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So-Cal Beach Cottage

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In Southern California there are pockets of darling cottages built in the early 20th century that we like to call jewelry boxes. They are quaint, full of charm and usually a bit cramped. Our clients have a growing family and needed a modern, functional home. They opted for a renovation that directly addressed their concerns.

When we first saw this 2,170 square-foot 3-bedroom beach cottage, the front door opened directly into a staircase and a dead-end hallway. The kitchen was cramped, the living room was claustrophobic and everything felt dark and dated.

The big picture items included pitching the living room ceiling to create space and taking down a kitchen wall. We added a French oven and luxury range that the wife had always dreamed about, a custom vent hood, and custom-paneled appliances.

We added a downstairs half-bath for guests (entirely designed around its whimsical wallpaper) and converted one of the existing bathrooms into a Jack-and-Jill, connecting the kids’ bedrooms, with double sinks and a closed-off toilet and shower for privacy.

In the bathrooms, we added white marble floors and wainscoting. We created storage throughout the home with custom-cabinets, new closets and built-ins, such as bookcases, desks and shelving.

White Sands Design/Build furnished the entire cottage mostly with commissioned pieces, including a custom dining table and upholstered chairs. We updated light fixtures and added brass hardware throughout, to create a vintage, bo-ho vibe.

The best thing about this cottage is the charming backyard accessory dwelling unit (ADU), designed in the same style as the larger structure. In order to keep the ADU it was necessary to renovate less than 50% of the main home, which took some serious strategy, otherwise the non-conforming ADU would need to be torn out. We renovated the bathroom with white walls and pine flooring, transforming it into a get-away that will grow with the girls.