Friday, April 24, 2015

Beach Villa Makeover: Dining Area

It's no secret that I love coastal decor. Although I live in the Midwest, I decorate with turquoise and white (and pink, of course!). I've got sea glass and driftwood scattered around my home, but I try not to go overboard with the coastal thing, since I don't live anywhere near an ocean.

When I go on vacation, I love to stay in rental homes that are decked out in all their coastal glory.

So, I was a bit disappointed that the dining room in our new beach villa came furnished like this...

Just like the family room I showed you in the last post, this room was too dark and formal for my taste.

Next to the dining table is a bar area overlooking the kitchen. Well, sort of overlooking the kitchen if you peek through the opening below the upper cabinets.

Although the furniture doesn't match my style, it is good quality. And, new furniture was not in the budget. So I had to work with it.

The plan to improve this area of the villa included:

  • removing all the dark artwork and accessories
  • painting the walls
  • recovering the chair seats
  • removing the kitchen cabinets that were obstructing the view to the dining area

Things didn't quite get finished by the time we left, but I did take some progress photos.

I moved the table so the chandelier was centered. The walls were painted Benjamin Moore "Linen White." I added some coastal wall decor from HomeGoods.

The one project I didn't complete was recovering the chair seats. I purchased this indoor/outdoor fabric for the seats…

Thankfully, my aunt and uncle are going down to Hilton Head next week and are going to do the seats for me. Yay!

I did manage to recover the barstool seats...

And I added a few coastal accessories to this nook at the end of the bar…

But, by far the biggest difference in this space is how much lighter and brighter it is without the cabinets hanging over the bar.

It may not be my dream coastal dining room, but it's one step closer. 

If you're interested in renting our home away from home, shoot me an email at

Thanks, friends!! Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beach Villa Makeover: Family Room & Sun Deck

When we were looking for a beach house, this was the dream ...

Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design

Neutral walls, shades of blues and greens, and lots of coastal accessories.

But, the reality was this...

Well, I suppose there were shades of green going on, but it wasn't the "welcome to the beach" look I wanted. However, I was grateful that the home came furnished, and I knew that some cosmetic changes could give it a more coastal vibe.

I had less than two weeks to give the place a facelift. Here's what we did to update the family room:

I started by clearing out all items I didn't want: art, lamps, dark accessories, pillows, the bistro set and the chair/ottoman. Items either went to the local consignment shop or were donated.

I added some small items I had brought from home. My sister gave me the "Beach your children well" sign and the buoy bookends for Christmas. So cute!

I scored the rattan chair and ottoman at the consignment shop for $150. Didn't realize it was the Pottery Barn Malabar chair until I got it home. The cushion covers were nasty, so I am having new ones made. In the meantime, a blue cushion from Pier 1 does the trick. The sea grass end table, tray and lamp are all from HomeGoods.

I removed the end table on one side of the sectional, as it was crammed in there and didn't allow easy access to the built-in cabinet. A floor lamp that I got on clearance at HomeGoods takes its place.

The green sectional wasn't the ideal color, but new pillows lighten it up and add a beachy flair.

New coastal signs and art from HomeGoods (where else??) freshen up the room.

The driftwood dolphin is one of my favorite pieces!

The walls were painted Benjamin Moore "Linen White," and the wall around the fireplace is my favorite Sherwin Williams "Sea Salt."

Off the family room is the sun deck. It was rather nondescript when we bought the place…

I ordered some Adirondack chairs from Ace Hardware for $19.99/each, and had them shipped to the store in Hilton Head.

Ahhh… that's better. Comfy, cute and weather-resistant!

So, there you have it. Some paint and new accessories, and the place is much closer to the beach home I had in mind ...

I'll be back to share details on the other rooms. Have a great day!!

Sharing at Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After Party

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Beach Villa: Part Two

If you missed it, check out yesterday's post for details and "before" pics of our Hilton Head beach villa.

The villa came furnished, and thankfully, the furniture was in good shape. However, everything was a bit too dark and dated for my taste. I wanted to give the place a more coastal vibe that reflects my taste and, hopefully, appeals to more renters.

I just returned from spending two weeks there. My mom came the first week to help me clean, accessorize and update. My husband and kids came down the next week for Spring Break, and we had a small crew here stripping wallpaper, making repairs and painting.

I was able to quickly snap some photos before we left to drive home. 

Just to refresh your memory, this is what we started with…

And, here it is now...

I will share more details later this week about what we did in each room. (Hint: it involved several trips to Home Goods. Shocking, I know!)

I hope you enjoyed the pics of the lighter, brighter, beach-ier villa! The painters were still working on our last day there, so I don't yet have updated pics of the foyer or the bathrooms. Will share as soon as I do.

If you would like information on renting our villa, please email me at

Have a great day!!

Sharing at Share Your Style Party

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our Beach Villa: Part One

I love the ocean. The sand between my toes, the saltwater, the sound of crashing waves and the sea air. It is definitely my happy place. Unfortunately, my home is in land-locked Indiana with no ocean in sight. 

During our brutal winter months, I have dreamt about having a place near the beach to escape the cold. And, this winter, the dream became a reality. We purchased a villa on Hilton Head Island, SC that we will, hopefully, escape to a few times a year. When we are not there, the villa will be rented. So, if you need some time at the beach, email me for more information. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.)

After vacationing in various beach communities, we chose to buy in Hilton Head for a few reasons. It's within a reasonable driving distance from us; it has nice year-round temperatures; it has beautiful tree-lined plantations with buildings that blend-in with nature (no high-rises); and it's family-friendly with loads of activities (golf, tennis, fishing, kayaking, watersports, and miles of bike paths). I also like that it's laid-back… no pressure to dress my kids in Vineyard Vines just to go grab an ice cream cone ;) 

The island boasts the country's largest Kroger, which happens to sell the best pimiento cheese I've ever had. That wasn't really a deciding factor. Just a bit of trivia for y'all. Now that I'll be a part-time Southerner, I can toss out a "y'all" and be totally legit, right?

My husband and I went down to Hilton Head in December to take a look at some properties. Our main goal was to be as close to the beach as possible. We looked at lots of places, but when we walked into this place, we knew this was it. It came furnished, and although I didn't love the decor, I knew I could make some changes to give it a more "beachy" look.

Here is how the place looked when we toured it…

This is the walkway leading up to the villa. I love the Spanish moss.

Our door is the one on the right. When you enter the front door, you immediately go up a flight of stairs to the living areas.

Almost there...

Made it!


Let's start with the living room ...

What I liked about the space: the vaulted ceiling, the wall of windows, and the built-ins. 

What I didn't like: everything else. Ha! Well, I could work with the sectional because it was in good shape and a new one wasn't in the budget. But, the dark pillows and art and the formal lamps had to go! I don't want earth tones and pictures of autumn leaves in a beach house. I want light, bright, airy and coastal! 

That chair and ottoman were pretty hideous, and the bistro set?

"Please sit up here at the bistro table and spill your red wine on my light carpet." Ummm… no thank you. That was the first thing heading for the consignment shop!

Let's take a look at the dining area, shall we? 

Again, lots of dark going on. I would have loved a whitewashed table here, but I can work with this.

The kitchen was in good shape. Well-equipped, good appliances.

It opens up into the dining room with a bar area.

Just outside is one of my favorite spots.

The screened porch with table and chairs and a swing.

We can serve food right through the kitchen window.

When I'm not on the beach, this is where I will spend most of my time.

Just off the living room is a sun deck.

Not exactly inviting at the moment, but I will fix that ;)

The villa has two bedrooms. Each has its own separate hallway and bathroom. This hall leads to the master bedroom.

The master has a large walk-in closet, or for renters with small children, a nursery. Surely I'm not the only one who used to set up a pack-n-play in a closet? 

The master bathroom…

Must I even mention that the red wallpaper will be down faster than you can say "Wow. That's ugly wallpaper."?

There is a nice big shower and garden tub that you will notice once the wallpaper is no longer distracting you.

Speaking of distracting walls...

This is the second bedroom, the kids' bunk room. Once my eyes recovered from temporary blindness, I could see that this room had potential. It sleeps six with the trundle bed. 

There is a pocket door that leads to the kids bedroom and bathroom area. So, I can just close the kids in there and have myself a little peace and quiet. 

We closed on the villa in February, but had renters in there until a couple of weeks ago. When they left, my mom and I headed on down to conduct a design intervention. I just got home yesterday, and I can't wait to show you the changes we made! 

I am so grateful to have a place by the ocean. We looked at a lot of villas, but what sold us on this one was the close proximity to the beach. It is across the street from the beach walk, which makes it less than a 4-minute walk from our front door to the water. We also loved how home-y this villa felt. Many of the places we looked at seemed too much like hotel rooms with tiny living rooms and bedrooms right next to each other. This villa was just the perfect fit for our family. We are so excited to make memories with our kids there. And, I hope that lots of other families will stay there and enjoy it, too!

Check back tomorrow to see the "after" pics. I think you'll agree that the place is so much lighter, brighter and "beach-ier" now.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Spring!!! Finally!