Charming Cottage Guesthouse

A down-to-the-studs gut job turns a 1970s Texas sleeper into a charming cottage guesthouse.

Living Room

Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Making Room for Good Company

When Houston residents Ashley and David Coolidge built a sprawling, six-bedroom vacation retreat in Galveston's Pirate's Cove, they were looking forward to spending quality downtime there with family and friends. With four children of their own, as well as 11 beach-loving nieces and nephews, though, it wasn't long before they found themselves out of space. Luckily, they discovered a solution within close reach for a For Sale sign went up on the 1970s home directly across the street. They bought it on the spot and, with the help of interior designer Cathy Chapman, oversaw a total renovation. Here, how they turned a small, passé place into an open and airy, modern abode.


Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Cook Up Vintage Style

With the kitchen now open to the rest of the house, Chapman installed custom cabinets with a traditional aesthetic to bring cottage style to what had been a plain, charm-free space. Reproduction stools and vintage lighting add utility and an industrial, decorative edge.

The countertops are Okite's Bianco Regina. The cabinets are painted Grecian Ivory by Sherwin-Williams.

Living Room

Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Keep It Simple

Furnishings and accessories in the new living room are comfortable and stylish, but also low maintenance. The custom sofas were designed and fabricated by Chapman and covered in washable tan denim slipcovers, while pleated drapes were hung with simple wooden curtain rods and rings that make them easy to change out and wash. “No carpet also means less to clean, especially in a beach house,” notes the designer. “You can just sweep up the sand.”

The matching sofas are custom by the designer. The coffee table is from Sarreid.


Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Foreshadow What’s To Come

At the entrance, framed black-and-white prints of boats at sea reference the guesthouse’s waterfront locale and set the stage for the vintage, nautical feel that pervades the house beyond the front door.

The artwork is from Soicher Marin. The table lamp is from Lighting Treasures.

Dining Room

Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Work With Scale in Mind

A slim console and table provide function and substance in the narrow dining room without taking up too much space. That allows the checkerboard painted floors that appear throughout the main level to make an especially dynamic impact here.

The table is a Round Top antique show find. The chandelier is from Brown.


Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Create Interest With Pattern and Finishes

The bedside location in this guest room was the ideal spot for a vintage chest that Chapman had faux-painted and sealed with a crackle glaze. A graphic print on the custom curtains brings modern flair to the neutral palette and linens.

The bed is from the Coastal Living Cottage collection by Stanley Furniture. The curtains are made from Lattice fabric by Noveltex.

Dining Room

Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Maximize a Tiny Sleeping Space

In this small bedroom, hooks line the wall—a practical solution to offset the lack of storage. Chapman also went with taller beaded board here to create the illusion of high ceilings for airy ambience.

The wainscoting and walls are painted Sherwin-William's Alabaster and Sea Salt, respectively.


Photographer: John Ellis, Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Open Up to Light and Views

The home’s rear facade got a brand new look when the builders replaced its outdated sliding glass doors with French doors and installed second-story windows that provide impressive panoramic views of the inland bay.

Renovations to the rear elevations are by Kent & Kent Building Design and Alta Vista Development.

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