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How A Seaside Home Renovation Infused Owner's Life With Wellness

From Abandoned Coastal Cottage to

“A Little Piece of Paradise”

Open Concept Kitchen

Great Room for Family Relaxation and Views

A Simple Uncluttered Entrance

When my client Michelle, a professional single mom of 3 grown kids, was drawn to an abandoned Connecticut coastal cottage with tiny rooms and an overgrown lawn, she never dreamed it would become her family’s happy place.

After she purchased the 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath cottage next to a sun-drenched marina, I helped her envision how the small home could feel spacious with vaulted ceilings and walls removed for a better flow to invite gathering and relaxation.

This Was The Beginning of A Beautiful Transformation

We designed a space filled with soothing beach friendly materials and natural light highlighting a vista of the water and boats nearby. A furnished outdoor patio invites cook outs, lawn games and evenings chatting around the fire pit. Outdoor spaces are an easy extension of the living area. Check out our post on outdoor living spaces here

The resulting coastal renovation created a home design that has elevated her wellness and created a healthier, happier lifestyle for her and her family.

“This is my little piece of paradise,” “Now I appreciate how a small home that is designed well can do more for a person than I ever imagined. "Catherine and her team (at Grande Interiors) made this property shine for me and my family." MICHELLE, client

Michelle was only able to visit in person 3 times during the entire renovation, and much of the project management had to be done remotely.

"This could have been super stressful, (since I could not be there in person often)," Michelle says. "However, Catherine and the team made it work, and actually made the process exciting! Catherine's guidance and assistance on this and other homes she has done for me has been amazing."

Learn more about our virtual design services here

Michelle explained, "The overall design is calming and streamlined with a hint of modern coastal (totally my style),” “Neutral colors of creams, tans and grays are used throughout with different textures for a very organic feel. All the interior and exterior materials are coastal and family/pet friendly, so I am totally relaxed at home no matter how many people or pets are around.”

Redesigning a Cottage for Healthier, Happier Living Grande Interiors designed every aspect of Michelle’s renovation –inside and out -- to enhance her health and well-being by promoting family connection, giving her peace of mind, eliminating clutter, creating a quiet, low-maintenance space and allowing a. refreshing interface with nature. Here’s a look at the ways we renovated her home design with wellness in mind:

AN OPEN AND INVITING FLOOR PLAN INVITES CONNECTION: When Michelle purchased it, the nearly 100-year-old cottage had tiny rooms that looked like they were decorated in the 1950s.

Original Tiny Closed Off Spaces Redesigned For Good Flow

We removed many of the walls, reconfiguring a large kitchen and family room area comfortable for gathering. We transformed a sun porch to become part of the living area with a wall of windows offering a panorama of the marina.

Catherine Adding The Finishing Touch In The Kitchen

The home is filled with small-space solutions. For example, the master bath wasn’t large enough for a double sink, so we designed this sink with an extra-wide basin:

Michelle shared her delight with the end result. “(The cottage renovation) fulfilled my dream to have a small home that would encourage my 3 adult children who live nearby to visit often and allow my 3 dogs plenty of space to enjoy,” “As the family grows, we have room to all gather here, and it has become THE place to meet!”

CLUTTER-FREE & LOW MAINTENANCE FEATURES REDUCE STRESS, ENHANCE HEALTH. Through designing strategic storage and selecting durable, coastal-friendly materials, we achieved a serene and organized space requiring less maintenance, giving Michelle more time outdoors walking, biking, boating and enjoying her family. The increased exercise has improved her health, she says. Time, effort and stress for housekeeping is minimized because every room has ample storage. This includes a wall-length master bedroom closet, a floor-to-ceiling reach-in closet in the guest room, carefully-planned storage for the dogs’ supplies in the kitchen and a laundry closet with stacking shelves and designated space for cleaning products and hanging laundry.

The wide plank oak floors in a light natural finish have held up beautifully with a new puppy in the house and they’re easily cleanable from sand and surf. In the kitchen, we selected quartz countertops rather than natural stone for durability.

NATURAL COLORS, TEXTURES & MATERIALS ARE UPLIFTING. We filled the home with the neutral colors and natural materials. Michelle loves linens, down, wool and seagrass. The guest bath has a river rock floor and a cool dimensional wave tile in the shower.

Guest Bath "Being surrounded by natural materials and textiles is “calming and comforting,” Michelle says.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT AND STORM-SAFE MATERIALS BRING PEACE OF MIND. The cottage is energy-efficient for coastal living, with highly-rated hurricane-safe windows and authentic shiplap siding. We used high-quality insulation to keep noise clutter down, creating a quiet and peaceful setting, and assurance of durability through years of coastal weather.

As Michelle’s home and happy family shows, wellness-focused interior design can enhance your health on all levels: emotionally, physically, mentally and relationally. If you’d like to take a wellness approach to your next coastal renovation, contact us at

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