Making My Ugly Fireplace Pretty….

This morning, before I left for my studio, the sun was shining on my newly renovated fireplace and I took a few quick pics and thought I would update y’all on my latest home improvement DIY.

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When we moved into the house almost five years ago now, the kitchen and the fireplace were the two things I hated the most. The kitchen was torn out in the first 4 months but the fireplace was kind of put on the back burner…yes, it was ugly but we had to remodel the kitchen and master bath and paint and the list went on and on…..I mean there was a whole lotta Hunter Green tile…Ick!!!

So, I worked around it and lived with it (and its green tile)….then this summer we had a stone mason at our house for the exterior job. He inspected this fireplace and really recommended we tear it down. Yikes!!!! We are land locked on that side of the house with our neighbor plus the roof was built around the chimney. HUGE undertaking!!! So we went around and around in our discussion….and finally we were all in agreement we could repair this old guy. I mean it is pretty cool….this old field-stone fireplace does add to the cottage look….so instead of getting a new one and throwing tens of thousands more into this house, we will repair and rework it.

Demmo time!!!!

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Can you imagine how happy I was when we tore off that old oak mantle? I was literally jumping for joy and…..surprise! We found photos of the old homeowners from the ’90’s who put it in! How fun is that? I always wanted to find keys to the past in our house….but I was just not thinking it would be in such the recent past. Either way, it was fun! And one of the pics had the father and daughter standing in our great room with all of the walls torn down to the studs….so that’s when the drywall was replaced?!?!?

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Demmo was complete and my stone masons got to work to raise the hearth for me with a bit of limestone. They took off the doors and raised those too so it made a bit more sense. Yes, we lost a few stones and we broke a few in the process, which was sad but luckily, my yard was full of field-stone when we moved in and we still have some left even after the landscapers built retaining walls with most of it. They took a couple from the yard and worked them back into the face of the fireplace.

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After a week, the dust settled and they guys left us with this. The mortar is still wet in this photo and the doors were still off, but it was still an improvement!

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Now, it was our turn to build the mantle. I, of course, came up with the design and my talented husband built me what I wanted. He has become such an amazing carpenter….and I think he loves it as a hobby! I hit the jackpot ladies!!!

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We added Car Siding to a focal wall in our family room and we thought we would repeat it over the fireplace. When my new sectional, chairs and entertainment cabinet get here I will post about that project we completed over Christmas….stay tuned.

I really just wanted to keep the mantle simple. Our dining table sits in front of the fireplace so I wanted the mantle to draw your eye up the wall above the table and also break up the long expanse of wall on that side of the room.

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Here is the finished product as the sun came up over the lake this morning and streamed in the windows. Once my new table arrives you will get the full view. I think we did the right thing by keeping the old stone and altering/repairing the old girl. This fireplace was part of the original structure and hopefully she will be sound enough to last for may years to come.

 

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So proud of this little DIY!

I met with my “Terrier Trail” Clients today. We have been working on a Whole House Color Palette for paint plus some rugs, furniture and accessories coming down the road. We have only been working together for only a few weeks and are in the early stages of design. One of the priorities for the couple is to complete The Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar in the basement. When they first moved in they had some cabinets installed to form the bar area but that is as far as they had gotten.

After my initial consult, I went home and looked for ideas to complete the bar shelving.

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I pinned this idea and it was exactly what they were looking for!

Thanks so much 7th House on the Left !!!

I was in the basement, finalizing the paint scheme when I noticed that they were up and just what I had pictured….I love that this couple tackled the project before I could even blink!

It all only cost $125!!

Good thing he saved on the shelving because he has plans to fill them up….and he is obviously using them because Jack is down on the counter with a glass….even better!

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge DIY’er….and I love it when others take on projects. Large or small, there is so much gratification in building something from scratch.

We still need to paint this basement Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar and for the other side of the sink we are thinking a few Wine Barrel Racks like these to also display their wine collection.

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I just wanted to share a little Pinterest DIY Success!!

For all of you out there that Pin and never do it (I am guilty too), tackle a little project this weekend!!

It will be worth it!

Finally my Master Bath is done!

Well, summer is in full swing here on the Lake so between clients, kids, and lake side activity I haven’t had much time to update my site.

My master bathroom was finished a few months ago and I realized I never shared the photos so, better late than never.

Upon Entry to the bathroom, it is clean and restful. We did not have the option to change the footprint of the room, but just by hanging the white ship lap siding and painting it out in a crisp white with a Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray accent, it makes a bold neutral statement.

It makes me happy every morning when I step inside and that is all that matters…I am, after all, my own worst client!

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 Both vanities are identical but I added artwork to subtly denote the female side from the male side. In the design of this house, I have tried to take most of my art work from nature in keeping with the lake house theme.  I have a pretty french print on fabric stretched over canvas on my side and a pair of Giclee fish with a burlap accent for my husbands side.

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I couldn’t be more happy with the storage options I gave myself.

What a huge improvement over the tiny vanity I used to open and everything would spill out onto the floor!!

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This medicine cabinet holds everything!!

There is a mirror inside and one out….how in the world did I live without this?

I think I get ready faster now that I have everything so organized.

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Plus I love the retro hardware on the cabinet….I have always wanted that hardware in a house of mine and I made it happen!

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My makeup drawer has never looked so good! The large drawers on the vanities were a great storage idea. My Husband, who doesn’t have as many toiletries, can keep all of his in the medicine cabinet and then his drawers are for extra sheets and towels since we don’t have a linen closet on this side of the house.

I am not a huge fan of  “matchy” towel bars so I just purchased some simple hooks for each vanity area. This works great for towels, robes and to hang out your outfit for the next day.

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I kept the water closet area very simple.

We were going to hang shelves over the commode but after moving into the vanities we felt we had solved our storage problem. A simple basket to hold extra toilet paper is all we need.

Keeping it simple once again and it worked out much better!

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The shower was a huge project but probably the most worth it in the entire room!

I have never been so thankful to have a beautiful shower door instead of a curtain…what a clean simple look!

The grout shows no water stains and it is now easy to keep clean. All of those hours of staining and re-grouting were worth the end result.

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I love the penny tile….maybe I am crazy but it just makes me happy and it feels great on your feet.

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So that is it! A simple master bath renovation.

Of course, my husband and I did most of the work.

How much do you think it all cost? I just looked at the final numbers and was shocked myself….it really does pay to be a DIY’er!!

We spent about $3000 which is pretty amazing since the average master bath remodel costs around $10,000-$15,000.

We did hire a plumber to move some plumbing to fit the vanities which cost us about $200.

So, what is next?

Well, the master bedroom, of course!!

But first, I did a little rearranging in my family room and had my back yard landscaped this summer so, stay tuned…

I promise I will update you all on those finished projects.

There is always something changing here at my fixer lake cottage!!

From Panic Room to Media Room…..

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When we downsized to this little lake cottage, we knew we were giving up a 1200 square foot finished basement.

Our old basement was half the size of this cottage!!

But, we are a family of three and we did not need a 3600 square foot home with 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths.

We made the decision that we would rather have lake front property than the big suburban home…..plus, who wants to clean all that?

Not Me!!

The lake cottage does have a tiny basement…. pretty much a 105 square foot room with a small entry foyer to the home, a garage and a tiny workshop.

So, the question was what do we do with this small 105 square foot room that was dark, dirty and smelled pretty musty?

The room does have a door but is right off the entry foyer to our home.

The old owners used it as a storage room and probably had never vacuumed the musty old Berber carpet that was inside.

For the first year we lived here we did nothing. We had a kitchen to tear out and we had plenty of other projects to make the main spaces livable.

The room inevitably became storage…..and became known as “The Panic Room”.

Why, you ask?

Well, my 6’2″ neighbor decided that is what it should be called because every time he entered, he panicked a bit…..what I haven’t told you yet, is that this room only has 7′ ceilings!!

Yikes!!

What are we ever going to do with this space? It would be a shame not to use it!

So, last spring, after a gathering at a friends home, I was lamenting the fact that we did not have a separate place for my daughter and her friends to play video games or watch movies, like in our old basement.

Perfect!

That is what I would do with The Panic Room!

We need to convert it to a Media Room!

First, I needed a bit of design inspiration.

We would go with a bit of Coastal Chic like the rest of the house, but what would my colors be?

My husband happens to be the worlds largest Chicago Cubs fan and that spring he was mad because he had no place of his own to watch the game….I think my daughter and I had taken over with HGTV again!

Even my husband complaining gives me inspiration sometimes!

We have plenty of Cubs memorabilia left from our old basement and what is more fun for a lake house than Red, White and Blue with the Stars and Stripes?

Lets get Started!!! And we should probably begin with the smell, LOL!

I needed to get rid of that musty carpet….but do I replace it with carpet?

It does stay pretty chilly down there in the winter?

No! We don’t want this old basement to smell like a basement anymore!

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So, off to Lumber Liquidators I went.

I absolutely fell in love with this gray laminate floor!

Why Laminate?

Because it is does very well laid over a concrete basement floor when installed properly over a vapor barrier.

The carpet and pad only soaked up the moisture that come up through the concrete.

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We gutted the ceiling of the room first….hoping maybe it was dropped a bit.

No luck, but we solved the many electrical issues that awaited us.

I swear this house is Pandora’s Box!

Did I mention that in a 7′ room they installed fluorescent flush mount lights with oak trim?

Who had these bright ideas?!?!? (No pun intended)

There is my electrician looking perplexed as usual….

We installed puck lights with MR16 bulbs.

I love the light they cast….yes, I can be a huge lighting nerd but I promise you, it makes a difference.

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Instead of dry-walling the ceiling again, we installed white bead board just like the rest of the house. This, unfortunately, is my only before/in progress photo. I wish I could have bottled the smell so people would understand how gross this room really was!

It looks fantastic now….and even though we were not able to raise the ceiling, the room has the illusion of more height.

The room also had bead board installed a bit higher than chair rail height in about 3/4 of the room but never finished?

We finished it and trimmed it all up, painted it all white, and the Panic Room was finally causing less Panic!

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The drywall in the room needed a bit of color. I took a cue from the driftwood floor and choose a neutral gray called Bedford Gray by Martha Stewart.

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We hung an older spare TV we had on the wall….yes, I know we need a larger one!

How can this be a Media Room with such a small TV?!?!

The 55″ Flat screen will soon move down there when we acquire a new TV for our family room. Our Family room is in the process of a face-lift as we speak!

We had the credenza from our old basement plus the old game board on the wall.

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My mom sent me these antique decoys that she had collected 30 years ago.

They have to be over 100 years old and perfect for my Lake Cottage!

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This one is my favorite!

Thanks Mom!

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The seating in the room is a bright red sofa from Ikea with some patriotic pillows courtesy of Pottery Barn.

I used the basket cubes from my daughters room as a coffee table….they now contain all the Lego’s for she and Daddy to create with!

This room has turned out perfect for Father-Daughter bonding.

What is better than video games, Cubs baseball and Lego’s?

The rug is a soft jute from Rugs USA and completed the look….plus warms up the floor a bit.

The entire room was done with almost all things we had here in the house already!

There is nothing better than shopping in your own house for decor.

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It is now a clean, family space to throw your feet up and watch the game!

Update on my Master Bathroom Reno

Today, we leave for a much needed Spring Break family vacation but first, I wanted to update you on the progress of our Master Bathroom Renovation.

It has been a loooooooong winter here in Michigan and unfortunately, we have had some set backs on this project and it seems, every other client’s project too!

I have been playing the waiting game a lot lately.

All of my current clients are waiting on painters mostly so we seem to be at a stand still….my own house is no exception!

Today we are waiting on plumbers actually but, after I arrive home, I am hoping to wrap this project up.

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Does everyone remember how ugly it was before?

Pretty basic….and pretty ugly!

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So, first things first, we did demo! My favorite part!

We busted up all the tile, which was no easy task because it was porcelain.

Typical of this house….lets spend the max on the ugliest tile we can find so the next person that wants to change it has a heck of a time.

Do I sound bitter?

Its been a long 2 1/2 years remodeling this house!

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We tore out the floor, shower floor and vanities.

It got even uglier before it got better but, thats pretty standard on any renovation.

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I bought Penny tile for the shower floor and Carrara Marble for the bathroom floor and shower surround.

Love it!!!

So excited to get it all installed!

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I also came up with a plan to eliminate the white grout that drives me crazy on the existing subway tile we kept.

The white grout would drive me crazy when cleaning the shower.

I decided to dye it gray and go with gray for the entire tile project.

Easier said then done….would I do it again?

NO!

I am a perfectionist and my picture should be on the side of the bottle with a line threw it…..crazy, OCD Interior Designers need not apply!

I may have even gone over the edge one afternoon and busted out the niche to add a bit more penny tile just so I did not have to dye the grout in that area.

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It took us a few weekends but, we laid the floor tile and the shower tile.

We went with a hopscotch pattern on the floor which really widened the small room.

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I also decided to add height and character to the wall we would install this paneling from Home Depot. I really wanted Ship Lap siding but my tight budget would not allow for it.

I found this product instead and decided to hang it sideways.

It looks fantastic!!!!

It looks exactly like ship lap for a fraction on the cost and for such a small space, it only adds 3/16″ to the surface of the wall.

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The paneling is painted Behr Ultra White, as is all the trim in the rest of our home.

We painted the walls above Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, which really makes the gray veining in the marble floor pop!

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The grout is finally all gray and the marble floor and surround are in!

The shower door is on order and I look forward to using the shower soon!

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We installed medicine cabinets to add extra storage. Unfortunately, we could not recess them because the wall behind them is load bearing, but I think they turned out fantastic! They really add the character we were looking for.

We did have to put up the old lights….maybe temporarily? Maybe Not? We have limitations on ceiling height that is making it a challenge for me to find new fixtures I actually like….stay tuned on that one!

It may take some time!

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Last night, we installed the vanities and that brings us to where we must wait for a plumber. In order for the bottom drawers to close on both vanities, he needs to move the water shut off valves a bit. It has been a slow process of trial and error and, ups and downs this last two months but, I am really proud of the way it is turning out.

We still have loads of trim work to do and a few faucets would be good but, we are getting there!

Up until this point, My husband and I have done all the work ourselves too!

What a a great feeling of accomplishment!

 

 

Every Lake House needs a Butler’s Pantry, right?

Today, I thought I would would share one of my favorite rooms in our vintage lake cottage. This room originally was the Master Bath until 2005 when the previous owners added a new Master Suite in an addition they put on the south side of the house. This poor old Lake House has gone through so many remodels….one tour of our basement and it reminds you of a jigsaw puzzle!!

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Excuse the mess in the pictures…this is how this room looked the week we moved in. The space is located right off our kitchen and they really had the right idea to make it a pantry. There is also a closet right next to the door of this room that we also decided to make a pantry with shelves. It is small and they used it as a coat closet, which really did not flow with how our family was going to live in the space. Plus, I dont like clutter, so its a great pantry closet to hide all the ugly necessities that you have to keep in the pantry.

So, did we need another pantry?

What do we do with this weird, rather large room with a sink??

We did need a place to put our upright freezer….gotta have a place to store our Organic Beef we get from a farmer in Indiana!

So, my wheels started turning….

And I have always wanted a Butlers Pantry!

A place to store glassware, dishes, serving pieces and wine! Perfect! Plus, we have the bonus plumbing, so this calls for a Wet Bar!

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This is the view from the doorway to the kitchen now, after a lot of lumber, beadboard and white paint!!

What do you think of the antique auger my mom bought me at a local antique store….she is so funny! She picked it up, and said “This is a really big corkscrew! You need it for your bar!”. My mom is a great person to go antiquing with, and she taught me so much as a little girl….dragging me up and down the Blue Star Highway in and out of every antique store. Who knew I would grow up to love it and live so close to all the places visited as a kid?!?!

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My husband built custom shelving on one side of the room out of pine and we lined the other 3 wall with bead-board.

We have bead-board in the entry, basement, and guest room/bath, so we wanted to add more to make it all flow together nicely.

Gotta keep that Cottage Vibe!

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He even made me a custom wine rack for our everyday wine that we don’t store with the “good stuff” in our temperature controlled basement.

I love the way wine bottles look in racks! They are a great accessory!

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I now have a place for our freezer, my cookbooks and canisters of flour, sugar etc. The baskets hold potatoes and onions, and paper plates and napkins we use for entertaining.

We have a little alcove for a trash can, which really holds all of our returnable cans and bottles…..here in Michigan we have to bring them all back to the store to get our refund!

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He even made me a special cubby for my vintage Coleman Cooler.

I got it for next to nothing at my favorite Ann Arbor Thrift Store. I love this thing! It just screams Lake House and stores extra cans of soda and beer perfectly!

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The light fixture was in an odd spot, but we left the electrical in the same place so we would not have to patch the ceiling.

I like the pendant we chose from Ikea and the fact it is placed off center.

It adds more character to this old cottage for sure!

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On the opposite wall, where the old sink was, needed storage first so we purchased stock oak cabinets from Home Depot.

We installed them ourselves and added a small beverage fridge for beer, wine and soda.

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We painted the cabinets Behr Fashion Gray, added a little trim to make them look a bit more custom and threw in some under cabinet lighting.

They turned out great!

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Next I purchased a stock maple butcher block counter top from Ikea along with the stainless drainboard sink.

I stained the counter top and sealed it with a product called Waterlox, that I bought at a wood working supply store. I knew that with a wood counter top, I wanted to limit the chances for water or spills to sit on the finish, and the drainboard integrated with the sink would do that.

This is the perfect place to wash all of those wine glasses and let them dry before they get put away!

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Next came the hardware, which is like jewlery for your cabinets! Gotta have it!

Right now, I am obsessed with Mercury Glass. I saw these knobs at Anthropolgie for $10 each….too much for the Butlers Pantry! I ended up finding the same knobs at Hobby Lobby for $3 each and was sold! I cant tell you enough how much I love Hobby Lobby!!

By now you probably realize that I don’t like things to be matchy-matchy, so I chose drawer pulls from Martha Stewart’s line at Home Depot for the drawer and sink tilt-outs to hide my sponges etc.

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My favorite item in the room is this antique map from 1910 that my mom bought me as a gift the first time she came to visit me.

We found it in a local antique store and had to have it!

I had it framed at Hobby Lobby in a reclaimed barn wood frame.

A perfect conversation piece when you are pouring a guest a drink!

I hope y’all enjoyed my Butlers Pantry!

I promise there is more to show you in my 1960’s Lake House, so stay tuned!!

Renovation-aholic

“Renovation-aholic” is my term for what this house has turned me into. Let me give you some background….a few years ago, my husband and I were going through a pretty tough time personally. We were living in Ann Arbor, and we needed a change. I had no idea what that change was, but one day, I had an epiphany! I wanted a boat!! Water is the best therapy, right? On a boat you can get closer to nature and we are a family that loves the outdoors…we grew up on Lake Michigan…and that’s what we needed! Water! Around that same time, my husband was offered a job in Southwest Michigan, so off we went to find a house on a lake. Well, after lots of research, I learned two things…..

1) A lake house is never going to be your standard two story colonial suburban home

2) they can be very expensive the larger they get

So, I find the perfect lake….really, its the best lake in Southwest Michigan by far. I fell in love with the area first! Now I had to find a home within our budget and make it work….I can do this! I am a designer who can transform anything, right? Well, we searched and searched but were very limited in our price range and knew no matter what we had to renovate. My hubby and I are known to be “Do-it-yourself” er’s so we also felt like we could take on a project of this magnitude because in the end we hope to actually gain sweat equity…..the last few homes we have had were new and there was not much equity left when we moved if you know what I mean….our new motto, never buy a new house, always renovate!

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So, eventually we found this 4 bedroom 2 and a half bath 1961 Lake House on Gull Lake. It has some great bones and we knew we could shape it to what would work for our family. The photos shown in this post are all before pictures. The pictures dont do the house justice. They were all taken when the house was occupied….but when we saw it, no one had lived here in quite some time. In my future posts I will share with you my journey on the renovation…still ongoing….but I am never satisfied because, I believe design is always evolving. If I hung a picture up on the wall and left it for 20 years, it may date itself, right? My grandmother was the perfect example of that….her house looked like the “Leave It to Beaver” set until she died 9 years ago. I have an entire blog post on her home but that is going to have to wait until later….I have too much to say today about this Crazy lake house idea I had.

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Looking back, two years later, this was the best project that we could have taken on. Everyday, we discover something new that needs our attention, but we have the beauty of the lake and woods that sounds us. The inside of the home is getting there and that’s OK, I am working on patience with each project still. This house has taught me about what we can do together as a family, how to relax and have fun, and how you don’t need the largest most expensive home to be happy. I love my 2200 square foot lake house. Downsizing has had its challenges but we use 80 percent of the house….when we were living in 3500 square feet, we used maybe 50 percent. (And I don’t have to clean all that square footage! Woot! Woot!)

The most “shocking” thing that has come out of this entire experience is My Hubby and I take the summer off from renovations! We never used to stop home projects during the summer but, our time outside on the lake seems to take precedence, which is has been great for our family!

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Summer on Gull Lake can not be beat, that’s for sure!