Many of you know that my husband and I celebrated our 20 year anniversary on September 30 of this year. We decided, as a couple (that means me ) that instead of buying frivolous gifts (like a beautiful new diamond ring ) or taking a romantic Caribbean vacation we would buy a lake house fixer upper to make our forever home (someday).  WHAT WERE WE THINKING????

You all know I am a die-hard upcycler right?  This is what I do.   I take things that are previously owned and make them better.  Most of the time, it’s a lamp, a piece of furniture or a set of kitchen cabinets.  This time its…A HOUSE!

So no…we aren’t crazy.  It’s my passion and I am lucky enough to have someone in my life that enjoys it too.

Well here it is…Our 1970’s lake house fixer upper.  She’s a beauty isn’t she?  I know what you are thinking but wait until you see the rest.  I have a full tour planned for you.  This is exactly what it looked like when I first fell in love.

lake house front

This is the front of the house from the street.  I will agree that it’s not much to look at from this view but remember…it’s a lake house and most of the “wow factor” is usually on the back side facing the lake.

Here you go…the back of the house.  It really is one of (if not the) ugliest house at the lake.  It has not one but two flat roofs which gives it the appearance of a 70’s apartment complex.  Oh what? You don’t believe me…look at this

apartment house collage

Another crazy thing about this fixer upper is that the garage is on the lake side and the master bedroom is on the street side.  What the heck?  Also…check out the spiral staircase under the deck.  I will address that in a bit.

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Here is a look inside the garage…nothing fancy except for it’s amazing view of the lake.  This is where I must ask again, “Why is the garage on the lake side and the master bedroom on the street side”?

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Here is one of the side views.  Needless to say, the landscaping is a little overgrown. LOL  That doesn’t bother me a bit.  That is where my husband, John excels…upcycling the outside!

lake viking front

This is another view of the front of the house.  Can you say ZERO curb-appeal?  All I will say about this right now is…”couldn’t they find anywhere else to put the AC unit other than the front of the house”?

lake viking air conditioner

Here is an up close & personal picture of this original AC unit…not attractive and not very efficient…at all.

lake viking rooftop

Here is where that staircase leads…on to the roof.  You can see they had a cover made to keep people from going up on the roof uninvited.  They had a stack of chairs up on the roof above the garage to sit and enjoy the view but…who wants to sit on an asphalt roof in the middle of summer? Not me.

Before I take you inside, I want to point out one more thing on this roof.  Do you see the water standing on the upper deck?  This is a big problem that occurs with flat roofs.  There is no where for the water to go except…we will get to that later but I am sure you get the idea.

Lake House Fixer Upper Inside Tour:
lake viking from front door

This is the view from the front door.  It’s not bad at all.  They advertised that they had installed new carpet but unfortunately they had pets that had already soiled on it.  Can you see the stain right in front of the wicker chair?

lake viking fireplace

Here is the fireplace.  I am not a fan of inefficient fireplaces.  They honestly let more cold air in than the heat they provide.  I will definitely switch this out with a wood-burning stove.  I have one at my current home and I promise…they are worth the extra investment.

lake viking inside 2

This is another view from the living room.  Do you notice something strange about the walls?  Yep…you guessed it.  They took the sheetrock off and stained the studs (open-concept???  I think not)

lake viking inside

Just another view to give you a good idea of the layout and decor.  It’s carpet with linoleum and popcorn ceilings.

lake viking inside main levelThis view is from the back door looking at the front door.  Yes the front door was a sliding glass door.

lake viking inside main level 2

This is the dining room looking into the kitchen.  One thing I noticed right away was how closed in the kitchen was because of the bank of cabinets with the pass-through.

lake viking kitchen cabinets

Here is kitchen.  The cabinets are not horrible but they will definitely need some work.

lake viking laundry area

This is the laundry room right off the kitchen.

lake viking kitchen bookcase

This is the other side of the kitchen.  It consists of a couple of knick-knack shelves and I will leave it at that.

lake viking master bedroom

Here is the master bedroom.  You know…the room I told you faced the street.  It is a big room.

lake viking master bedroom sitting area

This is a sitting area and the closets for the master bedroom.  It seems like such wasted space.  The tv wall is the same wall as the knick-knack shelf.

lake viking master bathroom

Here is the master bathroom.  It needs some serious help.  It has a bright blue tub and shower, carpet, bad wallpaper and do I need to even mention the countertop?  Believe it or not…this is actually the more attractive bathroom of the three.

Another problem with the layout of this house is that this bathroom is the only one on the main level so you have to go into the master bedroom to use it. Otherwise, you have to go upstairs or into the basement.

lake viking staircase

These are the stairs leading to the upstairs.  I think they look like a cat-scratching post. LOL  They are definitely not safe.  Do you see any stair spindles?

Update: See my DIY Cat Scratching Post: Make Your Own MEOW here! I really did use this carpet! 

lake viking upstairs hallway

Here is the landing at the top of the stairs.  It leads to a very narrow hallway.

lake viking bedroom 4

Here is guest bedroom #1.  It is pretty small and has dark paneling, a drop-down ceiling and a very small closet.

lake viking bedroom 3

Here is guest bedroom#2.  It is a mirror image of #1.

lake viking bedroom 2

Here is guest bedroom #3.  It is quite a bit bigger but still has the dark paneling, the drop-down ceiling and a very tiny closet (look in corner).

lake viking bathroom

This bathroom #2.  All I can say is “WOW”.  Did you notice the baseboard heaters?  None of the upstairs has HVAC so there are baseboard heaters and window air units in each one.

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I had to give you one more look at this bathroom before it gets its makeover.  I know some of you will want me to keep this linoleum but it has to go! Also…see the orange sticker on the vanity?  This is what is says:

#1=1 flush.  #2=2 flushes.  Feminine products or 1/2 roll of toilet paper = $100 fine. Thanks, The Management.  Really?  That is hilarious!


And I saved the best for last.  This room is so odd.  It’s only roughly 7′ x 6′.  I am not sure what it was originally built for but the only window is this slide open window from the hallway.  It had a set of bunk beds and that’s about all it had room for.  It almost seemed like a nursery area…creepy.

Now I will take you down to the basement.  It is unfinished except for one space…wait for it…wait for it…


This is the 3rd bathroom in the house.  It is the only finished space in the basement and it is NOT pretty!

I don’t have many basement pics because it’s so dark and quite honestly…dungeony (is that a word? lol)

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Here is the basement garage.  This is perfect for boat storage and water toys and it’s really the only source of natural light except for a couple of window wells.

That’s it…what do you think?  Not so bad right?  Surely people can see past it’s physical imperfections right?  Clearly not…this house had been on the market for close to 5 years.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few more issues with this house that we will get into in a later post but for now remember this…

lake viking front 2It’s not what you’re looking at that matters…

IMG_2770It’s what you see! 

Here is a picture of what I see when I look our lake house fixer upper.

I invite you to follow along as we share every step of the process with you including: the demo, the new design, the issues we face, and all of the products we using.

This is by far the biggest fixer upper project I have ever taken on.  There are going to be so many decisions that have to be made along the way.  I can’t make all of these decisions on my own so I hope you will follow along and give me your opinions and suggestions.

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lake house fixer upper

Each and everyone of you inspire me and I LOVE to see the work that you’ve created. Feel free to share with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. And as always, be sure to follow Diva Of DIY on Pinterest.

This is just the beginning. Check out how it is going here:

lake house front
Lake House Fixer Upper Updates
What I found wrong with our remodel is shocking
Buyer Beware: What we Found Wrong with our Remodel is Shocking
Our Lake House Fixer Upper Series continues and we finally have a house once again! With outside walls that won't fall down and a new roof line!
All Lake House Fixer Upper Series Posts

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