Grace and Collin’s Coastal Cottage

updated Apr 7, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Grace, blogger of Grace Happens and Collin Sorensen
Location: San Diego, California
Size: 1,200sq ft
Years Lived In: 2.5 months

All month long, we’ve been sharing Home Hacks from small projects like caring for teak furniture and dealing with stripped screws to bigger challenges, like how to cover up an ugly AC unit. But how’s this for the ultimate Home Hack? Grace and Collin Sorensen bought a major fixer upper and had exactly one month to make it not just livable–but a home for them, their son Harper, and their dog Riley.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Most of us would start interviewing contractors immediately, but not this family: They took on the challenge head-on. Grace credits her hardworking husband for doing the bulk of the labor from tearing down walls, tiling the bathrooms, and installing new cabinets and floors…and that’s just only a little bit of what they had to do.

The Sorensen home pulls influences from all over the globe, from the Asian-inspired blue and white vases and end tables to the casual elegance of Hamptons-style beach houses, with a few nods to classic European touches especially in Grace’s collection of antique silverware and embroidered monogramming in unexpected places. After moving to Cardiff in San Diego County from Virginia, the Sorensens had a difficult time embracing the beach lifestyle. OK, that’s a lie. I don’t think many people would be opposed to having a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean from their front porch or enjoying gorgeous weather year-round.

AT Survey:

My/Our style: Our style is very classic, coastal, and traditional, with a mix of antique and vintage pieces. We love to incorporate the colors of the sea. All of the walls are white, which lets us play around with pops of color in our decorative accessories. We have a lot of blue and white pottery and turquoise accents. Overall, our style is very laid back and cozy.

Inspiration: We live walking distance to the beach so I’d have to say that the water, waves and sand that surround us are what inspires our home. It feels very coastal cottage-like the second you walk in.

Favorite Element: There are so many things, so this is hard. I love all of our lighting especially the turquoise lanterns in our kitchen.

Biggest Challenge: Time was our biggest challenge. We had 30 days to completely gut and renovate our entire house.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What Friends Say: My friends often ask me, “why aren’t you an interior decorator?” or they say that our home “looks straight out of a magazine..”

Biggest Embarrassment: The first night we stayed in our home, we did not have running water. We had to be VERY creative when it came time to use the potty. Haha!

Proudest DIY: The entire house! My husband did everything on his own. He drilled, grinded and tore up tile and wood floors to lay down new ones…he installed plumbing fixtures, tile, cabinets, lighting, and that is all just a fraction of what was done around our home. It honestly should have taken months to do what he did, but he utilized every free second to finish it in 30 days. I’m very proud of him!

Biggest Indulgence: Our carrera marble counters were a nice little splurge.

Best advice: A small home can feel big if it’s full of items you love.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Appliances: Jenn Air

Lighting: Overstock,

Paint: Sherwin Williams No Voc Paint

Flooring: Simple Floors

Tiles and Stone: Oceanside Glass Tile

Window Treatments: Overstock

Beds: Pottery Barn slipcovered headboard in Master bedroom

(Thanks, Grace, Collin, Harper and Riley!)

Photos by Grace Sorensen
And check our archives of ATLA’s past house tours HERE
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’ve had amazing response to our Apartment Therapy House Tour Submission Form. While we will work with homeowners of our favorite homes to feature full tours, we will also share the best as House Calls — short, quick tours of readers’ homes. Submit your home here.