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Beach Property Life Lessons

So….WE DID A THING. Well, hubs did a thing. He and his twin brother purchased a close-to-the-beach townhouse a few months ago. Nicely placed nicely in between Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach, NC. In a nice community with some amenities. It was on neither hubs or my radar but one thing led to another when he was trying to get a place for vacation. Sound crazy, eh?

Wall Color SW Sea Salt Sofa: Daughter donation

Anyway, I just wanted to share some lessons learned, and some life “feel goods” from this project. Some for fun, some for saving your headache for yourself in the future!

  1. WHEN HIRING A PAINTER/CONTRACTOR - even if your realtor/realty company highly recommends someone, be sure to call the last few people they did work for. In our eagerness to get something done in a timely manner to get a vacation out of the deal sometime this summer, this painter/contractor guy talked a good game as well. The results? Well, not so good.

We realized much too late the paint had been majorly watered down in the great room area where it had the high ceilings. After opening the 5 gallon bucket to do touch ups, I realized this -- It was VERY watery. When I went to purchase another gallon of SAME paint to touch up areas on the walls where the new flooring installation had marred them a bit, it was after it dried it was confirmed. The coat I applied showed large darker spots. I sat down and cried. It became obvious over time how much he had cut corners.

Small claims court would only create more headache and time away from home, so we just had to cut our losses. We now know this guy has a lot more to the story than we care to share, but in our rush to get this done, the things I normally do and also tell my clients, we mistakenly only trusted the realty company. Although we had handled all transactions in a business-like fashion, but here we were. Big sigh.

Lesson learned: Be sure to check with the last people a contractor has worked for and get their reviews. Contractor should be insured (licensed is an added bonus). If you really want to be sure they do 2 coats of paint (that was in our agreement), be sure to purchase the paint yourself what goes on the walls. Even in a rush, if someone is super quickly available, that could also possibly be a red flag. Not always, but possibly. ALSO, I heard from the paint store guy that more contractors do the watering down thing than people realize, and that really shocked and saddened me.

2. SURPRISE! Hubbies like to decorate beach homes, too. I know, a little scary, right? It was like having a large child excited about a project, but, in keeping him in the margins - that became my new “job” - lol. But it meant a LOT for him to be involved And besides, this home was more about relaxed living with some fun style. As he was running ahead of me wanting to help, the song “let it go” was playing in my head!

3. WHEN FURNISHING A BEACH PROPERTY, YOU CAN BE SUPER CREATIVE. You can use chalk paint on furniture you got for a deal (free headboard from my neighbor) - love the Behr chalk paint here. Believe it or not this bed was originally pretty ugly - it has SLATE insets. Now it looks a bit like driftwood Bedside tables - yard sale find and, yes, chalk painted as well.

Headboard and end table - Behr Ice Water Chalk Paint

4. KEEP IT SIMPLE. As this will also serve as a part-time rental unit, we shopped some small furniture and accessories from more budget friendly stores such as Home Goods, Dollar General, etc. for art. Some pillows were indoor/outdoor. I also thrifted some AMAZING finds.

I found these great mirrors that had a Pottery Barn look for about $20 at Home Goods. Lightweight and they serve as an additional mirror -1 for each upstairs bedroom. These came in black or white.

Hubs and I also picked one item each we loved. I got a sailboat and he got a lantern for the way-up-high wall/shelving area. Guess which one I got excited about. I forgot to take a pic of HIS lantern.

Sailboat: Home Goods

Thrift Store Find - $5 - a fab photo of a beach sunset with a terrific frame.

5. ALSO, CONSIDER WHAT YOU REALLY NEED IN YOUR OWN NON-VACAY HOME. Just enough. Right? Such as kitchen items and decor. Even bringing in items and clothing. In packing and moving items to take to the beach property, it hit me that you only pack what you really really need and leave the rest behind. You can become a minimalist more than you think in your own home if you think of this simplistic rule. When staying at the beach, most of us bring enough for a few days because we know we can always wash the rest. It’s so freeing to have a not-so-heavy load.

New Lighting elevated the dining area. Forgot to de wrinkle the table runner!

5. DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY. Although It took me a little bit to get over the bad painter job, I knew we needed to focus on the fun aspects of why this property was important. Family time, relaxation, time, making great memories, and renewal were all more important than staying mad about a bad tradesperson..

There are a few more rooms I may share at a later date (Main Bedroom, etc), but I think I’ve overloaded you enough for now!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, and don’t forget to check out my super affordable e-design packages here! Also, even if you don’t know where to start, filling out the style questionnaire can be fun! (click through and see)....

Talk soon! I'd love to hear what you did this summer!

And have a safe Labor Day!


Your “ Keep it Simple” Design Queen!


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