Neglected, filthy, dark and dank-just a few adjectives that adequately described what eventually became know as the Loveshack! It was a tiny cottage on Cape Cod built in 1959 that lived through years of unkind tenants and band-aid type renovations. I took one look at it and just sighed.
For starters, the walls were enveloped in dark walnut paneling, as were the makeshift kitchen cabinets. In the kitchenette, the original stove was pitted, rusted and covered in remnants of one-too-many fried-egg breakfasts. The bathroom housed a toilet with a cracked and unmatched-toilet tank cover, and some choice graffiti spray painted on the walls.
The furniture consisted of a 1960's brown plaid couch, a brown metal stand up locker, and a warped and scratched kitchen table - nothing useable.
Where to begin? Job #1: throw everything out! We emptied the kitchen cabinets of various and sundry unmatched hotel glasses, mugs and plates. We ditched the couch, the kitchen table and with working gloves donned, we extricated the crusty stove out of its corner and, it too, was trashed.
Before we started redecorating, we rewired and updated the electrical system of the cottage. We replaced the single light fixture which hung on a bare wire in the main room with three bright white strips of track lighting, one set on each exposed beam. In the bathroom, we replaced a rusted old fixture over the sink with a pretty vanity light and added GFCI regulation outlets for hairdryers etc.
We then set off to work on brightening up the entire space. After thoroughly cleaning the stained dark paneling with strong detergent, we painted it (yes you CAN paint paneling) with two coats of BIN primer, then two coats of Benjamin Moore's Atrium White. This shade of white has just a touch of pink to it—just enough to cast a soft rosy glow.
A lovely palette of ocean colors of blue, coral, sand, and pink was chosen to complete the space. Since the entire cottage was only 250 square feet, we had to judiciously choose our furnishing.
For the main room, we chose only four pieces: a blue and mauve floral sleep sofa, an unfinished toy chest that we painted and stenciled with ocean critters (it was used as both the coffee table and a place to store pillows and blankets), and two yard sale finds—an old armoire and a Hitchcock rocker, both of which we painted periwinkle!
In the kitchen, we repeated the ocean critters theme on the painted cabinet doors, added a shiny new apartment size stove and purchased a multi-functional bar set, that doubled as both an eating and prep surface. In the bath, we draped cheerful fabric as a sink skirt, a shower curtain and as a cover on the mismatched toilet tank cover.
The piece de resistance was the window treatment. Simple mini-blinds for privacy, sheer cafe curtains for light and painted wood cornices with a "dancing wave" stencil I traced out of a book and transferred onto the wood. I then glued on an assortment of authentic shells so they appeared to tumble about with the crashing waves.
A few inexpensive prints, throw rugs, and colorful accessories indeed completed a dream weekend get-away on Cape Cod: the Loveshack.