Beach Flip Kitchen Challenge!

Beach Flip Kitchen Challenge!

This one was tough.

Of course we knew it would be, but nothing can prepare you when you see yourself losing your cool over countertops….

…without any make-up on.?

Add to that our competitors thinking we stole their design plan!

Cue the tears.

On top of all this, we were tasked with designing and completing a total kitchen overhaul in 5 days. This week was the ultimate test of patience and trust within ourselves.

Until the Beach Flip kitchen challenge, Nick and I had never fully renovated a kitchen before. We have plenty of experience elsewhere in the home, but we were very nervous to execute this in just 5 days. Not to mention as beautiful as Alabama is, Gulf Shores is very limited in their design resources. There were so many other let downs due to materials in stock. But the show is only an hour, with commercials, and with the goal of showcasing 4 stories.

Time is limited.

What I will tell you is our initial desire was to get sea foam green glass 3×6 tiles for our backsplash.


Goodness, that would have been so pretty!

Unfortunately, no one had that tile in stock. We love an all white kitchen, but we believe the kitchen backsplash is the beautiful belt on a designer dress—we wanted it to really stand out. We ended up finding a mosaic tile with beautiful green coloring and we were so excited to put it up, but we were so behind after our black mold incident we didn’t get to hanging the backsplash until the night before the deadline. That night we couldn’t get the thin set to mix right. I don’t know what our problem was. Extreme exhaustion or what. Regardless, the mosaic tile kept slipping. It was so frustrating.

If you know Nick and me at all you know that we are obsessed with old New York City design. Subway tiles, hexagons, and vintage hardware. It was a no-brainer for us to go back to what we know and love—what’s cheap and easy—basic white subway tile. And that’s what we did.

Enough shoulda-coulda-wouldas.

Martha and Alex’s kitchen was gorgeous! Her design eye and his flawless execution was deserving of the win! We couldn’t have been happier for them! How about that wagon wheel and all the cute accessories? It was a fantastic kitchen! Still jealous of the cast iron farmhouse sink!

And can we talk about Mahdi and Melissa’s awesome turquoise blue kitchen? Those two really know how to think outside the box! That bright white against that beautiful blue really made the kitchen feel beachy. And those sparkly countertops! Yes, they made me cry because the thought of those countertops against my classic cream cabinets made me cringe…but it totally worked in their space!

Lucy and Daphney—they’re just freaks of nature. We are still blown away with how many cabinets they were able to fit in their space! Not to mention that reclaimed wood island top! Those ladies are smart and creative! Nick and I really respect them as professionals—it was around this challenge that I started to really look up to Lucy. I was so impressed with her jewelry line (<—- check out the link here to view her inventory—the ladies wore it everyday to the beach houses!), creativity, and time management skills. I am at the very beginning stages of my design career—I know I could learn a lot from her.

Enough about our competitors though! Let’s talk about that beautiful kitchen we pumped out in just 5 days time!


This is the before pictures. It really doesn’t do it justice. I feel like the countertops and cabinets look so much cleaner in this picture. They were so gross. The appliances were old and dirty and you definitely couldn’t have more than one cook in this kitchen. The wall you see to your right was the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room…

…and from the most amazing view of the Gulf of Mexico.

It had to come down. For a brief moment in our design plan, I wanted to do an L shaped kitchen with an island…but we were afraid we wouldn’t have enough room. In hindsight we would have, but when you’re on this kind of deadline and with a challenge win on the line, sometimes you have to play it a bit safe.


And here is the gorgeous after. Simple, clean, and bright!


Still love our Hickory Helena flooring form Lumber Liquidators. It tied in well with the warm tones of our cabinetry. And you’d think those bar stools were made for this cabinet line—but they’re from Joss and Main! The seats are wicker and lend themselves to the beachy atmosphere.


I’m obsessed with these pendants! So much so, I think I’m going to use them in our kitchen remodel. I love seeing the edison light bulb exposed. The fun bubble shape brings a fun and modern element to the space. The oil rubbed bronze chain ties in with the rest of our hardware.


Our feature wall! I knew the space needed color. I LOVE stenciling, but there wasn’t enough time to order a stencil and put it up in 5 days time. Instead I went with 12″ stripes. I think it’s fun and nautical. The round mirrors reminded me of windows on a boat or ship. They really helped to bounce light around.


Last but not least, our favorite little touch—-real boat cleats as cabinet door hardware!

How cute?!?!?

We were so excited when we found these. It’s a classy way to have a bit of fun.


And there she is! Our classic revival Gulf Dreams kitchen! We are so excited that the overwhelming task of taking on a kitchen overhaul didn’t stop us from getting creative! Would we have changed things, sure! But we continue to be very proud of this work!


Fans of the Gulf Dream Team? Check out more of our style on the HGTV website! You can even vote for your favorite kitchen here.

Also, before I go, I have to tell you, we totally had a secret weapon while renovating Gulf Dreams. Mark Perea, owner of Skyline Home Improvements in Mobile, Alabama was our carpenter during the entire competition. Mark was priceless. He hustled like crazy—he was truly invested in our success. We are forever grateful. See if you can’t spot him in next week’s episode as we take on the living room!

1 Comment
  • Lucy
    Posted at 22:54h, 14 July Reply

    I love you, sarah! See you in two days!!!

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