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Karen's Cottage
Before & After Resources Tales From The Set


This was a great getaway cottage, spacious enough to handle the onslaught of weekend visitors who all want to relax and play by the lake. However, the décor was anything but welcoming. There was the trademark cheap wood paneling on the walls, old wall-to-wall carpeting stretched out everywhere, and of course, too many ducks. There was also an open staircase, which was now a safety hazard, as Karen was having a baby.


When Karen's best friends, Antonia and Monika, first saw our plans for this Facelift, they were not thrilled, in fact, they hated it. Flipping from dated cottage to contemporary flash was a dramatic change, but the elements of the design were thought out carefully, taking into account Karen's lifestyle and new baby, and we went with practical as well as modern and colorful. This is when a brave and adventurous spirit really pays off.

The new color palette of red and white with metallic silver accents is a breath of fresh air in this country setting. Although you can paint over paneling, we decided to start fresh and ripped out all the walls. Drywall was treated to different finishes including the focal red wall with its witty white geometry, the stainless steel tiles that surround the fireplace, and a faux brick wall constructed from medium density fiberboard, grooved and covered in textured paint.

To keep the space open and flowing, the wall-to-wall carpet was replaced by Marmoleum, a practical, durable floor covering that's warm underfoot. Its flecked pattern with red overtones is lively and guaranteed hassle-free upkeep for the new mom.

The kitchen was made more accessible by moving the island over to a side wall. Tiled counters were replaced by wood, and new stainless steel appliances add pizzazz.

Comfortable, slip-covered sofas and shag rugs in the living room, and a large, oval table surrounded by red painted wood chairs in the dining room are inviting features that emphasize the lively, no-fuss mood. A mesmerizing water feature called a bubble wall marks the division between these two living areas.

This modern and exuberant combination of colors and materials may not be your normal country living fare, but Karen agrees that it's the perfect home away from home, for her and her new son, and also her wonderful friends and family.

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Color Geometry Fireplace Water Feature Faux Brick Wall Kitchen Faux Brick Wall Kitchen Kitchen Staircase Cage