Lake House Renovation

We enjoy DIY home improvement projects together. We also enjoy learning and improving our home. We hope our DIY home improvement experiences show you how to do several DIY projects to improve your home.

We found this lake cabin in 2011; it was in foreclosure. Our lake house was originally just a weekend place, but now it is our permanent home. Purchasing this lake house was the beginning of many DIY projects and still remains a labor of love.

Please view our pictures, and learn from our DIY successes and mistakes! As Neal often says, "This is not the highlight reel, but the real reel."

Also, be sure to subscribe and follow us on social media to keep up with our DIY home improvement projects. We have several more DIY home improvement projects to do!

Our lake house is not perfect, but it is perfect for us!

As Neal often says, "This is not the highlight reel, but the real reel."

Before and After Exterior House Pictures

Before and after on the street side.

Before and after on the lake side.

In March 2011, we purchased our lake house and in 2013 (from March through November), we renovated our house and built an addition. We employed a contractor for the major part of this construction and some of the renovation; however, we have done several major DIY home improvement projects since 2013 and we have many more. Neal and I enjoy doing DIY home improvement projects together. We both enjoy working hard and seeing the transformational process.

We will continue adding pictures because we have several more projects! Thanks for taking the time to check out our lake house renovation project and please check back to see additional updates.

Kitchen Renovation

This is our kitchen before.

This is our kitchen (and dining area) after renovation.

Living Room Transformation

This is our fireplace before renovation.

This is our fireplace after we renovated.

Living Room Fireplace After

Basement Transformation

This is a picture before we renovated the basement.

Here is a picture after we renovated the basement.

Porch Transformation

This is a picture of our porch before we updated it.

This is a picture of our porch after the transformation.

Porch transformation

Dock/Boat House

This is a before and after picture of our dock (and boat house).

Click here to see more details about Building our Boat House/Dock.

Click here to see how we built a barn door for our dock closet.

We still have many more projects so stay tuned for updates!

Click here to see some beautiful sunsets over the lake.

Continue to check out updates and other DIY home improvement projects on our blog.

Let us know what you think or if you have questions by commenting below. Happy DIYing!



  1. Andrea on 09/23/2018 at 4:32 PM

    This doesn’t look like the same house! I like the changes you made.

    • Suzanne on 09/24/2018 at 7:53 AM

      Thanks, Andrea! It was a lot of work, but we really enjoy our home. Stay tuned to see more updates!

  2. Joyce Webber on 10/27/2018 at 10:57 AM

    Your house looks so cozy!

  3. Sannygeway on 12/11/2018 at 10:56 PM

    Nice posts! 🙂

  4. Arletha Ramsden on 04/28/2019 at 5:36 PM

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  7. Michelle on 06/15/2020 at 8:14 PM

    Absolutely love what you did with everything! My husband and I are mostly DIYer’s ourselves, and while the skill and enthusiasm is there, we keep running into one important hurdle – design! How did you come to make your design decisions as you went along. Did you start with the full design in mind and work project by project towards it? If so, how did you make the decision to pull the pin and stick with one “style”. It all looks so cohesive, and we so frequently have our projects look pieced together because we can’t seem to achieve a common look. Any advice that way?
    Can we book your design services 🙂

    • Suzanne on 06/16/2020 at 8:18 AM

      Thanks, Michelle for asking your question!

      We lived in our house (as a part-time lake house/cabin) for several years before we renovated and built the addition. We really thought about how we used each space. Neal is also a real estate appraiser so he has seen MANY houses (some well designed and other not so much). We have also renovated two houses previously. Looking at magazines and Pinterest also helped us to get ideas.

      In the existing part of our house, we knew we wanted an open living area and the existing layout of the house allowed that. We literally laid out spaces and studies them for months. Originally, we were going to put the dining area where our sitting area is. We are glad we changed this. When you are renovating, you have to plan/design within the existing space except for maybe moving a wall/columns or adding/replacing windows. Neal does have a real eye for seeing the potential and having completed two major renovations in the past also helped. Once we had things laid out, we took our ideas to a draftsman to draw the plans.

      When planning/designing the addition, we knew some things we wanted. We wanted long windows on the lakeside and when possible using odd numbers (3, 5 or 9) on things like windows, although we do have double windows in several places. We wanted neutral colors (cabinets, paint, etc.). We wanted each adult child to have their own bathroom. We wanted a large walk-in closet so we could keep all of our clothes in one place and have less furniture in our bedroom. We also wanted everything to look as timeless as possible. The draftsman put all of these ideas on paper too.

      However, once we completed the renovation, there were several areas/spaces we wanted to redo or further renovation. We did not like our paint colors in the basement, so we finally changed them a few years later. In other words, now that we have lived in our house for several years, we study an area (our porch, the loft, the basement ceiling, the basement floor, our deck, etc.) and then look at pictures on Pinterest. We also really think about how we use this space and the ultimate look we want to accomplish. I must admit that Neal has a real gift in designing spaces and over the years, I am better at decorating (still not great, but getting better thanks to Pinterest). Sometimes, we have planned a project for a year or more.

      We still have SEVERAL projects. For example, I don’t like our granite countertops anymore. I wish we had taken more time to select them; they are too busy. Replacing them will not happen any time soon. I also want to replace or recover what we call our “flowery chairs” in our sitting area because they are worn and the fabric is TOTALLY outdated. We are also in the process of replacing our deck rail.

      All this to say, our goal is to create a timeless look. We do not want to be too trendy and have to change things often. We also want our home to represent our family memories. We want it to be us.

      So my advice would be to decide the look and feel you want by looking at Pinterest and other sources. Then, really study your spaces to see what is possible. Think about colors, layout, and any extra design features you want to add. Then, create a plan to slowly transform these spaces.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to share more about your project ideas. I would love to see what you are considering.

      Be blessed,


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