On November 1st my husband Jason & I started probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We purchased a Lake Front house in Jason’s home town of Nakusp BC. We bought it as a rental property and had tenants lined up to move in mid month. The issue was it is a 120 something year old home with some great surprises and some not so great. At 1/3 of an acre it’s a large lot and has one of the best views of the lake around. The house itself had some great features just waiting to be discovered with a little elbow grease and some updating . The previous owners had a renter in there with plans to retire and build new one day but sadly ran out of time and decided to pass the baton. There were multiple offers on the place and it wasn’t even listed! Thankfully they chose us, not the highest bid, because we wanted to preserve as much of the history of the property as possible. Nakusp is a town rich in history with families going back generations living in the same homes that their grandparents lived in as kids!

Now if you have been around here for any length of time you may know I have a degree in Interior Design and my hubby use to own a construction company when we first met. So between the two of us we figured we could easily flip this home in 2 short weeks! Boy did we misjudge how much work was ahead of us!

Fast forwards to now and all I can say is those HGTV shows don’t show half of it! Every part of my body hurts! The tips of my fingers are worn off and sore, I have blisters on every toe, I lost 6 lbs from working from sun up to sun down. More then half the days we would forget to eat, and our poor animals were basically on strike from living in our trailer any longer. There is only one Home Hardware in town and by the end of the 15 days every employee there knew us by name and wanted to be updated on the progress of the home. But….. we got it done and our renters are all moved in!

This house also has some serious history we have learned. It was originally built to house the workers who built the Grand Hotel that use to be next door. Sadly that hotel burnt down many many years ago, but this house still stood. It also has an old Ice Shack on the property. Now if you don’t know what an ice shack is, it was a place where blocks of ice would be stored so you could have a way to cool your food. The ice would be brought in by the paddle wheeler boat, hauled by horse up the bank, and stored in the ice shack, then you would head there grab your ice and fill your cooler prior to refrigeration. We have big plans for that Ice Shack building too as it is still standing and in good shape.

So lets chat about what we did. The outside of the home was stucco that was done sometime in the last 70 years. It was the really old, thick rough stucco and it was in need of a really good wash and paint. I chose to go light and bright with a white main color accented by a dark trim. Both paints are from Sherman Williams as they have paint that is good down to +2 since we were doing all the outside stuff early November. I also wanted to pay homage to the Ice Shack so I painted the door an icy blue color. With a light change and a new house number the front of the home went from overgrown to and inviting front stoop. We also have the oldest Willow tree in Nakusp right on our patio. We had to have it limed up as it had become overgrown and some of the branches were split. The best park of the whole property though is the view! There is seriously nothing better then waking up and sipping coffee with a view  like that!

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Now to the inside. In the main living space there was a drop ceiling that for sure was not original to the house. It was painted a dark charcoal color that just made the whole place feel dark. Also on the patio side of the home they had put their wood stove but piped it through a door and then paneled over the door. From the inside it just looks like a wall but on the outside the 100 year old door was still there and in desperate need of some help. We moved the stove to the corner, properly installed it, added a mantle and over it and overall just gave a purpose to the space. We also removed that drop ceiling only to find a stunning board and batten ceiling in perfect condition. We ran with the board and batten theme a lot in this house to keep some of the historic look alive. A coat of paint and grey wide plank vinyl floors finished off the space making it feel much larger and way more inviting!

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1900 Lake Front House Nakusp House Remodle - Living Room

Both Bedrooms and the laundry room had just ply-wood walls painted different colors. So we added board and batten to them to clean and freshen them up. Then painted them all white to give that crisp clean feel and to draw your attention to the view. The closet was also completely unusable in both bedrooms. The door was falling off of the one, and you weren’t able to access most of it. We demoed most of the structure but left the original ship lap structure and added an actual closet rod. Its amazing what a coat of paint and some mdf will do to a space. Also we have to say a huge thank you to Jason’s brother Zach who came out for a week and a bit and helped us. He did the board and batten in the rooms and it looks phenomenal!

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The Kitchen is one heck of a transformation! Before it was cramped, only had one bank of cabinets, an old 1950 maxed out electrical panel feet from the kitchen sink and so many wires everywhere. We went and bought a grey shaker style Ikea kitchen and brought it out to Nakusp with us. Zach is a cabinet builder by trade so his job was to build the Ikea cabinets and install them. This task was definitely an easy one for him as he is use to building custom high end kitchens, but man what a difference! The counter tops we changed to a white marble laminate, so it was durable and much brighter. We also brought out all new stainless steal appliances, and added in a banquet for extra storage and easy table seating in the small space. I also tiled behind the stove and sink with a classic white subway tile, changed out the lights to a fun Sputnik one above the kitchen table and flush mount LED lights everywhere else. I loved the look! We have a couple final touches to do in the spring like floating shelving on the sink wall but all in all we love the the look of it.

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The room that I like the most though, has to be the bathroom. Now it might be because all my blood sweat and tears (literally) went into this room. I did all the tiling, grouting, and calking in this room to change it from just a tub to tub/shower combo. We also replaced the old vanity with a new classic grey washed wood with a clean white top and kept the whole room bright and white. We also added a bath electrical plug and bath fan to the room along with new vinyl plank floors. I am in love with how this room turned out and and seriously obsessed with the rain fall shower head!

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All in all, this was a WAY bigger project then we ever imagined. Our plan was to pretty it up and get a renter in it fast. Easy Peasy! Well, between the all new plumbing, electrical and all the work we did to the inside and out, it is basically a brand new home inside a cute 1900 year old shell. Would I take on another 2 week project like this? Probably not! Haha I would for sure give us more time to complete the project.Our plan on the property is to Airbnb this property all summer! So if you are looking for an awesome lake front escape in a quaint BC town this property is for you!

Also I want to say a Huge thank you to Jason’s cousin Leah & Rolland for not only being there to feed us, and shower us when we had no hot water for most of the two weeks, as well as doing multiple dump runs. We could not have done this project with out you guys. Also a huge thank you to Zach who helped so much and probably was one of the main reasons we actually finished on time.


If your looking for a Family Photography and are in the Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore or Banff area get in touch with me at info@paisleyphotos.ca


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