Our Family-Friendly Cottage Reveal [Before & After]

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Hey y'all!  A couple of years back my husband and his brother decided to rebuild a cute little cottage they bought on Conestoga Lake.  We had so many great memories there, but it needed a septic system upgrade and it was on stilts that were leaning like the Tower of Pisa so the decision was made to rebuild.

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Family-Friendly Cottage Before and After

You may remember me sharing bits and pieces of the progress awhile back or maybe not.  At any rate, after investing so much in the cottage, it took some time to furnish and photograph the space and today I’m finally sharing the reveal of this little piece of heaven we like to call our home away from home.

Before I dive in, let’s take a look at the cottage before it was rebuilt.  It was dated, but well-loved by all of us.  I’m pretty sure almost all of the décor was from the original owner, but we didn’t care.  It had history and told a story.


lakehouse cottage exterior and living room before
lakehouse cottage kitchen before
lakehouse cottage bedroom and bathroom before


When the decision was made to rebuild, we hired Caryndale Contracting to help us.  General Contractor, Mike Nielsen, does beautiful work and is a family-friend so it was a no-brainer to get him to rebuild the cottage for us.  We’re so glad we hired him because he did a wonderful job, while remaining upbeat and pleasant the whole time - even though he was dealing with three different families when making materials selections (thanks Mike). 

 lakehouse cottage rebuild in progress

lakehouse cottage rebuild in progress


To be clear, the design and decoration of this cottage was a collaborative effort between many family members done with my guidance and affordability in mind.  Since we often host families at the cottage and our families have dogs and kids, it was important to not to invest too much in furnishings.  We wanted the space to look nice, but we didn’t want to worry about anything……meaning….. we didn’t want to get upset if someone sat on the couch with a wet bathing suit or got mud on the rug.  We wanted the cottage to be approachable and fun and therefore the items in it needed to be functional, but affordably replaced if they got damaged.


Our main sources for furniture and décor were Homesense, Stuctube, Bouclair, IKEA and Wayfair.  In my experience, these stores offer affordable products that will last a few years.  Then when there’s more budget to spend and kids have grown up and aren’t as messy/destructive, we can invest in more high-quality pieces.


With that said, here is the reveal of our family-friendly lakehouse cottage with a modest decorating budget.



lakehouse cottage kitchen after

lakehouse cottage kitchen after

lakehouse cottage living room after

lakehouse cottage living room closeups after

lakehouse cottage bedroom after

lakehouse cottage entry and bathroom after

Build: Caryndale Contracting
Decorating: Orangetree Interiors
Photography: Adam Lewis Photography

The transformation of our family cottage demonstrates that there is beauty in simplicity.  It is possible to create an attractive space within a modest budget.  This collaborative experience resulted in a journey full of learning, and now, happy memories.  With the expertise of Caryndale Contracting and the support of our family, we've turned an aging structure into a haven for playing games, laughing hard and having fun.


We look forward to many more years enjoying the inside of this cottage, as well as the outside of it as we go swimming, boating and play music around the campfire with family and friends.

If you need help creating a family-friendly space in your home, cottage, AirBNB, etc, I’d love to help you.  Check out my virtual interior design services here.

Virtual interior design services


See some of our projects and how clients felt about the services we offer via our portfolio here and testimonials here.

Or if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, take our DIY Interior Design Course.  It teaches my entire design process step-by-step so you can execute a beautiful design without wasting time or making costly mistakes. 

Interior Decorating Course for DIYers 2023


Searching for paint colours?  Click here to get 20 expertly curated paint colour schemes.  

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For more interior decorating and design inspiration, join our  Design Tribe.
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 And make sure to visit our furniture and home decor shop to see some of our favourite pieces for you to include in your own home designs.
 online furniture and decor shop


As always, thanks for reading.  Until next time, happy decorating!


Val from Orangetree Interiors

Certified Interior Decorator, eDesigner & Founder
Orangetree Interiors


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P.S.  Painting your house any time soon?  Get our FREE Perfect Paint Colour Checklist & Coordinating Paint Colours Guide!


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