Makeover Monday

Thank you for your kind messages, I’m feeling better today and as promised I have a dramatic before / after story to show you. Pictures of this cute cottage makeover have been in my tear-up files since 2008 and they still look fantastic! Plus, there’s great design wisdom in how a tiny, drab home became an unforgettable gem!

My favorite thing about makeovers is that they can contain clever ideas we can all use. Good design is often smart design and every inch of this home was intelligently planned as to maximize it’s potential without actually extending its square-footage. The exterior alone is unrecognizable, while the interiors were reshaped with minimal architectural tweaks to fit two bedrooms, two baths, a laundry room and an open bar kitchen. For all this, credit goes to designer John Bjornen.


Homeowners Tim and Susan Davis purchased a tiny 930-square-foot cottage with a fabulous location. With two small bedrooms, two baths and wraparound water views, the house lacked character but had immense potential. This is how the home looked like before…It’s not all bad but it’s certainly plain looking.


And here is the after!


Wow, it looks totally different right?!! What changed? Well, Bjornen replaced the planks with shingle siding (more expensive but so worth it, especially on a home this size). The old windows were replaced with bigger ones while the new shutters were painted a deep, rich blue that adds instant appeal. Symmetric plantings and a curving brick pathway increase the home’s  character. I just love the blue hydrangeas that coordinate with the shutters! To keep the costs under control, the homeowners reused the original bricks in a reconfigured pattern and separated and replanted the original boxwood. So, so good! Two charming square windows flank the front door and have the added benefit of bringing in more natural light. How smart is that?

To increase the perceived square-footage of the home without add-ons, Bjornen vaulted the ceilings and removed a separating wall between the kitchen and the living room replacing it with an open breakfast bar. The color palette is kept neutral with soft touches of blue that match the exterior hues. Patterns are kept simple too  – mostly solids, plaids and thin  stripes.


coastal kitchen

coastal kitchen 3


Here is the master bedroom before…

coastal bedroom before

…and here it is, after!

coastal bedroom

Classic wainscoting and beadboard in every room lend the home a traditional feel. The master bedroom has a charming window seat to enjoy the water views! Lovely!

coastal window seat


The patio before…

coastal deck before

…and after!


The backyard was cleverly reconfigured also. Bjornen expanded the existing deck, turning it into an outdoor dining area. He also added a brick and blue stone patio and by doing so, created two extra living spaces!!! Genius!

I feel so inspired by this project, it’s not only stunning but also gives hope to every homeowner with a passion for making their house feel warm and beautiful. Luckily, I managed to track down the floor plans so we can see the actual evolution of the interiors in terms of room redesign. The footprint is the same but by reconfiguring the walls, the house gained a second bathroom, a laundry room and a dining area! Now that is smart!

floor plan

If you’d like to know about the blue on the shutters (I did), it’s closely matched by Benjamin Moore’s Blue Symphony.

Benjamin Moore - Symphony Blue

Have a great week!



Photography by Tria Giovan.

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