Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cape Ann Beach Cottage Before and After

Howell view1-toward-kitchen-afte Roth

I love renovation –moving walls and raising ceilings! Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to architects and spatial design versus fabrics and rugs. Most of my friends and colleagues think I am crazy, but nothing is more enjoyable to me than tearing out old walls and transforming rooms into a new and wonderful spaces. So when the the right architect/build firm comes along the results can be magic! Here is a wonderful before and after by Howell Custom Building Group who also did the architectural plan. The gorgeous After pictures were shot by the famous interior photographer, Eric Roth.


The 800 square foot cottage was part of an Inn, which consisted of the main house and cottages. When the Inn closed the homeowner purchased the cottage as a weekend retreat because of its spectacular location and views. The goal of the project was to increase the living area with out changing the footprint due to zoning restrictions. Above is the Living area/Kitchen Before.

Howell Living-Room-Before-950x700

Here is another Before from the opposite angle.The homeowner also wanted to add more windows to capture more of the spectacular ocean views.

Howell LR Eric Roth

Howell Custom Building Group provided a fabulous solution. They opened the ceiling with steel cable trusses to create cathedral ceilings and sleeping/play loft.

Howell view1-toward-kitchen-afte Roth

Here is the dramatic After. You can see that Howell Custom Building Group is outstanding at transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Howell -Ships-ladder-and-hatch

Also notice their amazing attention to detail. I love the curved loft design which echoes a ship bow, as well as the ships ladder and hatch, that leads up to the play loft! So creative!!

Howell 0-Kitchen-Before-950x700

The kitchen was cramped and cabinet space needed to be increased.


Curved mahogany kitchen counters were added and sealed with marine varnish. The design was inspired by the homeowner’s love of the famous Boston’s Union Oyster House Bar.


The bedroom before did not provide very good views


A glass slider was added and now the homeowners wake up views of the sparkling sea.


Usually in renovation the first thought is tear out the old stone and start again, but this stone fireplace was given new life.


They flanked the fireplace on either side with bookcases to add much needed storage and display space.


They also added a window seat for additional seating and a wall of sliders out to a new deck. The new sliders create an impactful and dramatic view of the ocean beyond. For more amazing photos of this cottage transformation to and to see more stunning properties by Howell Custom Building Group click HERE. To see more of interior photographer Eric Roth’s gorgeous work click HERE.

(All content property of Willow Décor, All Photos property of Howell Custom Building Group and Eric Roth)


  1. This transformation is incredible.The stone fireplace looks much better. Smiles, Susie

  2. Oh, it's gorgeous - what a lovely transformation!

  3. This is amazing. People don't realize that the lines of a room/house can make such a difference. Living on the coast, this renovation really intrigues me. I am off to look at other work Howell Custom Building Group has done!

  4. Oh my goodness! That is just spectacular!! What vision to be able to see such potential. It's such a perfect charming space!

  5. Major transformation! I know that you have some happy clients.
    I love that it is so small but has this much used space. Great job.

  6. It's amazing what another colour can do to start the renewal of a home.I love that they are bringing the light in and capturing the views of the sea.

  7. Really wonderful!

    Thank you for the great inspiration...xo kelley

    What a amazing transformation! I agree with you!
    Such changes are most impressive!

  9. Brilliant fireplace's amazing what you can do with a bit of vision!
    Julie x

  10. So much fun. We raised the ceiling in our beach cottage kitchen and what a difference.

  11. Wonderful transformation, not a lick more or less was needed!

  12. Makes me think I should of looked twice at some of those tiny little nothing's by the sea.


  13. Totally IN LOVE with this project. We have rehabbed 14 houses in our years together. I'm with you- I LOVE seeing what can be done with an "old" to make it a "better-than-new". Great post~ Disna

  14. There you are! I have missed you my friend!

    What a place! Before, I am sure the owners could not wait to spend time outside. Now, I am sure they just want to hang out inside - and bring lots of friends over! So fresh and beautiful (and easy to clean).

    oxox, Mon

  15. It is hard to imagine that this is the same space as the before pictures. Incredible transformation!

  16. Oh, dear heavens! This just make me weak in the knees! I think that charming bedroom is my favorite part. Can you image waking up to that sunshine every morning?

  17. What a wonderful improvement !
    I have become a huge fan of white with natural wood .. no dark rooms , lots of windows and light.
    I need a new house to decorate lol.
    besitos. C

  18. wonderful! the lines make such a difference Happy Sunday


  19. It is hard to believe its the same house!! What a transformation.....just fabulous. Love all the light and tall spaces....well done!

  20. Great spaces with a relaxed, ocean vibe. I love that they kept the fireplace as it looks great now.

  21. Such a beautiful transformation. It shows you what talented people can do with a small footprint in a beautiful setting.

  22. What an incredible transformation! It doesn't even look like the same space. Love the new bowed play loft! Gorgeous reworking of all the rooms! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Gorgeous transformation! That is one proud beach cottage now!

  24. Amazing transformation love the little loft and how it looks like something you would see on a ship. The kitchen is my favorite! You put a lot of WOW!! and function in such a small area. I could move right in!! Kathysue

  25. What a great reno. They did a wonderful job getting the most out of that space. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Meredith@Tuscan Blue Design.
    This is such a fun transformation. I an interior designer I am drawn to interior architectural design...inspired by re-configuring the space. There is so much more to interiors than furniture and accessories :)! Thanks for Sharing. Meredith

  27. Beautiful transformation, Gina.
    Eric Roth did a wonderful job capturing this (now) charming cottage.


  28. Absolutely amazing! Isn't it amazing what a creative mind can do with such a disastrous situation ... if you can call any home at the beach, disastrous! LOL. Anyway, I'm super impressed and super thrilled with my first RSS post from you! Thanks much :)

  29. VERY inspiring.....would love to do the same....smiles

  30. This is probably one of the best before and afters I've ever seen. It is quite amazing how they transformed this little place into something that looks grand. This certainly gives another reason to go all white. It's wonderful that they kept the stone fireplace, but updated it beautifully. I think you said it best, "magic."

  31. Dramatic Change is an understatement! This is jawdropping! I love doing interiors but I dont think I could have pulled this off. I wish I could reblogg this on my website. IT is just amazing! Great job.... or whatever is a better complement than great job! Seriously, jawdropping!

    take a peek at my place at

  32. Lovely kitchen ideas! Nice post!


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