Developing a new vacation rental is complicated. The work of finding, analyzing, negotiating, financing, renovating, permitting and staging our vacation rental homes can take many months, and hundreds of hours before we are able to welcome our first guests.
Designing vacation rental homes is, for me, the best part of the process; the time when the design comes together and many of the wonderful treasures I have found and restored find a new home.
In response to many guests who have asked about the design of our vacation rental homes, I am excited to share before-and-afters of two of our most recent projects, The Landing (see prior posts) and Captain’s Quarters.
Captain’s Quarters is the second through fourth floors of a four-story foreclosure beach villa we purchased online at auction. The property has had several incarnations, first as a private residence, morphing into a B&B and from there a beauty salon and single family residence.
The property is zoned C2, allowing for many potential uses, including residential. It has an incredible location in the heart of historic Nye Beach, gorgeous whitewater ocean views, and is a quick walk to the beach, shops and pubs of the neighborhood.
It is also directly across the street from the Performing Arts Center and a wonderful park with a three-story pirate-ship slide.
Captain’s Quarters Exterior Before
Captain’s Quarters Exterior After
Exterior After: We removed the corrugated plastic from the front porch, (in addition to being ugly, it made a creepy howling noise when the wind blew) and enclosed the porch to create a sunroom after installing a new spa. My contractor Tim had the great idea to use standard glass shower doors instead of custom windows, which saved us a ton. I bought an old fishing net and tacked it up over the spa, tucking in sea shells and strings of miniature solar lights that glow at night. We finished it off with teak furniture and cafe curtains for privacy. Outside, we created a rock and herb garden, and our talented landscape designers re-used the existing rocks on the property to create a dry rock pond and stream that looks really great in the rain.
Captain’s Quarters was previously a B&B and a private residence. It sat vacant for some time before we purchased it at auction. Every room and ceiling in the house was painted in bright primary colors; orange, purple, green and red. Some of the appliances and fireplaces had been red-tagged by the gas company, so there was no hot water or heat. The floors and stairs were almost all covered in thick brown shag carpet.
The first order of business was to decide on a neutral paint that would work well throughout the house. The nearest Home Depot is an hour away from the house, so I purchased a Behr premium paint in a mushroom shade without trying samples first, not something I recommend. I was nervous, but the color is great and I love the way it subtly changes tone in different rooms and depending on the time of day. The walls, trim, ceilings and most bathrooms were painted in City Lights white.
Before – Bedroom with Fireplace and Deck and Bay Window Bedroom
Fireplace Bedroom After – This bedroom has a private deck, a fireplace, and ocean views. I repurposed an Ethan Allen armoire, a canopy bed and a chaise to relax and take in the ocean views. Heavy wood chairs were added to the deck (the wind can get up to 100 MPH here), and we installed bar tops on the deck railings so guests can enjoy coffee or a glass of wine while taking in the sights.
Bay Window Bedroom After – This bedroom has large bay windows and ocean views. I added an elegant cherry fireplace, a cozy chair by the window, and two extra-long twin beds that can be pushed together to make a king bed. We enclosed a hallway closet and opened it up from the bedroom to create a spacious walk-in closet.
We installed hand-scraped bamboo floors in this wing, which includes these bedrooms and a full bath.
First Floor Bathroom Before – My biggest regret is not taking a picture of the matching maroon toilet before we replaced it! We were going to keep the jetted tub and have it refinished, but it was leaking and had to be replaced.
First Floor Bathroom After – We replaced the leaky tub with a gorgeous double rain head shower, onyx tile with limestone and marble accents, limestone trim, and sliced natural pebble floors. I restored the gorgeous antique vanity, added an opaque window for privacy, and an etagere to hold beach towels and decorative items.
The kitchen was painted yellow, with a burnt orange dumbwaiter and a huge, burnt-orange island. I looked down the dumbwaiter shaft and immediately imagined intrepid nine-year-olds trying to hitch a ride in it, so it was one of the first things to go in the demo.
There were no upper cabinets, and the lower cabinets, although orange, were custom made and in good condition. I opted to keep and re-paint the lower cabinets, reduce the island by repositioning two of the cabinet boxes to the adjacent wall, and commissioned upper cabinets with a mixture of glass front and closed cabinets, and custom floating glass shelves.
Kitchen and Dining Area Before
Kitchen After – I used Typhoon Green granite in a leather finish with broken edges. Glass pendants with Edison bulbs were hung over the island, a light fixture that reminded me of a ship’s sail was installed in the dining room, and I installed a Carerra marble backsplash in the kitchen. Upper cabinets were from Home Depot, and the custom floating glass shelves were created by our local glass company to keep the look light and airy. We ordered extra paint to match the upper cabinets, and cleaned and painted the lower cabinets. They turned out great.
I try to buy and refinish thrift store furniture whenever possible (my next post features some of my favorite furniture finds and how I refinished and staged them,) but sometimes you have to buy new to get exactly what you want. These weathered Paula barstools were perfect for the kitchen. They were sold out and difficult to get, so I had to alternate ordering them from sister companies Wayfair and Joss & Main to get all five. They are very sturdy and easy to assemble.
I wanted more texture to the kitchen, so I did a pickled pallet wood accent on one side of the island. I scavenged pallets from our local hardware store (they put them out for the taking,) pulled the nails and sanded off the rough edges, and white-washed them.
Parquet is not my favorite flooring, but it was in good shape in the kitchen and great-room area. I kept it here, the only floor in the property we didn’t refinish, and was lucky enough to find matching parquet for a couple of areas where we removed the cabinets as well as the stairway landings.
Great Room, Dining Room and Lanais Before
The great room featured great views and a nice red fireplace, along with two spacious lanais.
Great Room, Dining Room and Lanais After
I furnished this room with some of my favorite restored pieces, including a navy leather loveseat and club chair, a hand painted dining set with mismatched chairs, and a bench I reupholstered with a coastal fabric. I so loved this fabric that I did another bench and a couple of side chairs. The re-upholstered pieces were treated several times with Scotch Guard.
A ship’s wheel and 1930’s floor radio add character, while the rocking chairs on the adjacent lanai and a flower horseshoe sculpture add interest and additional seating.
I used a granite dining table from another property on the other large lanai, and since this is a pet-friendly vacation rental, I have switched to using indoor-outdoor rugs in all of our rentals. They can be quite beautiful and can be rinsed off outside if needed.
The pillows and rugs in this room are by Liora Manne, a designer who does a lot of coastal and dog themes, both close to my heart. Target sometimes has good sales on Liora Manne.
Main Floor Bathroom Before
Main Floor Bathroom Before – I loved the sink made from a converted stove and the checkerboard tile, but the orange paint and trim was overwhelming. My daughter said she felt like she was in a McDonald’s.
Main Floor Bathroom After
Main Floor Bathroom After – The pictures show how much the paint can vary in appearance based on the lighting. The cooler wall colors create a calm space and bring attention back to where it belongs, the awesome sink! I added a vintage-look pie cabinet to hold towels and a cool octopus shower curtain for a nautical touch.
I searched a web archive site and found the old website when this house was a B&B. This was the master bedroom back in the day.
The Master Bedroom occupies the entire fourth floor of the house and is almost 800 square feet, with a gas fireplace and walls of windows looking out to the ocean and the village of Nye Beach. On my first visit, I reached the top floor, slightly out of breath, and was surprised to find a gorgeous clawfoot tub at the top of the stairs.
Master Bath Before – A beautiful clawfoot tub at the top of the stairs and a beautiful antique sink in the bathroom. The wood floors were also gorgeous, and in great shape. But why was there a tub in an open room?
Master Bath After
Master Bath After – I wanted to move the tub into the bathroom, which is long and narrow. After researching this option with my contractor Tim and our plumbers, we determined it would be very costly to move the tub, since we would have to tear up the bathroom ceiling on the floor below to access the plumbing.
I opted to create a spa-like room with a comfortable leather chair, cozy fireplace and spa robes. The master bathroom gained a coffee bar and a second washer/dryer set, since the other one is two floors down.
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom Before – With apologies to my Texas Longhorn husband Roy, burnt orange is not my favorite color. Especially not 800 square feet of it. Combined with brown shag carpeting and quirky southwestern copper light fixtures, the master bedroom did not delight.
Master Bedroom After
Master Bedroom After – I wanted to keep the hardwood in the master bath area, but was unable to find a match for it in the bedroom. Instead, we incorporated an upgraded cork flooring that has the appearance of slate and works with the hardwood. It was my first time using cork, and I love it. Soft underfoot, quiet (great for the top floor) and easy to maintain. I added a comfy chair by the fireplace, a seafoam leather couch with a fantastic carved cocktail table, bookshelves and a rolltop desk. The copper lights were replaced with can lights. Due to the scale of the room, I used oversized pictures and a metal wall sculpture that looks like waves. Although it is a huge space, it is very comfortable.
Secret Game Room Before
The Secret Game Room Before – This was a garage that the prior owners converted into a bonus room. It had no windows, but featured high ceilings and lovely hardwood floors.
The Secret Game Room After – I love the way all of the spaces turned out, but the Secret Game Room was hands-down the most fun to plan. I had not yet decided what to do with this windowless room when I came across a Murphy Door on the Home Depot website. Murphy Doors are doors that appear to be bookcases, letting you create a secret room.
The Secret Game Room After
I had brick veneer left over from another project, so I decided to do a brick accent wall. There was plumbing installed from a previous garage sink, making it a great bet for a wet bar. The guys used my giant, terrifying flamethrower to char the cedar planks for the bar top, and for a little behind-the-scenes drama, my contractor Tim burnt off all of the hair on his hands charring the cedar planks for the bar top.
We found a foosball table that converts to four other games. I scored a vintage-look radio that plays 78s, and we bought vintage albums and displayed them on ledges I made from random parts found at Home Depot that were cut down to fit the albums.
We put in a comfy couch that folds out to a bed, and instead of a TV we installed a Hi-Rez projector and a 100″ motorized screen that together cost less than the 55″ TVs I usually buy.
This proved to be such a hit that I installed them at our other properties. They are great because you can also use them with your gaming systems, and the projector has pretty good speakers.
Roy and I had a blast finding signs and other fun items for the accent wall. Some of our guests sadly did not find the secret game room, so now I ask them to let me know if they don’t find it after a few hours so I can give them a hint – the skull and crossbones over the bookcase.
I hope to incorporate secret rooms at other projects in the future.
Up next: Fabulous before-and-after thrift store finds, and the recent renovation of a vintage kitchen by installing copper countertops.
I definitely tested my DIY skills on the copper counters, so I look forward to your comments and suggestions.