See How This Woman Renovated a 1912 Florida Cottage Into Her Forever Home

Kay Volmar Master Bedroom
Photo: Kay Volmar

On the verge of turning 40, Kay Volmar decided to buy her Florida dream house (online!) while living 1,000 miles away in New York City.

01 of 06

Why Wait

Kay Volmar
Kay Volmar

"While Vacationingat Walt Disney World, I took a day trip off the resort and stumbled upon a small town located in nearby Lake County," says Kay Volmar, who decided right then and there that this was her forever home. "There's a laid-back Old Florida feel with an eclectic, artistic twist. Plus, it's historic, affordable, and kind of a secret," she adds. Enamored, Kay returned to New York and started house hunting from her computer. Before long, one caught her eye. She made a deposit and sealed the deal.

Kay then tried renovating long-distance for a year and a half, but it was challenging. "I lost a lot of materials, money, and time before coming down to give it a go myself," she says. Little by little, she transformed it over five years. Here, Kay's big ideas for small spaces.

02 of 06

Location Matters

Kay Volmar Screened Porch
Kay Volmar

"This property was close to downtown and within my budget, so I said, 'I'll take a chance.' The house was built in 1912. My mission then became to restore it to its century-old glory. This has been all-consuming but so worth it."

03 of 06

Do This ASAP

Kay Volmar Blue Front Door
Kay Volmar

"The house was a mess when I moved in, so I thought, 'What will give me hope?' I painted the front door blue. I knew it would be my happy place to walk into and that one day the entire home would look as good as the door." Kay used Waterscape by Sherwin-Williams.

04 of 06

Take It Slow

Kay Volmar Den
Kay Volmar

"I'm glad it took so long. I probably would not have been as happy in the end if I'd renovated it all at once. My plan changed a lot, and I was able to master things as I went along—like which white paint works best in a specific room." Kay's tip for filling a blank wall without a high price-tag? "Hang all your hats together in one grouping!"

05 of 06

Own Your Style

Kay Volmar Foyer
Kay Volmar

"Farmhouse, minimalism, cottage, and modern. Picture them all together—that's my look. I love vintage pieces and straight lines. It's all about the combination."

06 of 06

If You Can Do Only One Thing

Kay Volmar Master Bedroom
Kay Volmar

"Paint everything white when you move in. The crisp, clean canvas is the best backdrop for layering neutrals,"
says Kay. Her favorite whites include Ultra Pure White and Polar Bear by Behr. She used Ultra Pure White in the primary bedroom and Polar Bear in the den. "This warm whuite is perfect for rooms that get lots of natural light."

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