When it comes to dream vacation rentals, beach houses are right at the top of many peoples’ list: Who can say no to great views and sandy shores? After more than forty years though, one family’s Prince Edward County cottage was looking a bit rough – leaving the younger generation to wonder if they’d be able to keep it in the family. Guided by his five vacation house rules, contractor and real estate expert Scott McGillivray helped turn this run-down cottage into a breezy beach house straight out of Malibu.
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Katharine’s parents bought their beach-front West Lake cottage back in the ’70s, and, ever since, it’s been home to many amazing memories. Recently, however, Katharine and Jason struggled to find a way to mitigate the costs of keeping the cottage, so the whole family can enjoy it for years to come. Hoping that renovating and renting the cottage could be the solution, the couple turned to Scott McGillivray and the Scott’s Vacation House Rules team.
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Prime Real Estate
Though it was in need of some serious updates, including an update of this kitchen, the cottage’s beach-front location was a real advantage. Using his first rule, “Do Your Research,” Scott found that the average rental rate for a four-bedroom cottage in the West Lake area is about $500 per night – and even more if the property is right on the water. By updating this Canadian cottage to the area’s standards, the family could have a very profitable rental opportunity on their hands.
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Modern, Malibu-Inspired Design
To make the cottage a must-book for potential renters, Scott teamed up with designer Debra Salmoni to put his second rule, “Plan Your Design” to work. Armed with a $75,000 renovation budget, the team gave the property a total facelift – creating a light, bright and beachy feel that plays up the cottage’s natural assets. In the kitchen, this meant opening up the floor plan and adding an over-sink window to showcase views of the lake.
Related: 12 Kitchen Features Scott McGillivray Thinks Every Home Needs
Using thoughtful design to enhance the experience potential renters will enjoy in the space, Debra used a calming blue-and-white colour palette throughout the cottage, while nautical-inspired antiques boosted the beachy theme – setting a vacation-ready mood for renters from the second they step in the door.
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Ride the Waves
The new living room centred the beach, Malibu-glam feel of the cottage, with distinctive lake-inspired wallpaper and a white-washed shiplap ceiling. A beautiful new fireplace that’s perfect for gathering around – can help extend the season by offering great heat on cooler days.
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Luxe Lakefront Pergola
Because of the incredible location, Scott knew that the cottage’s outdoor space is its competitive advantage – and the key to his third rule: “Get Noticed.” To make the most of the outdoor space, Scott created a luxury lakefront with an outdoor living room, cooking space and dining area. A new pergola, complete with a retractable awning, gives renters shade when they need it – without blocking out the amazing natural light when they don’t.
Another feature that will get the cottage noticed amidst the sea of rental options? A new outdoor shower – just steps from the beach – is perfect for a lake-side resort, and adds a much-needed second shower option to the property.
Related: Modern Shower Ideas That Will Turn Your Bathroom Into a Masterpiece
A Fresh Coat of Paint
Outdoors, the cottage’s exterior was craving a fresh coat of paint. Keeping with Debra’s nautical colour palette and the beach-resort theme, the team opted for an eye-catching classic-blue hue. To help offset the renovation costs – and to create memories for the family – Scott called on his fourth rule, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” and recruited the whole family to help paint.
Related: This Rundown Oceanside Cottage is Completely Transformed With Just Paint
One of the cottage’s biggest challenges to becoming a high-value vacation rental was that it only had one bathroom – which could lead to a negative experience for a large rental group. Using his fifth rule, “Be Your Guest,” Scott put himself in the potential renters’ shoes, and divided the single big bathroom to make one full bathroom and one convenient powder room.
Related: Scott McGillivray’s Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Don’t Cost a Fortune
Space for the Kids!
Further thinking about the guests’ perspective, Scott repurposed the bedrooms – switching Katharine and Jason’s spacious master bedroom with a smaller bunkbed-filled kids’ room. This simple, smart swap made better use of the available space, so they could confidently say the cottage sleeps 10 comfortably – and so guests will have a better experience when they arrive.
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