The Vacation Rental (Phase 1)

It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog, but I promise it’s not for lack of projects! This summer has been incredibly hectic for us between traveling and buying our second rental property. This one is a vacation rental on the beach, with a partial bay view.

The plan was for us to get the place together and spend a couple nights out there and enjoy it. However, since listing less than a week ago, it’s been booked out for almost the entire month! We have no complaints about that, but quick turnaround renovations, and managing short-term rentals are not for the faint of heart.

It’s so serene out here, it’s unreal. As you can imagine, though, it hasn’t exactly been relaxing for us. Because it’s in the middle of the high rental season, we had to get this place ready and furnished ASAP. In a perfect world, we would have cleaned the place, threw in some furniture and listed it within a couple days.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Since we knew we had to wait a week after closing for the water to be shut off to the entire complex so that a couple repairs could be made in the bathroom, a decision was made to go ahead and give the place a minor facelift in an effort to increase our nightly rate. It was a lot of l o n g days working non-stop on the condo outside of our actual day jobs.

We made some changes that I’m going to call ‘Phase 1’ of renovations. We plan to replace the original (read: 40 year-old) bathtub this winter, when the rental season slows down. Somewhere, way down the line, I’d love to change out the countertops and flooring. Here are some before and afters!

Entry before
Entry after

We painted the place with Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, which was a touch cooler than I wanted (my choice was SW Agreeable Gray), but it ended up pulling everything together nicely.

We’ve been meaning to fill the nautical bowl with some seashells from the beach, but haven’t quite had the time to go collecting yet. 😉

Living room before

Behind that monster mirror in the living room were huge, thick blobs of adhesive. They had to be scraped, patched, and re-textured before painting. I’ll admit that I was pretty happy to get a “free-ish” massive mirror out of the whole situation, which I’ll be framing for our next house once that is built (a la leaning farmhouse mirror).

Living room after

The other major change in the living room was replacing the original, off-centered, and totally useless track light with a centered ceiling light and fan. It made such a big difference to the room!

My brother’s sweet girlfriend actually painted that wall art on a canvas I picked up for $15 from Michaels on sale – she saved me a ton of trouble! Another great find was the solid wood coffee table we got for $10 from Craigslist. I painted it and screwed the drawers shut so that little ones wouldn’t hurt themselves opening/closing them.

While most of the decor is from local thrift shops, we picked up a comfy new sofa bed from Rooms To Go, because you really never know what you’re going to get with second-hand upholstered furniture. And more importantly, bed bugs will ruin your life. Call me dramatic!

Here’s the view of the living room from the other side. One of my other winter projects will be to hide those wires! We did it (to code – this is important) in our guest bedroom, and it made such a difference.

We took down the painfully annoying vertical blinds and installed blackout curtains (Lowe’s clearance for the win!).

I built that super simple tv stand using 2×4’s split down into 2×2’s with my nifty Dewalt table saw and 1×6’s.

Bedroom before
Bedroom after

We were so lucky to have this dreamy bed given to us by a dear friend. I adjusted these plans from Shanty-to-Chic for the nightstands. The mirror you see is a smaller version of what was hanging in the living room. Whoever lived there was clearly into big mirrors – can’t say I blame them! But, I felt the bedroom mirror was better suited standing instead of hanging across from the bed, so it got the farmhouse frame treatment.

Bathroom before
Bathroom after

In the bathroom, we installed a new vanity (clearance at Lowes for only $75!), new toilet (also on clearance!), new light fixture, backsplash, hardware, and mirror (we had plenty of these to choose from in our house – hah!). I mulled over the shelving, but the easiest, quickest, and cheapest route was to take down the industrial shelving from our kitchen and move them over. Not going to lie, I’ve been wanting to swap out those bad boys since I put them up in the kitchen, and I finally got my opportunity!

We also removed a nasty, rusted old medicine cabinet on the right side of the vanity and closed up the wall. Hands down the biggest change was removing the sliding glass shower door and adding a curtain. It was so much easier than we expected!

Kitchen before
Kitchen after

In the kitchen, we didn’t do a whole lot outside of swapping out the O L D stove with a newer one (also given to us by a dear friend!), new vent, and adding a new microwave and coffee maker. We had originally planned to move over an old Keurig from the house, but the SO informed me that K-cups are terrible for the environment – ironically, it was HIS old Keurig. I’m not a coffee drinker, and was blissfully unaware of this fact. No matter, we got a nice traditional coffee maker with a permanent filter for our guests.


It ended up being perfect timing for us to get some items for the patio – I hopped into Target and they had their whole outdoor department on sale! I got this entire set for less than $50!


Adding to the quick builds, I threw together this counter-height table so folks could enjoy a drink while looking out at the water. These cute stools actually came with the place, so I removed the seats and threw on a quick “distressed” coat of Maison Blanche Lime Paint in White Pepper.

That’s all for now. If you need me, I’ll be sleeping for the next month, or so. 🙂

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