Cottage Creation
Romantic Homes|January 2017

Transform any home into a dreamy coastal cottage inexpensively, with a little inspiration and a lot of DIY gusto.

Olivia Bounvongxay

As newlyweds, Matt and Shaunna West built their home from scratch in Troy, Alabama. Finding an open floor plan they loved, they customized their abode with coffered ceilings, a winding staircase and lots of windows.

“I had decorated the house very traditionally and had convinced myself that was the way grownups decorated,” Shaunna says of her heavy color palette of dark wood and red. Everything was coordinated: red sofas, red chairs, and red wallpaper and draperies. “It makes me laugh now, but at the time I was stuck,” she says.

Shaunna’s attitude toward her décor—and more importantly her capabilities—gradually began to change after she and Matt started taking mission trips to Honduras. Building houses for the local people led Shaunna to something she had never imagined: her love for hard work and do it-yourself projects. “As I began to create with my hands, I was hooked,” she says.

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