COTE DE TEXAS: Ideas From A Talented Interior Designer

Ideas From A Talented Interior Designer


I am obsessed with before and after pictures where small, dated and unattractive beach condominiums are turned into chic, beautiful vacation spots.  For years Ben and I rented the ugliest condos at the beach and the entire time we were there I would think of what I would do to update it if we owned it.   I would try to make our rentals more attractive for our stay – I would pack loose slipcovers and bright, trendy pillows.   As soon as we arrived – I would go around the condo and put all the accessories and tacky wall hangings in a back closet.  A few years ago, I wrote a story about my feeble attempts at making a rental unit look more homey.  HERE.

This is the reason why when I spotted a blog story about a vacation condo makeover I was completely obsessed!   The condo was similar in size and style to what Ben and I rent at the beach – but, the After photographs were incredible.  I loved what the designer did and when I looked at her portfolio, I found that I loved her aesthetic.  I was in awe of her abilities to completely update her condo – and to be honest, I was a little jealous too!  I saw her choices and knew I would probably have never thought to do what she had done.

At the time I asked her if I could feature her condo and we decided to wait until her new web site went online, etc, etc.  Cut to some time later – and here we finally are!   A new website to go along with this story about Jennifer Schoenberger of Jennifer Schoenberger Design.  Jennifer lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia and she writes the charming blog – Vreeland Road HERE.

Today, I am so excited to show her condo along with some of her own home!






First, let’s look at the beach condo in Florida that caught my attention a few years ago.  At first, Jennifer kept the identity of the client a secret, but later, she admitted that she and her husband actually owned it themselves.  It is a small, one bedroom unit, with bunk beds that provide additional sleeping arrangements. 

The unit came with an ocean view – and was a great price – which made it all the more attractive.  The problem of one bedroom was solved with the bunk beds, and so Jennifer embarked on the total redo. 

She made two design decisions that became the focal point of the unit and really turned the ugly into chic.  First, on the floors she laid Peacock Pavers stone flooring – it’s a creamy tile that is beach friendly and beautiful.  Next, she put rough hewn cedar planks on the ceiling, replacing the popcorn that was previously there.  The ceilings are stunning.  They look like driftwood and are a perfect choice for the beach – plus they add so much atmosphere and décor.   They are just fabulous.



BEFORE:  When you enter the unit, you go down a long hall – the bunks are on the left, past the hanging jackets.  At the end of the hall is the living room/kitchen.  Notice the dingy, once-was-white carpet past the tiled foyer and the popcorn ceiling.  Now, look at this same space today:



Wow.  The star lanterns make a huge statement – available HERE.  Notice the pavers – how they flow from the hall to the living area.  At the left are the bunk beds – hiding behind a linen curtain (from Ikea!) unlined and breezy.  She repainted the black mirror on the right to look more beachy.  And – notice the planked ceiling!  What a huge difference!!!  I love the row of lanterns and the shadows they make are so lively in this enclosed space - another great choice Jennifer made. 



Here is the living/dining area.  



The other side of the room.




And a before picture of the kitchen, which was completely gutted.



This is the view looking down the hall to the front door – the bunks are on the right.





And after:  Jennifer used a white slipcover sofa along one wall with a skirted table and two taller slipped chairs along the other side wall.  The Kubu basket doubles as a coffee table and adds a beachy vibe.  After splurging on the basics – the tiled floor and cedar ceiling, she was thrifty with the décor, though it doesn’t show.  The sofa, hide rug, baskets and curtains all came from Ikea!!  Doesn’t it look wonderful?   The two chairs are from Lee Industries while the burlap skirted table is from Ballard Designs.  The custom pillows in a cheetah print and velvet add just a touch of luxe.



Another view – this shows the antique piece that divides the living room from the hall.  It’s a wonderful piece.  And like I always say – one antique piece of furniture in a room is so important to the décor.  The shelf adds so much and it makes all the other furniture look that much nicer – it is a stunner. 



The chippy shelf has just enough paint left on it – it looks like a piece of driftwood.  The shelf is very functional and holds the Ikea glasses and plates. 




An earlier view – with different styling.  I love the wood stick next to it and the shell prints. 



This picture gives you a nice view of the planked ceilings.  Aren’t the Ikea curtains perfect??



And here’s a look at the kitchen.  The footprint remained basically the same – but it was completely gutted.  The wall that separated the two areas was removed – instead there is an island that allows traffic to move easier.  And the island is much more open than the bar wall that was there before.  Upper cabinets were removed and the refrigerator was given a built in look. 




The subway tile was continued up the wall for a more finished look.  Something to remember:  run backsplashes up as high as you can.  Again – it really is a great look.





A look at the more recent styling job.  Jennifer added fish prints to break up the expanse of white.




And here- you can see how she enclosed the refrigerator in the cabinetry, giving it the look of a built in.  I did this in my kitchen too – it’s much cheaper than buying a Sub-Zero!




Before:  the bedroom had a wall of sliding glass doors.




And after – Jennifer installed a rolling barn door with a z-motif.  This opens up the closet – makes it much easier to get inside it.  She painted on a headboard and installed a shelf, instead of a nightstand.  Along the window are floor to ceiling linen curtains.



Before:  The bathroom was also gutted – she added a shower door and new sink.




The bathroom today  - Jennifer painted it dark to make it more dramatic and added molding strips along the walls.  a simple vanity sink was added, along with a new pendant light and hanging shelves. 



And, on the door – she added molding strips – in an X shape. 




Here is a look at the bunk beds, before.




And today  - behind the Ikea linen curtains, she added a light at each bunk and West Elm sheets, along with a new paint job. 




This before and after says it all.  The laundry room door, at the end of the hall, was truly nothing to look at.



But with paint and the x molding on the door, along with a strip of molding with hooks on it – and a large wicker basket, the space is styled for a magazine.    The X on all the doors was created by using 1 x 2 trim molding. 

It is all these touches – like the x motif, the wood planked ceiling, the redesigned kitchen, the barn door on the closet – that really shows Jennifer’s abilities. 



By the way – if you would like to rent this condo – in Seagrove Beach, Florida, go HERE for more information.



Jennifer’s House

After living in their house for 10 years, Jennifer and her husband are moving to a new place!  Renovating and styling a new house will provide lots of material for her blog (lucky!!) and I can’t wait to see what she does with her new home.  She sent me some pictures of the house they are selling – and again, these pictures show off her great style.



In the family room, the curtains and trim are by Mary McDonald’s fabric line for F. Schumacher.  Love!!!   Also, the pillow is another McDonald fabric. 



Against the large window, light blue pillows against the deep apricot of the fabric.




The couch sits under a mass of mirrors with a sunburst mirror layered over them.  Another great idea for filling up a large expanse of wall.




An example of Jennifer’s styling.  She painted the shelves dark which shows off her accessories much better than plain white walls.




The dining room is a study in gray.  An oversized fixture is the focal point. 




Jennifer and I share a love of symmetry.  I feel better when a design is symmetrically balanced. 





Flanking the front window is a pair of French vintage chairs.  I love this touch of fun!





And flanking the door that leads to the kitchen are a pair of skirted rectangular tables.





Jennifer’s kitchen is stunning.  Again – a study in symmetry.  I love the way the windows flank the stove hood and the appliances are on either side of them.  The pendants are perfectly placed in front of each picture.  The kitchen opens to the family room through an enlarged arch.



And, at the end of the island is Jennifer’s favorite X motif!  Love it!!



Jennifer had beadboard installed in small hallways to add interest.




The Keeping Room has a large banquette that sits in front of the window.  A wall of sheer curtains is on the left.



In front of the banquette is two chairs that sit by the fireplace. 



And, a night view of the keeping room – looking towards the back French door.




Jennifer recently updated the mud room, making it a bit more contemporary with new sconces and a hanging shelf.



Jennifer’s office – I love the two stools instead of chairs.  And the crystal chandelier is a good juxtaposition to all the rough luxe.






In Jennifer’s bedroom – she added a canopy by attaching hardware to the ceiling.  This is a simple way to get a canopy bed and such a great idea. 





And the sitting area in her bedroom with symmetrical wall hangings.



Finally, her bathroom with a set of Ikea framed prints and a linen curtain.  Love the light over the mirror.




This photograph is from Jennifer’s portfolio.  To see more of her work, be sure to visit her Web site – HERE.   From there, you can access her blog. 


A HUGE thank you to Jennifer Schoenberger for letting us peruse her portfolio.  I hope you got a few ideas for your own house!!  I know I did!




  1. I love Jennifer's sense of style. What she did to that condo is amazing, and I can only imagine her new home will be as stunning as the current one. (Love that Mary McDonald drapery fabric!).

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  2. A very creative person with lots of style. Thanks for sharing! Love the condo kitchen makeover and her own home's kitchen.

  3. Great vision and creativity. Loved this!

  4. Wonderful ceiling planking in the beach house!

  5. Thanks for sharing Jonie! I got A LOT of ideas for my own house!

    I love almost every house that you show, but this one is an immediate favorite! It is very kid-friendly. It doesn't look breakable or staged. It looks comfortable! I love that! I'm going to go check out her blog!

    Thanks for the great inspiration!

    Have a great day!


  6. Great beach condo. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I've been following Jennifer for a while - she really is super talented! Her style is so fresh. And, I love her unexpected mix of organic, modern and feminine elements. xo

  8. Yes she took the saddest little condo I think I have ever seen to a great level.
    My favorite is the entry redo, super lighting choice. The bunks look so much better, I would have shot that with the curtain pulled back. Nice post!

    1. Saddest little condo is right. I certainly believe she used some serious imagination, but it's still tiny and cramped. I would not want to be there with a family, even small children.

    2. I agree, it is beautiful but still tiny and I would be afraid I would break something

  9. Great post! I will definitely start following her....very talented! Is there anyway she might share her paint colors? I am looking to do something similar, and I am having a hard time deciding. Thanks so much!

  10. Oh, those Florida condos...I haul rugs, folding screens, move all the (plastic) plants out to the sun-porch, hang my swing, Moroccan fabric over the (plastic) get the picture. Fab job...the gal's GOT IT!! franki

  11. she is certainly talented + thanks for the introduction.

  12. Joni, this is my favorite post in a very long time! Love all of it, every single photo! Pinning away now!!!

  13. The beach condo is really impressive - I think a lot of her ideas could be adapted to a ski condo (many of the ones I've looked at are of similar vintage and craftsmanship). I love the way she's blended her sense of style with less expensive accessories and the way she has spent her decorating budget strategically.

  14. Jennifer is my girl....she is so talented and so REAL!!! I have seen her house in person and it is stunning!

  15. Stayed in similar condo reno in Destin, designer used color too.....

    Off topic, did you notice in new Traditional Home they airbrushed all the window views?????? Have been emailing them photography complaints for months about the horrendous garden views. Zero response. Yet, obvious they read my every note. FINALLY!


  16. Such a wonderful post! My family will be very happy to learn that I am not the only one to hide some of the decor in the beach condo we frequent. There is a dauphin statue that just annoys me and he goes promptly into a cabinet so I don't have to look at him. Also, so happy to know that I am not the only one dreaming of ways to make the condo look better if it were mine. It's like therapy!

    Love the redo on this condo. The ceiling is such a smart idea and truly takes it from a 70's look to a very current, hip and happy place. The door decor is fabulous and truly makes the condo look like it was not built just like every other condo. The antique shelf is not only pretty, but so functional for the small space. Love the bathroom just screams beach. I would love to stay in this condo. It just makes me happy.

  17. What an incredible transformation of the beach condo! LOVE the configuration, the white, and the kitchen looks much more roomier. Some comments on 2 things: I have that exact same IKEA white loveseat in my master bedroom. Luckily, it's hardly used because the seat pillows are terribly uncomfortable and really low. Can't imagine using that in a place where it gets regular use. Also, is anyone else tired of the subway tiles as kitchen backsplash? In a few years, that look will be really outdated. Gina from The Midwest

    1. see- I think the Ikea sofa is really comforatble. my daughter has it and we love it. and subway is a classic. it will be around forever.

    2. Jennifer has done an outstanding job and put a lot of thought and creativity into this project. There is an upstart business I ran across on line that seeks to put buyers and creators together. It's dedicated to the people who want luxury items at a price they can afford. Perhaps your readers might enjoy taking a looks:

  18. I really like what she did with the condo and her house - love the kitchen!

  19. OK, I loved this post. I too enjoy her aesthetic. More than anything, I enjoyed her blog, he is funny and sassy.. We love spending spending time in Watersound along 30A, We've stayed in all of the little towns along there and finally found Watersound to be our is like the Hamptons meets 30A and much more private and quiet. We do enjoy that outdoor theater in Seaside too. I have incorporated a lot of that 30 a (Tracery and Beau Interiors) aesthetic into my coastal homes. Thank you Joni. Also for turning me onto your cyber friends in Atlanta/Paris/Provence! I read these things to my hubby and he always laughs and says "She sounds like she could be your sister or bff." These blogs are fun for like-minded peeps to gather.

  20. Great post Joni! We rented a condo in Seagrove Beach for years when our children were younger and I always wanted to decorate it too! Seems like I read in one of your much earlier blogs that you went to South Padre every summer. If you want to see some of the most beautiful beaches in America, I would urge you to head west on I 10 to the Florida panhandle. It's not that much of a longer drive but so worth with it. Most of the newer areas like Watersound and Rosemary beach have beautifully decorated homes and condos for rent.

    1. Actually, you should go east on I 10.

  21. It is refreshing to see a home styled with objets that truly reflect the taste of the owner and showcase items that might have some real meaning to that individual and/or family and NOT what happens to the current trend! Yet she manages to keep the feeling fresh, comfortable, and livable. I am so anxious to go to her website and blog. Think I found my new favorite designer! Thank you Joni for a thoroughly wonderful post. I hope to see more of Jennifer's talent here!

  22. I love before and after pics too! Fun post! Thanks!

  23. Hi Joni, She did a beautiful job transforming the condo and her home is gorgeous! Many owners of beach condos don't update the units because they know they will be trashed by the tenants. We owned a beach house in Destin and we had so many things stolen, including the pictures right off the wall! After one year on the rental market it cost us $25,000 in repairs.

  24. Very nice and attainable design! I love the mix of kid friendly and some adult influence, like the beautiful fabric and faux fur throws. I wish this designer gem was here in Texas!! Thanks for showing down to earth designs :) It's greatly appreciated.

  25. Absolutely love Jennifer * the place looks SO good!!! It doesn't even look like the same house!!

  26. This is so interesting to me. This beach condo really reminds me of the layout of our beach condo in NC. We bought a totally gross, oceanfront, 1 br condo with bunkbeds like hers (for a great price) and totally redid it ourselves. Our style is different, but I love Jennifer's.

  27. I, too, love "before and afters" although some of the ones in AD are quite contrived because they only show the space after it was gutted. Back on topic, Betsy Speert has a current post on her blog, Betsy Speert, about what she did with her beach "shack" AND I DO MEAN SHACK in New England. Wait until you see what she did to turn it into a REALLY fab place. Cannot imagine why she ever let it go. But, it seems that Designers enjoy the project and then, once completed, want to move on to the next challenge. Anyway, an utterly fabulous renovation!

    Charlotte Des Fleurs.

  28. I love to rent places with a design aesthetic like this one. I wish there was a website or a convenient way to search for well-designed spaces-- you've inspired me!! I love that you do this, Joni. Thank you!

  29. Clip boards behind baskets on open shelving in the office! How clever!

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  31. Thank you Joni! These are my very favorite posts! Love her taste-just gorgeous!
    -linda, ny

  32. AMAZING! What a talent!! Pinned away!! Thank you for introducing me to Jennifer.

  33. one of my favorites has always been the keeping room in Jennifer's house which was designed by the fabulous Susan Ferrier, a well-known Atlanta designer....

  34. Hi, I saw the last picture on Pinterest. I think the kitchen with the blue barn door was designed by Lisa Gabrielson-Russo a designer in Atlanta? I've been following her for ages and it's also in her portfolio, and Pinterest page. I wondered who actually did that kitchen? Just trying to clear up a mystery. I think in fact it may have been Lisa and not Jennifer Shownenbeger..P.S. I love your blog one of my very favorites. I think I spend too much time on Pinterest because I start to recognize the work of different designers :), and I swear that kitchen was the work of Lisa Gabrielson.

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