• Virginia DesRoches

Before & After: Beautiful Family-Friendly Renovation in Westport, Massachusetts

Updated: Dec 5, 2020


Living by the ocean attracts many families to purchase second homes as a way to escape their busy lives, the city and be closer to the water. This waterfront home and detached cottage was purchased by this young family as a secondary home but needed major updating. They envisioned it to be a space to vacation with their young children, relax, entertain and enjoy the ocean views. With so many selections to make, decision overload kicked-in and they realized they needed some help.

I'll be showing you the transformation, before and after scenes, the challenges, process and how the result achieved the project's initial goals.

GOALS: Our goals for this project was to create a family-friendly, practical, functional vacation home to reflect their laid back style and personality. Living here in New England, especially by the ocean there are extreme changes in weather. Summers are sunny and hot but different seasons bring extreme climate change including heavy winds and rain.

The Process

We have a very structured process from start to finish. Gathering as much information as we can during the Consultation gives us a chance to get to know our clients, their needs, wants and expectations. It usually takes us 8 weeks to curate the design, source materials and prepare an itemized budget list. We are Full Service Design meaning we have our own in-house team to do all the work so there's no need to hire out multiple contractors. We handle it all to allow you to keep living your busy lives.

Because it's sometimes difficult for the clients to envision the end result, we prepare Vision boards, floor plans, elevations and 3D renderings. At Presentation, we are able to show you what the finished product will look like, view samples to see and feel the quality of the finishes so you know exactly what you are going to get.

At the Consultation we always discuss what the Investment Target is. It's important for us to know this right from the beginning so when we are making our selections, we are able to stay within the budget. Some clients prefer to spend a little more on different areas that are more important to them like the Kitchen and Master Bath and save on other areas of the home that are of less importance.

The After Reveal

Photography by Michael J Lee

Contracted by E. Ribeiro Corp

We took this house from drab to fab. Known for our New England Style Design, we Incorporated White U-channel Groove Shiplap walls and coffered ceilings in the Breakfast area which really enhanced and brightened up the space. The newly installed wall-to-wall sliding doors and windows provides a full exterior water view allowing the outdoors to become the main attraction.

The Transformation

The kitchen got a major make-over with all new cabinetry, quartz countertops and updated appliances. To save on cost we refinished the existing Oak hardwoods but gave it an updated look using Dark Gray & Ebony Stain to get rid of the unappealing yellow undertones.

With updated White Cabinetry we took it all the way to the ceiling which really enhanced and elevated the look. Keeping it timeless while still adding a fun and colorful element such as the fish scale accent tiles which brought in a playful yet fun vibe this young family was looking for. A mixture of different metals keep it interesting and the casual yet elegant blend of fixtures and furnishings really sets the tone for this vacation home.

Before- Master Bath

An outdated soaking tub and corner shower was not ideal for this young couple. They preferred a large shower with a double vanity and lots of storage.


We replaced the old soaking tub with a large walk in shower and removed 2 existing large windows and replaced them with above transoms to allow light to filter through while still allowing privacy. A beautiful sky blue double vanity with a linen tower provides additional storage. Rustic wood accents bring in a hint of warm textures and really helps to balance all the white.

Instead of a typical pocket door we opted for this fun Sliding Frosted Panel Door with Matte Black Hardware to give a more sophisticated look to the Master Bath.

Before- Kids Bath

With 3 young girls we wanted their space to be Fun! This was a Blank Canvas and we really wanted to do something special and a little unexpected.


This whale wallpaper really set the direction to make that happen. Updated herringbone tile floor, new shower unit with glass doors and additional storage gives this vacation bath everything it needs including some smiling faces while bathing!



Before-Guest Bedroom

The Guest Bedroom was very small and with two original doorways, left little room for even a bed. By closing off one doorway it allowed us to fit a King Sized Bed for guests to have a cozy space of their own to retreat to.


The subtle wall color brings the outdoors in while the rustic wood character gives it a cozy feel. We love adding a bench at the foot of the bed and this was something unique that certainly becomes a conversational piece.

Before-Master Bedroom

The first thing we wanted to do was remove the dividing wall and open up the space.

Being such a large room we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful water view.

We ripped out the old carpet and to save on cost we installed High-End luxury vinyl Planks aka LVP which is easy to install. With so many colors and textures and plank widths it was easy to find one that transitioned well with the Hardwood flooring throughout the rest of the home. It's extremely important when you are selecting LVP to purchase the ones with a cork layer. This will give it more comfort under your feet and eliminate any clicking sound.


Our vision for this space was to bring the outdoors in and with so many Fabulous wallpaper selections today, we thought this was so fitting! It helped breakup the long wall without being overly busy. The natural materials of jute and rattan helped layer the textures to create a well-balanced space. The brass sconces with fabric shades were the finishing touch.

Before-Front Entry

The front entry is the first thing guests see and you want to make a good impression. With a few small updates you can really elevate the look. Paint is the easiest and most inexpensive way to freshen up a room. Consider swapping out the entry door to glass to allow more light to shine in.


Here we treated the handrails and newel post to match the stain of the floors, painted the front door in Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue and the walls in Benjamin Moore Iceberg. We simply swapped out the entry pendant to finish off the transformation.


In this bedroom, shared by the 3 young girls, was a a set of closets. One of the closets housed the HVAC unit. Since it couldn't function well as a closet we came up with the idea to utilize it as an additional hang-out which also doubled as an extra bed for sleepovers.


Who wouldn't want to come hang out in this cozy little space? With 8" on center U-Channel Groove Shiplap Walls painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove, we brightened it right up and layered some soft textural finishes. No space of ours would be complete without some Rustic touches, adding hints of historical character and warmth to portray the true New England Style. Lighting is so important! We incorporated this cool Capsule Sconce on Dimmers along with some fun LED lights that change colors.


No family-friendly space would be complete without a Mudroom or for the sake of this blog I should say Sand Room. With living by the beach comes lots of sand and you need a place to drop your towels and flip flops. To make this happen, we needed to knock out 2 closets that were also confining the traffic lane to the Washer/Dryer and Powder Room.


What a game changer! This helped opened up the space, make it brighter and allowed additional storage and a place to fold laundry right across for the Washer/Dryer. This busy family now has a place to drop things as they enter from the garage. No more sandy towels and flip flops on the Living Room floor. You're welcome mom.

Before-Back Entry

Back entries can often be overlooked but let's face it, this is where the homeowner's enter the home every day. It should be a happy place to enter.


We kept it simple, bright and clean. Shiplap offers an architectural wall treatment as an alternative to just painted drywall. It's much more visually pleasing and durable. I recommend painting it the same color and sheen as the trim throughout the rest of the house. It keeps things cohesive and intentional. Here we used Benjamin Moore Advance in Satin finish and the Color is White Dove.


Powder Rooms can sometimes be very tiny but this is always an opportunity to do something fun and make it Impactful.

We swapped out the Pedestal, tiles & light fixture for an updated look.


If you have a ceiling light in the bath it's ok to add sconces on the sides of the mirror. It doesn't always give off as much light as an overhead sconce but here it was more aesthetically pleasing. The Rope mirror and sconces become the shop-stopper allowing the textures to really stand out in front of the White U-Channel Groove Shiplap walls creating the perfect powder room.

The Cottage- Before

With the detached cottage having a pitched roof it obstructs the water view from the Main House. We decided to flatten the roofline and convert it to a Rubber roof allowing a better view of the Ocean.

This was not a small or easy task- but totally worth the investment!

With wants and needs sometimes comes sacrifices. In order to lower the roofline meant sacrificing the height of the ceilings and exposed beams on the interior of the cottage.

To make up for that, we decided to create a glass wall which fully opened up to the exterior allowing lots of natural light to filter in. Made of aluminum and built to withstand heavy winds and rain it becomes air-tight during the winter.

The After Reveal-

Photography by Michael J Lee

Contracted by E. Ribeiro Corp

A brighter interior with updated cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and porcelain tile flooring that looks like real wood.


We made some modifications including losing the slider to gain additional storage and a wet bar for entertaining purposes.

Simple but functional.

This family loves coming to the beach house to get away & relax in a coastal inspired setting which is personalized to reflect who they are.

With modern updates, it's designed to be family friendly with sustainable materials that are easy to clean, the transformation has given them a fun, livable and beautiful space they can be proud to show off to family & guests.

Thanks for joining me in this project transformation. I hope this inspires you to transform your own space for your best living, or new chapter in life!

Special thanks to Eddie Ribeiro Corp for his team's outstanding work, Michael J Lee Photography and Tapper-Richards Interiors for helping us with the Styling.

If you're considering a Remodel or Renovation, schedule a free Discovery Call to see if we would be a good fit for your project.

Until next time,


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