If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that Sean and I are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to use our skills to renovate & make extra money. So when we stumbled upon the idea of turning a small lake home into an Airbnb, we just had to give it a try. Well, I'm happy to say that our first Airbnb venture - the Little Lake House - was a success! And because it was such a success, we've decided to buy another (tiny!) cabin and turn it into an Airbnb too. (Psst...you can see pictures and read more about our first experience on this blog post.) Here's a BEFORE Airbnb tour of the cabin and what we plan to do with it.
Meet the Little Lake House @ Seba Beach (AKA the Tiny Lake House)!
These second little lake house is TINY at only 476 square feet in size. Rather than try to expand it or demolish it and build new, we want to save this tiny home and turn it into the coziest little vacation rental.
Just like our last cabin renovation, this is also a 1950s home in need of a lot of work. This one has NO plumbing or heating, so we have to add that in. There's no bathroom in the cabin, but it does have an outhouse and an outdoor shower. You'll see in our plans later down this post that we WILL be adding in a small 3 piece bathroom!
Watch my video for a full Airbnb tour & see our plans to remodel this tiny home:
What do we LOVE about this tiny lake cabin?
- it's only a block and a half from a beach on a huge lake
- it has the vintage charm and character that we love
- it has a gorgeous backyard with lots of trees and a large patio area
- it's less than an hour from Edmonton (we're about 30 minutes from this cabin)
Interior Airbnb Tour
The current cabin layout is simple with an open living room area as soon as you walk in, a small kitchen in the center, and then two small bedrooms.
Exterior Airbnb Tour
We love the lot that this cabin is situated on, and we can't wait to spruce up the yard. The original siding of the cabin is still in great shape, and a sanding and paint job will do wonders.
Just like our last property, we're going to completely gut this home. It needs proper insulation, plumbing, and we'll install in-floor heating. From experience, we also know that there might be things hiding in these 1957 walls that we'll need to remove! (Our last cabin was packed full of mouse droppings and damage!)
Here are our renovation plans (in *sort of* the order we'll do them in):
- Demo the interior of the cabin
- Install septic holding tank and fresh water tank on the property
- Re-frame the cabin to the new layout (more on that below)
- Install new windows and exterior doors
- Sand and paint the exterior
- Replace the shingles on the roof
- Tidy the yard & add low maintenance shrubs
- Re-wire the electrical in the cabin
- Insulate the cabin with spray foam insulation
- Install in-floor heating
- Install new interior doors
- Install drywall and shiplap
- Paint the interior
- Install new kitchen & appliances
- Install trim & feature wall details
- Furnish the cabin and get it ready for guests
New Layout & Decor Mood Boards
Because we have to add a small bathroom and utility room, we will completely change the layout of this cabin. The current primary bedroom is also much too small, so we'll change its location and add a sofa bed to the living room so that the home can sleep up to 4 guests.
The new layout features a properly sized bedroom, more storage in the entry area, and a modest kitchen, dining & living room combo that will look out to the backyard. I played around with this layout for weeks, and I'm finally happy with how it looks! We don't want to move any windows or doors, so this was a challenge.
As for the decor scheme, I want to play into this tiny home's 1957 roots and go for a vintage modern cottage look. My jumping off point are these mint green retro-look appliances that I'm madly in love with. I'll base the colour scheme around these, and compliment the mint with some warm copper and wood accents.
- these retro look mint appliances
- this area rug for the living room and this one for the bedroom
- this copper sink
- these butcher block countertops
- these classic white shaker cabinets (again!)
- this shiplap (again!)
- this sofa bed
- this luxury vinyl plank flooring
- this bed frame
Because the cabin is so small, I'll carry the same colour scheme throughout and choose tones of white (yes, again!) for the walls, ceilings and trim work.
Turning the cabin into a vacation rental (through Airbnb and Vrbo)
We've had our first cabin as a vacation rental for 9 months now, so I'll use everything I've learned from that experience to prepare this second cabin for Airbnb & Vrbo rental. You can see everything I've learned right here, but I'll essentially copy & paste all the accessories & amenities guests have loved from our first cabin into this one. Now I know which soaps, towels, bedding, dishware, coffee machine, TV etc. work the best in our vacation rental. Now that we have experience, I anticipate this part of the job going relatively smoothly!
We also have a built-in audience that we can market this new rental to. Our first Little Lake House has a website, mailing list and social channels, so we'll be able to advertise this new Tiny Lake House to those folks once it's ready.
We are so excited to get started on our cabin renovations and can’t wait to share them with you! I hope you enjoyed this BEFORE Airbnb tour. If you have any questions about the process or Airbnb in general, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. And if you’re curious about what it’s like to own a tiny cabin of your very own, stay tuned – we’ll be sharing pictures and videos of our progress as we go. Thanks for following along with us on this exciting journey!