A 40 Year Old House Gets a Nautically New Lake House Makeover

A 40 Year Old House Gets a Nautically New Lake House Makeover

Lake Nehai Tonkayea has always been special to Kim, as it is near where she grew up and where she learned to waterski. In 2016, some of our close friends were ready to sell their lake house that we had visited many times and where we had made great memories.

The dated home was in serious need of a lake house makeover, but the memories created there were priceless. We just could not imagine anyone else owning that little piece of paradise. With a little coercing, Kim convinced The Anchorman to dive into lake homeownership and a lake house makeover journey began with a goal of making it have a fresh nautical vibe.

The Story Behind this Lake House Makeover

This lake home was built in the mid-'70s. When we purchased it, the original finishes were still intact, and by that, I mean 40-year-old carpet, vanities, and appliances. Our first ownership agenda item was to refresh it and make it our own lakeside paradise. We demolished the old concrete dock that was impeding the view, put in all new windows and doors, and decided the 70's brown brick had to go. We chose SW Gibraltar for the main house exterior color because it was a nice blend of a deep warm gray with a nod to some tones of nautical blue. When paired with SW Extra White for the trim, we felt our lake house had shed years off of her life.

On the interior, we moved walls and installed a whole new HVAC system. We tore out the carpet and replaced it with Harbor Plank Cape Cod Grey luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring, which is waterproof and perfect for a home by the water. And, of course, every room got a fresh paint color update.

Here is a room-by-room look at the lake house makeover.


In the kitchen, we removed most of a wall to open it up to the living space. We put in all new cabinets, tile backsplash, and appliances. We transitioned from an attached breakfast bar to an island and installed pendant lights above it. As you can see, the previous cabinets did not go all the way to the ceiling, so the extra storage space we achieved was a big win. Moving the sink under the window and upgrading all of the appliances makes this space flow so much better for cooking. Just off to the side of the kitchen, there is enough space to accommodate a farmhouse-style table with benches and a couple of upholstered chairs.

RELATED: Nautical Bathroom Decor



Industrial Counter Height Swivel Stools | Seeded Glass Pendant Lights | Teal Rustic Wall Clock | Painted Oar Wall Decor | Similar Farmhouse Trestle Table with Benches | Similar Teal Velvet Dining Chairs


In the living room, we gave the fireplace a fresh look by whitewashing the previous brown brick that used to match the exterior. We also added a mantel that The Anchor Man made out of some scrap boards - YAY ... more room to display nautical décor! The wall paint color used in this space as well as the hallway, kitchen, and bathroom is SW Anew Gray, which is a really great neutral that doesn't look too taupe and doesn't look too gray. We think it is the perfect "greige" color. For the trim, we went with a darker color called SW Peppercorn. Then, to bring an extra dose of cozy to this room, we added pallet planks to create a focal wall behind the couch. One final touch was a built-in cabinet in the corner to allow for extra pillows and blanket storage. In a small house, you need to use every nook and cranny available to create extra storage! The nautical vibe we were hoping to achieve in the lake house makeover was really starting to come to life.



Area Rug | Similar Gray Queen Sofa Sleeper | Gray Tufted Storage Ottoman


In the bathroom, we worked hard to optimize the space because let's be honest, when you only have one bathroom, it has a big job to do! Since we still had little ones in the family, we wanted to find a way to go from a tiny single shower stall to a full-size tub with a shower. The bathroom closet used to house the washer/dryer, so we created a new location for these appliances across the hall from the bathroom. This allowed us to move things around just enough to accommodate the tub. Going from a single vanity to a double vanity allows for extra storage as well as the benefit of two people being able to freshen up at the same time. We think the shiplap wall above the vanities brings some much-needed character and a nautical flair to this room. The on-trend sliding door was the perfect way to close off the room when in use. I seriously think the only thing we did not move was the toilet!



White Wall/Vanity Mirrors | Shower Curtain with See-Thru Window and Snap Off Washable Liner | Similar Distressed Anchor Wall Decor | Similar Teal and Blue Striped Bath Rug | Westinghouse Brushed Nickel Vanity Light


In the master bedroom, we created a focal wall with SW Denim and painted the other three walls with SW Alabaster. The trim and doors were painted with SW Pure White. We wanted to bring to life our love for the nautical accents and colors. We selected nautical striped bedding that would compliment the weathered wood furniture. While we have yet to master tying any of the most popular sailing knots, we love the art and beauty of them and have an appreciation for the important role they play in living life by the water. When we ran across these framed nautical knot pieces, we knew they would be perfect for this room.

Anchor Pillow | Navy and White Quilt Set | Willowton Whitewash Panel Bed | Willowton Whitewash Night Stand | Similar Sailing Knots Framed Wall Decor

In the guest bedroom, we used SW Poised Taupe for the walls and SW Pure White for the trim. Here we incorporated the bright and energetic color scheme of teal and lime into the bedding and furniture to create a fun and welcoming guest room. We blended the bright colors with some fun nautical touches, like the round mirror hanging on the wall with a rope. We found a nightstand in the West Bottoms (Kansas City area vintage and refurb retail destination) that had been hand-painted with an anchor on top and knew it was just the right bedside table for this room.

Teal/Grey Bohemian Quilt Set | Nautical Mirror


When you have a small house, you look for ways to extend your entertaining space. Since the existing porch was not covered and not very large, we elected to give the front of the house a whole new look by adding a 24'W x 18'D covered porch with rough sawn beams and posts that were capped with Casa di Sassi Kwik Stack decorative stone. The majority of our time is spent on the water or relaxing and dining in this new comfortable outdoor living space. We went FROM THIS...


Lake House Makeover

We enjoy spending time in this space. It is covered to provide some protection from the sun and is even fun to sit here during a light rain. It is truly a delightful place to drink your morning coffee, relax after a long day on the water, or even catch our virtual Sunday morning church service. We purchased the wicker furniture set at Costco and it has the most awesome barcalounger recliners. We couldn't find the set available anywhere at the moment, but we did find a link for the recliners. For the outdoor dining space, we wanted something that was able to accommodate a large group and be very durables well. This cast aluminum expandable set checked both of the boxes that we were looking for. The most awesome feature about this table is that there are two hidden leaves that store below the table when not needed, but when you do need them, the table expands to a whopping 132". We felt these nautical rugs and rope light fixture were the perfect finishing touches for our outdoor living area. Our lake house makeover dreams were taking shape and coming to fruition.

Outdoor Wicker Recliners | Cast Aluminum Expanding Patio Table |Anchor Rug | Similar Nautical Knot Rug | Gray Willow Wicker Lantern | Outdoor Timer Candle | Rope Light Fixture


But wait ... that's not the end. Every home needs a place to store all of the stuff, like lawnmowers, grills, and tools. While the original purchase came with a metal shed, it no longer blended with the overall aesthetics and was just not big enough. So, if you are going to go sinking money into a new storage shed, you might as well make it work overtime for you. By that, I mean provide added value! We decided to incorporate another entertaining space by building in a live edge bar, complete with a garage door-type serving window on the front section of the shed. This has so many benefits! We brought in a commercial refrigerator which provides a whole separate area for all the "lake drinks". This directs all the wet feet into the shed area to get drinks, which keeps the a/c in the house and the bugs out of the house. It also provides a gathering place for us to host what we call "Captain's Hour" at 5:00 each day -- a time where all of our lake neighbors are invited to come to our place for a time of socializaion before dinner. When they hear the "cabana boy" bell ring, they know it is time to gather. It is truly our favorite part of a typical lake day!

Rattan Barstools | Blue Floral Chair Cushions


Once all the construction was complete, it was landscaping time to tie the lake house makeover all together. We added several tiered planting beds with landscaping blocks that framed the entire perimeter of the house and barn. We added additional patio space between the two structures and a raised paver patio in front of the barn. Our most favorite part of the landscaping is the wide steps that welcome all of our guests onto the patio from the lakeside.

And that, my friends, is how our little piece of paradise called the Fins and Family Waterfront Resort was born.

lake house nautical makeover- The Anchored Style

I hope you enjoyed seeing our transformation from beginning to end. Kim smiles every time she hears The Anchorman say, "I am so glad we did this!" While it has taken years of love, sweat, and tears to get to this point, it was worth every penny and every hour spent making it ours. It is proof that dreams really can come true. The memories we have made so far are truly priceless to us, and we look forward to making so many more in the years to come.

P. S. We would love to know ... have you ever dreamed of having a home by the water?

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