Topsail Beach Condo Renovation


My stepmom, Diane Chamberlain (the famous author), purchased a fixer-upper beach condo in Topsail Beach last year. She hired my sister, Caitlin, to work her interior designer magic on the place. My sister then convinced me to come put in some manual labor. (Please excuse our sweaty appearance. This was midway through one hot and sweaty day.)


But, it’s all good because you know I love doing this stuff. And my stepmom gave me permission to stay in the condo anytime it isn’t rented! That’s a deal I definitely couldn’t turn down!

Without further adieu, I’m giving you an all access view of the renovation with before and after images.

Welcome to 118!


I sanded the door down, fixed some of the chipping veneer, painted it and added new numbers and a door knocker.

My sister and Diane picked out the knocker. Sea turtles are strongly linked with Topsail because of the sea turtle rehab and rescue facility on the island.


When you enter the condo, the kitchen is on your right. The old kitchen had dated formica doors and countertops. None of the cabinet doors were hung straight. And the sink was too shallow.


The cabinet boxes were primed and painted by the contractor and new doors were installed. The appliances are the same, but they look so much better with the updated cabinet doors.

A new sink, faucet, and countertops were installed. To free up space on the counters, a microwave was hung over the stove.



The kitchen opens up to a bar and the dining area. Before, the wall was broken up by the back of the cabinets:


The bottom three inches of trim was cut off below the cabinets. Sheetrock was installed to cover up the oak and tie it into the rest of the walls in the condo. Caitlin created the clock collage and purchased new bar stools.


To add more lighting, puck lights were wired and installed beneath the overhead cabinets.


I painted the “We’re Always on Beach Time” sign for her collage.


Behind the bar is the dining area. The dated mauve chairs, ugly light fixture and teal carpet had to go! Yuck, yuck, yuck!


The after is simple but elegant. An oval dining table allows for better flow around the table.


Can I point out those floors?! They are actually vinyl planks that look like wood. This was by far the best decision made in this dated condo.


The living room was frump-alicious with lumpy sofas and more dated decor.




My sister picked out a beautiful blue and tan coral patterned sofa and loveseat. A coordinating chair and ottoman rounds out the grouping.


The coffee table, side tables and console table were painted to give them a fresh new look.


The oyster shell lamp also got a new coat of paint and a new lampshade.


After a few coats of Annie Sloan French Linen paint, the console table looks brand new and blends well with the new furniture. Hooray for reusing old!


Unfortunately some things needed to be retired. Like the dated bathroom fixtures.


It is hard to believe this is the same bathroom! New everything. Well, almost everything, we did save the medicine cabinet and had the contractor give it a fresh coat of white paint.


The bifold door was discarded and new built-in shelving increased the storage potential for this small shared bathroom.


Speaking of dated bathrooms, this was the master bathroom. UGLY!


Caitlin’s vision for this bathroom was incredible! I wouldn’t believe it was the same room if I hadn’t witnessed the transformation. New vanity, mirror, lighting, toilet and a fresh coat of paint.


The condo is filled with photographs by John Pagliuca, Diane’s spouse. If you get a moment, you have to see some of his fine art images!


The master bathroom is accessible only from the master bedroom. The dated art, furniture and floral bedspread had to go!



Now, the transformed bedroom is truly fit for a king! New carpeting, furniture, paint and bedding makes a huge difference. You can read the tutorial for how I created that rustic wooden plank headboard.



The views from the master bedroom are stunning! The sun comes in the sliding door at day break and you can see the ocean from bed!


Down the hall is a bedroom for the kids. The before isn’t too bad.


Okay, so it was bad, especially because the after is amazing!


The mirror was a $15 score at a thrift shop. I transformed it with Miss Mustard Seed Tricycle paint and some wooden scraps.



New furniture, lamps, carpet, paint and bedding transforms this room into a nautical retreat. The vintage oars aren’t really vintage. I made them myself. You can read the tutorial to create your own vintage painted oars.


Caitlin and her friend Michelle painted the stripes on the wall. What a fun way to add some more color to this kids’ room.


One bedroom left! This is the queen bedroom. But, I’m not sure what Queen would appreciate this eclectic floral explosion.


My sister picked out a beautiful color scheme in this room. Restful green walls, khaki linens, and pillows with beautiful coral pink.

queen-bedroom-after-3 queen-bed-after2

The queen bedroom overlooks the sound. The views from this condo are gorgeous from every window!


My other sister, Alana, is the photographer of the art over the bed. Yes, I know, we are a talented family.

I added bead board and molding to all the hollow core doors to give them a more attractive look. Here’s the easy tutorial for adding moulding to a flat panel door.


Didn’t my sister, Caitlin, do an amazing job?! For more before and after transformations, be sure to check out her facebook page. Also, if you live in the San Jose area, she can help you with your next design project.

I can’t leave you without a quick view of the ocean from the condo deck.

Wouldn’t you love to vacation at this beautiful beach front condo with your family?

Topsail Beach | Pretty Handy Girl

You’re in luck. This 3 bedroom Topsail Beach condo is available to rent! You can also view rental information for Diane’s 2 bedroom condo in the same complex. Both are on the water and both have been renovated.

When you book a rental in one of her condos, you’ll get a complimentary copy of one of her novels, which are perfect beach reads! If you haven’t read her books yet, they are phenomenal!!!



Source list:

King bedding:

Queen bedding: Bed Bath and Beyond

Twin room bedding:

Wood Plank Vinyl Flooring: Mannington Adura Luxury Plank – Burma Teak (color)

Paint colors:

Paint Colors (all are Benjamin Moore)

  • Living Room, Front Halls, Kitchen, Halls = 924 San Mateo Beaches (Eggshell)
  • Master Bedroom = 1633 Brittany Blue (Eggshell)
  • Master Bathroom = 688 Seacliff Heights (Satin)
  • Queen Bedroom (the one off the hall bath) = HC-116 Guilford Green (Eggshell)
  • Hall Bath = 478 Sweet Caroline (Eggshell)
  • Twin = 957 Papaya (Eggshell)
  • Stripes in Twin Room on Headboard Wall Only:  1323 & HC-156 (Satin) **just need a small amount of paint for the stripes
  • All Interior Doors , Doors, Basemolding = Swiss Coffee (Semi Gloss)
  • Kitchen Cabinets= Swiss Coffee (Semi Gloss)




  1. What an absolutely amazing transformation! I was going to point out my favorite part, but honestly I love it all!

  2. Beautiful job! Can you tell me what brand / colour vinyl plank flooring you used? I’m researching flooring now and this is one of the options I’m considering. Thanks!

  3. You guys did a really good job transforming the space. I look forward to hearing how you changed the interior doors. They look amazing.

  4. Wow. What a transformation. You wouldn’t even recognize it as the same place!

  5. AMAZING! You guys are a wonderful tag team!!

  6. This was a definite WOW Brittany! Super transformation all around. Kudos to your sisters for all this as well.

  7. Terri Hughes says:

    WOW…..great job, I love it.

  8. Claire Adams says:

    Love and love! Y’all did a fabulous job and I know Diane is over the moon! Thanks for sharing the details. BTW….where did those awesome barrel-back cane chairs that were in the “before” living room photos end up? They would be awesome refurbished….Hollywood Regency style! 😉

  9. Great job, ladies! Love what you did to the doors! And good taste in lighting…I have that same dining room light and bathroom vanity light!

  10. WOW!!! What a big difference. Love Topsail!!! I can’t believe how outdated the condo was. You girls did an awesome job. I’m in Tennessee now and you just made me miss my Carolina beaches. I’ll always be a Carolina Girl! Lesley

  11. Wow, I love this place. My brother-in-law has a place in Topsail Island as well, so I know what a fun place this is. I love, love, love, the beadboard and molding added to the otherwise, plain ugly doors. You truly are very handy! We are having a “bloggers chat” in Fairhope, AL in March. If you are interested in joining us, please send me an email. We would LOVE to have you! The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival is the weekend before, so you could combine fun and business.

  12. This came out GREAT! I love the prints you picked for the couch and the pillows in the bedroom. The floors were the first thing I noticed, and because its going to be rented out, this seems like a great alternative to traditional hardwoods. Thanks for sharing and showing people that the size of the place doesn’t matter, it can still be adorable and functional!

  13. I loved reading about this, Brittany. We have an ocean front condo located in North Topsail Beach that we completely renovated when we purchased it. Topsail is such a wonderful, wonderful beach. I’d love to run into you sometime when we’re down there! Great job on the makeover of your stepmom’s condo!


  15. Wow! What a beautiful transformation! You really are a talented family — thanks so much for sharing it. Now enjoy that great retreat and beautiful views.

  16. Gorgeous – well done! Could I ask what brand of flooring you all used? I’ve got a beach house with some nasty carpet and ugly linoleum and two labs and just can’t bear to invest the cost of solid wood. The look you achieved is just what I’m looking for! Thanks :)

  17. You all did such an amazing job transforming and updating the beach cottage! It’s beautiful!

  18. Oh my goodness! You guys did an amazing job! It looks beautiful!

  19. Wow! What an amazing transformation from fugly 80s to the cool 2014! Love, LOVE EVERYTHING y’all did! Beautiful job!

  20. Great transformation…. In particular I love the door knocker, the clocks – all together too…. they look great. The mirror in the hallway? is fantastic and the seahorse cushions…. wow! Adding additional lighting and transforming the doors…. fantastic girls!!! Any chance you could come over to England and transform my house? Ha!

  21. This is pretty awesome!

  22. Wow, you and your sister are so talented! You really did a wonderful transformation on the entire condo. Now it looks fresh, clean and stylish.

    I’m not familiar with your stepmom’s work; I will have to read some of her books. I love reading, so how neat your stepmom is an author!


  23. WOW!!! Nicely, nicely done…. I too was going to comment on my favorite part, but it is all just beautiful…
    (maybe the clock wall… great idea : ) Great job girls!! & not too shabby having to work with those views : )

  24. This is my favourite condo makeover that I’ve seen in a while!
    It’s really great to see the beach details such as sea horses on the bedroom cushions, the sea shell pictures hanging on the wall.
    I love the entire condo. The whole living room area is really neat and better-looking than before. It’s really interesting to see, how the same space can be changed entirely, while giving the same good vibes. Your sister has really good taste!

  25. Amazing transformation! We spend out vacations in Holden Beach. Boy – I sure do know a few beach rentals there that could use you and your sister’s talent!!

  26. Holy Holy COW.. You ladies are freaking amazing. Excellent work!

  27. Oh and I forgot….I love the turtle! Cheers.

  28. Found your blog while looking for examples of trim for on top of batten…
    Checked out your boys bathroom and then saw a link for this topsail condo renovation and HAD to check it out. Why? Because I LOVE Topsail. Its my most favorite vacation place. Family has been coming here for like ten years :) Love it, love the renovation, and adding your blog to my BlogLovin list!!!

  29. Where did you get the white double vanity?

  30. What is the brand name or the source for the dining room set and the living room furniture? The transformation is amazing!

  31. The transformation is amazing! Do you know your source or the brand name of the dining room set and living room furniture?

  32. Linda Cole says:

    Love the transformation that you and your sister did to this condo. It turned our so nice. I have bookmarked the condo info so that when my family decides to take a trip to that area we can book the condo. Thanks for the share!

  33. David Watson says:

    Great job!! We just purchased an almost identical fixer upper at Poolside Villas in Destin. My wife and I will be doing a lot of similar upgrades. We may want to reach out to you for ideas and suggestions. How do you charge for your services?


  1. […] Pretty Handy Girl […]

  2. […] Beach Condo Makeover by Pretty Handy Girl. […]

  3. […] she’s the same one who I worked with to renovate the Topsail Beach condo.  (We really need a better photo of the two of us. I still feel sweaty looking at that photo.) She […]

  4. […] installed the Delta In2ition shower head in the Topsail Beach Condo we renovated. I’ve been intrigued by this shower head and after trying it out, I love […]

  5. […] know I can always count on Caitlin. Some of you may remember when Caitlin and I worked together on renovating this beach condo. Caitlin is the talented designer behind Symmetry […]

  6. […] the owner of the condo for letting us stay (Brittany’s aunt, who is also a famous author and had Brittany do the condo’s makeover a while back, was going to be visiting the same condo not long after we […]

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