our cottage living room after
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Seaside Cottage Renovation – Main Floor

Wow, ok guys, my seaside cottage master bedroom post went a little nuts. Seriously. Thank you. I posted a living room picture on Instagram and everyone asked for more, so here is the before and after of our cottage living room, kitchen and dining room. Our fixer upper by the sea was completely renovated on…


Wow, ok guys, my seaside cottage master bedroom post went a little nuts. Seriously. Thank you. I posted a living room picture on Instagram and everyone asked for more, so here is the before and after of our cottage living room, kitchen and dining room. Our fixer upper by the sea was completely renovated on a VERY tiny tiny budget. We used a lot of paint and imagination!

Our cottage had some pretty colourful things going on. All good if you love colour, I like light and airy, so we spent a lot of time updating our seaside cottage and of course, as always, we were on a budget! We are a pay as we go and use your imagination and what you have kinda family.

The really honest to goodness truth is I cried when we took possession of this cottage. Not happy tears, but big hyperventilating ugly cry kinda cry. I regretted it. BIG TIME. I looked around and thought there is no way I can do all this. It was pretty overwhelming. Mr FPM calmly brought me outside, sat me down on the only chair we had in the house and poured me a glass of wine. (being honest here) then he told me to look at the view. It was evening, we had been in 10 mins, the stars were coming out, the moon was rising on the water and the waves were lapping. It worked. I was ok. We stared the next morning.

Here in no particular order, are the main floor before pictures and the reason I cried. Again, nothing against the previous owners colours, it was just, so, much and totally not “me”.

At this point I would like to let you know, that blue was OIL paint. And peeling. And really dark blue. You can’t see that there were tons of cracks in the wall and on the arches.


In my head I could see it light and bright.


I’m tired just looking at this now. It was a lot of painting and work I won’t kid you.


I had a vision of a large window here…I excitedly  bought a large used window I found while driving up the street one day in our home town. Someone was taking a window out and putting a patio door in, I drove by as they were posting the for sale sign on it. I bought it before we had even closed on the house. (for real) Mr FPM thought I was over the top nuts at that stage. Just so you know. I wasn’t even sure it would fit. I AM a little nutso like that. We ended up lugging it down to Nova Scotia and I was praying it would fit. (psst…it did)



When faced with tight budgets and other constraints, you learn to get creative, this is a great budget before and after

The floors…were “worn”. I will post about how we refinished them shortly.


Dining room before

Yes, those are gold leaf crowns and hand prints and purple and green cabinets. Just saying. (Recently I had a friend over and she said she knew the man who had painted them. I am sure a lot of people will love the artistic look of these, and I love when people are creative, it’s really not my thing).

I should point out the view that sold us.

Cottage Reno Front Porch Mercantile

This is the view in front of the house.

our view from the cottage by the sea

And here it is now, I kept waiting for perfect picture taking moments, when everything was “just right” but that never happens, and there are a lot of things I still have planned, more art work, new faucets, new curtains, paint the tall table etc, see, always tweaking and never “done”. Can anyone else relate?

Here’s the after photos.

We used shiplap on the back wall and stained it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Trophy. (a very affordable, easy and doable project that gives big impact to the cottage and I like saying shiplap makes me feel all Joanna Gains and all) ;) It looks amazing in here in the morning when the sun shines in, I will update with a full kitchen post soon however the table was once in my kitchen, the stools were my moms and she just downsized, the light fixture I picked up on clearance for 40$, it was marked down because it was missing the ceiling cap, we just bought a new one and painted it to match. The cute pillow is from my sweet artist friend Lucy and can be purchased here 

our cottage kitchen with planked shiplap wall

Last Spring I started collecting these mini pitchers at garage sales, I kinda love them. Simple little lights and accessories and this cute spot over the stove costs nothing but is cute. I love the lil painted lobster sign, I have renters from all over the world comment on it. Kinda funny, its a plain 10 min project, but cute.

mini lights are an inexpensive option but give such big impact in our cottage kitchen, so cozy at night

We saved up last Fall and had window inserts put in and it made a HUGE difference on light. The original windows were very old.

New windows for our cottage renovations

I’m saving now for the rest of the house. I love the calmness of this room now and the light! One very affordable and big impact thing we did was cut the big spruce trees that were outside blocking all the light. They were old and dangerously close to the house so they had to go, the bonus was light filled my room. THIS IS the vision I had. I still would like a couple of wicker chairs, some greenery and more tweaking, but its a start.Cottage Living room is much brighter and lighter

Here you can see the big window I bought from my neighbour. Seriously we were so lucky it fit. You should have seen us lugging this thing “Clampet” style from home. I had a vision for a lighter and brighter room and it happened!

The Duncan Phyfe drop leaf dining room table was my nan’s and I painted it with FAT Paint’s Antique Wedgwood as a base then washed it with Warm White and top coated it with Diamond Clear Coat. The current chairs were 10$ garage sale finds. I painted them with Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement and covered the seats with a blue stripe ticking I found at Fabricville.  (I’m looking and saving up for lovely affordable new wicker chairs or cafe style chairs, but these work until I get there)

Cute accessories for the cottage living room

My bestie and shop assistant Lise made the pillows for me from fabric we found at Fabricville. I love them.

cottage living room - simple easy style

We kept the cost down on this room by reusing furniture we had but we did end up buying the Ikea love seat but found it not comfortable at all for cuddling up  for movie watching, and impossible to keep clean, I totally failed the Ikea white couch thing, hats off to all you awesome people that can keep them clean, so, we moved it over by the wood stove (with plans to sell it but it remains for now, and is dirty ha ha) we purchased a new couch at Costco. It was our biggest expense in the whole house, but still came in under 600.00, we love the colour (no dirt showing) and its comfy.

We hung oars we’ve had for years (there is one on the other side of the wall) using my sweet friend Danielle’s super awesome tutorial here.

Painted furniture, found items, Mr FPM’s photography, an old window turned into a mirror and painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. The carpet was from our sunroom in our last house. The light in both the living room and dining room are outdoor barn lights from a local hardware store (Kent’s), cost is about 30$ each!

The curtains were a splurge (for me, but still super affordable for linen curtains). The curtains are Aina Linen curtains from Ikea the rods also came from Ikea. I kinda love them. I hung them high, my fav way to hang curtains. It makes the room feel larger. I used my friend Marian aka as Miss Mustard Seed’s curtain hanging ideas from this post.

We planked the wall (it’s a favourite thing to do) you can read about it here.

We replaced the old wood stove with a cuter and more efficient one we bought second hand at a yard sale. (Yes Mom, its super safe and was installed by a professional). ;)

The wall colour is Ballet White from Benjamin Moore.

Paint and imagination. Thats how we roll.

a budget cottage renovation from Front Porch Mercantile

There you have it, most of the main floor. I will share the bathroom (shudder) renovation and upstairs hall and bedroom shortly. This summer we are working on the outside a bit. And not sure if you’ve heard…we just took over a family beach cottage in NB so we are sort of kinda in the middle of that renovation as well. Again on a very tight budget, I’ll share that cottage soon.

Have you had to renovate on a budget? What’s your favourite budget saving tip when renovating/updating? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading all the way through, you kinda rock for sticking with it.

Have a fabulous day! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the renovation and what your favourite renovation budget saving tip is!



ps..If you know anyone who may be interested in renting our little cottage by the sea it can be found here (it’s located in the Lunenburg NS area)

You may also be interested in these cottage renovation posts:

Cottage Master Bedroom re love here 

How we ended up with our Fixer Upper by the Sea here 

Shop this look

I have sourced a few items that are similar to what we have used/purchased locally and have added affiliate links for your convenience. I make a small advertising commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase any of these items.

Metal farm lights – I found similar ones here you can order here for under 30$

Fun lobster Pillow –lobster pillow

On the dining room table I purchased a similar red lantern






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  1. When I was at your cottage and you showed me the “before” picture of the kitchen, I knew it HAD to be the one my friend painted – how many people in Nova Scotia (Canada? The World?!) have purple & lime green kitchen cabinets with gold leaf crowns?!

    Your cottage is so cozy and charming :-) The shiplap wall in the living room looks great, and I just love the vignette with the ceramic pitchers and fairy lights :-)

    All of my design & reno projects are budget projects – my hubby is so cheap! Errrr, frugal ;-) This is why we’re building our own house and not paying someone to do it for us!

  2. Wow wow wow! You did an amazing job on your cottage Wendy. I can’t believe the colours it was before. Oh my. It looks so light and airy now and like a seaside cottage/home should look. Thanks for sharing. I follow you on Facebook so saw the link there.

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