The Cottage Renovation

All told, we sunk $ 58,000 into the cottage renovation once we got it solely into our possession.

Firstly, we wanted to make some permanent changes and upgrades. Secondly, we knew if we were going to list it as a vacation rental it needed to be remodeled. Personally, I could watch HGTV all day long. I figured somebody out there would also like to check out the changes we made. If you want the back story on how we acquired the cottage in the first place, click here.

We started with the nature of the space itself. There was a small first floor bedroom that needed to be eliminated to make a bigger living room.

The extra bedroom off the living room, see the door

The wall is now gone 🙂

And now the living room looks like this;

You can see the new support beam, it was a load bearing wall 🙁

We also took the weird parlor room and built a wall with a door to turn it into a first floor bedroom. The original cottage was only 2 rooms. A later addition was built that doubled the space but not really with good room flow in mind. Moreover, these two remodeling changes seemed organic. Total Cost: $ 4,800 (needed a support beam).

The upstairs of the cottage is a semi-private open loft style area that sleeps 8 (4 beds) and has a half bath. We changed out the carpet and painted the walls.

Upstairs Before

This is what the upstairs looks like now. Kids love the openness, but its not exactly conducive to privacy.

We also laid down new hardwood floors throughout the main floor. I ended up getting the product for free because the company shipped two different tones of floor planks. It ended up looking nice enough that it feels like we opted for this on purpose. Score! New floors up and down plus painting, Total Cost: $ 7,600.

We did a total renovation (tear out) of the main bathroom. We opted for a tiled shower. This upgrade cost so much it inspired me to do some later work in the kitchen by myself.

Bathroom Before

Main Bathroom now; Total Cost: $ 11,500

We put in a microwave above the oven and painted the cabinets. We changed the hardware and installed a  new sink. Lastly, a new counter tops and a new back splash. I ended up doing most of the renovation work in the kitchen myself. It worked out to getting a new kitchen for $3,000.

Great idea to tear out the cabinets above the sink. Now, doing the dishes isn’t so bad because you can look at the lake while you work.

The kitchen went from That, to This;

Outside, we replaced all the windows, patio furniture, and put up all new vinyl siding. Total cost $ 19,000.

Outside back in the day

Now outside looks like this;

Kitchen Table view of the Lake

Lastly, we replaced all the beds, bedding, and most of the furniture. Now, after the renovation, the cottage is on cruise control. It is being booked steadily, people love staying there and we have a few more upgrades up our sleeves.

According to our Retirement Master Plan, this is the house we will retire to.

4 thoughts on “The Cottage Renovation

  1. Love a good renovation story! And you made excellent choices, especially converting the first floor parlor to a bedroom (way to bump up that rental income). Also like your plan to retire to the cottage. First, because it looks like a beautiful serene setting, and second because of all the tax benefits of course! You will be able to take depreciation during your rental years, and then NOT have to pay the recapture if you convert to your primary residence instead of selling. And likely avoid capital gains tax if you do sell after residing there several years. But I’m sure that was all part of the plan! Nicely done 🙂

  2. This is extremely interesting. I love before and after photos and documentaries of renovations (and yes HGTV too!!!) We’ve never underwent any construction so this is a totally new world for me. How did you pay the contractors? Credit card…?

    Was the entire renovation $58k or something else? Man this would be triple the price in Seattle thanks to everyone overbuilding here.

    The bathroom and living rooms look fantastic! That’s a beautiful cottage to retire into!

    • My guy needed checks, credit cards will usually make smaller contractors add a bit to cover the fee they have to pay the CC. $58k all in. The free floor helped!

  3. Heya,

    Many congratulations on your renovation, it’s so inspiring what you have done with the space and you’re so lucky to have that view of the lake from your table 🙂 I’ve been off work sick the last few days and have been trying to get super-inspired for our own home renovation.


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