Thomas J. Story
It's hard to look at a cottage with weak plumbing and rotting floors and think "cozy beach house." Especially when you're 20 miles from the coast.
But for Susan Delurgio, who co-owns Beach House Style ― a home decor shop in Fairfax, California ― a seaside-inspired cottage was her lifelong dream.
"I wanted something carefree and simple," she says.
It turns out that achieving her ideal living space just took a little imagination - and a lot of white paint.
Under the guidance of an architectural consultant, Susan and her husband, Marc, did most of the renovations themselves.
Their remodeled kitchen mixes old and new, with reclaimed 1920s cupboards, built-ins from salvage yards, a vintage Wedgewood stove from an estate sale, and a farmhouse sink and butcher-block counters from Ikea. They reinstalled the original beadboard walls that had been taken down during the renovation process, and replaced the rotting wood floors with reclaimed Douglas fir.
Outside, the couple framed their front yard with a classic white picket fence.
Since the cottage is only 780 square feet, Susan kept the palette consistent.
"I treated the whole house like one big room," she says. She started with white walls and sisal rugs for a calm backdrop.
The prime source for Susan's decor is her store, which she owns with friend and neighbor Alisha Peterson. The shop has an eclectic mix of pieces ― from sea-grass runners and frames made of recycled boat wood to vintage furnishings ― in creams, whites, pastels, and other seaside hues. The two often scour local flea markets in search of items with soul that just need a fresh coat of paint.
Marc, who calls himself "free labor" for Susan's decorative adventures, has come to appreciate his wife's aesthetic. "When we were dating, all my bachelor-pad furniture mysteriously started getting covered with white sheets," he says. Now I love it. Our home instantly makes you feel like you're on vacation."
Next: 9 ways to get the beach style