As promised, this week I am sharing a bit of our lake house renovation! It has been 7 years in the making. When we bought the lake house, aka Happy Hill, we were still living in Pennsylvania. So, every holiday, vacation and long weekends were spent tackling each room, one at a time. Come see some amazing before and after pictures!
This is the original picture of the front of the house. My husband had been looking at lake properties for years and as soon as he showed me this, I fell instantly in love! Why, you may be asking yourself? Well, for starters, we could both see the potential! We wanted a fixer-upper that we could renovate ourselves and have our own place to stay when we came home to visit our families.
And this is another reason why we fell in love! The house is set slightly off of the main channel and has the most spectacular sunsets we’ve ever seen! Any day on the lake is a good day.
After a thousand gallons it seems, of Round-Up to kill the weeds and ivy, we had the entire exterior painted. We also put on a new roof, which helped the outward appearance. We trimmed all of the trees and shrubs so you could finally see the house from the road and the lake.
This was the back of the house facing the lake. We removed the old rickety steps and added a new set, with a better configuration. The covered porch underneath was enclosed making the basement larger. We installed a large set of sliding glass doors and new windows. Then this was painted as well.
Here you see the back of the house with the new windows, doors and paint. Isn’t it amazing what paint can do? We chose white trim and a medium gray for the cedar siding. The lighter paint colors really updated the house and gave it new life.
This is the back of the house from the lake. Before, you could hardly see the house for the dark brown paint color and overgrown yard. Now it looks like one of the many vintage lake houses that pepper the shore line. I’ll take this over some of the mega-mansions that seem to be taking over the lake.
These gorgeous azaleas must be over 40 years old. We always try to plan a long stay while these beauties are blooming.
As soon as you walk in the front door into the foyer, you see the back of the brick fireplace, which runs from the basement to the main floor and through the roof. We removed the wall-to-wall carpeting, added hardwood floors throughout and painted the brick white.
On the other side of the entry is the Great Room. The photo on left side shows the original carpet, popcorn ceiling and stained staircase. We removed the popcorn ceiling, painted the entire room, including the hand rails and fireplace and installed the hardwood floors.
We had custom corbels made and our nephew gave us the thick slab of wood for the mantle. We’ve talked about staining or painting the mantle at some point, but I like the look of raw wood.
We also had gas logs installed. Now this is a cozy reading nook. In the winter we face the chairs towards the fireplace and in the summer we face them towards the lake so we can enjoy the view.
On the opposite end of the Great Room is a long bank of windows that have a spectacular lake view. This is shortly after we bought the house. The very first day we ripped out all of the carpet, exposing the sub-floor. We had no electricity or overhead lights for months. It felt like we were camping out! See the lantern?
Again, we painted, added new bamboo shades for light control and new furniture. We sprung for a nice leather sofa and recliner and a swivel chair, for me. Some of the pieces came from our Doylestown house, and other pieces were purchased at consignment stores, etc. It’s been fun filling the house with nautical touches, which is so different from my usual style of decorating.
This is the original kitchen. It was dark and dated and the cabinets cut the room in half. The appliances were also old, so all we salvaged was the refrigerator, which we put in the basement as an extra. Everything else came out!
We removed everything and started from scratch. We took our measurements to Lowe’s and they helped us design the space. The ceilings are only 8 feet tall, so we maximized the space by taking the white cabinets all the way to the ceiling and adding crown molding. Black granite countertops are low maintenance and pretty. (This is an old picture from a few years ago so we’ve tweaked it a bit since.)
The dining area of the kitchen also got a facelift.
We sheet rocked over the old paneling and painted the room in a rich green color called Garden Gate. We painted all of the trim white, added white wood blinds and a vintage chandelier. Because the interior walls were cedar panels and the ceiling planked, we think this may have originally been a porch. We kept the planked ceiling and painted it white.
This view is from the Great Room. In the photo below, you can see there was a rectangular pass through from the kitchen into the stairwell. We needed the wall space in the kitchen so we covered it.
This turned out to be the perfect place for my husband’s prize Marlin. (Not to worry, this is an exact replica of the one he caught. Now they catch, tag and release, so the real fish is still swimming around somewhere in Florida.)
We were able to carve out a desk area for me on the main floor. Brad’s desk is in the basement with a water front view. (My view is to the right.)
The original basement was a hot mess. The walls were a combination of concrete block walls, paneling and wood planks on the ceiling. None of which was in good shape. See that little alcove behind the door? That became the new Bunkhouse! We had a large glue-lam beam put in where the old wall and door stood and pushed the wall out to include the covered porch. This gave us some much-needed real estate in this room. We enclosed the windows, and painted the concrete floors.
Below are the new areas. To the left of the new sliding glass doors is a small sitting area. (And my husband’s Harley.) To the right is my husband’s desk. The floors are painted with small dark chips of color. This way, the floor is low maintenance. When folks come in from the yard or lake, wet feet are no problem. We painted the walls in a dark brown color for the “man cave” effect.
The little basement kitchen and bar area was removed altogether. In its place to the left of the fireplace, we installed a wet bar. We included a mini-fridge, dishwasher and sink. Much more functional!
The old brick fireplace was an eye sore, but, hey, a fireplace is a fireplace!
We painted the brick, added a new mantle, tv and gas logs. The new wet bar is tucked in beside the fireplace. It’s hard to see from this picture, but there are four large leather chairs, a round coffee table and a sofa. This area easily seats 6-7 adults and makes for a cozy movie night spot.
We still have a long way to go on this little vacation home. Currently we are working on the front porch and will focus on the side deck after that. At some point my husband promised he would rebuild my Treasure Room. I’m thinking instead of calling it a “She-Shed”, I’ll call it my “She-Shop. This will be a place to work on my projects, crafts and of course, my chandeliers!! (We bought this one at an auction. I cleaned it up, added a few more crystals and now it hangs in our powder room.)Chandeliers Installed!
Happy Hill turned out to be our little slice of paradise and we love being so much closer to it now. Lacey loves it here, too!! The deck railings are just the perfect height for resting her chin and scoping out her yard and lake. She swims, chases the geese and has an unlimited amount of sticks. Golden Retriever heaven!
Happy Hill has become a favorite spot to entertain our family and friends. We hosted our son’s engagement party in 2017 complete with a huge white tent, BBQ and lots of fond memories. Hopefully we will get her back up and running in time for Spring/Summer 2019! Fingers crossed!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of our lake house renovation memories! I hope you have a wonderful day! xoxo Dell