A design duo turns a fixer-upper on Galveston Bay into a nautically inspired beauty, perfect for a sea-loving family.
By Brielle M. Ferreira
1 of 8Photo: courtesy of the homeowners
Galveston Bay, Texas: Before
When two sailing enthusiasts had to temporarily table their dream of building a boat in order to raise their young crew of four, they set about looking for a new adventure. And that's exactly what they found in an aged, lackluster house on Galveston Bay in Texas. While the home's dated tile, dingy walls, and cobbled-together furnishings (which came with the house) were a far cry from the picturesque home the family envisioned, they were up for the challenge of making it their own.
First, however, they would need some experienced hands on deck, so they reached out to designers Elizabeth Munger Stiver and Amy Munger, who got to work, bringing in warm pine for the floors, statement-making shiplap walls, and well-curated furniture that is both pretty and practical. Here, handy makeover tips to craft a home that's ready for anything.
2 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Galveston Bay, Texas: After
While the layout of the kitchen didn't change, the space got a much-needed face-lift thanks to a fresh coat of paint, updated cabinets, shiplap paneling on the walls and island, and new concrete countertops, which were poured in place on site. Glass-front doors on the upper cabinets and open shelving display colorful glasses and dinnerware that bring a dose of color to the mostly white room.
The backsplash is from Daltile; the pendant lighting is from Restoration Hardware.
3 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Idea #1: Create a hardworking entry
The dresser in the entrance is a hub of activity; it's where the family drops their keys when they return home and where they stow their favorite board games. It's also the first stop for friends, who love to leave their mark in the guest-book, which is casually tucked away here, or to reference the little blue book that features recommendations for the area's best restaurants, parks, and landmarks.
The painted chest is from Area. The lamp is by Arteriors Home.
4 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Idea #2: Don't be afraid of close quarters
In the girls' bedroom, the beds are pushed close together to make way for a third sleeper in the tiny space. "We were careful to choose light bed linens and a soft, neutral paint color for the walls to keep the room from feeling cramped," says Stiver.
Striped and floral pillows are from Pine Cone Hill.
5 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Idea #3: Charm with new finishes
The shiplap walls and wooden floors create a wide, open feeling in the dining room, and add warmth and interest. A framed nautical chart of Galveston Island joins in, giving the space a seafaring feel; the beaded-glass chandelier ties in color with a touch of turquoise. Stiver and Munger topped the chairs with cushions in a graphic Schumacher print.
The chairs are from Clayton Gray Home. The chandelier is from Arteriors.
6 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Idea #4: Hang it up
This handy spot off the back door is the ideal landing pad for wet towels and beach must-haves—like baskets filled with sand castle--building essentials for the kids. "They needed extra storage, so we hung five hooks on the wall, and it immediately transformed the entire space," says Stiver. "It just goes to show that sometimes the easiest solutions are the best."
The towels are from Target. The baskets are from Michaels.
7 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Idea #5: Make room for function
Borrowing cues from life aboard a ship, the designers maximized sleeping space in the boys' bedroom by working with builder Neil Potter to design and construct custom bunk beds. "We tore out an old closet and fit them right in," says Potter. "We even installed boat fans at the end of the beds. It was a really clever, fun project."
The sconces are from Circa Lighting. The throws are by Sferra.
8 of 8Photo: Rick Lew
Learn to compromise. Meeting in the middle can lead to interesting results—like the shiplap walls here that combined the wife's hankering for modern, clean design and the husband's love of rustic touches.
Bring in custom pieces. Outfitting your home with finds from your favorite stores is fine, but mixing in one-of-a-kind pieces, like a custom headboard or coffee table, is a great way to make your home unique.
Focus on floors. For one change that can make a big difference, look down. Swap out dated carpet or tile, or refinish worn wooden floors for an instant upgrade.
Be selective with lighting. Opt for quality over quantity when it comes to lighting—a statement-making chandelier will often be all you need in a space.
Consider your viewpoint. Think about what you want your design to achieve before dressing your windows: Use voluminous drapes for a romantic feel, or choose Roman shades for a streamlined look.
The rug is from Pottery Barn. The Philippe Starck Ghost stools are from Hive.