We all get a little overwhelmed sometimes when decorating

Ending Decorating Overwhelm

I’m sure you’ve heard.  We bought another cottage to renovate. You can read about it here. I’m overwhelmed. Yes we are crazy. Yes its nuts. No I have no idea how I’ll find the time. Truth. I have LOTS of ideas and visions, too many to be honest, my poor hubby just goes along with…


I’m sure you’ve heard.  We bought another cottage to renovate. You can read about it here. I’m overwhelmed.

Yes we are crazy. Yes its nuts. No I have no idea how I’ll find the time. Truth.

I have LOTS of ideas and visions, too many to be honest, my poor hubby just goes along with my crazy plans.

This time it was a bit different. This time, it is my husbands parents home that we have purchased. Decorated by my wonderful late Mother in Law, everything still standing in place, when my Father in Law moved to Newfoundland 3 years ago, everything is still just as it was.

It’s hard to see around a space you have always seen and loved in one way.

But, in order to turn the cottage into a “beach cottage” updated for renting and for our next generation to use and love, we knew we wanted to, and had to change it up. I honestly wasn’t sure where to start.

before - beach cottage reno
Before – kitchen , living room, dining area at the beach cottage

I have clients in the shop every day that ask me my thoughts on colours they should pick for their projects, I am usually pretty good at helping others. It’s easier with someone else’s project.

I needed to “start over” with the family cottage. Think of it as mine, and think of it as a rental and our family cottage. A fresh look.

Painting Walls - how to pick colours?


My rule of thumb for a rental cottage decorating – simple, easy to clean, cozy and cute. It has to fit in with those rules. It’s how we renovated our cottage by the sea in Lunenburg and it worked. Of course, we are on a budget. A tight budget.

This is where I wonder – if I had an unlimited budget what would I do? I would buy all new furniture and beautiful things, and things would be lovely. BUT, what I’ve always thought is, being on a (real) budget for our DIY projects and all our renovations causes (allows?) me to be more creative. Constraint causes creativity. Apparently thats a thing. Guess I was right. I feel a lot of you may be in the same boat. Most of us don’t have huge unlimited budgets (if you do, thats so awesome) I never have and have always tried to use what I have, reinvent and re love pieces I already have (thats how I got into this business). I’ve learned to use paint and dimmer switches and look for sales. (NEVER underestimate the power of a dimmer switch and the beautiful low light and ambiance it gives you ha ha).

When we have limitations we are forced to be more creative


One problem/issue is that we plan to sell our current home and move to the cottage at some point, so, structurally and the “big” décor items need to fit into that plan too.

I had lots of ideas, but, they were all rambling together. Pinterest is my friend and my enemy. Can anyone else relate to that? SO many ideas and inspiration. SO MANY. But I have that pesky budget, and that pesky deadline. Reality. Here is my Beach Cottage Inspirational board. I had a FULL house to pack up and decorate .WHERE to start?

Beach Cottage decorating
original source unknown

I started with removing all the family photos, the curtains, doilies, dried flowers etc. I won’t lie. It’s hard taking down pictures of your kids and your family and smiling wedding photos. Taking apart what my amazing mother in law had done, there were a few tears. Honestly though, I truly believe that if she were with us, she would be so happy that we are re loving her beloved cottage for more to enjoy, for her grandchildren and great grandchildren to enjoy too. So, I honor what she had done, but I needed to clean the slate.

With most of her items down, and a somewhat clean slate I froze.

Some things I knew I wanted to do and saw in my mind. We planked a wall with ship lap.

Plank Wall started at the beach cottage

Anyone surprised?

I freaking LOVE it. I have painted it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy and will show you that soon. You can see my other plank wall projects here.

I need to pick colours and get painting.

I froze.

I had LOTS of ideas.

Back to that Pinterest being a blessing and a curse, there were so many directions I could go. I could not figure out what to do. Ideas kept coming. EEK.

Creativity - the ideas just keep coming :)

I just could not decide and most things such as the flooring was staying. I was confused and overwhelmed as to what I should do. I decided to do the smart thing and call a friend to help.

One amazing thing that has happened since I started Front Porch Mercantile 3 years ago, is the amazing people it has brought into my life. Customers that have become friends, fellow creatives are in my tribe now, new and amazing people have entered my life. One of them is my big hearted super talented friend Shawn LeBlanc from The Designers Den. We happened to be chatting so I asked for a little help.

Beautiful Painted Trunk Front Porch Mercantile
Interior design: Shawn LeBlanc

He came to my rescue, an afternoon visit to the cottage, some coffee, some talking, some amazing ideas, and poof. I have a plan. If you need help with any aspect of designing your home, new build, renovation etc, I urge you to contact Shawn. He can help from the design of the home to the glassware on the table. Seriously. Amazing.

Shawn helped me pull colours together that would work with existing flooring and items we were keeping for now (couches and chairs) and gave me some amazing ideas for accessories and colours that would work with my existing furniture. Houston we have a plan! Thank goodness.

I’ll share my inspiration and colour palette soon. Right now, I’ll continue to pack up and I’m so happy to have a plan.

Have you ever gotten “stuck” or overwhelmed with what to do in a space you can’t see in a new way? I’d love to hear about it and how you overcame it. Are you usually on a budget trying to make your house a home, have you ever been in a position to “get creative” due to constraints (time, money , locations?)

I’d LOVE to hear about your favourite creative solutions.

When we are contained by budget /time/resources we are forced to get creative

Thanks for popping in, I hope to inspire you and help you realize your decorating and real life renovation no matter your challenges. It can be done.



PS…The Beach Cottage is for rent this summer, we will have it ready for renters in the next couple of weeks, if you are interested in information or want a sneak peek (I add pictures as we finish a room) you can find the info here. I promise it will be done soon. :)

Overwhelm happens to all of us..what to do?
Overwhelm happens to all of us..what to do?








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One Comment

  1. Hi,
    I think you have taken smart move to call your friend for your renovation program. You just give me an idea for a house renovation and it’s really inspired me. This post is very helpful me.
    keep blogging this kind of post.

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