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  • Sarah Mervis

Rental Remodel

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

If you think remodeling is just for homeowners, think again.


Living in San Diego, California definitely has its perks... but housing affordability is not one of them! When my husband and I moved into our little beach cottage rental back in 2015, we knew we struck gold. Immediately I saw the potential for what it could be, but needless to say it took some serious patience and hard work to get our home to the point it's at now.


After a year of proving our worth as reliable tenants who cared about the house as much as our landlords did, we began convincing them to invest in my design background and my husband's handiwork skills. We proposed a simple upgrade plan for the home, where they agreed to provide all necessary funds for the remodel in exchange for our physical labor. (Huge thank you to all our friends who helped lay flooring!)

With our small cottage (700 square feet) it was necessary to emphasize the natural light. We painted all the walls white in every room to maximize the illusion of a larger footprint. Dark painted walls absorb light, whereas walls painted white reflect the light; giving the appearance of a bigger room.

Thinking back to the original flooring makes me queasy. Linoleum overtook both the bathroom and kitchen. Combine that with the faded brown carpet throughout the rest of the house, and you have the perfect combination of a 1970's decor palette. With such a dark surface surrounding the home, the rooms felt dark, tiny, and cavernous. Choosing light colored, highly traffic resistant, waterproof, vinyl floor planks for the entirety of the house maximized the potential of this beach rental's ability to function stylishly.


Incorporating the light and bright theme throughout our home, our furniture, and decor, has impacted our day to day life tremendously. Waking up in a beautiful space that speaks our style language is just one of the many benefits of a well designed home. Possibilities are endless, even in a rental! The key is proving your ideas are worth investing in :)