DIY Decorating – Lake House Living: Year One

Over the last year, not a day went by where I was not fully engaged in a DIY project or planning one out. It feels nice to take a break from holding a paint brush or need to take a run to the home improvement store. :-)

my house on the lake

As I enjoy this week, I also wanted to share a milestone with you. December 8th marked one year that Ed and I made the move to live our dream of living along the shores of a big lake.

After a year of DIYing and updating many of the rooms to fit our style, the house truly feels like…

Lake House Custom Watercolor portrait by The Art of Michelle
Watercolor portrait by The Art of Michelle

…home sweet home. :-)

Waterside tour of homes

When I look back over the last year, I realize we got a lot accomplished, even with lots of downtime to enjoy the water… swimming in it, boating on it, and…

summer easy living ideas

…sitting back in the evenings to enjoy the show every night. It is never the same.

I have many new projects planned for 2017 and thought before I start posting about them, I would recap the changes we made to the house so far.

Before and after floor makeover for a home office

The first project started the week we moved in. I had vinyl plank flooring from Floor & Decor that we brought with us from Pennsylvania. We decided to use it to replace the carpeting in what would become my studioffice.

Vinyl Plank Floors in the Craft room – Studioffice

Home office decorating ideas

It made a huge difference to the room along with the addition of an area rug.

Home office decorating ideas

This is the room where I first started to paint all the brown trim…

In My Own Style studioffice

…to white. A much nicer place to work now.

Master bedroom makeover before and after

After that was done, I painted the master bedroom…

Bedroom decorating ideas using quilts

in a shade of soft blue.

How to find budget window treatments for sliding glass doors

and made extra-wide white drapes to cover the sliding doors in every room by sewing together pre-made drapery panels to get the wide width I needed.

How to make extra wide drapes to cover a sliding glass door

It took me months to get all the drapes made, but it was well worth my efforts to get exactly what I wanted.

Staircase Makeover BEFORE

I made over the foyer staircase…

Foyer staircase Makeover AFTER

…by painting the balusters and risers white and re-staining the steps.  Ed has started to create the storage area under the steps that will have a hidden door.

How to install plywood planking over an interior brick wall

The flat brick wall and fireplace in the living room…

Brick fireplace wall makeover using vertical wood planking

underwent a big change with the help of this…

furniture repurposing idea for a dining room hutch

dining room hutch top from my previous house. We didn’t have a place for it, so I removed the top and made…

Furniture repurposed into a fireplace mantel

… a floating mantel with it for the new AirStone fireplace.

Airstone Fireplace makeover

…and vertical paneled walls.

Autumn home decorating inspiration and ideas on a budget
Fixer upper house wall demolition

The other major change to the room was taking down this wall between the kitchen and living room.

How to remove a wall and repair the gap in the flooring

Ed did most of the demo work, but we did have a pro come in to add the structural beam.

Opening a wall in an old house

We lived with it like this for awhile, but are now are enjoying…

DIY decorating ideas on a budget

a much larger space and double the lake view from both the kitchen and living room now.

how to paint over stained louvered doors

Amidst the bigger projects, I had a paint brush in one hand and a bucket of white paint in the other to paint all the brown trim in the house like these louvered doors…

how to tighten cabinet knobs
Before photo of painting wood trim


Gallons and gallons…

Priming and paint in one step

… to brighten up every room.

How to make an ugly ceiling fan disappear in an afternoon.

I even started to paint the ceiling fans, white.

Powder room makeover before

One thing I was going to wait on was updating the powder room, but Ed decided to take the project on.  Goodbye green toilet.

Bathroom makeover ideas to DIY

Goodbye brown and hello…

budget bathroom makeover

…light and bright. We made the sink vanity by cutting a hole for a sink in a sideboard that I used as a desk in my previous house.

Shiplap wood plank walls in a powder room

I jumped on the shiplap bandwagon…

Shiplap wood plank wall tutorial

and even added some to make a focal wall where there was none.

China closet organizing idea

One of my favorite updates was turning a coat closet into a china closet.

China closet organizing idea

I will have more projects, many more.

How to spray paint a ceiling fan

In the September I started to update the 1970’s kitchen with paint. I am thrilled with how it is coming out.

Kitchen Makeover Progress  |  Kitchen Makeover Cabinet Hardware

1970's kitchen before updating on a budget

It is a lot of work, but I am almost done.

Kitchen makeover progress

I did a section at a time.

White kitchen makeover in progress

and am 95% done.  See more here:  Budget DIY Kitchen Makeover

kitchen wine rack makeover with paint

I will be sharing the completed AFTER with you in January.

Affordable coastal decor window treatments

I hope you enjoyed this look back to see all the updates I have done in the house over the past year.

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  1. Ryan & Sarah says:

    Very nice! We love all the renovations. So many ideas have been sparked for our lakeside home.
    We only recently moved in to our lake house but have many projects to get started on. Updating the 1970s kitchen is top of the list!
    We finally arrived to our new lakeside home about a month ago today:
    Thank you for sharing all your lake house improvement ideas!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ryan and Sarah – How exciting for you. Living on the shores of a lake is the best. Enjoy every minute of making you new to your house, your own. I will visit your site to see your progress.

  2. You have a beautiul home. I love the white kitchen. I cant believe you were brave enough to paint the cabinets white. Your home looks so bright and cheery.

  3. Helen Henkler says:

    Looks wonderful, Diane. You are certainly a dynamo; you’ve accomplished so much in just a year! I just love to see all your many projects.

  4. Like some of the others I’m living with the brown trim and doors and have been to overwhelmed by the thought of painting it all that I haven’t started. Seeing you go through this one step at a time has given me the oomph to start. Tomorrow – a gallon or two of white paint! By the way, where did you get your beautiful wicker rockers? Absolutely love them as with so many things in your home! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jackie – Once you get started painting your trim, it will get easier. If you keep a drop cloth and all the supplies you need in a box and keep it handy will help you get it completed since everything you need will be at the ready.

      The wicker rockers are from Wayfair. They were out of stock for sometime, but I think they are available again. Here is the link:

  5. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every single millimeter! Congratulations on your first anniversary on the lake!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Judy – Thanks :-) We are so happy living along the lake. We are enjoying making the house our home.

  6. I found and began following your blog somewhere along the way this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts and seeing the transformation to your home. I’ve even read some past articles when I’ve needed inspiration. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your frugal ways to DIY.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jen – I truly enjoy finding ways to decorate creatively and affordably and sharing the ideas on my blog. It makes me so happy that you have found inspiration in what I do. Thanks so much for reading my blog and taking the time to connect with me. XO

  7. Thank you for your continued inspiration! What a year! I loved the illustration of your house – so that’s where my loons spend the winter! I have a lake house in Northern Wisconsin and one of the summer joys is listening to the loon calls – I hope you get to enjoy them for the winter.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sarajane – I loved seeing the loons come back in the late fall. They stay all winter and leave in the spring. I have been enjoying them. They are so much fun to watch.

  8. Sue Bauman says:

    The artist that painted the picture of your lake home did a beautiful job and you and your husband have done a spectacular job on the inside of your home in just 1 year! I look forward to seeing the finished kitchen, the storage area under the entry staircase and the much talked about hallway of darkness! You are very inspirational and I love watching how your mind works; it’s ok that you can’t add 2 plus 2! Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope you get to cruise around your lake on a regular basis for relaxation!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – Thanks for the nice note. Yes we do take the time to get out on the lake. Over the holidays, the weather was unseasonably warm and we took advantage and went out twice on the boat and kayaked a few times. We even served and ate Christmas dinner out on the gazebo. After taking some time off over the holidays, I am just getting back into work today. I will be posting more on the kitchen next week.

  9. Beautiful makeover, thanks for sharing your home.

  10. Cyndi Macsherry says:

    Amazing transformation!!! Awesome, awesome job!!!

  11. I am envious of your getting to live on the lake. Beautiful!
    Found your blog over 3 years ago when we started a whole house renovation. It has been a wonderful source of inspiration and tutorials.
    Thank you and Happy New Year!

  12. Thanks for sharing, Nice article post.Truly amazing and so beautiful Diane.awesome

  13. Your house is coming alive. I wish I were your next door neighbor so that I could watch everyday!

    Thank you for your helpful ideas.

  14. TerriC/HoustonLady says:

    Hi Diane,

    Here’s wishing you and your family a very Happy 2017!! I am looking forward to seeing all your DIY projects!! You are truly inspiring : )

  15. Truly amazing and so beautiful Diane…..I wish you a very happy new year …x

  16. Wow – I am tired just looking at all those amazing photos – you are an amazing ball of energy and ingenuity! Well done! 2016 was definitely a stellar year for you. I have no idea what you will do in 2017 – surely you have run out of ideas??? ;) Keep up the good work; you are such an inspiration to us all.

  17. Betty Baker says:

    Well Diane all I can is this is a dream house. You have achieved perfection with hard work and brilliant decorating abilities. Congratulations. I love it all. Betty from Ontario Canada.

  18. Carol @ Heartfelt Whimsies says:

    Your lake house makeovers are truly incredible!!! The fact that you tackle them yourselves is even more so!! I absolutely LOVE what you’ve done!!
    Happy New Year!!

  19. I know I have read every single one of those posts. But, when you put them all together in a retrospective…oh my word! You have practically remade your house…and it’s gorgeous…..and I am exhausted!! Utterly fantastic job Diane….can’t wait for more! Happy New Year! ;)

  20. Absolutely LOVE your makeovers. They are truly small(er) budget friendly which I love.

    Thank you so much for sharing your work with all of us.

    May God continue to bless you, Ed and your lives together in 2017.

  21. Donna Dickey says:

    I always enjoy your posts and am amazed at all you have accomplished this year. You should be very proud. I look forward to what you have in store for 2017, Happy New Year!!

  22. Deb Wostmann says:

    So much fun seeing all your transformations. You are truly making this wonderful house your very own home. I can just hear that home smiling and thanking you for bringing it to life again. I can’t wait to see your finished kitchen and all the other projects you’ll tackle this year. I wish I had half your energy and imagination.

    Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy 2017!

  23. mary heicher says:

    It looks amazing when you look back at all of it. Quite the accomplishment!

  24. Holy Moly! I’m exhausted just reading your post!

    I admire anyone who finishes what they start (so I suppose you can guess what my house looks like!)

    Keep up the good work, but don’t forget to take the time to enjoy what you’ve done so far.

    Maybe I missed it, but approximately where is the house located? (I promise not to drop by unannounced ;-)

  25. laura janning says:

    at it all looks so amazing diane. you guys should be so proud of what you were able to accomplish. happy new year!

  26. Such beautiful transformations! Your newly updated home is lovely, and that view-oh, my! You have illustrated how well you can transform a space and make it your own without spending tons of $$$. Well done!

  27. You and your husband are so very talented. Your home looks fantastic, everything you touch ends up looking so nice after you put your special touch to it. I admire all of your hard work and always enjoy your posts. I have learned a lot too! ?

  28. Everything looks great! I spent a year getting a house ready to go on the market a few years back. Felt like my hand would be forever shaped in a paint brush grip. I know it is exhausting. But, also rewarding. I am currently living in a home with brown trim. Trying to work up the strength and confidence to start painting. You are very inspirational! I also so appreciate that your posts are truly budget projects and not all sponsored. It seems these days so many blogs have beautiful ideas that incorporate very expensive components that were provided to them. Yea, for them. But, not very practical for many of the readers. Thank you for all your hard work!

  29. Diane! Happy New Year!! Your home is lovely!!! Loved watching the process. You are amazing! Wishing you a healthy and wonderful New Year!

  30. Wow, a huge accomplishment for 2016, Diane. You have great taste! My favorite project is your entry hall/staircase, but i’m sure it will be even better (if thats possible) when Ed gets the storage area closed in and you get busy with your magic paint brush. Also, i’m very much looking forward to seeing your kitchen all done!
    Best wishes for 2017.

  31. Wow, you have done so much in a year! And it looks beautiful. What an amazing transformation.

  32. Melinda Conti says:

    Well done Diane love reading about all your accomplishments you have a great sense of style, casual and seemingly simplicitc. Love from Queensland Australia, Happy New Year x

  33. Beautiful transformations. . . you went from dreary to bright and cheery. It must make you smile everyday to see what all you’ve accomplished in a year. Your view is spectacular! I hope that you will have many blessings in the new year!

  34. Catpainter67 says:

    WOW! Look at how much you’ve accomplished in a year! Your home looks so fresh and new and your space, though all white, feels warm, inviting and alive with pops of gorgeous color. You’ve left out your deck, your gazebo, your garage entrance, so many details that make it look so finished (but that we watched you change through the year). Not only did you tackle big projects but you added small personal touches that add your personality to your home.
    Congratulations on many jobs well done and a wonderfully productive year. How proud you must be. And it was nice to hear that despite the incredible amount of work, you managed to enjoy that beautiful lake and gorgeous sunsets.
    Have a wonderful new year!

  35. Your blog is one of my favorites! You have given me inspiration to make changes in my ’60’s kitchen, paint paneling in my den and redo my craft, sewing, painting room . Can’t wait to see what this next yr brings with your creative ideas. What is the wall color of your office/craft room. I want my den light and bright too.

  36. amanda wood says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching your progress and ideas along the way. We hope to own a lake house someday and anticipate renovations.
    Well done!!

  37. Tons of work in one year!…..Love how you are turning this lake house into your own. Looking forward to seeing the after pictures of the kitchen.

  38. It is great to look at all you have accomplished at your new home in 2016. I’m loving everything you have done and I’m excited to see the kitchen when you are finished. I always enjoy your posts and your down to earth common sense approach. Wishing you and Ed the best in 2017. Vikki in VA.

  39. I loved the walk down ‘renovation’ lane! My goodness, you were busy this year. I can’t decide on a favorite–I love everything! Happy New Year! I look forward to many more wonderful posts.

  40. Beautiful job, as always, Diane. Thank you for your continued inspiration. I painted my bathroom cabinet right before Christmas following your instructions and am so proud of how it turned out! Such a little thing compared to your big projects, but I never would have attempted it without you and your blog. All the best to you in 2017.

  41. For those of us who anxiously anticipate each of your DIY updates, time moves so slowly while we wait. Now, seeing all you’ve done over the preceding year, which seemed to fly by, it’s difficult to wrap one’s brain around all that you’ve accomplished in those 12 months. Amazing transformations! You certainly don’t lack for imagination, creativity, determination, motivation….and stamina. Wow. Prior to each project, I wondered how you’d give each your signature look. Some turned out pretty much as expected, others, a bit more of a surprise. Your efforts make me long for my home-owning days, decades ago, when I engaged in similar endeavors (wishing I’d known then what I do now…no internet for ideas back then).

    Look forward to seeing what you’ll be up to in 2017. Hope it’s a healthy, happy, productive and rewarding year for you. Thank you for continuing to share, inspire.