Owning a little beach house has always been a dream of mine.
Funny, though, for the first 10 years that I lived in Pennsylvania, I never really understood the whole “going down the shore” mentality.
Maybe it’s because I grew up a few miles from the beach in Southern California, so the idea of actually driving 2 hours to get to the water just didn’t make sense to me.
Related: Easy Ways to Recreate My Coastal Decor
But, leave it to my husband, Doug, who can be quite persuasive, to finally talk me into looking at some condos down the Jersey Shore so that our (at the time) young family would have a place to make memories.
We settled on a great little place in North Wildwood, New Jersey.
It was beach block, three buildings back from the beach.
It was one of just 4 units in the building, and our place was the upstairs unit, closest to the ocean.
We could sit on our deck, not have to look through our neighbors, and see the sand and surf.
We bought the condo furnished. It wasn’t really my taste, but, for the first 5 years or so, I was totally fine with how it came to us.
But then, you know me, I kind of love to decorate. And renovate. And TRANSFORM!
And this makeover episode of Just Jill all started when we decided to buy a new couch.
Beach House Bonanza
Do you remember the children’s book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? In short, if you give a mouse a cookie, then the mouse will ask for a glass of milk.
So, let’s edit this to: If You Let Jill Buy A Couch, She’s Going To Want A New Rug.
And if she wants the new rug, she’ll want new floors. And so on. And so on.
Here’s what happened-what started as a new couch to refresh the space turned into a total condo renovation.
Let’s give big props to my husband, Doug. He smiled a lot and said, will this make you happy? Um….we all know the answer to this!
And so, the renovation of the condo began!
Beach House Kitchen
I was most excited to gut the kitchen.
Bye Bye sea mist colored countertops and pale wood cabinets!
Time for a white kitchen with a white and gray countertop. Remember, this was back in 2014, so the whole gray-white trend wasn’t quite a thing yet.
I was so excited about the idea of having a white kitchen with gray and white countertops! It seemed to be fresh and new!
I still wanted a little color in the kitchen, so I chose a really pretty crackled tile in a Moroccan-inspired shape and a beachy sea glass shade of aqua blue for the small area of backsplash. So pretty!
We wrapped the countertop all around the kitchen for more workspace and moved the sink into the corner.
I used Cambria countertops in Torquay that had similarities to marble but are much more durable and easier to maintain.
I swapped all of the appliances to stainless steel and tied that through the hardware on the white, shaker-style cabinets.
One of my favorite touches was the pendant lights over the kitchen counter.
They mimicked the shape of our tile and looked like sea glass too.
Didn’t the kitchen turn out great? Although small, there was so much workspace. I always felt there was a subtle bit of coastal glam to it too. Just a little sprinkle!
Functional Flooring For Beach Living
Most of the floor was carpeted, with a few areas of tile, when we bought the beach house and the floors were in decent shape. It just felt dated.
But, with the dogs, the kids, the sand, etc., I really wanted something more durable and easier to maintain.
I selected a driftwood color of laminate flooring from a brand called Reclaime. I couldn’t believe how much it resembled real wood…textures, grain and all.
I ended up running it through most of the condo, with the exception of the bedrooms.
I still remember when the contractor sent me the first images of the floor…what a difference! I was so excited!
The flooring added warmth to the space in a quiet way. The floors were one of the best decisions I made for this home.
The Couch That Started It All
Remember how this whole story started with a couch?
I chose a soft blue sectional in a microfiber that would resist stains and wear well with young kids and 2 big dogs.
And to bring a little beachiness to it, I at first chose striped and sea life-themed pillows.
But I eventually found some navy paisley and chambray pillows I liked better. Something with the kiwi green was too yellow with all of the other items I was using to decorate.
I am a gal who LOVES navy blue!
Luckily, swapping out throw pillows is an inexpensive way to update a couch!
Using these shades of blue also gave me the ability to accent the rest of the room with tones of gray.
From the cement and teak coffee table to the patterned wool rug and an accent cabinet (that I had designed during my time at QVC), I’m glad I made the pillow switch!
One Last Beach House Touch
After creating this beautiful space anchored in cool blues, whites and grays, I still had a problem.
The fireplace. With tiles the color of shrimp. UGH.
I never realized how pink these beige tiles were until we changed everything around it.
Can you guess what happened next?
This little mouse got another glass of milk to go with that cookie. 🙂
I selected a gray marble tile and had some fun with a herringbone pattern for the hearth. It added subtle interest and broke up more traditional patterns around the fireplace itself.
Decorated With Love
This renovation and makeover was the first time I handled such a project by myself.
I was lucky to have great contractors, who executed what I wanted.
And I absolutely loved how this space became our home.
Here are a few more pictures of the condo.
You’ll notice that the kitchen counter stools look a bit out of place. I was busy looking for the right style when something changed.
We decided to sell our beloved condo.
Doug and I still shake our heads at that one.
Had we known we were going to make a move, we probably wouldn’t have renovated as much as we did.
But our kids always wanted to bring friends, and they were no longer ages 7 and 2 like when we bought the place.
They were bigger, their friends were bigger, and there wasn’t a lot of room for the friends and family we always wanted to be with us at the beach.
We still look back on our North Wildwood days with such fondness. It was a great place to spend our summers with the kiddos when they were young.
But, we were ready for a change of scenery and ready to find something new.
And so….on to the next home. A new state. A new beach. AND ANOTHER CHANCE TO RENOVATE!
Stay tuned for that story!
From my happy place (the beach!) to yours,