Welcome to our home on the lake. Bryan and I bought our little lake house back in November of 2009. Since then we’ve been tweaking and renovating every space as we go along. Think of this blog as our daily DIY diary with a lot of our daily life thrown in.
Curious to see our progress so far? Come on let’s take a look around.
The before pictures were taken on the day of our home inspection, the large TV and over scale furnishings dwarfed the already narrow room. That day we snooped around and found hardwood floors in great condition under the dingy white carpet. The first order of business was to remove the carpet and refinish the floors staining them dark. The walls have been painted a few different colors before settling on the light blue that is there currently.
Our sectional is the Buchanan sectional from Pottery barn and occasional chairs are antiques from my great-grandmother that I upholstered, used to live in my bedroom and now travel around the house. The fireplace surround also got an overhaul with the addition of new paneling and modeling (posts here, here and here) bringing it out of the 80s and into today.
We loved the blue Living Room for a while but like all things our style has evolved over time. We’re currently working on a new look and new projects. See how it’s changing here
Lake houses built in the back in the 1960’s are not know for their spacious bedroom situations. The Master Bedroom is a pretty small space, not much wiggle room but we managed to cram in a lot of function.
The before pictures are pretty bad, they were taken on the day of our home inspection. I remember barely looking in this room, thanks to all the furniture there wasn’t much room to walk. It was cramped, dark and not much to look at and appeared eve smaller than it actually was if that was even possible
Here’s a shot of the bedroom from the same angle now. Amazing difference. We actually painted the room a forgettable green for a while in the mad dash when we moved in but knew immediately it had to change. It took a while to get a feel for this room but eventually a plan was agreed to. First we lightened the walls with paint and made the room feel so much more open and then changed out the old white roller shades with some matchstick shades
We brought in a really bold curtain fabric, sewed up some lined curtain panels and a few envelope pillows to bring the whole color scheme together, then the bookshelves were restyled, mixing up how they were before and adding in some more books.
The bedroom side tables are one of my favorite pieces in the room, the open shelves on the bottom leave lots of room for pretty things while the drawer on the top keeps all of the unsightly things out of the way, like contact lenses solution, eye glasses and phone charges.
But by far my most favorite, time consuming but totally worth it part of the entire makeover had to be reupholstering my great-grandmothers chairs. They were seriously outdated and torn, oh and did I mention they were a bright shade of orange pleather!
I pretty amazed by the progress we’ve made in the yard. While you’re living through the changes it all seems to go slowly and the small things that add up over time seep into your consciousness making them feel somehow less dramatic overall. Well let me tell you the before and after pictures of this post are dramatic, each time I found one I thought “Wow I can’t believe it used to look like that!”
By far the most work we have done is to the landscaping. The yard before was perfectly fine. It has good bones was nice size yard lot, but it lacked personality and defined areas to enjoy it. Obviously the best thing it had going for it was the view. Our goal always has and always will be to maximize the spaces to relax, eat and enjoy the weather while simultaneously loving the view.
The very first project we tackled outside was the addition of a the garden above, it was mostly just grass before with a few random shrubs thrown in for good measure. The area needed to be defined and plantings to soften it up. We built a rock wall added soil and plants to make it a focal point.
Next up we added another garden along the fence to soften those linear lines. Our plan was to tackle the smallest least expensive projects first while saving up some funds for the more expensive projects. Gardens are the cheapest thing to add for a dramatic impact. Plantings can be added over time without killing your pocketbook and it’s surprising how quickly buying a plant here or there will make a big impact. The fence is over 100 feet long and felt overbearing before. Now it’s a cool rustic backdrop for our lush garden.
Arguable the single most defining project of the yard was building (and later staining) the deck around the above ground pool. This change increased the usefulness the pool by leaps and bounds. Before the pool felt like it was an island floating off in the distance, there was no place to sit and relax. This deck integrated it into the yard seamlessly and made if feel more like an in-ground pool.
Staining it was no small feet, rather than keep it light and have it be the focal point we chose a dark color to help it blend into the landscape. The fence and railings that enclose the pool and separate the top portion of the yard from the lake below was part of that project and was critical to keeping Nikolas out of harms way while simultaneously defining key areas. Now with three distinct zones created. The grassy area, the pool area and the/lake area the direction of our yard had been established.
The pathway that was there before wasn’t easy to navigate, it made walking up and down difficult at best and dangerous at worse. This picture does not give the true angle of the slope justice. It was bad
It got worse before it got better and we had a few uhoh moments while the stones stairs were being built. Like uhoh are we really going to be able to shimmy these into place? It took some time a ton of sweat and good old brute forces to push those large stones around but it all worked out in the end and they look gorgeous.
Since those stairs have been done it’s now one of my favorite moments around the yard. I like to sit on a step and enjoy the breeze coming off the lake as the boats hum by.
Another garden added on the side attracts butterflies and dragonflies that like to sun themselves on the warmth of the stones.
We added a cool wood patio under the shade of the Maple trees what was once just dirt. We’ve chosen to keep the materials similar throughout the yard to give it a cohesiveness that was once lacking.
We’ve been surprised everyday how much we use this space. Nikolas’ sand pit/horseshoe pit is just beyond in the clearing. I like to sit and read while he plays.
The yard slopes from the house down to the lake so the addition of a new set of stairs helps ease the transition were added. Grass wasn’t an option due to the dense shade and trees that suck all the moisture from the ground so we brought in river stones to cover the remaining dirt areas.
Next we turned our attention to the area nearest the lake. White rocks blanketed the space, weeds were almost impossible to pull. The lack of trees and spiders that hid in all the crevices made it very uninhabitable.
The before picture is taken from standing on the stone steps, the after picture below shows the same area but with your back to the lake. The planters on the left side along the fence are waiting for the summer and will be filled with tomatoes that will surely love the spot filled with sunshine.
More white rocks and a barren wall make for a great before picture.
To add even more functionality the wood patio was added along the seawall which we usually refer to as the dock even though it’s not technically a dock. This house lacks storage both inside and out so a shed was built to store life jackets, fishing equipment, tubes, and general boating supplies as well as a ton of other things. In the spring we’ll paint it out but we have yet to agree upon any kind of colors.
The Rubbermaid outdoor storage unit will move along with all the odds and ends that still need to find a proper home. I’m lobbying for an outdoor shower in that area but that project has yet to be “approved” ha!.
And my newest favorite project has to be the outdoor bar. Just (mostly) completed a month before the cold set. We’ll trim it out in the spring add a bar top and stools. We also want to add an dining table and a few lounge chairs.
We still have lots more we’d like to accomplish. There are areas of the yard (not picture here) that still need a ton of work and machinery to make it workable. All in good time though.