A Charming Beach House Bungalow

Re-imagining a space is one of my favorite challenges to take on in design. I recently did a project for a client who has a home on Wrightsville Beach and wanted it transformed into a bungalow that the whole family could enjoy year-round.

Complete makeovers require a ton of attention, communication and collective creative juice, and it’s all totally worth it in the end. The satisfaction once a transformation is complete is what makes a redesign so appealing, both for the client and designer.

This two-level home had a pair of adjoining apartments on the lower level. That layout had suited them for years, but now they were looking for something more open. The client is an architect, and we collaborated to envision restructuring the two levels in a way that would suit this family of five, with room to entertain.

I knew that finding the right décor for this beach bungalow was going to be super fun. I wanted to embrace beach themes without falling into the trap of being clichéd. I went with a fresh design that could stand the test of time and incorporated natural or reclaimed materials to bring the ocean, dunes and bay indoors.

Naturally the family wanted to be able to accommodate guests, so each room was given its own signature name that represented the home’s surroundings. Guests of the family have their choice of accommodations including the octopus, jellyfish, urchin, sand or nautical bedrooms.


On the lower level, I converted the old bedroom/bar area into one big kids’ bedroom, with a set of bunk beds, a queen-size bed and a single with a trundle bed below. The bunk beds and single bed are designed to look like boats, complete with reclaimed barn wood siding and nautical ropes suspended from the ceiling to lighten the feel of bunk beds. In keeping with that theme, I added pillows made from vintage nautical flags and round mirrors that mimicked portholes. A room that slept two before can now comfortably sleep six.



In the octopus room, I incorporated cool, peaceful tones that mimicked the ocean. The curled trim on the bedspread represents the octopus tentacles, with soothing grays and blues. How gorgeous are those cobalt nightstands with the silver hardware detail?


In the jellyfish bedroom, I avoided beiges and taupes in favor of creamy whites and light blues to keep the room bright and cheerful. The table lamps with the brass base almost look like French milk glass, and they really pop against all that cream and white. The headboard looks like the inside of a seashell and adds a nice textural element to the room.


The urchin room might be the most fun of all. I absolutely love it because it combines a lot of materials, giving us a boho beach chic result. I found this fabulous mirror trio piece entitled “Urchins” from Entanglements Art out of Australia. This art work set the tone and mood. Instead of using table lamps, I incorporated mini coral beaded chandeliers that are wrapped with twine to create the soft lighting I was hoping for. I added a rustic wood headword and blended silk and linen bedding to create a bed anyone would want to come home to.


On the upper level, the kitchen was remodeled and updated using a color palette of white and blue inspired by the client’s antique blue Mason jar collection. The backsplash made by Oceanside Glass is made from recycled corona bottles, which happened to be the homeowners’ fave.

Once renovations were complete, this charming bungalow could accommodate 16 people with plenty of space to live and play. To me, these types of transformations kick ass, and I look forward to my next challenge.