpapered accent wall pays tribute to the sea, along with the nautical flag that hangs next to it.


Brick Patio

French doors from the breakfast nook and laundry room open up to the home's backyard. The brick patio, expanded during the remodel, is comfortable and spacious, with enough room for lounge chairs for entertaining.

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