So many of you loved last week’s Nantucket cabin makeover that I thought you’d like to see how you can achieve a quick and relatively inexpensive makeover in the same spirit. Sophie Dow, editor in chief of House Beautiful, wrote in the Before & After issue that sometimes our homes are a few cans of paint and a quick trip to a local flee market away from their true potential. Don’t you just love that? This modest, century-old cottage proves her point beautifully. New York designer Kevin Isbell helped his clients get their holiday home ready in as little as three weeks. Here’s how he did it and how you can do it too!


Let’s start with the walls. You’ll need white paint, gallons and gallons of it. But not just any white paint will do. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of whites out there so choosing the right one can be tricky. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove has been a designer favorite for years and you can’t go wrong with it.

white dove

White Dove – Benjamin Moore

Next, you can hide the wear and tear of old floor boards with – you’ve guessed it – more paint. This deep cobalt blue color is a great way to anchor the room while infusing it with subtle coastal charm.


Champion Cobalt – Benjamin Moore


Any cottage by the sea will need plenty of texture. Wicker and jute, bamboo and seashells, needlepoint pillows, seascape paintings – they all work great together and create plenty of cottage charm. They will also add layers of detail that will contribute to a collected-over-time look as opposed to decorated.


Seascape Oil Painting – Chairish?

As for window treatments, sometimes simple is best. Isbell chose ready-made bamboo shades that he hung above the window frames to create the illusion of higher ceilings. You can see how the shades don’t match the window widths perfectly, yet they look fantastic.


Bamboo Roll Up Blinds – The Mine?

A jute rug from Birch Lane anchors the living area. Again, retail means lower costs and faster shipping, win-win!


Jute Rug – Birch Lane

The furniture is a collection of local antique shop finds and family heirlooms. The wicker sofa is from Serena & Lilly and ?is now on sale, if you’re interested. You might notice that the designer managed to fit quite a lot ?within a relatively small living room. You can do the same by choosing petite pieces, preferably on casters. That way you can move them around easily and still have plenty of space for entertaining groups.?This chair from Wisteria is already a perfect match but a fun print on the upholstery can take it to the next level!

palmer chair

?For more inspiration and accessories, here are a few elements that recreate a similar look (links bellow):


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Have a great week!



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  1. Dawn Jones
    January 17, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    Dear Eva,
    I love this room. I finished enclosing a screened in porch Dec. 17. I used the same sofa from Serena and Lily, but used red accents. I would love to send you photos, but don’t have your email. I so enjoy your posts on the blog and Instagram. Thank you, Dawn Jones

    • Eva Contreras
      January 17, 2018 / 2:32 pm

      Hi, Dawn! Thank you so much! Sounds like you’ve created a lovely space, I would love to see pictures! You can either use the contact form in the top menu or even better, my email xo, Eva

  2. January 23, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Beautiful room! Love that blue for flooring ??????

    • Eva Contreras
      January 23, 2018 / 8:36 pm

      Thanks, Marta! Loved your post on paint selection ??