Thursday, May 27, 2010

Renovating My Beach House

"Renovating My Beach House" really should be titled "How I Finally Convinced My Husband To Let Go of the Stained Wood Walls". You see men love wood walls. For seven years, my husband and many of our male friends would actually cringe when I told them I dreamed of painting it all white. "No, No they would say, this room looks like a mountain lodge; it reminds me of hunting and camping!" And, I would argue "WE ARE AT THE BEACH!"

Over time I renovated every other space in the house. Lady luck finally smiled on me when our heating bills got too high. "We really should replace the single pane glass windows," my husband reasoned. Of course the original windows were odd sizes and to save money we needed to buy stock sizes. New cut outs in the wall meant new trim mouldings. The original walls were an orangey stain which I couldn't even begin to match, and all of sudden we HAD to paint! So really this post should be titled " The Magical Transformation with Paint" because that is what it truly turned out to be.

The photo above is the house as I bought it seven years ago. It is our living room and dining area taken from the original real estate listing.

Here is living and dining area before we painted.
A few gallons of primer and some Farrow and Ball Paint in Pointing and even I was amazed at the transformation!
Here is the fireplace. No matter what I tried I could not remove the 40 year old soot stains.
Paint hides everything!
The antique dish cupboard used to just blend into the wall.
And now it is a focal point in the room.
I've been playing around with some shells, dishes and antique pewter and here's what I came up with. I love to change the accessories, but for now I really like this monochromatic look. Oh, and the baskets below hold flip flops - it keeps things more organized in the entry area.
Here is the couch area before - I forgot to put the back cushions on the couch in this photo. Notice the different heights of the window and door mouldings. This used to drive me crazy.
And here is the same space painted. The different moulding heights just fade away - see paint can hide many flaws. Also look closely at the ceiling. You can see a hint of blue. The ceilings are painted in Farrow and Ball's Pale Powder and they look amazing. They are darker than they photograph. The pale blue really picks up the color of the ocean. Isn't the view amazing?

The eating area before. When we originally purchased the house, the half wall was actually a full glass window and a a door. We winterized the porch and opened the area up. It really visually enlarges the space.

The after photo shows how cohesive the space looks with it all painted a uniform color.
Here is a close up of the four season porch before.And the amazing after!
Here are close ups of the Willow Furniture I bought off the back of artisan's truck 10 years ago at a flea market. I have owned the weather vane for 20 years. I bought it at a barn sale in North Carolina. Wisteria is now making an exact reproduction. So now I am not sure that mine is actually old or a 20 year old reproduction, but I love it just the same. You can see I keep moving the accessories around.
We still have a lot unpacking and finishing to do on these rooms. I have some roman shades ordered and a really fabulous fireplace screen on the way. We will get to all that when we move up there for summer in June, but I wanted to share with you the progress to date.
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We are so thrilled with how it turned out. My husband turned to me and said "I can't believe this is our house!" A little bit of paint can really transform things- I hope this inspires some of you to paint those wood walls. I'll be posting the outdoor transformations once I finish the gardens, so keep reading!
(all photos Willow Decor)

110 comments:

  1. Wow! The house looks amazing! Where did you get your couches and chairs? Pottery Barn?

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    1. we just bought a cottage, all the same knotty pine walls. Looking forward to painting it white soon! What a great inspiration! it looks beautiful!
      wish me luck!

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  2. It is amazing what paint can do! What is with men and wood paneling anyways? I love blue ceilings! I am currently on the look out for Romantic Homes Magazine to see your feature, it's not an easy book to find. I think CVS has it. xo

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  3. That looks AMAZING!!! I recently convinced my husband to let us paint the first floor of our house, including the kitchen cabinets and the outcome was drastic! Your beach house is absolutely charming!!!

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  4. Gina, congrats on the feature in Romantic Homes!! This transformation is just stunning for the beach house. You would never know it is the same space!!

    Karena

    Art by Karena

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  5. What a huge difference that white paint made! So much beachier now. What great views, too.

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  6. Gorgeous! Its crazy what a difference paint can make. Love it and much more beachy.

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  7. Great job! What a fantastic spot to escape to. Congrats!

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  8. Squeeling and clapping going on in AZ this am. I hope all those same men will now come in and say "Oh, I was so wrong. You should have done this YEARS ago." I now, I'm a dreamer. :)

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  9. I am in such agreement! Our den / family room was also paneled and paint was the magic transformation. My other half needed coaxing as well; but afterward he wondered why we would have ever not painted?

    Thanks for the befores & afters .....always fun to see!

    L.

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  10. Everything looks great! It is amazing what paint can do for a space.

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  11. Love what paint can do. But the issue of men and wood paneling is something that should be researched....it's almost a character flaw. Found your blog through Brooke at Velvet and Linen.....enjoyed the transformation.
    Gwen

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  12. Love the transformation! We have to work hard to convince the guys sometimes, don't we? Your fleur de lis stood out to me, just wondering what it is.

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  13. Gina I am in awe, what a stunning transformation! I could curl up on that couch and read for hours OR sit in that willow chair on the porch and paint for days. You have a lovely spot there!
    Hugs~
    T

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  14. unbelievable. just, unbelievable. that view is amazing, and it really looks like a place of serenity.

    our sunroom was dark and panelled and rather depressing. our first solution was to paint and primer, but in the end it all came down and drywall went up.

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  15. What a difference. I love it all white.

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  16. The paint on the fireplace really brought out the niches--didn't even notice them on the first unpainted image.

    As always, you've done another great transformation.

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  17. Paint really does make a differance. Yes, men love wood! Even my sons have said to me "your not going to paint that(furniture) it made out of solid (type wood)! I recently painted a brass chandelier, that got them going too! Love it. Sometimes it is good to have a different perspective tho'. The trasformation in your home is beautiful!

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  18. wow.. SOOOO much better!! its amazing what a can of paint can do. i love renovating and seeing really how easy it is to transform a space with a little paint and tlc. and what a lovely spot as well! have a lovely summer there.

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  19. I had to pick my jaw off the floor! This transformation is absolutely gorgeous. Now it looks like the ultimate fabulous beach house!
    xoxo
    Sherry

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  20. Perfect...all of it!!! You've done a miracle transformation...it has such a wonderful "away from it all" feeling (sighing)! xo Jessica

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  21. What a fantastic transformation!!! Congratulations on a lovely space!

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  22. Looks wonderful! Great job - now instead looking like the beach "cabin", you've got yourself a real upscale cottage. Great job. Amazing what flaws a little paint can hide!

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  23. Wow, Gina! Paint really is a girl's best friend. The house looks great - so much more beachy and I'd love to curl up in one of those chairs with a good book and listen to your ocean!
    Email me? I have something for you and seem to have lost your email addy :(
    xo Isa
    isa@greyfreth.com

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  24. Wow! Your knotty pine beach house looked just like my beach house 'before' and I did the same...painted everything! I know what you mean about the custom windows too...
    It's so beachy now and fresh and inviting now! So pretty! It takes a bit to convince the guys but they usually love it when it's done (usually)! ha. What a view! Good for you.
    xoR

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  25. Hi, I just found your wonderful blog, and oh what a transformation, I think this just proves that women have far better taste than men! It looks brilliant, clean, fresh and beachy!
    xx Gem

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  26. Beautiful!!!! There was a slight pause from my husband when I suggested that we paint our wood panel walls white...scared me!!! And more recently, when I told him I was going to repaint the living room and kitchen walls he said, "anything but white!"
    They're white.
    xoTrina

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  27. omg! this is fabulous!!!!!!!!! sooo much better! now, can we convince him to let us paint the floors white too? hehehe!!!!

    you are soo lucky to have a beach house. where is it? I'm so jealous of you!
    JOni

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  28. Gina,
    This is just gorgeous! Really beachy! I can imagine that after all your husband was so pleased with the result!
    I think we will see your beach house in one or another Magazine too!!!
    Well done! I mean that!!
    x
    Greet

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  29. I really love the coca-cola piece in the first photo. Where to you find that?

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  30. Your redo looks fabulous. It is so great and inspiring to see the before and after and How painting can change everything

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  31. I love seeing the befores - thx for that. And what a fantastic transformation! I don't get how some men don't like to paint over wooden wainscotting (my hubby is in that category too, Trina) - I think it looks best and freshest painted out. What a great beach house!

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  32. It's your "dream-come-true" cottage!!

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  33. OMG what a spectacular transformation. You have done a marvellous job. Yes, what is it with men and timber? My painter couldn't understand why I wanted to paint all my cedar doors and windows white. I love your all weather porch.. my heart rate went down just looking at your pictures! A-M xx

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  34. It looks beautiful, what a transformation. I love your paintings, they are beautiful. Is the house in the Cape?

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  35. What a transformation! The perfect place for relaxing and dreaming.

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  36. What a transformation. We have wood ceilings in between the boxed beams that are very dark. I'd would like to do pale blue and get the same reaction don't paint the wood!

    You have a wonderful home.

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  37. Looks like the "beach" now and not the "lake"! I love every inch of it.

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  38. Hi Gina~
    Sometimes white paint is just what you need.... and this is one of those times.
    The whole fireplace wall looked stuck and frozen in another time. Now it looks so inviting and the ceiling looks so much higher.

    Lodge to beach house, fabulous. Love it!
    Donna

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  39. How wonderful! Don't you just love it? It is really amazing what paint can do. I love that you showed your before and afters. When I posted about our lake house a few weeks ago, I didn't show the before pictures. I may go back and do that some time. Where is your beach house? Is it close enough that you go often? I just love the beach. Congratulations on your "new" house. Can't wait to see the outside.

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  40. Paint is girl's...make that man's BFF!!!

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  41. I always get a kick out of it when husbands think they know design better than their blog-reading,HGTV-watching,magazine-studying wives! Ha!

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  42. It is amazing how even your view looks better with the white paint. Also love the coke box drawers.

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  43. Hi All!
    I know it sounds funny but I still get butterflies when I post my own work!! :) Thanks for all the kind comments! xox

    To answer your questions:
    Cara - The chairs and couch are from Lee - the slipcover line. The chairs are great- they swivel.

    Clustrus - The Fleur de Lys is an iron sculpture thingy made from recycled antique tin ceiling pieces. Weird, but cool

    Joni/sbold/Mona - The house is on Cape Ann. That is the northshore of Massachusetts on the way to Maine.

    Crystal/Mona - The Coca Cola crates are antiques and the cutest man and his son made the boxes for them. I got it about 6 years ago, it was a small operation - I can't remember from where or if they are still in business anymore.

    Thanks for all the comments - My husband also likes it a lot which is great!

    BTW- Carla - you crack me up!

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  44. Holy moley! You're really going to have to "fess up" and tell your readers if you were able to restrain yourself from telling your husband, "I told you so!" From now on, he'll always have to listen to you(well, at least most of the time)! :)

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  45. Wow, Gina! How did I miss this? It looks super. I love the F&B Pointing and am thinking of painting my bedroom in that shade of white. Your summer home looks so fresh and inviting. What a change. The view is amazing too!
    Deborah

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  46. Reading this post, I had a real 'lightbulb' moment - you are so right about men loving wood! We had a timber kitchen that I've just finished painting white, and I LOVE the transformation. I actually waited until my husband was away for work, and then painted it myself! I'd rather ask for forgiveness than permission any day, and he's so great that it wasn't a problem at all. Now I just have to tackle the pine cathedral ceilings, and having seen the amazing job you've done at your beach house (which is stunning by the way!) it's made me even more keen to get started. Love this post, your home is a vision in white now! K xx

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  47. What an unbelievably remarkable transformation!
    And that view-WOW!

    A real feast for the eyes, thanks so much for sharing!

    All the best,
    Anne

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  48. Bravo! Amazing what a bit of paint can do...now it looks like a beach house, and a beautiful one at that! What is with the men and the wood?! We actually have a ski house, with similar wood, and bit by bit I am painting it, leaving just enough to still give it a lodgie feel. This was such an inspirational post!

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  49. the rooms look very harmonious'

    BTw i am having a giveaway on my blog it's my first time 'pls participate will mean a lot to me ~Deepali http://www.fillinspaces.blogspot.com

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  50. .....Your beach house is a dream....gorgeous...¡¡¡¡ congratulations..¡¡¡¡ Berta

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  51. Whow, it´s great!!! A litle bit color of white makes it :-) The now white house withe the lake in the backround looks so wonderfull. I love it!! When can i come?? :-) Sorry my english is not so good. I only learned at school.
    Kind regards from Emma (Germany)

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  52. Incredible...The Farrow and Ball paint made your beach retreat light and uplifting rather than dark and depressing. The rooms look bigger and the furniture beckons you to come and sit and enjoy. Well done! Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspot.com

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  53. Wow, this house is amazing, and the view! The white paint made such a drastic difference. It look looks so fresh and clean now. Really nice job!

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  54. I just love the white that you picked! With so many choices, it's easy to go too bright or stark - F&B Pointing looks fantastic! What a wonderful place to spend the summer!

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  55. So much better! Now your eye is drawn to the gorgeous views outside. It looks so much lighter and brighter. Pointing is one of our favorite paint colors.
    Great job Gina!

    xo
    Brooke

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  56. Your beach house looks amazing and the view is abloutely fantastic!!
    Incredibly that the white colour can nicely change the rooms.
    Your house looks bigger and fresh now.
    Have a nice day!
    Lucia

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  57. This transformation is inspirational. I have been contemplating a similar "jump off the cliff" and would like your and your readers opinions. I live in an early 1970s open plan log house with very low ceilings, round pine timbers for walls, oak floors. I have been vacillating for years about painting because, one one hand, a log house is what it is. But it is SO dark. I would feel less timid about whitewashing if I could experiment with a smallish area, however, with an open plan (center fieldstone fire place is only "barrier" between 1st floor "rooms"), it's either all or nothing. Do you think it would "ruin" the house to paint or perhaps whitewash (this would still let some wood grain through)? Would love to hear your thoughts and if you have ever seen examples of painted log houses, would appreciate seeing them. Again, brava on the beach cottage! Goat Gal

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  58. Amazing!! Love it and isn't it the best when your right?

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  59. Your house looks so serene and...well...beachy now. What a beautiful, barefoot, relaxed space. And your view! Don't you love Farrow and Ball? I am an absolute convert. Their colors are so subtle.

    And congratulations on your magazine feature!

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  60. Beautiful!!! What a difference it makes. Congratulations on being featured in Romantic Homes. I bought it today after I heard you were in it:)

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  61. Oh my what an amazing transformation just with paint. It all looks so much more beautiful now.
    Cheers, Victoria

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  62. Looks amazing- I love it. Can I move in. Really it looks so good, and so right at home. Enjoy.

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  63. Beautiful! It truly looks like a beach house now and the view is amazing. Feels like instant R&R ~

    Brightest blessings,
    Pat

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  64. Bigger, better, beautiful!
    From drab to fab with a paint can! OMG!
    Hubby should have listened way earlier!
    Do you rent it out???

    Kiss!
    Happy M.D.Weekend, Gina!

    V.

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  65. There's really no comparison! The white paint has brought that place to life. All your decorating is just enviable!! I love the X-Large fleur-de-lis. Never seen one like that before.
    Angex

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  66. I love it! WOW!!! That made such a difference and made it so much more comfy. Awesome job and way to hold in there for so long waiting for your hubby to come around to painting :) Enjoy!

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  67. This place is GORGEOUS!! I LOVE it!! Love that cute little sunshine on your chalkboard, too:)

    Leslie

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  68. marjorie wildmanMay 28, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    YES...YES...YES!!! I love what you have done!!! I have an old colonial farm house...all the woodork is dark stain as well as the original hardwood floors! I have dark stained beams in the ceiling in the living room and all the ceilings are also low. I am starting to paint everything white!! I have put white bead board up on the downstairs bathroom walls and white ceramic tile as well as new white trim(it's still in progress). I also put large mirrors in rooms to help reflect light. since I bought the house several yrs ago I put on siding, a new roof and replacement windows so I am now starting to work on the inside. I love white to brighten the interior w color added w furniture and accessories! I also love antiques and great rustic finds. Thanx for sharing Your work! It looks great. Hoping someday my house will look as good!

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  69. OMG, your husband should worship you as the genius you are!! It looks amazing!!!

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  70. OMG...LOVE IT, what a wonderful change....lovely!

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  71. Just beautiful. Aren't you so glad you painted? I'm always amazed in my design work how much convincing it takes to get men to paint wood. They don't like to, even if it's not great quality. Hope you have a great weekend.

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  72. What a great beach house!! And it looks FABULOUS in white! Isn't it funny how men love the natural paneling?!
    We were in Maine just yesterday... I covet a Maine beach house!! Lucky you!!
    joan

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  73. It certainly can and I LOVE how it turned out. Well done for persisting with your argument and wonderful of your husband to admit you were right in the end! :)

    Hope you are there right now and enjoying this fresh new white BEACH STYLE loveliness!

    xx Charlotta

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  74. Wow, that has become super. You can be proud of this result. Simply wonderful.
    Have a nice weekend
    MANU

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  75. I just post something similar. My husband was squeamish about me painting our wood cabiners in our Colorado kitchen. Glad to say he likes them painted now! Beautiful place and a wonderful airy transformation! cheers, -s

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  76. I guess this fabulous transformation means that Mr. Willow Decor isn't missing the Hunting Lodge look one teeny tiny bit! He has a very clever wife dear Gina, but I reckon he pretty well knows that!
    Millie ^_^

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  77. Dreamy...the white walls, the blue water - I'll bet you feel relaxed the minute you walk in.

    Jan

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  78. Wow! What a difference. I know what you mean about the men and real wood thing, but my hubby has come to trust me with that sort of thing...most of the time. :)

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  79. Just as well I'm typing and not talking...which would be hard with my jaw on the ground like it is! Beyond fabulous.

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  80. Wow, great before and after ! So much better, makes you wonder why so many are afraid to paint wood...thanks for sharing.

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  81. Wow it looks beautiful. The bookcases stand out so much more as well as your accesories. Of course, the best is the view is now the star. Good job!

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  82. What a transformation! Beautiful!! its a totally different room and much nicer.

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  83. Found your blog.....I love it!!!!

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  84. Oh my goodness, no question, that is so much better.

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  85. absolutely amazing transformation, i think I will have to show my husband these photos so he will reconsider our wooden walls! I'm having a giveaway at my blog, do check it out if you have a moment :0)
    alicia

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  86. Love it Gina, it is beautiful and the blue ceiling is a nice touch too with all of your blue accents about. I am with you and think wood walls beg to be painted...you just proved why!!
    Ness xx

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  87. What an inspiration! that is truly amazing.....smiles.

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  88. Gina....WOW. It is so true, men LOVE wood, we women like to paint and I will say you did a fabulous job. Enjoy!

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  89. Three words... I - love - it! What a wonderful transformation. I so see myself in this type of space!!

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  90. Gina, amazing! How will I ever be able to show off my humble home design projects after this?!!

    Yes, your really took it from dark cabin to fresh beach house! I am so proud of you! (And I bet even your husband's friends are envious!)

    It looks fantastic now - can't wait to see what more you have in store for us.

    Do you have a favorite place for Roman Shades? I am going to get a new fabric Roman shade for Prince William's bedroom. I was thinking Smith & Noble.

    Once again - Bravo!

    ox, from blog sis, Mon

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  91. LOVE it! So glad your hubby finally came around!

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  92. man oh man

    i love a can of paint!!!
    amazing!

    xx

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  93. WOW! I just LOVE what you did with your beach cottage. The paint totally transformed the space. It looks amazing! Now the views are even better. All the best, Lori

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  94. I'm not sure if I've already commented on this post and don't want to look through all of them to find out, but if I haven't already said it- this is fabulous! I'm glad I visited again. That little Coke stand is adorable- what clever thinking! Everything looks so fresh and happy and livable~ Great job!

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  95. Thank God for white paint! I painted old paneling a long time ago & loved it. Then many years later and another charming beach house, we actually bought yucky brown paneling & painted it white to cover some even yuckier walls. Love the transformation Gina!
    xoxo Lisa

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  96. I really love a house near the beach. Very nice, it is better than the old one.

    Deirdre G

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  97. I like it! White is so nice...

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  98. How absolutely beautiful!!!!
    Wonderful transformation..I love it!!

    Deborah :)

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  99. My husband and I are old hands at buying sad or neglected homes and bringing them back to life. Right now we are living in a 100 year old building in Buenos Aires, where we did the same thing.. restoring the original floors and bringing 15' high ceilinged rooms to life.
    I have been looking online at homes "elsewhere" .. I guess there is nothing left to do here...ha!
    I have seen some wonderful homes in woodsy settings or on lakes and they all have this wood throughout .. I don't like the darkness or texture at all.
    I can finally show my husband your photos of the before and after of the Beach house and give him an idea of how great the change can be!
    Love your blog,
    Candice

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  100. Hi there
    I recently decided to renovated my living dining at my cottage. It had knotty pine all over and some pine dark ceiling boards. VEry dark
    So i started with your paint colors and used kilz to start off and its getting there.
    i love how light it looks so far.
    http://casadapereira.blogspot.com/

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  101. Wow! It looks wonderful and amazing. I love it. The renovation was great and incredible. What an awesome piece. Big thanks and keep sharing.


    Victorria

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  102. beautiful ... quick question... did you use semi gloss on the wals or a gloss?

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  103. Beautiful transformation! Thanks for sharing. I have an old knotty pine study/library that I've finally decided to paint. Did you sand first or just use the kilz? Also, did you use semi-gloss paint? Thanks!

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  104. Yeah I have the same question as ehutch! I love the colors and look, I and for your couch area I love the windows! I am currently working on a fixer upper and am getting replacement windows for my cabin in Melrose but the look you have for that area is amazing! How big are those windows?

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