before and after

Before & After: Deb Nelson’s Nova Scotia Getaway

by Grace Bonney

If there’s one material I appreciate someone dealing with above all others, it’s knotty pine. Knotty pine can be absolutely gorgeous, but it can also be pretty heinous when it’s stained poorly and starts to bleed through just about any paint and primer you put on it. I try to save any wood I can at home from being painted over, but sometimes a fresh coat of paint is just what a space needs to feel bright, light and open.

Today’s makeover is all about the power of bright white paint and what it can do to transform a room that feels dark and outdated into a clear, open space that is both calming and modern. Designer and writer Deb Nelson transformed this space, the third floor of her Nova Scotia home, through some hard work, great space planning and a lot of white paint. Focusing on the room’s spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, her goal was to have the walls and floors fall away to let the ocean take center stage. I seriously admire her hard work and effort with all this painting — and how serene the final space turned out to be. Thanks so much to Deb for sharing this space with us. Click through to read more about the process and see photos from all of the project’s many stages. xo, grace

Deb's makeover from start to finish! Click through for all stages of the process.
In 2012, Deb purchased a beautiful old house close to the Atlantic Ocean in Chester, Nova Scotia, and embarked on a huge renovation. The house was built in 1844 and had add-on's and upgrades, but in 2013, Deb did a significant gut and rebuild of the third floor which is now complete. This floor of the house has incredible ocean views and is the main reason Deb bought the house.
The third floor was covered in knotty pine, which had been oiled years and years ago. It took gallons (and gallons) of paint to cover it, but Deb wanted to create a space that was brighter and more open.
To begin the process, the room was cleared and new wiring was run.
Once the wiring was done, Deb painted the entire room, top to bottom, with coats of white paint.
The final result of all the painting is a clean, fresh space that lets the incredible view (seriously, wow) shine.
The new space is a light-filled space that has an open, beachy feel.
Stripes and wooden accents add some depth and color to the room's all-white palette.
The back half of the floor has a guest bed and artwork. I love that Deb was able to salvage that room's original dresser.
Details of the painted built-in cabinets.
Recently Deb decided to redecorate the space (again!) with a more spread-out layout that blocks little to none of the ocean view.
The most recent bed position in the room.

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