Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coastal Farmhouse Chic: The re-model of the Marsh Cottage


July 2012.
The original cottage was moved from the King and Prince Hotel property when the hotel expanded and brought to East Beach, Saint Simons Island, Georgia.
East Beach is only three blocks wide and is surrounded by either the tidal marsh or the Atlantic Ocean as they flow into one another.
When I purchased this cottage, everything was in it's original state. I choose not to expand the original footprint and instead hired an architect to assist in creating a new roofline to support a large, front porch.  I wanted a porch that is actually an outdoor living room big enough to enjoy what is most lovely about East Beach - the stunning view of the tidal marsh and the energy of this special neighborhood.
This cottage is located on a quiet block with respectful neighbors. Given the popularity of this neighborhood, many owners of homes here rent them out. Living next door or within close proximity of such a house can spoil living here.  I met and interviewed my neighbors before buying to avoid just such problems.


Follow the re-model....

Creating a new roof-line is expensive and essential when adding a porch.  Poor add-ons become problems with water leakage that then cause roof damage and eventually internal structure damage. 
The photographs below show the complexity of this construction.

12 inch by 12 inch cedar beams were chosen to visually support the new roof-line.
The room on the right I use as my bedroom.  There are 3-4 months of the year here where the doors and windows can be thrown open before it is too warm or cold.  I love those months. These windows were removed and replaced with french doors as were the windows on the left.
This choice reconfigured the wall space in the front room (on the left) and required moving the front entrance door to the left and replacing that original front door with a window. 
This allowed for the best flow on the porch itself and  in the front room.
There is much more to re-modeling than many realize....

Because the front entrance to the cottage was changed so must also the entrance to the porch.
I knew I wanted grass-framed front steps and these were the perfect choice anyway given the root structure of the oak tree in the front yard.  I would not have done anything to damage the tree which pouring concrete footers would have done. 

Framing of steps for entrance.

Finished framed grass steps.  
Since the entrance was moved to the left of the cottage I designed the steps wider on the sides to allow for stepping up to the front door from the side. 
Other than rosemary hedges along the front porch the rest of the landscaping is organic - pine straw combined with leaves.  
A single sprinkler head was set into each step.

 Notice now the two french doors added where windows once were and a single window added where the front door once was.
Red cedar singles and siding were the obvious choice. 
Although drawn to maintaining the cedar in it's natural state the cottage then took on more of a mountain cabin look.  
The natural cedar was maintained in the arched roofline and the rest of the house was stained or painted gray (Gauntlet Gray - Sherwin Williams).  I originally wanted a more driftwood color but red cedar when stained with a lighter gray only blues so I had to go a bit darker. In the end, you hardly notice the color inside the porch.

The roofline is corrugated metal and will last for 60 years...  

The standard for a beach cottage is a wide-seamed metal roof but I wanted to combine my love for the farmhouse with my respect for beach cottage hence galvanized metal on the roof and galvanized horse fencing for the railings creating Coastal Farmhouse Chic.  


Rotted back porch.  

 Small screened porch. 

No landscaping or sprinkler system.

 The rotted porch was removed as was the damaged screen porch.
French doors were then installed.

This is the outside of the master bathroom.
I replaced the window with this door for easy access to an outdoor shower which will sit to the right of the door.

Cascading back decking was added across the entire length of the cottage for a simple, clean look but also to allow for more casual seating.
The rotted back fence-line was replaced by a ten-foot privacy fence. The best of the weathered pieces of the old fencing were used to wrap the range hood in the kitchen, to make a pot rack, and as horizontal wainscotting in the bathroom.

My time in Italy will always require I have striped umbrellas and fountains in my yard.
Beach cruiser bikes (mine and Guest) are a must on Saint Simons Island.

Japanese boxwood wrap the back deck and flank the fountain.
Rows of rosemary hedges run along the entire back fencing.
A single variegated Eureka lemon tree stands like art along the side fencing.

 The lemons themselves are attractive as are the variegated leaves boasting various patterns of yellow and green.

Front porch.

The front porch is a combination of sleeping porch...

main dining area....,
(seats 6-8)

...and additional room outside of master bedroom.
My gorgeous armoire did not fit inside the house but did fit perfectly at the end of the porch.  I added the Sunbrella fabric drapes behind it to protect it and then around the cedar beams to extend that look.
That's Beau watching the world go by.
I have two dogs doors in the cottage - one inside to the backyard and another to the front porch.

 Front porch details.

  Front porch details.

 Tidal marsh (Postell Creek) directly across the street.


Kitchen & Living Room.


The area of the kitchen/living room wall with the pass-through opening was removed to open the kitchen. 

The original kitchen floor was laminate so I had to have the original red oak flooring re-produced.

The cabinets are stained gray, then "aged"and washed with more gray. 

 The range hood is wrapped in the old weathered fencing from the back yard. 
White subway tile (here with oatmeal grout) never, ever goes out of style and is traditionally European.

Countertops are limestone which are easily cleaned with a combination of Baking Soda and vinegar stirred together into a paste and left overnight.
The storage unit on the left was custom built for the space and allows for storage in the both the drawers and open shelving. 

Note the old milk crate repurposed for wine.

Rohl brass faucet aging naturally.

Tumbled brick in French Gray is added to the end of the kitchen and into the living room.

Eating area at the end of the kitchen. 
The pot rack was fashioned out of a panel from fencing in the backyard.
A french enamel address sign and market basket, the additional "zebra" rug & hickory chairs with tufted burlap cushions create a space defined by many textures and a combination of style.

 Because this cottage has 9-foot ceilings the desire we have for open beams can be honored by wrapping a header between rooms; this wood is Ash (cost:  $125.00) 
Against the tumbled brick and washed pine wide planked ceiling, the wrapped beam looks as if it's been there all the time. 

You walk by the tumbled brick wall at the end of the kitchen to exit the french doors to the back yard.
The combination of masculine and feminine textures define this cottage.


Master bath.


 Original entry through second bedroom.  
Notice the small door and electrical panel...

New entrance.
Barn trolley track is added and antique door hung after door entry was widened.

Tumbled marble subway tile is laid in a herringbone pattern in both bathrooms.

I created a ledge behind the vanity to allow for both extra storage and to mount a wall faucet.
Cost to frame out a ledge is $150.00.
The same tumbled marble subway tile is then installed on this one wall only.
Vanity is Restoration Hardware (on annual Bed and Bath Sale).  I had the marble countertop cut locally. No need to pay shipping on such a heavy object.
Brass wall faucet if from Cifial.

Bathroom vanity finished.
Medicine cabinet is from Restoration Hardware.

I hid the stackable washer & dryer in the bathroom in a closet.

 I then took the area that was used to house a smaller stackable washer & dryer unit and had thick pieces of cedar cut and mounted so as to be left open.

Cedar and baskets close-up.

 Herringbone flooring in bathrooms.


Master bedroom.

Original bedroom.

Linen sheets and custom linen gray coverlet to the floor - no dust ruffles with dogs. Window was replaced by french doors that open to the porch. 

Corner near french doors.
Aged door and antlers aside burlap curtains and a chaise lounge.

Lighting off the painted ceiling.

Combinations of organic textures...
Sheepskin rug & pure linen coverlet and sheets.

Enlarged photo of my beloved Lab, Paws, on her last day.
I took her to the beach that day, grateful for 14 beautiful years with her.


Second Bedroom & Bathroom

Original bathroom. 

Simple pedestal sink and linen shower curtain.
Old, weathered and then washed fencing from my back yard used as "wainscoting" with ledge added for storage.

Small chandelier was added for a little bling alongside the rustic.
(- hard to get good photos without natural light -)

Lighting made from old galvanized chicken feeder.

Original second bedroom.

I hauled all these doors back from Architectural Salvage in Sarasota, FL and hung the 48 inch half paned window (at the back) on trolley tracks as the entry to the bathroom in this bedroom.  Here's the photo again. 

Second bedroom without art on the walls.
Restoration Hardware linen duvet cover and throw.
Headboards are repurposed store displays.
Linen fluer di lis slipcover over recycled ottoman.

 Manzanita branch hung over bed.

 Bedroom details:  cotton ticking linens & sweater Euro shams
Kinfolk Magazine
Rustic elements of antlers, crosses, & finials


Restoration Hardware Ash on walls, Stone or Graphite on doors.

Restoration Hardware Original White on all trim and ceilings. 


  1. I am so happy that you have shared the remodel. It is stunning. Much happiness

  2. Bella KIm. Just lovely. Thank you for sharing everything you've been up to with us. You have been a very busy person!

  3. Oh! Oooooh, o Kim,
    It's amazing, I so wish it were my home every inch of it :)
    I am not sure what I love most about your style, perhaps the trolley track with the lighted windows door, or the kitchen. Quaint and cozy fill with Tuscan personality.
    The bathrooms are perfect in every way. The flooring, the stone tumbled wall, the lighting is so unique, as for the ceiling light with the pewter look and the crystals is the same one Hannah wanted for her room we saw them at lowes beautiful choice.
    I see the guest room is set up for a visit from me :))

    The porches front and back invite a place to rest, taking your thoughts to writing a word or two.
    The bed with the solid head and foot, did you have this made, I could totally kick myself and have for almost a year now when I saw a thrift shop find that I did not pick up that looked much and so close to yours, it was from a furniture co. Called this end up, kind of a mall furniture shop. I so wish I had picked it up and now that I see yours it has brought this bed back to my mind, so if you wish you can send me yours it would be much appreciated lol !!

    The grass steps, the everything, even though I lean in the direction of Nordic and French farmhouse, I know that your home would suit my mix of decor.
    Can you. Buy the home next door, remodel it like yours and when it's done I will pack up and become your new neighbor :))
    I wish I were joking, but, I'm not !

    Kim, you my dearest friend have a home to love, take a break ow and enjoy the creative little pieces here and there you will pick up to accent with, out with the old in with the new!
    As for a small business we so need to talk, and you need to contact Sunday get here out there to shoot it.
    Your small home is grand in appeal.

    Whats next for you? Are you still thinking there may be another home to reduce in the near future?
    If so you can make way back to California making it easier for us to collaborate in so many ways, best as friends.

    Love, love, love it.


  4. Pure talent - plain and simple! :)

  5. Pure talent - plain and simple. Some people just got it!! :)

  6. Thank you Kim, for visiting m'y place that inspires my kind of Fall.
    Yes. I am Now bush malingre crowns.

    This home will become someone's....Safe Haven !
    It's so inspiring, I can only imagin walking it off in person feeling its vibe :)

    Beautiful weekend to you...


  7. Thank you Kim, for visiting m'y place that inspires my kind of Fall.
    Yes. I am Now bush malingre crowns.

    This home will become someone's....Safe Haven !
    It's so inspiring, I can only imagin walking it off in person feeling its vibe :)

    Beautiful weekend to you...


  8. Every dollar was well spent. What a magnificent transformation. My hat is off to whom ever planned this, they knew what they were doing.

  9. Such a beautiful renovation! Every detail is just lovely.

  10. I love your taste! And what an amazing transformation. We're in the process of moving and it's looking like moving close to the beach means a definite fixer upper for us. Who would've thought at my age? But it's quite shocking to see what we will be purchasing for the price. I'm bookmarking this entire post for inspiration. I'm Leslie from Gwen Moss, nice to meet you.

  11. What a beautiful job! Your home's lovely. It has to be like living on a little dream world. The photo of your pal is so touching! I have to say its one of my favorite features in your beautiful home.