Capture the refreshing look of seaside homes while investing more creativity than cash.


This midcentury piece was honestly headed for the dumpster. It had multiple layers of paint, surface scars and a broken leg. Instead of stripping the paint, which would have taken days, we covered the whole piece in natural-color canvas cloth, using a staple gun. Then we trimmed excess fabric close to the staples and adhered seam tape with fabric glue over the stapled edge for a clean finish. All surfaces were dry-brushed with white acrylic paint.  We finished it with brass handles and nailheads. Trimming only two drawers saves cost.


An ornate Victorian mirror, separated from its original chest of drawers, finds a new home on a primitive chest. After they received fresh coats of matching paint, the newly married pieces look as if they've always been together. For a weathered, beach-cottage look, consider using milk paint, which gives furniture a chalky, velvety finish.  


A simple color scheme and textured neutrals make this eclectic grouping cohesive and seaworthy. The chairs,  which originally had black cushions, and the old schoolhouse chalkboard frame were fantastic finds from a secondhand store. To give the chairs a beachy vibe, we wrapped the cushions with pale blue linen, pinning it underneath. The table—a cheap find at a discount store—got a coat of navy paint. The big story is the ombré wall we painted using one can each of navy blue and white, mixing several shades by adding various amounts of white to the navy paint.


After old houses get remodeled or torn down, built-in cupboards often end up at salvage shops. Look for cupboards that can be combined with a base to create a wall unit. The base lifts and supports the hefty glass shelving unit, while adding useful storage where more is needed. A fresh coat of cream colored paint provides a clean backdrop for dishwater. 

  • Make a lamp using an old basket. Cut a hole in the basket bottom and insert a single-socket pendant light. 
  • Hang an old shutter and create a still life vignette using dishware, recycled glass containers and old paintings. 
  • Fill recycled glass containers with seashells and sand.
  • Colorblock dishes to give them greater presence in the scheme. 
  • This table was found in an old newspaper office. After a thorough cleaning of its wood surface, it’s ready for a new purpose. 


When flat-screen TVs became popular, cabinets that formerly held televisions started showing up in secondhand stores. This $400 wooden unit was a tired honey brown woodtone and had a big hole in the back of the upper cabinet, but it had good bones. A new back of lightweight plywood provided a quick fix. The unit was painted gray and dry-brushed with charcoal gray to mimic a piece that costs more than $2,000. 


Add interesting architecture to a room by leaning an old door against a wall. Coat it with navy paint and attach a wreath made from seashells. To make the wreath, hot glue shells to a foam base or use a rotary tool to drill a small hole in each shell and wire them together. 

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."
Proverbs 24:3-4 ESV
Written by | Photographed by King Au
© Grey Dog Media, LLC 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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