Coastal Cottage in Charleston, SC

When Dawn and her husband, John, looked to purchase a home for their family of four, they set their sights on older houses in the Isle of Palms area of South Carolina. It wasn't long before they were taken with a ranch-style home located on a flat lot within walking distance to the local elementary school and the beach.

Over the next few months, Dawn and John worked nights and weekends overhauling the home, completing most of the work themselves. With a background in interior design, Dawn wanted the house to feel bright, airy– and maintain the charm of an old beach cottage.

First on the list was to connect the dining room with the adjacent kitchen via a large pass-through window. “Before, the kitchen was completely shut off from the rest of the home,” says Dawn. “Now, the kitchen and dining areas flow seamlessly. Plus, we have a convenient eat-in bar for our sons Jackson and Harrison.” 

Just beyond the kitchen, Dawn and John converted the home’s garage into a laundry space and guest bedroom. Because of the home’s open plan, Dawn wanted the laundry room to be attractive and maintain the barefoot-friendly vibe.

In the nearby dining room, they transformed a standard coat closet into a recessed niche with seaworthy style. The nook provides a place to sit upon entering, or hang coats and beach gear. “If you want the look of an older structure, you have to weave nooks and crannies into the plan,” says Dawn. “Old houses have quirks and imperfections throughout and you must stay true to that authenticity.”

Without a doubt, the humble cottage proved worthy of its renovation. And to those who enter, the house recalls a bygone beach era. “Life here is so simple,” says John. “We love living here. It’s the ideal family home.”

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