Lake House Rental Makeover


Lake House living room makeover

HGTV has a new popular show out called Vacation House for Free.  It’s where the host/general contractor takes a couple to 3 different places in a hot vacation destination to see which house or cottage they want to purchase to make it their dream vacation destination.
50+ agents & their clients came through this lake house just steps away from Ontario’s #1 beach.  It’s not surprising to see why at first glance people would walk through it and not want to purchase it.  But if you take a closer look at the cottage’s striking features,  close to an amazing beach and popular tourist destination, great location to downtown cafes & shops, lake view from kitchen window, you might think twice.


sunset paradise, living room with logo












This lake house, even though it was a huge fixer upper, it had the basic bones of making the cottage a great vacation destination and rental income property.

With ALOT of elbow grease, we were able to turn this around into a rental property where it gets booked each year.

First thing we did was DECLUTTER.  We got rid of all the dated knick knacks and broken down furniture.  Then we could look at what we wanted to do.













I picked out my curtain and pillow fabric first as my inspiration.  The wall color was based on the fabric.  Click here to read how to update wood paneling.

The blue Ikea nautical looking tub chairs came from our home.  The TV stand was a thrift store purchase.  Click here to see the transformation of How to distress laminate furniture.

The bench (far right) was a hand-me-down from a friend who’s condo I staged and she didn’t want it anymore.  Its still awaiting its makeover.


sunset paradise, living room, after 2












The shelves were dismantled.  The window was eliminated by covering it up with plywood to create a cosier look.


Over a course of two years, gradually new furniture, pictures and knick knacks began to replace the original furniture that had seen better days.  The Ikea couch/futon (see picture below) replaced the broken pull out sofa.  A futon or pull out couch is a must in a cottage rental in order to attract renters.  The coffee table is a thrift store find awaiting its furniture transformation.  I quickly sanded the top of the table and brushed on a couple of coats of my favorite Miniwax in Jacobean stain to cover up stains from its previous owner.
















It’s hard to believe we took this on.  During the middle of the renovations, and working like madmen towards the rental season deadline, we were starting to wonder what did we do?!?




























It’s still a work in progress.  There are many plans for how I (we) will continue to update the look for next summer, but the cottage always needs to be “rentable ready” so projects need to be completed before I leave.  No unfinished projects hanging around here.  Now my house, that’s another matter. (lol)

Most people judge a place on what it currently looks like, but if you have the ability to see “past” all the clutter and dated looks, you could find yourself a real gold mine.

This lake house cottage will eventually be paid by our renters!  A HUGE thank you to all our renters!!!  And that’s house we got a Vacation House for Free just like on the popular HGTV show.



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