Lake House Remodel Before
Lake House Remodel After
My husband and I had been looking for a place at the lake for about three years. We were not very serious, just checking the Internet every once and while, and occasionally we would drive to the lake to look at a place.
We decided that if we did find a place, our number one goal would be to pay for it as we go. Because we wanted this to be an investment in our future, we knew that it would not be wise to go into debt. When searching, we knew how much money we had to spend, and we wanted to pay for improvements as we went. So pretty much the homes in our price range were described as “fixer-upper, needs work, handyman special,” and especially, “seller very motivated and bring all offers.” When I found this home on the Internet, it did not have any pictures of the inside of the house and that told me that this may be something we could afford. I could tell the lot was beautiful and level. Having a daughter that uses a wheelchair, I could see that it would be easy for her to get to the (future) pier.
We assumed that there were no pictures of the interior for a reason. It was bad, but it wasn’t that bad. The rooms were large, it had lots of windows, a fireplace, and it was in an amazing neighborhood. I love to work hard on things and see the before and after, so I knew we could make this place our summer home. The house was an old fish camp that was built in the fifties, and it needed all new electrical, plumbing, heating, and air. The previous owners had lived there thirty years and had done all the home improvements and additions themselves. The real estate agent gave us the inspection report that a potential buyer had done, but they felt it was too much work to do and walked away.
Before and After
The smartest thing that we did was to get prices that included repairing everything that could be wrong and every home improvement that we wished for to be done. That way we would know how much we should pay for the house plus with the improvements, we would not be paying more than we could purchase a “move in ready” home for.
Next, we prayed. We prayed together as a family. We prayed that if it was not God’s will, he would shut this down. Our next move was to call the real estate agent. We told her that we felt it would cost too much for us to make the home livable, not extra wants, just livable. We discussed a price, and they immediately accepted it as an offer. Now we were really scared. We closed on the house two weeks later.
The house did have much more damage than we originally thought, everything from termites to rotting wood. We both say that we have never worked so hard physically, or have ever been so sore and dirty as we have been while working on this house. There was a time where I looked at my husband, both of us exhausted and filthy, and said: “we just bought a foundation, a lot, and a whole lotta trash!” It took one year to get the house to where we could move our furniture in. We mostly worked on Saturdays and Sundays after church. We also took most of football season off because there was no television there and us southerners have our priorities!
Our fear was that this house really would end up costing us more than a “ready to move in” home would. Because of that, we decided to do all the work ourselves. We told ourselves to remember that this is a summer home, and it does not have to look like something out of a magazine. This was a place for our family to have fun and make wonderful memories. We did hire someone to do the electrical, sheetrock, and place Hardie board on the house. I told my husband, “Let’s do most of the work ourselves. What if we are the type of people that can do this, but we will never know if we don’t try.” We still laugh about that remark.
I want to add that almost everything in the house is purchased second hand. Most of the items came from Craigslist, thrift stores, or we made it ourselves. The only thing I can think of that is new is the TV, rock sink, pillows, letters on the wall, and we had the mattresses. Because of doing all the work ourselves and finding almost everything at the thrift store including brand new kitchen sink, new faucets, even the new kitchen beadboard backsplash, we came way under budget. We even found the brand new high end, easy close kitchen cabinets from Craigslist. We also saved a ton of money by staining our concrete floors. The total cost for staining the floors throughout the entire house was under $600.
Update: Now that we have been in the house a couple of years, we have purchased some new decor pieces.
Living Space Before
Eating Area Before
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom Before
Bedroom 1 Before
Master Bath Before
Master Bath After