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 a 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. That told me that this may be something we could afford. I could tell the lot was beautiful and level.
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 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 for thirty years and had done all of the 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. We also got a price for every home improvement that we wished 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 and 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 the 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
Living Space After
Living Space After
Eating Area Before
Eating Area After
Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom Before
Bedroom 1 Before
The bedroom was made over for the $100 Room Makeover Challenge last September.
Master Bath Before
Master Bath After
What a wonderful job! I love the floors! Do you mind telling me what and how you did the floors?
Terra, We ripped up all the carpet and stained the concrete, and I am telling you, they are wonderful. We have moved heavy appliances over them and they do not scratch. I love them! It only took a couple of hours to stain the floor and a couple of hours a few days later to seal them. I have written a blog post with step by step instructions with pictures that I am going to post in about a week.
I LOVE the floors as well and can’t wait for you to post step by step instructions with pictures!! You did a fantastic job on the entire home! It is very inspirational!
Thanks for the kind words. I have the step by step instructions ready to post, but my computer is giving me trouble. They should be up later tonight or in the morning. Thank you!
For people who say they didn’t know much about doing renovations, you guys sure did produce a contractor-grade finished product! Great job!
Thank you so much for saying that. We learned everything from YouTube! We were surprised how everything came together after figuring out how to do it. Thanks for your comment.
Kay C says
Well, you failed in one aspect. It absolutely DOES look like it should be in a magazine! What a wonderful job – a labor of love that I am sure your family will enjoy.
Thank you so much!
Maria Desousa says
Anazing job….thanks for sharing.Gave me avfew ideas for doing our unfinished basement where I have my sewing craft room and opposite side is for hubby to do some of his things including wine making.
chris aka monkey says
wow saw this on home talk and had to come to your blog glad i did and oh my my it is magazine worthy iy is gorgeous i am jealous enjoy it for me lol xx
Thank you so much! Your comment made our day I appreciate the kind words on the Hometalk feed also!
Wow, wow, ya’ll did a great job, it is beautiful and that lot is gorgeous right there on the lake. I’m sure you will make many wonderful memories, in your summer home.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Thanks for the compliment! When my kids are outside having fun,and the granddads are fishing, we say it was worth all the hard work!
Ann Krucek says
I also saw this on Hometalk and had to come to you blog to see more!! You did a fabulous job. We have been looking at fixer upper lake houses as well, your home will serve as great inspiration!! With all that hard work accomplished now I hope you have lots of wonderful family time to enjoy.
I really appreciate you visiting my blog to comment! Thank you!
Ro Shulenberger says
The vision you both had is spot on. The decorating is really beautiful! I absolutely love everything that you did. Enjoy your beautiful new lake home. You deserve the enjoyment and the house thanks you for the save!
Thank you so much! It is so nice of you to comment.
Mary-the boondocks blog says
Sherry this is amazing. Your house is grorgeous I cannot believe you did all the work yourselves. It looks like a totally different house. I also noticed the floors that look like concrete. Is that what they are, they are very unique and beautiful.
Thanks Mary! Yes, we stained the concrete floors and I love them. I did a blog post showing how we did it. That post has done better than any post of mine on Hometalk. I think so many people are interested in staining concrete because it is so inexpensive!
Wow Sherry, your transformation is awesome! We bought a cottage over 12 years ago and fortunately it didn’t need anything done other than a bit of cabinet painting. It’s out of log and the inside is log and wood. But I do love what you did with your floors. Ours have glued down indoor/outdoor carpeting which we would love to replace or do something with it.
Sherry I am blown away by this – I can see that the rooms were spacious and light but the amount of work and the end results are just amazing. You should be so proud of what you’ve done here!
What a transformation! The remodeled lake house looks beautiful!
Deanna Piercy says
What a great job! Your family will indeed make many happy memories here.
Ashley J. says
From a self professesed non lover of the ranch style house look… I LOVE what ya’ll did with the place! Inside and out!
Julie Hood says
This is AMAZING!!!! Also, I love that you said prayer went into the decision-making process. So important! All your hard work really paid off. 🙂 I’m so happy I found your blog on the peony project Reno-comment-thread! 🙂
Thank you Julie! You are right. The praying over a huge decision is so important!! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I am following you now!
Kim Gregory says
Amazing job gives me hope for our family dream. What Lake/ Area of the Country is your home? We are in love with Upper Michigan, Glenn Lake!
LOVE what you did and I like your style!!! I’m wondering if you would be willing to share with me what color you used on the bedroom walls? I’m about ready to start my own lake house renovation in a month or so and I really love the colors you chose. Thanks!!!
Thank you so much, Trish. The color I used on the bedroom walls is Realistic Beige from Sherwin Williams. I actually used it in every room of the house. Good luck with your lake house renovation!