A Savvy Plan to Max Out a Small House

A derelict Manhattan Beach home with a rental past becomes a charming cottage and regains its 1920s splendor.

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

The bungalow had all the signatures of a 1970s beach shack with none of the retro cool.

Living Room After

Photo: Grey Crawford

Living Room After

The first step was to paint the whole place white, which revealed the house’s true potential. New pitched ceilings and high windows bring even more light into the space. Hardwood floors give the room texture and keep the look airy.

Living Room

Photo: Grey Crawford

Living Room

Chippendale-like fretwork on the furniture in the living room keeps a substantial piece from feeling heavy in a small space. The lofty placement of the porthole-style windows diffuse soft light throughout the room.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

The previous kitchen was cramped and enclosed. The homeowners kept the basic footprint of the house, but nearly doubled the size after wasted space was smartly reconfigured.

Kitchen

Photo: Grey Crawford

Kitchen

Wainscoting gives the space a more established look, and a picture ledge hangs below the ceiling, which is covered in V-groove paneling. Extra-thick countertops were a splurge but well worth it for their sense of style and character.

Dining Area

Photo: Grey Crawford

Dining Area

Built-in seating saves space but still accommodates a crowd. An upholstered bench that fit underneath the table helps maximize the floor space when not in use.

Sitting Area

Photo: Grey Crawford

Sitting Area

The homeowners wanted to create a nook out of pass-through space so every last inch of the house would get used.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom Before

The original home was essentially a one-bedroom shack. Drab, wood-finished interiors were brightened with white painted throughout.

Master Bedroom After

Photo: Grey Crawford

Master Bedroom After

Wide-stripe rugs take the formality of a smartly dressed room down a notch. A painted fixture, such as the bamboo chandelier, keeps the mood light and graces the space with a touch of vintage beach décor.

Exterior Before

Exterior Before

The painted white-brick house was traded for a cedar-shake exterior.

Exterior After

Photo: Grey Crawford

Exterior After

For the new driveway, the homeowners rescued pavers from a house being razed down the street.

Front Entrance

Photo: Grey Crawford

Front Entrance

A nothing-special entrance surrounded by a sea of concrete was tucked into the side of the house with curb appeal-boosting brick pavers leading up to it.

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