An Easy-Breezy Beachside Reno in Marin County

In HGTV's Vacation House For Free, contractor Matt Blashaw renovates a Marin County beach cottage, turning it into an ideal vacation getaway and rental property for a San Francisco couple.
By: Trevor Lane

Priceless Views

HGTV renovation expert Matt Blashaw travels to scenic Marin County, California to undertake a renovation on a '70s beach cottage. Marin County is a top destination for those looking to escape to a secluded setting characterized by breathtaking views, world class surfing and exceptional food.

Simple Charms

After: This house, previously clad in aging dark brown siding — and described by the homeowners as looking like a "shoebox" — offered a key advantage of being just a few blocks from the ocean. With Matt's help, a cheery paint job, updated redwood deck and pergola, and a custom surfboard installation helped give the home a more welcoming and vibrant look.

Opening Up the Kitchen

To brighten up and enlarge the kitchen, Matt decided to remove a small wall that previously cut the room off from the living space. He also enlarged the window over the sink and added new cabinets in a coastal, key-lime green.

The Finished Kitchen

After: The bulk of the renovation went into making this kitchen an enjoyable place for renters to cook, relax and entertain. Clean lines and quartz countertops modernize the space while new hickory flooring and bright cabinet color add a beachy cottage feel.

The Dining Space

After: For rental potential, a great dining space is a definitive asset. In the remodeled space, a large rustic dining table dressed in coastal decor sits in front of floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors, offering an excellent view.

The Main Bedroom

After: Now an open and airy space, the master bedroom with en suite bath will give visitors a welcomed space to relax after a day on the beach. White furnishings and light textiles contrast against the dark ceiling beams, giving this space a bright and spacious cottage look.

Outdoor Amenities

The beach is all about outdoor living, so Matt created a space that allows owners or renters to take advantage of the setting. A new redwood deck is nicely integrated with French doors, custom arbor and grill space.

Value Added

The new outdoor shower — a beach home staple — and casual outdoor space complete with rustic Adirondack chairs will help add value and renter appeal to this home. Renovated bathrooms and kitchen will also help keep this property booked, bringing the owners significantly closer toward realizing their goal of a "vacation house for free."

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