Renovating the Existing Interior of Our Lake House

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 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. 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!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. 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 our 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 treehouse, 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 fireplace and after we removed the carpet. Check out the floor! Oh my! In the picture below, Neal removing the drywall over the fireplace so we could add the 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. 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 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 from Christmas.


Here is a before and after of the kitchen. Here are closeup before and after pictures. 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! Here is the new kitchen window, but old kitchen cabinets. 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 the 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 cooktop still needs to be added. They cut the hole for the stovetop 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

Click here to see Installing Heart Pine Flooring
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 shows the heart pine handrails 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 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; 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).

Click here to see the blog post about the making of my craft room.

Click here to see the blog post about Interior Construction of the New Addition

1 Comment

  1. Sannygeway on 12/11/2018 at 11:44 AM

    Nice posts! 🙂

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