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Designing a cottage with Alison Victoria

There are so many great DIY ways to help bring the space to life, without breaking the bank.

Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your dream cottage by the lake. Well, the one-you-could-afford that will be your dream… someday. Or, maybe you inherited the family cottage where you’ve summered since you were a kid. Either way, if the building is more than ‘a few’ years old, chances are the kitchen is itching for a face-lift.

There are so many great DIY ways to help bring the space to life, without breaking the bank. The ‘bones’ are often good, it just takes some fresh ideas and effort to get your summer kitchen in shape. Let’s get started!

Think clean

A good scrubbing works wonders. Removing years of cooking grime from walls, ceiling, cupboards, counters and floors gets rid of stale odors and lets you start decorating with a clean slate.

Paint magic

Many classic summer cottages have bead board on walls and ceilings. Spruce it up with a beach inspired paint color such as Benjamin Moore’s Breath of Fresh Air, or a simple white wash stain. No bead board? Add interest to the walls by installing a wainscot of reclaimed wood in a horizontal staggered set or a fun herringbone pattern.

Refresh dated cupboards with a no nonsense shade of white

Remove the doors on upper cabinets and paint the back of the cupboards in buttery yellow or vibrant turquoise to make them pop. Find inspiration from a lively vintage fabric or the warm summer hues from the outdoors. Fill your new open shelves with mason jars, cookbooks and colored dishes – the nostalgic sight of hand-me-down treasures can’t be beat!

Sink or swim

If you’re lucky, you have an oversized enameled kitchen sink that’s still in good shape. But, if it’s time to replace it, consider the new farmhouse Whitehaven sink by Kohler for that perfect blend of vintage and modern. Be sure to invest in a high quality faucet to tie the whole look together.

Counter measures

For DIYers on a budget, granite is not your go-to countertop. Instead, consider a wood butcher block countertop – it’s the perfect choice for that laid-back look and will complement the rest of the room, at a fraction of the cost.

Swept off your feet

Smooth wood floors are the best low-maintenance option. With sand constantly being tracked in, it’s nice to know a simple sweep will take care of it. Revive existing floors with a quality porch & floor paint, or refinish your existing floor with stain and varnish. If you’re going for a new floor, make sure the product is designed for high-traffic areas.

Eat-in style

Stress-free entertaining is at the heart of cottage life. Have plenty of mis-matched chairs on hand – painted in cool colors. Bring in the biggest table, or island, the space can accommodate. Spiced-up fabrics on seat cushions and a large scale pattern on a long tablecloth will add to the visual flavor.

For me, “Vintage Modern” is a design aesthetic that represents how we are living today; embracing the creativity of a new generation while coveting the classics. Antiques and repurposed pieces bring soul to the home (and cottage), and painted floors and contemporary fixtures bring the energy.

As your kitchen facelift gets going, you’ll find many ways to bring your own personality and tastes to the room. Just remember to keep it simple – after all, the beach is waiting!

-by Alison Victoria