This Designer Rebuilt a Family Room After a Devastating Hurricane — Here's How

Coastal living room with white sofa and armchairs.

Design: Liz Goldberg; Photo: Dustin Peck

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“Our client's house was ravaged by Hurricane Florence in 2018,” Liz Goldberg, the founder and creative director at CAROLYNLEONA Design, explains. “I was hired to reimagine the home and create a more functional den that would speak to the family’s indoor/outdoor lifestyle, a place where they could enjoy the amazing water views, take an afternoon nap, or enjoy an evening cocktail.”

Meet the Expert

Liz Goldberg is the founder and creative director at CAROLYNLEONA in Raleigh, North Carolina, which customizes beautiful spaces for how her clients and families live. Her style combines unique textiles, heirloom pieces, and a mix of old and new.

Before:

Before shot of cluttered living room.

Courtesy of Liz Goldberg

“Everything was brought down to the studs, and then we went to work on opening up the room, eliminating the non-functioning fireplace, the built-ins that were protruding into the room, and the ceiling beams that made the space feel crowded,” Goldberg says.

After:

Built in nook with colorful pillows.

Design: Liz Goldberg; Photo: Dustin Peck

“Removing the beams instantly made the low ceilings feel taller, while painting the walls white made the room feel larger," Goldberg explains. "I incorporated a curve around the nook because the room was lacking architectural details, and I wanted to create a focal point that would make the space feel more custom. My colors, inspired by the incredible outdoor views, included sky blues and greens, colors reflective of the sea. Where the bookshelves once stood, I created a closet to store games and family photo albums."

What Changed:

  • Color theme: A mix of bright and deep blues, greens, and neutrals come together to produce a soft, beachy vibe. 
  • Sofa: The original sofa and chairs were reupholstered in a washable white slipcover fabric.
  • Pillows: The linen turquoise pillows on the sofa and chairs provide a pop of color, and the multi-colored pillows on the bench incorporate different prints and colors. 
  • Floors: Vinyl plank flooring was used throughout the room for its hardwood look and low maintenance perks. 
  • Rug: A chunky woven wool rug in shades of grey, mushroom, and white provides texture and grounds the space in warmth. 
  • Coffee table: The casual silhouette and fun crisscross detailing in the table’s base reflect a cool yet casual style. 
  • Sideboard: The sand-colored four-door credenza provides tons of storage with its two tray drawers and two adjustable interior shelves. 
  • Stools: Woven layers of wrapped abaca rope can be found on the octagonal stools, which can be used as side tables or additional seating. 
  • Curtains: Custom-designed split draw linen curtains filter daytime glare while providing privacy at night. 
  • Walls: The walls were painted a crisp white (Benjamin Moore Decorator's White) to make the room appear larger and brighter. 
  • Nook: An arched reading alcove provides a place to sit or nap and incorporates a cypress wood ceiling, niche bookshelves, and storage drawers. 
  • Custom cushion: The durable aloe-colored polyester fabric has the look and feel of linen.
  • Sconces: The nautical-inspired oval wall sconces provide mood lighting while their antique brass finish coordinates with the storage drawer’s hardware.
  • Wallpaper: Sea glass-inspired wallpaper adds texture and warmth to the space. 
  • Mirror: Gold leaf was added to an existing white lacquered mirror.
  • Room accessories: A curated collection of items include a telescope, books, vases, and a driftwood table lamp. 

Shop the Look:

Close up of nook and ornate mirror.

Design: Liz Goldberg; Photo: Dustin Peck

Wade Coastal Beach Brown Abaca Rope Octagonal Side End Table
Kathy Kuo Home Wade Coastal Beach Brown Abaca Rope Octagonal Side End Table $665
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“These stools are multifunctional — they serve as seating or as tables,” Goldberg says.

Boardwalk Coffee Table
Wayfair Boardwalk Cocktail Table $820
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“I love that the table’s neutral color works with most décor, and the wood grain is so natural looking," Goldberg explains.

Brera Lino Ocean & Celadon Linen Decorative Pillow
Designer's Guild Brera Lino Ocean & Celadon Linen Decorative Pillow $120
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“These reversible linen pillows have a chic stitch border and come in twelve gorgeous colors,” Goldberg says.

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