Beach Cottage Before & After Photos

When we got to the Mess Hall on Tybee Island last month, we walked in to a cottage full of all kinds of different colors, patterns, styles and textures.
Homeowner, Pam, craved a more cohesive look, but didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money re-doing the place.
And to make matters even more challenging, we only had 9 days to pull the place together with her.

I love a good design challenge though, and fortunately, we were able to spruce things up just in the nick of time, and without spending very much moola either!

In the living room, we replaced the existing green, wicker sofa table/TV stand with a free, wooden sideboard painted “Tradewind” (SW6218) by Sherwin Williams…

(Living Room/Kitchen – Before)

(Living Room/Kitchen – After)

We temporarily hung a painting on the wall above the TV. (We snagged it from “Screened Inn” next door- which, because it’s a part of the same building as the Mess Hall, is also owned by Pam)
Pam commissioned a local artist to paint a piece to use up there permanently, but it wasn’t done by the time we snapped these pics.

We also decked out Pam’s Hoosier cabinet with a bunch of stuff from around the house…

(Hoosier cabinet – Before)

(Hoosier cabinet – After)

We hung the “Coastal-Inspired Flag” we made for our Summer mantel on the wall above it.

As far as seating goes, we looked at SEVERAL sofas and armchairs while we were there. But in the end, Pam decided to custom order a slipcovered sofa and chair from Four Seasons.

She’s gonna get the sofa covered in this mocha-colored fabric, and the armchair covered in this beige-colored fabric…

She used a pillow she found at HomeGoods (pictured underneath the fabric swatches) as inspiration while choosing her fabrics.
Unfortunately Pam could only find one of those throw pillows though, so I’m going to check out our HomeGoods, and do some searching online, to see if I can round up a couple more for her.

And while the new furniture is on order, we talked her into using this old, wicker chair (from the front porch) in the living room…

I think she thought we were a little nuts at first, but look how great it cleaned up with a little antique white spray paint and the new cushion & throw pillow she picked up at Pier One…

Pretty sweet, eh?

Over in the “dining area” of the room, we painted the black chairs white, added one of Pam’s vintage tablecloths, and topped the table with some clippings from around the yard…

(Dining Area – Before)

(Dining Area – After)

Pam also had an electrician hang the little wall sconce on the wall above the table, but she’s still on the search for the perfect shade for it.

Up at the front of the house, we made a few changes in the Twin room too…

(We donated the chalkboard I made for our Spring mantel for the door between the rooms)

Before, one of the beds had a headboard, and one the beds did not.

(Bed on the right side of the room- no headboard)

(Bed on the left side of the room- headboard)

We told Pam about a couple of seagrass headboards we knew were for sale at another cottage on the island ($75 each), and she drove over and picked ‘em up, pronto!

(Bed on the left side of the room)

(Bed on the right side of the room)

We found the bedding at various locations in Savannah.
The blue and white striped sheets and the aqua throws at the end of each bed came from TJ Maxx.
The reversible euro shams, periwinkle accent pillows, and paisley-patterned pillow cases came from Macy’s.
Pam brought the vintage, tan and white quilt with her from her home in North Carolina.

The “nightstand” next to the bed on the left was one of two she had picked up a while back…

They had some great-looking, vintage pulls on them…

I asked our friend, Willie, to sand one of them down, with the intention of re-painting it a lighter color, but when I saw the chevron pattern on the drawer fronts, I changed my mind…

I just had him coat it with some satin-finish polyurethane instead…

I love it next to the seagrass headboard…

We used a little, blue desk Pam brought over to encourage the little ones to draw pictures for the fridge…

…and I donated one of my “Radiate Love” Quoteboxes for the wall above it..

And because she loved the little rubber ducks we used in Screened Inn

(The duckies next door, at Screened Inn)

…Pam brought a few more to use at the Mess Hall…

I loved the “It’s always nice to say Hello to someone as nice as You” message I found inside one of Pam’s tiny, paper-covered books, so I folded it open and used it to add a little color (and cheerfulness!) to the edge of a mirror in the room.

Over on the other end of the Mess Hall, in the master bedroom, we made a few simple changes too…

(Master bedroom – Before)

(Master bedroom – After)

Pam bought a 20″ flat screen TV and a wall-mount bracket from Walmart, so the back door is no longer blocked by the side table/TV combo.

And although the color of the shutters was GORG before, Pam craved a softer, less green, shade of blue- so we coated them with some of the Tradewind-colored paint she got from Sherwin Williams. The new color works really well with the patchwork style duvet cover she brought for us to use on the bed.

The lamps came from HomeGoods, and I loved how their pale yellow bases spoke both to the pale yellow found throughout the duvet and the pale yellow, pick-stitch, standard-sized shams we picked up at TJ Maxx.

The white, pick-stitch euro shams came from Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the periwinkle accent pillow came from Macy’s.

The blue and white striped pillow cases came from TJ Maxx. They were actually part of the sheet sets we used in the Twin room.

(Yes- we shopped til we dropped that day, and, no- I don’t plan on doing anymore hardcore shopping for a very long time. That stuff is exhausting!)

We got creative with the artwork in the room by using a couple of old, framed prints that came with the house when Pam bought it.

(Art – Before)

Pam had color copies made of a couple of two, colorful pages from the vintage LIFE magazine collection I blogged about the other day

…and we simply swapped out the prints inside each frame, with the color copies she had made…

(Art – After)

I donated the little “shell shelf” on the wall above the frames.
I bought it at a flea market a couple of years ago, but I had never hung it up anywhere.
And you know what they say- if a shelf doesn’t act like a shelf within two years of purchasing it, it’s got to go!
(Okay, “they” don’t really say that…….But I do!)

We temporarily taped some of Pam’s vintage postcards to the wooden dowel attached to the shelf, and once she’s ready to start shoppin’ again, Pam’s gonna see if she can find some little clips to hang them up there with instead.

The nightstands were previously stained black, so we had Willie sand them down and coat them with some “Country White” paint from Walmart. Pam found some pretty, green knobs at Target to use on the drawer fronts…

And last, but not least, I clipped some little lavender lovelies from the side yard, to use on the top of one of the nightstands because the night we left was going to be Pam’s first overnight stay in the house. I wanted to make sure she woke up to something sweet after all the exhausting work she did!

It was a fast & fun re-do, and it’s definitely got us inspired to work on our own house this week!
We’ve already painted two of our master bedroom walls “Blue Hubbard” since we’ve been back, and we’re looking forward to cladding the other two walls with white-painted wood sometime next week.

I’ll be back soon with updated pics of the room, AND my Fall-themed mantel!

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  1. kelly says

    Wow that was alot of work, but it turned out beautiful! And as much as I love wicker, the wooden sideboard definitely made a BIG difference in the living room. Curious about something, when you did your marathon shopping (which made me exhausted just reading about it!) did the owner go with you? And where did you find the precious rubber duckies?

    • Layla & Kevin says

      Hey Kelly!

      Me and Kevin shopped on our own, and Pam reimbursed us when the job was done.
      As for the rubber duckies- I’m not sure where she got them. It seems like she said she ordered them online. (?)

      Thanks for the comment! :-)


  2. says

    So amazingly beautiful! I can’t even tell you how much I long for the suitcases you used as a side table – they are making me lust I tell you! When Kevin’s record hits the top 10 and you guys get your own show on HGTV will you remember the little people and come do my house in Idaho? It is a happening place, Idaho…..

  3. says


    I could look at these photos (Mess Hall and The Screened Inn) again and again and still discover some wonderful little detail I missed previously. They are all going in my inspiration file. Question: why did you remove the top drawer of the desk?

    Your Friend,

  4. says

    That mess hall is so gorgeous now!!! I could move in there and live very happily. You used such bright, happy and youthful colors. It’s just adorable. Cindy

  5. marty says

    Oh that little silver lamp!! Is it made from a sugar bowl?? I’m a southern girl still enamored with fine silver, but it never gets used any more. I even see pictures that show it spray painted.

  6. says

    Hey Layla. It all looks great. So fresh and soothing.
    Also, just wanted to let you know that the fonts on your post are showing up a bit funny for me. Some of the font is in arial and some in georgia. I’ve used a few different PC’s over the past few days and it’s the same on them all. Just thought you’d like to know. If you already do know then clearly just ignore me!

    • says

      Hey Kristine!

      I see it now too. I’ll have our blog designer check it out when she gets back.
      Thanks for the heads up!


    • Layla & Kevin says

      Hey Megan,

      We didn’t paint the dresser, so I’m not sure what the color is.
      Sorry! :-(


  7. says

    Truly lovely. I adore the sun washed beach look of the rooms and the white and bits of blue and green that ties it all together without being matchy. Great job!


  8. says

    Gorgeousness and comfort in every corner. You guys have the touch, that’s for sure! I love the way you dressed the master bed. I always leave my bed with the sheets exposed, but my husband gives me funny looks. LOL! I’m going to show him your finished bedroom and say, “Look! Proof I’m not crazy.” But I can;t let him read your whole post because he’ll just reply, “Yes you are….cuz they’re crazy too!” LOL! Lisa~

  9. says

    You guys brought some cohesiveness and style to yet another place. Great job! The best part is that you are able to make a place look so pretty without spending bundles. I’m sure you have inspired even more people.

  10. says

    I’m exhausted just reading all the things you three did to that house! Wow! You totally breathed new life into it – and it looks divine! Calm, happy, and sweet!

    xoxo laurie

  11. says

    I have those same pillows in my living room! I bought 2 at TJMaxx and 1 at Marshalls. Maybe check there if they are near you. Great job with the decorating–beautiful!

  12. Carolyn says

    The pictures no longer show up in Google Reader. Do you know if there’s a setting or something to do on our end?

    Love all the special touches you-all add to whatever you work on! Thanks for all the inspiration you two provide! =)

    • Layla & Kevin says

      Hey Carolyn!

      I’m not so great with the technical stuff. I’ll have my blog designer look into that next week when she gets back.
      Thanks for the heads up!

      Layla :-)

  13. says

    LOVELY work (as always!) Layla and Kevin! You truly are a dream team. My favorite piece is definitely the little night stand, you probably already knew this but that is so cute that they were two ends of an old vanity. I have one or two of those laying around and may just consider deconstructing it for a similar look.

    Thanks for the buckets of inspiration!!!

  14. says

    Layla, I adore seeing your transformation of this beach cottage!. The before and after images are great!!

    I have a Luxurious New Giveaway on my site….Come and enter!!

    Art by Karena

  15. says

    Wow! What a transformation!! You have done an amazing job of adding some fresh new touches to this gorgeous home – there are so many bits and pieces I’d love to replicate in my own home – I will definitely be referring to this post again soon…

  16. says

    Wow – you two are so talented. You’ve made the place look so fresh and inviting and on a budget too. You both have such amazing style are a really inspirational. I don’t even know where Tybee Island is but I want to go and stay in that cottage!

  17. says

    Hey there Layla! Everything looks great! Did you get all that shopping done in one trip? When I decorate I can’t figure out everything I need at once…I make about 10 trips before I can finish the whole space! :)
    Girl, you and Kevin must have loaded your car down with possible things to donate to the mess hall! lol I love that you gave her some of you stuff….I have separation anxieties about letting stuff go….you know, I might need it for something later! LOL I gotta learn to let go! ;-)
    Have a great week my friend!
    Missy :)

    • says

      Hey Missy!

      We did get all our shopping done in one trip, believe it or not!
      Pam, on the other hand, made several trips back and forth for things as we needed them- bless her heart! :-)


  18. Kat says

    Love to see your work! You are always an inspiration and so fun to see what you are up to. Fantastic job on the Mess Hall! Can’t wait to see your bedroom!


  19. Merry says

    You never, never disappoint!! oh, no pressure now! Your work is so inspiring. I can tell you pour yourself into your work/play and that is a gift! You bless us all! And I am so looking forward to seeing your very own bedroom come to life!

  20. says

    I’m in love with the design your put together! Simple elegant! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to buy the green wicker “TV stand” ~swoon~

  21. Alicia says

    I so love what you have done with the mess hall Layla–you never disappoint!! Wonderful, wonderful work–you just inspire me over and over again!!

  22. geri says

    Just my dream for what I would love my “mess Hall” to look like.
    take away the sand.
    take away the ocean.
    With your beautiful taste and style
    you can hear and see and feel “beach”, (relax, and enjoy)
    in any town or city or state.
    I can see a show in your future.
    Maybe we all should whisper in HGTV’s ear. hehe
    Have a happy week and enjoy putting your magic on
    your bedroom . Hugs. geri.

  23. says

    Love it, Layla! Y’all did a fantastic job and I especially like the master bedroom with that light blue headboard. And by the way, your photos of the Hoosier cabinet inspired me to pick up a few vintage baby blue mason jars of my own! :)

  24. says

    Hi Layla! It all turned out really great — I can’t decide which is my favorite part. Maybe the master bedroom? Or the dining area? It’s all so lovely! We are working on our own beach house in the PNW, but we are far from ready to furnish it — it’s East wing is being gutted, and we’re raising the whole thing nine feet, to better capture the view. It’s a mess right now, though — rat poo, rot and mold! I need to see beautiful beach cottages like the Mess Hall to remind me why we’re going through all this!

  25. says

    Wow guys! What a great job you have done in there. Loving the headboards and the colour of the shutters behind the main bed is stunning. Where did you get the shades for the lamps in that room if you dont mind me asking Layla? I love the whole job. You are amazing!
    Ness xx

  26. says

    Those curtain rings with clips would work great for the postcards. I’ve seen them everywhere from Loews & Home Depot to Target – different sizes hoops & different finishes. I love to use those clips to hang lengths burlap as curtains.

  27. mama walker says

    hey FYI for pam. I bought a ton of very little (like an inch) wooden clothes pins at hobby lobby(do you have that store there?) for $3. I think they would be perfect for hanging those photos. She could even hot glue some little embellishments to them. Can’t believe I would even have a suggestion. You guys rock!

    • says

      Mama W- Thank you so much for that information! I looked everywhere in Savannah for those boogers! Yes, we do have a Hobby Lobby here in my hometown in NC, and I will try there before I head back to the Mess Hall later this month for further refinements (unfortunately without Layla’s guiding eyes and hands, and Kevin’s encouragement)! And for all of you who are wondering if Layla and Kevin can possibly be as wonderful in person as they seem on their blog and videos, the answer, incredibly, is that they are even better!!

  28. says

    I am really impressed…

    Funny – I am about to do the same with some old LIFE magazines I have lying around in storage somewhere.

    Good move with the polyurethane on the nightstand…I love it!

    Very clean and bright. LOVE IT!

  29. alison spangler says

    just love it all. everything is perfect. i need you to come to my house and dig around in all my stuff and make my house look cute. when are you guys coming to the northwest? and did i hear kevin’s song in a restaurant last night? i couldn’t figure out where i heard it and then i finally got it, your blog!

  30. says

    So I was just reading through your post and noticed I too have one of those very pillows Pam got from HomeGoods. It looks like the same fabric …and is a small rectangular shape.The pillow captured my attention because of its coloring and how it ties in to my living room. I hope you were able to find more…. if not… let me know..

    PS thanks for your comment love :) you made my day!!


  31. says

    We got to be the first vacationers in the Mess Hall after its makeover and may I say that those aqua throws are to-die-for soft! I want to buy one for everybody on my holiday list. :D The whole place was charming!

  32. says

    Wow! That is a terrific transformation. It so reminds me of the old vintage beach cottagle we had growing up. How I miss that place. And the bedding finds are great. Love Robin’s Egg blue.

    Cheryl at My Own Snug Fireside

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