Our lake house is not perfect, but it is perfect for us! ☺ ❤ You will see our messy house throughout renovation/construction. This is not the highlight reel, but the behind the scenes reel. 😉
Below are the before and after pictures of our lake house on the street side. It had such a quaint look and we fell in love with it the minute we pulled in the driveway! (We had looked at so many lake houses that looked good in pictures, but were a real disappointment when we saw them in person. 😳) This sweet house was perfect for us as a lake house and would eventually be our permanent home. 🏡
Special Note: Not all of our blog posts are this long. 🤦♀️ This post describes how each section was renovated/constructed. If you just want to see an overview that includes links to specific projects, click here.
There is some repetition and overlap in some of the descriptions. Go deep and read the narrative or just scan through the pictures! Here is another before and after photo from the corner of the house. Redoing our deck rail is on our future project list! 🧐 In March 2011, we purchased our lake house and in 2013 (from March through November), we renovated and built on an addition. It took us so long because we did a lot of the work ourselves. It continues to be a labor of love as we make additional improvements. Neal and I enjoy doing projects together. We both enjoy working hard and seeing the transformational process. Neal has a lot of knowledge because we previously renovated two houses and built a home. If we don’t know something, we figure it out together (thank you Google and YouTube). Doing projects together is our thing! ❤
We employed a contractor for the major part of this renovation/construction; however, Neal and I did all of the interior painting, hung all the doors, did all the trim work, etc. 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.
Renovation of the Existing Exterior
So here goes our renovation . . .
This is a close-up of the lake side of the house before renovating. Here, you can see the old cedar siding, old windows, and doors. Neal and I actually removed the original carport, which was not actually big enough for a car 🤔. We climbed out the second story window and started ripping off the roof shingles, then the rafters and the cedar columns. This picture is evidence that I helped! 💪 I think my goofy stance was because I was trying not to fall off the roof! 🤪 The roof is gone and now we are removing the rafters and old cedar columns. Removing the carport also removed some of the cedar on the house, but we were eventually taking this off too, so no biggie! We saved some of the cedar to use for other projects. This D-handle roofing tool from Home Depot that I am holding in the picture saved us! It really enabled us to get under each shingle and pull out the nails. Because this was our driveway, we also used a magnet on a pole to help us pick up all the nails/screws in the driveway so that we did not puncture our car tires. 🤨 🚙We were living in the house while renovating 😳, so adding these chairs and planters while we were in “transition” was our attempt to “dress it up” temporarily. 🤪 (We realize this was a pitiful attempt.)Below, the cedar siding was being removed. (The cinder blocks in the picture below are preparation for the addition on the right of the house.)And . . . all the siding has been removed. We kept some of the cedar siding for future projects. 🔨 🤔And now this bad boy is striped down to the bones! (It sort of resembles some scenes in the movie The Money Pit, which we referenced several times during this project. 😳Notice that the two windows on the second floor have been permanently closed; however, we added a new center window. We also added two windows on the first floor. In addition, we added spray insulation to keep us warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer! We used Jonathan Roll with iFoam to do our insulation and were very pleased. He is a great guy!Voila! We installed three new windows! Once the new addition is built (see pictures later in this blog post), the original front door will be closed up. On the interior, removing the former front door will enable us to move the closets in each of the two bedrooms and make both guest bedrooms bigger. More on this part later . . .
Sideview of Existing House
This picture shows the side of the house after the cedar siding was removed. These double windows in the small guest bedroom were removed and a single new window on the street side of this room was added. Here is a side view of the house after we removed the siding, closed-up the double windows, and sprayed insulation. Here is a side view of our house with the old shingle roof and with the Hardie Plank board being installed on the house. We added strips of wood on top of the existing roof and then used this as a bed for the spray insulation. This picture also shows the board and batten Hardie Plank siding. WOW! 😳 I just had to share this picture because this dude is BRAVE! Also notice the dark clouds in the background. 🌧 This picture shows the foam inside the strips of wood. Once the foam was sprayed over the existing shingle roof, the metal roof was installed over this.
Patio Porch on the Lakeside
Check out this before and after picture! Here is a picture of the basement patio (lakeside) once we cut the block and added a header to add a double window. We wanted more daylight in our basement living room. Here is the inside view of where we cut the block to add the double windows. We will show you more interior pictures of the basement living room area later in this blog post.
More patio porch project pictures:
- Click here to see how we built our outdoor fireplace on our patio porch.
- Click here to see how we wrapped the columns on the patio porch.
- Click here to see how we added old barn wood to our patio porch ceiling.
New Addition from Street View
This picture shows digging the foundation for the new construction, which includes new front entrance, master bedroom and bath upstairs and two additional bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs.Here you can see the outline of the addition and pouring of the footer for the block walls. The footing has been poured. Now the block walls are going up on the basement level.Building block wall into the hill that faces the street side. Now to start building the second story.
Here is the street view of the original house on the left and the new construction on the right. Notice that the original front door is now closed up.We used Hardie Plank board and batten. However, on the bay windows (one on each side of the house), we used Hardie Plank shingles. We decided the put a metal roof on our house. Because our we have a cathedral ceiling in the original part of the house (living, dining, and kitchen), it is such a wonderful sound when it rains! 🌧 😌I love these windows in the master bedroom closet. They give us natural light during the day and because they are high, we still have privacy.
Front Porch (street side)
Before we finished our front door (street side), we had to walk the plank to enter through the front door! 😳 That board (see picture below) covered the second story drop! (Remember that we lived here during renovation/construction.) It was always a thrill to unload groceries!It was such a relief when we added our porch floor! We used corrugated steel, which is very strong for the base. Then we added the brick rowlock, which sort of serves as a frame for the porch floor.Next was the mortar base.Here is our front porch after the tile and step have been added. This is also after we added stone around the entire foundation of the house. And another picture of the porch.
Click here to see how we wrapped our porch columns.
Click here to see how I chalk painted the front porch bench.
Click here to see front porch milk cans project.
Click here to see how I sewed slipcovers for the front porch pillows.
New Addition from Lakeside
The picture below shows the lakeside walls going up! You can see the open spaces for double windows; it was important to us for each of our adult children to have a great view of the lake from their bedrooms.And now the second floor is being constructed.You can see where the floor overhangs for the bay window in our master bedroom.Here is another view.This picture shows the bay window after being built and ready to lift and secure in its place. This will be our view of the lake. And the new windows have been installed.Here is the bay window in place. The double windows on the far left are our master bath windows (over the garden tub) and the windows on the right are Neal’s office. He can see the lake while working. 👍This picture labels each interior room in the new addition.Now you can see the new construction on the left and the existing house on the right.
Here is the street side after painting the exterior. It is starting to look like our house! 👏Our exterior color is fawn Brindle from Sherwin Williams. For the bay windows, they created another darker version (two shades darker) and called if “Freeman Gray” for us. We liked the contrast. Here is another picture of the street side. Here is the final picture (before landscaping) of the street side. We are still making improvements. Stay tuned . . .
Installing the Stone
We loved this simulated stone because it looks like real stone. We actually traveled to Chattanooga to see this stone on a house. We used Hermitage simulated stone from Jenkins Brick Company in Alabama. We used a buff mortar. Here is a picture on the side of our house (new construction). This is going over the new construction and the existing (old) part of the house (where it is painted brown). Notice the variation in the stone. There are so many different shapes that it looks real!Here is a picture of the stone from the lakeside with the mortar. And one more picture of the new addition.
This is a lakeside picture (also after we added the outdoor fireplace on our patio porch). CLICK HERE to see outdoor fireplace construction. We are still working on landscaping and considering adding terraces. Stay tuned for these future projects . . .
Renovation of Existing Interior
Below is a picture of the living room area when we purchased the house. These windows and double doors face the lake.Here is another picture that shows this same room after we moved in. The picture below is taken from the loft. (That is Ryan and our Millie who we died at 13 during the renovation process.😢) Notice there are cedar columns and a step that divides this living area. The columns will be removed and the floor will be raised to eliminate the step. This will open up this area into one large living space. (The furniture is different than the previous picture because this picture was taken when we just used the house as a weekend place.)This picture shows a different perspective of the same living area. Here you can see the old kitchen, and the old railing in the loft. Notice that a small child could fall through this railing! 😱Here is another view farther back where you can see the partial wall that divides the space. In the picture below, the kitchen is to the left (my parents are sitting at the bar). The table area (with my sister and niece) will become part of the expanded kitchen area. This was our first Christmas at the lake (prior to renovation). This is part of the existing living room (below), but this will become the dining area. (I made that curtain.) Below is an overview of the renovations to open up the main living space. Neal is removing the partial wall to open up our living room/dining room space. You go, Neal! 😍Wall removal in progress!
Removing the Cedar Posts to Open Up our Living Space
First, the cedar posts had to be removed. However, this held the weight of the large second story windows, so a very large and heavy 💪 beam had to be installed to hold the weight. Say good-bye to the old cedar columns. We saved some of these beautiful beams to repurpose for future projects. 🙂 (Sweet Millie in the floor again . . . we miss our sweet girl! 😢)This picture shows them preparing to install the beam. Here is the other end of this room. They used several 2x4s to brace and prop up this area while several men inserted the large (and very heavy) header beam. 💪And the columns are gone!Below is a picture of the living room after the cedar columns have been removed. The double windows on the right of the picture will be closed up because the new addition will be built on the other side of this. The outside of this double window will become Neal’s office. Notice that there is an open space in the middle of the wall where Neal removed the partial wall. This is a picture of Ryan, Mimi and Grampy (Neal’s parents). Faye passed away since this picture was taken; we miss her very much! 😢The picture below shows the header beam in place. You can see that the floor (where there was previously a step across the room) has been raised. This really makes this one large open space. 👍Excuse all of our junk. 🙈 Remember, we lived here during renovations. We constantly moved furniture and belonging to free up spaces as needed throughout the renovation process. 🔨
Replacing Windows on the Lake Side
Here is a before picture from the interior. Several of these windows were cloudy because moisture had seeped between the double panes. They were also not symmetrical. In other words, the top window did not line up with the arch of the cathedral ceiling and thus the side windows were different sized. It really bugged us. 🤨 Another close up picture of the upper windows. Here is a view of the windows from the exterior (from the roof over the living room area). The bricks are holding plastic. We had leaks before renovation when there was a blowing rain. 😩First, the glass was removed on a VERY COLD day in early March. Ladybug 🐶 and I sat bundled up on our bed in the loft watching the activity. This space was reconfigured to accommodate four large square windows. Below is a picture after the new window frames were constructed. (In the bottom of this picture, you can see the original windows on the main level.)This area was temporarily boarded up while we were waiting on the new windows. This picture shows the final four large windows. 😃Now it was time to replace the windows on the main living level (below the second story large windows)
The picture below shows the original windows and double doors facing the lake. The double paned windows were so old that they were cloudy and obstructed the view of the lake. 🤨Here is another view of the original windows (after the second story windows had been framed). Below shows the removal of the old windows and doors. There is sweet Millie again. 😢Here is a picture of the windows being installed from the lake side. There are three sets of three windows. Neal prefers odd numbers — three sets of three windows worked perfectly! Each set of three was very heavy! 💪Voila! The windows in our main living area have been installed! We also reconfigured the double doors on the side deck. The doors were removed and then moved a few feet.Here is the new door opening. We added a new header. This is my brave Neal who covered the new windows while we painted. 👏He is SO high on the ladder. 😳 He also cleans these windows for me! Isn’t he the BEST! 😍Here is a picture once all the new windows (top and bottom) were installed. We love the view of the lake; it also feels like we live in a tree house, especially in the spring and summer.Below is a picture of the new windows from the loft perspective.
The Future Dining Room Area
We closed this original window. New construction (Neal’s office) is on the other side. The doorway that is covered with plastic is the front foyer. The closed door is access to the steps to the loft. In the picture below, you can see the open doorway, which leads into the front foyer and the start of the new construction. Neal is removing the old railing around the steps that lead to the basement. A small child could fall through this railing! 😳Here is another view of this area.
Below are some after pictures of this area, which became the dining area.
Sweet Ladybug decided to be in the picture. ❤ ☺
Before and After Fireplace
This is a before and after picture of the living room fireplace. More before pictures of the fireplace are below.This picture shows the fireplace after we removed the wood molding around the fire place and after we removed the carpet. Check out the floor! Oh my! 🤪In the picture below, Neal is removing the drywall over the fireplace so we could add durock cement board to which the stone will adhere. (Notice the partial wall to the right of the fireplace was previously removed to open up our living area.)Here the simulated stone is being added. This is Hermitage simulated stone from Jenkins Brick in Alabama. We used a buff mortar. The picture below shows the mortar between the stones has been added.Here is a closer picture. Notice that the mortar between the stones has not been smoothed yet. This is the final fireplace after the mortar had been smoothed and before we hung our television.
Click here to see our outdoor fireplace project.
Below are some after pictures of the living room area . . .This is our sitting area. This is where Neal and I sit and “soak” in the mornings. The expression “soaking” reminds us of Neal’s grandmother (Norene) who talked about her “soaking” time in the morning. It is my favorite time of the day! ❤ I have to have my “Neal time”!Here is a picture during Christmas. 🎄
Here is a before and after of the kitchen.Here is a closeup before (but does include the new window) and after picture. Below is a picture of the kitchen when we bought the house. Here is a before picture of the kitchen once we moved in (used as a weekend lake house). It worked for a lake house, but was too small for our permanent home, especially because Neal is such a great cook! 👨🍳Below, you can see that we removed part (but not all) of this partial wall. The other side of this wall is where our double oven will be installed. (Overhead is where they installed the large header beam after removing the cedar columns.)Our new kitchen cabinets arrived (in boxes) from Home Depot. 😃Here is where the kitchen window above the sink was removed. Great view!One more view of the kitchen before demolition!And demolition begins! 🔨Good-bye old kitchen cabinets! Notice that the old front door down the hallway has been closed up. This picture is AFTER renovations to give reference. The closets for each of the guest bedrooms were repositioned in the hallway where the original front door was located and now closed up. More demo on the kitchen! You go, Neal! Below is what was previously the eating area (table and chairs); the new kitchen will be expanded into this area. This is an overview of what will be our new kitchen. This picture is taken from the loft. The boxes are our new cabinets from Home Depot. WOW! What a mess! This is the day the drywall finishers came! In the bottom right corner is our makeshift kitchen island. 😳 Remember, we lived here during renovation . . . and had many microwave dinners! Don’t judge us! 🙈New cabinets are being installed. Yippie!The island is in place!More pictures of the kitchen in progress.Granite countertops are being installed! We love the size of our island. The cook top still needs to be added. They cut the hole for the stove top on site. 😳Here you see the installed cooktop and refrigerator. Now we are on a roll! Neal laid out the backsplash. We purchased square tiles, so he made SOOOO MANY 😫cuts!He also had to cut around the electrical outlets, so more cuts! Those orange things are spacers; this is where the mortar will be applied after all the tiles are in place. Looking good!The tiles are installed and after they dry, we add mortar to fill the joints. Here is a close-up.Below is a picture after the mortar! Well done, Neal! You are the man! 😍 It looks snazzy! 👍Here are some after pictures of our kitchen.
Here is our kitchen today
First, the floor had to be made the same level. The contractor built a frame to raise the lower floor (previously discussed earlier in this blog post) and then added new plywood throughout the entire house to have a consistent and strong floor base. Neal found our flooring on Craigslist. Basically, we purchased several large beams that were in an old yarn factory in Columbus, Georgia. We took a field trip (with my Dad) to go see the factory (before they tore it down) and beams. We purchased the beams and had a mill cut for flooring. In the picture below (in our guest bedrooms), you can see some of the oil spots on some of the flooring where the heavy equipment sat on the floor. It is truly rustic.
The day our flooring was delivered from the mill was an eventful day (not in a good way). The truck driver called and said he could not make it to our house in the tractor trailer and we would need to “come get the wood” several blocks away in our neighborhood. Huh? How would we do this? We met him in the neighborhood and I (Suzanne) climbed up in the back of the truck to see how much wood we would have to transport. There was no way would could “carry” this. So the driver decided to try another route (not as steep) to our house. Neal and drove back home and minutes later we heard a VERY LOUD BANG! The truck driver forgot to close the door and when we drove up a hill, all the truck’s contents emptied on the street. That is our wood flooring in bundles on the ground and on the truck. Oops! MANY people from the trucking company came and assessed the situation . . . and carried the flooring to our house (now just a block away). Oh my! That was a day to remember! Years late, we still see the spilled paint in the road and feel guilty! 😳Back to the flooring . . .
After the flooring sits in the room and gets acclimated, it was installed throughout the main level (including the two guest bedrooms, Neal’s office and our master bedroom). Below are more pictures of the flooring after installation, but before polyurethane.
Here is the master bedroom flooring in the new addition. Through the doorway is the master bathroom. The foyer (front door). And anther picture of the flooring. This back wall at the end of the hallway was previously the front door. Here is the new flooring after polyurethane. (We did not stain the floor; we liked it natural and it darkens over time.)The finished floor! Isn’t it beautiful! (The old railing around the basement steps has been removed and the new railing has yet to be installed). The rectangles on the floor are the sunlight coming through the new large windows.
After Pictures of the Main Living Area
This areas includes the kitchen, dining area, living room area and sitting area. (The windows appear to be curved, because I took a panoramic photo.) These pictures were during our first Thanksgiving after renovation/construction.
Here is a more recent picture on a bring summer day. This is an after picture from the loft (Suzanne’s office/guest bedroom and craft room on a snowy day before Christmas.We enjoy our windows even in the Winter. ☃Below is a picture of the railing around the steps to the basement. We originally replaced the spindles, but then came back and replaced the handrails that we originally painted white with heart pine to match the floors. This picture shoes the heart pine hand rails that match the floor.👍
Below are some random pictures of renovation.
This bedroom (originally Ryan’s room) was the size of a closet. Neal is removing the original closet to make this room larger. When we closed up the original front door, we installed a new closet for this room (and the bedroom across the hall) where the front door and hallway use to be. This is Neal installing the new window in this small bedroom. You, GO, Neal! 🔨 You can see where we removed the original closet on the left to make this room larger. Here is this same room after we moved the closet back several feet to expand this room. And here are a two more pictures after renovation.This is Grampy’s room when he visits. Here is the other guest bedroom.
This is a picture of the same room after we moved (and rebuilt) the new closet. Here are two more pictures of this guest bedroom. Moving the closet in what was the hallway (old front entrance) made this room bigger too. (Sorry my picture is so bright. This room gets a lot of morning sun. 🌞)This is a picture of our guest bathroom. Here is the granite countertop being installed. (I don’t have a picture of the original countertop.)Here is the same bathroom one the new sink and faucet were installed and after I painted the vanity and added a new mirror.This is the back of our basement where we sprayed (painted) all the doors. Neal wore a mask. We did this inside to keep bugs from landing in the paint; we covered the area with plastic, but we still have some “reminders” on the floor of this project. 🤪 Neal and I hung ALL of the doors and installed the trim around all the doors and windows. That was quite a chore! 😫
Below is a before and after picture of my craft room in the loft. Don’t judge us on how messy this small area is! 🤦♀️ We had to cram many things in small spaces during renovation and were constantly moving from one space to another (no time to refold shirts). The loft was our main living area during renovation/construction AND . . . this space was Neal’s office (he works from home) AND . . . our closet AND . . . part of our bathroom (vanity area)!😳This picture makes me laugh. 😆 This is an example of “reframing” a negative (lack of space) into a positive (Neal could brush his teeth while sitting at his desk because the sink is so close; now that is convenient!). 🤪Here is one of the two original windows in the loft. As you could see from the exterior pictures (previously discussed in this blog posting), we closed two windows in the loft and added one new window in the center.Here is the window closed up and the new window beside it. Again, sorry for the mess! We were a little overwhelmed by all the renovation. 😫Here are the steps from the loft going downstairs after we updated the railing. Here is the final picture of the loft. (My desk is against the rail and not shown in the picture. My craft room is adjacent to this room where Neal was sitting at his desk brushing his teeth.) Here is my view from the loft (while working at my desk). I overlook our living area and can see the lake. It feeds my soul. 😊This is a picture from the main living area looking up at the loft (my office/guest bedroom, craft room and bathroom).
New Addition Pictures
Below is our new master bedroom. I like this picture because it was my makeshift office. It worked! Through the studs on the far right of the picture is the master bathroom, where the garden tub will be installed.These are the windows in our master closet. It gives us natural light; they are high, which allows us to add shelving and gives us privacy.
Neal’s New Office
This was the exterior (side of the house) of the existing house. Notice where the window was closed (now the dining area on the other side of the wall). This is now the interior wall in Neal’s office.These are the new windows in Neal’s office. He has a view of the lake while he works. ⛵This is a view from our master bedroom closet after spray insulation. Through the framing, you can see through the foyer closet, the foyer and into the existing house (in the far distance is the old kitchen).
New Master Bedroom
Here is our master bedroom after drywall.Here is the view from our bedroom. This is the master bedroom after the heart pine floor was installed, but before polyurethane was applied to the floor. Here is a final picture of our master bedroom. Here is our view of the lake. 🚤 ☀ 😊
New Master Bathroom
This is after spray insulation. The future tub will be on the left and the shower is on the right. The double vanity will be inserted on the large wall.
Garden tub arrived . . . that is a start! I ❤ soaking in the tub looking out at the lake! We added trim on the side of the garden tub to cover the exposed side (motor). We wanted it to blend with our bathroom, but be easily removed if the tub motor had to be services/repaired at some point. My smart Neal figured out how to do this!Here you can see the trim we added; we wanted the design to blend with our cabinet doors. We painted it to match our cabinets (see final pictures below). This picture makes me laugh. This is during the tile installation. Neal is sitting on an upside down bucket sending a text. Below are pictures of our master bathroom after completion.This picture shows the painted trim on the side of the tub. We enjoy the view of the lake when soaking in the tub. ☺️ We can also see the lake while taking a shower. 😁
Here is the new foyer after drywall. The new foyer is where the new construction is connected to the existing house.Here is a picture of our foyer now. Below is a closeup of the foyer ceiling. The mill rounded some of the heart pine for our ceiling. This ceiling helps transition the new construction with the existing cathedral ceiling in the living area.
Below are pictures of the ceiling in the original part (main living area) of our house.
There is a closet under the steps that leads to the basement. This closet had to be cut back to make space for the hallway to the new basement addition. This is the basement living room for the young folks! We added the double windows to brighten this space and enhance the view of the lake. Here is the inside view after cutting the block for the new windows.Here the studs have been added so this area can be drywalled.Here is a picture after we added the window; however, we have since updated this area with different furniture. (Ryan and our nephews Lawson and Jackson are playing video games.) It still remains a work in progress . . .
Basement Bedrooms (New Construction)
This is Ryan’s room (far end of the basement new addition). You can see the plumbing in the floor where his bathroom will be. Emmy and Keith’s bedroom and bathroom being framed in this picture. The man is standing in the double window, which has a view of the lake.More framing . . .The drywall is being installed over the spray foam insulation on all exterior wall.Another picture of Emmy and Keith’s Bedroom. We covered the floor because we wanted to seal the concrete floor. We are eventually going to add flooring to dress up this area, but it works how it is for now. Ryan’s bedroom and his framed in closet. You can see Emmy and Keith’s room behind Ryan’s room.This is Ryan’s bedroom after drywall.The tile in the bathrooms downstairs also matches our master bath tile.
This is our old dock (and house before renovation). 😳 Neal added on to the original dock and added the steps when we first purchased the house. (This wood looks newer in the picture.)Here is another picture of the old dock.
Dock construction begins…
The flat section to the left is the original dock (including what Neal added). They removed the old cover, rails, and started building on and up!Going vertical!Rafters!Metal roof that matches the house roofFinishing up!This is the final dock minus the finished closet. Neal and I finished the closet. Here is the almost finished closet on the dock. We ran out of the treated wood planks and instead of making another trip to Home Depot, we decided to use this as an “opportunity” to create a work of art. I am going to paint an American flag on the closet (where the small woods slats are). Stay tuned for this work of art! 👩🎨I just love this view from our house.
We still have MANY MORE projects, such as finishing the patio porch floor, installing new deck railing, adding more landscaping, etc. Stay tuned for future blog posts!
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