Our Little Lake House Renovation | BEFORE & Demolition

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Come along with use as we renovate a little house with a lakefront view as our first rental property! We’re taking it right down to the studs, completely refinishing everything, and we’re going to take you along with us every step of the way.

Last October 29th, we took a big leap: we bought our first investment property! We’ve been looking for about a year, and we wanted to buy something with a lake view that could work for either a long term or vacation rental. Our budget was limited, so we knew we’d need to find something that would require a lot of work.

When we found this little house on a nearby lake with a gorgeous view, we knew it was The One! It’s a 1000 square foot 1959 home with 2 bedrooms, one bathroom and an open concept living room and kitchen. It needed A TON of work, but the location couldn’t be beat.

As soon as we toured the home, we realized it would require a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It was smelly, cold, and had a lot of damage. The price was right and the location was perfect though, so we put in an offer and purchased the home shortly thereafter.

Watch this video to get a tour of the little lake house right after we bought it:

In December, we started with demolition. We removed all of the old carpeting, damaged hardwood floor, ceiling tiles and cabinets.

Watch this video to come along with us on demo day:

One thing lead to another, and we realized that the exterior walls of the home were only 2x4s and weren’t insulated properly. With that discovery, along with finding piles of damage in the walls from mice, we decided to gut the home entirely.

Watch this video to see our home renovation nightmare unfold:

We’re not happy that we have to spend more time and more money on the renovation, but I am glad that we found all of the issues hidden behind the walls of the lake house and were able to fix them properly. We decided to use spray foam insulation to insulate the entire home, and that is a huge expense we weren’t planning for.

The insulation will keep out rodents and keep the house energy efficient, so I know it’s the best decision for this home. We want whoever rents this home to feel safe and warm, and by gutting the place and re-insulating it, we are able to create a better environment here.

The Design Plan

We are keeping the layout of the home similar to its original layout, but I want to create a larger kitchen area with an eat-in table. We’re adding symmetrical windows on the back of the home and a larger garden door so that the lake views are the star of the show.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout will make the home feel more open, and it’s a durable choice for a rental home. New kitchen cabinetry, an office nook, an electric fireplace, and shiplap accents will modernize the lake house and add some charm.

Here’s a mood board I created for the space. Most of these elements I’ve already purchased over the last few months (it’s very difficult to source items right now, so I’ve had to do a lot of advance ordering and shopping!). I want the home to feel serene with mostly neutral colours, but I love the idea of adding pops of golds and deep teal colours.

Modern Coastal Lake House Mood Board:

  1. Metrie Shiplap
  2. Brushed Brass ceiling fan
  3. Metrie Winslow door
  4. Globe Electric sconce
  5. Luxe B Pampas Grass
  6. Pure white
  7. Soft white
  8. Gold
  9. Deep teal
  10. Lagoon kitchen cabinets
  11. Marble hexagon tile
  12. Divine Flooring luxury vinyl plank in The Natural
  13. Gold pillow cover
  14. Stripe pillow cover
  15. Ivory & blue rug
  16. Rattan mirror
  17. Matte gold faucet
  18. Diamond rug
  19. Birch bed frame
  20. Star light fixture
  21. Faux marble tile

All of these elements together make me feel warm and happy, and I’m so excited to see the home come together! I’m trying to shop at inexpensive places like IKEA and The Home Depot so that we don’t go any further over our renovation budget.

Metrie and Diving Flooring are sponsoring our doors, trim, shiplap and flooring and we’re incredibly grateful for that!

So, what do you think?! Are we in over our heads?! Some days I feel a little nervous about a project of this size, but other days I feel excited and happy that we have such a fun project to work on. Our goal is to have the home finished by summer time so that we can rent it out full time or short term, depending on what will work best with the community and the interest.

What’s next?

We’re first completing the bathroom renovation. I’m collaborating with one of my favourite YouTube friends and we’ll both be sharing our bathroom renovations on our channels this month.

Up next will be the master bathroom which is a collaboration with a paint sprayer brand. We’re currently dry walling both spaces right now!


I can’t wait to get to the fun parts of this huge renovation and show you how they turn out. To get the latest updates on this project, follow the home on Instagram at @littlelakehouseca and subscribe to my YouTube channel!


  1. I think it is great that you are sharing your renovation because nothing ever goes as planed. We have renovated several homes and you always wonder why the person before you did what they did but it can always be fixed and be glad you have caught the problems. We purchased our retirement home in an adult community in Ontario. When we purchased the home it too smelled very bad but by the time you take out carpet, wash and paint walls it is amazing how fresh the home becomes again. We knew we wanted to replace the kitchen but were surprised what we found under the kitchen sink and it too was worst than we had thought. But once you take it down to the bare bones and replace and fill holes it is always worth the work. We have now been here 2 years and are happy with the work we have done. By opening up areas moving walls, installed the same flooring through out the home, you would never know it was the same home we purchased. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Enjoy your reno I know it will be wonderful once it is completed. I look forward to watching the progress of your rental home.
    Thank you,

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