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Friday, October 9, 2015

Gulf Shores, Alabama


It's not every day that a client asks you to travel over 12 hours to Gulf Shores, Alabama to redesign and decorate their beach condo.  I have never been to Gulf Shores.  I didn't know HOW this was going to happen.  And I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but of course my immediate response, was "YES, I would LOVE to!!"  Sometimes, you just have to go for it and hope for the best, and figure things out as they come.

My first order of business was figuring out how I was going to get all of my supplies (painting, tools, ladder) down to Alabama.  Even though it would be a long trek to the opposite side of the states, a road trip was going to be the best answer for means of travel.  Then I realized I would NOT be able to tackle all of this work in a few short days on my own.  Luckily I have a sister and mom who love to do this type of work just as much as I do, so they agreed to take the trip with me.

After weeks of planning where to shop, what to do with the old furniture we would be replacing, where to eat, what to do, we made the long trip down to Alabama!

The first thing I wanted to do on Day 1 (the real Day 1 was traveling) was choose my paint colors.  We would be painting the living room and dining room area which is all one open room.  Typically, I like to choose paint colors after I choose all of the furniture, so that I can match the paint to the fabrics.  But I didn't have time for that!  I had to do things a little backwards.  Paint first -- match furniture and decor to the paint colors.


I had a good idea of the paint colors I wanted to use going into this project.  I knew I wanted to paint a stripe on one wall because it is an inexpensive way to add a lot of impact to a room.  I chose Sherwin Williams Sea Salt and Sherwin Williams Naval for the stripe.  And the paint names are perfect for a beach setting!


I love SW Sea Salt!  I use this paint color all the time for clients in their living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.   I even have it in my house as my living room and dining room color and in my master bathroom.  It is sort of a chameleon color.  It has a lot of blue in it, but also green.  Depending on the other colors in the room, it can look more blue or green.  Either way, it is a calming, soft color, perfect for the beach.  It can really be treated as a neutral.  Because it is light enough, the dark navy stripes look great on top of the Sea Salt color.

Day 1 was shopping, shopping, shopping!  I had a list of stores to visit to buy our furniture we needed -- sofa sleeper, 2 accent chairs, coffee table, end tables, dining room table, 4 dining chairs, tv cabinet, and lots of artwork and accessories.  We had a lot of shopping to do in a short amount of time.  We basically drove around Gulf Shores and stopped at any furniture or interiors store we saw from the road.


One of our favorite stores we found was called HRH!  Accessories for you and your home!  HRH stands for Her Royal Heiness!  How fun is that?!?  We almost didn't stop here because it looked really expensive from the outside.  We were on a really tight budget for all of the pieces we had to buy, but I am so glad we did because this store was awesome!! 


They had a huge variety of clothing and handbags.  And even more furniture and accessories selections.


They had gorgeous furniture throughout the entire second floor showroom, including this round coffee table.  And their prices were actually very affordable.


We couldn't leave without this amazing driftwood mirror.  It was going to be the perfect accent to the walls in the beach condo.  We also bought some fun things for ourselves at this store.  (we might have come back to this store on the last day, just to take another look to see if there was anything we missed!) ;)


Other shops we enjoyed and I would highly recommend to anyone in the Gulf Shores area is Oh So Coastal where we purchased a sofa, accent chair, side table, and an accent pillow.   Coco Island Furniture who had SO many great choices for us and eventually decided on an accent chair, artwork, and 4 dining chairs.   Beachside Furniture and Interiors where we found the perfect coffee table and side table.   Seacrest Furniture had the perfect dining table for our space.


Day 2 -- I am not the type of person that will walk into a furniture store and buy everything for a room as they have it displayed on their showroom floor.  For one, I had to shop around to get the best deals.  And two, I really like a more collected look for a home.  So, while Day 1 was shopping, Day 2 was going back to those same places and deciding on the exact pieces we were going to buy.  Decisions had to be made quick as everything is closed on Sundays and Monday was our only day open for delivery of the furniture.

It is hard to find good restaurants on vacation.  I'm not one to go to a chain restaurant on vacation.  I hate that.  I like to try new foods, new places, and local favorites!  We happened to swing into this restaurant and bar for lunch amid our shopping adventures one day.  It was SO good, we went back Sunday for dinner!

 
Island Wing Company has been open on the main strip since 2013.  They pride themselves on a bar/restaurant atmosphere with really healthy bar food, not your typical greasy bar food.  That was right up our alley!!  A reuben with mahi mahi fish and delicious mahi mahi tacos!!! Yum!


Day 3 was OUR day to do whatever we wanted and just enjoy Gulf Shores a little.  As much as we would have loved to just sit on the beach and relax, the weather was a little too chilly and way too windy for that, so crazy us, decided to do more shopping -- at the Tanger Outlets.  One would think that after 2 full days of shopping we wouldn't want to shop anymore, but this was a different kind of shopping full of new fall clothing, handbags, and jewelry!!

I found another fantastic resturant for Sunday breakfast, called Brick and Spoon.  Known for their Big Spoon Bloody Mary's with 50+ options to add to your bloody and voted One of the Best Breakfast Restaurants in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure.  It was Southern food with Louisiana creole flair!  Everything we had was delicious from the grapefruit mimosa (one of my favorite ways to do a mimosa), beignets, and shrimp + grits with a poached egg on top, because you have to eat shrimp + grits when you are in the South!!  They were SO good!  Maybe the best I've had.


 We even got to enjoy some time at the beach just before sunset.





This sunset was GORGEOUS!!  No filter needed here, y'all!  This beach in Gulf Shores was pristine!  Clean, white sand that looks like it was straight out of the Caribbean, and beautiful blue water.


Our resort at sunset...


Sunday evening was a relaxing evening in with wine, pizza, and salad outside on our patio before another busy work day.


On our last day of work, Day 4, we finished up all of our painting, DIY projects (more on those later), waited for all of the furniture to be delivered, waited on people to take the old furniture out, made returns, made a few last minute purchases, hung artwork on the walls.  It was ended up being a crazy, busy day!



 We deserved a good dinner and drinks after working so hard for 4 days!  Another must-see in Gulf Shores is Lulu Buffett's restaurant.  Sister of Jimmy Buffett.  Good drinks and great food!


 What a couple of crazy, quick days!  I CAN'T WAIT to show you the after pictures.  I am really excited about this one and really proud of the work we did in 4 short days!  Unfortunately, the client hasn't even seen the after product yet except for a couple of the sneak peeks I've posted on Instagram.  So, until they see the space in person in a couple weeks, I have to keep the after photos to myself. But I promise, they are worth the wait!


BEFORE + AFTER

Everyone was SO friendly and nice in Alabama!  I have been to a lot of places in the South, but the people of Alabama might be the sweetest of all.  Everyone was so sweet to help us pull together this beach condo makeover in 4 days, from the furniture store owners giving us deep discounts to allow us to purchase everything we needed on a tight budget, to the delivery guys who carried sofas and tables through the elevator and into our 12th floor beach condo and then removed all of the old furniture for us, and all of the people at the Beach Club Resort who catered to all of our needs.  It was a great experience.  I can't wait to go back!


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