Years ago, when Erin and Gerald invested in their Huntsville waterfront cottage, they envisioned a place where their family could escape during the summer. Fast-forward to today and their kids are no longer as interested in spending so much time away from their friends, plus their activities keep them super busy at home. So in order to ensure someone is using the gorgeous spot, while also creating a bit of income for themselves, this couple decided to rent their property out. Unfortunately, they needed to do some major renovations to actually draw in renters first. Enter Scott McGillivray, designer Debra Salmoni and the Scott’s Vacation House Rules team. See how they transformed this tired property into a throwback getaway with tons of modern finishes.
Creating an Entrance
Before Scott could even begin polishing off the inside of this rental, he and the team tackled the super faded façade. With some new dramatic siding, windows, greenery and a bright yellow door that pops, renters will not only be drawn to this rental, but now they’ll also be able to easily see where they’re supposed to go upon arrival.
The theme of the cottage is throwback getaway, but that doesn’t mean renters want their appliances to be from another era. Scott reconfigured this open-concept space by removing the awkwardly placed fireplace and shifting the dining room to where the old living room was. Now, this is a much more tranquil space with personality and flow.
Be Your Renter
If you’re renting a throwback getaway, odds are you want to recreate that hangout vibe of your youth. So Scott and Debra created this drinks station by the living room area that’s separate from the large kitchen. It’s got two bar fridges, plenty of storage and a small counter for mixing drinks, making it a practical and luxe addition to the space.
A Revamped Fireplace
Scott may have removed the old fireplace, but he replaced it with this electric model, which still adds warmth but in a much more practical spot. Some wood appliqué on the wall gives it a warm mantle feel, and as a result it feels as though this piece was always meant to be in this exact spot.
Picking the Right Decor
To really get into the theme of the cottage without going too old school on the items renters expect to be upgraded and modern, Debra sourced some retro art that adds a total vibe. Like this cassette tape collage and the brilliant yellow electric guitar, which was one of her initial inspiration pieces for the design.
Adding Unexpected Character
These tiles may feel weird in another cottage, but in this throwback getaway they’re totally on theme. They add unexpected character when you walk into the washroom, which allowed Scott and Debra to go modern with other elements, like the shower fixture, soap nook and glass door.
Extra Sleeping Space
In the back mudroom, Scott and Debra created even more rental potential by adding a convertible room with a trundle bed for more sleeping. During the day it could be a regular couch, but at night it sleeps at least two more. “Heads in beds” is always a top consideration when creating a rental property, and it certainly adds extra value here.
In the bedrooms, Scott and Debra opted to create unique feature walls to give each room its own personality. In this one, Scott repurposed old pallets to create a unique and interesting feature wall that definitely brings those cottage vibes. Add in modern black finishes with the deer head and the wall lamps, and this space is a great example of what can happen when old meets new.
Investing in the Outdoor Space
Out back, Scott had a good base to work with since Erin and Gerald upgraded their deck when they first bought the property. Scott further upgraded the space with fresh wood rails and lots of seating for potential renters, creating an outdoor vacation oasis.
A Gazebo With Personality
Down by the water, Scott knew he wanted to transform the pre-existing gazebo into another unique rental feature people might not be able to find elsewhere. So he and Debra created the same black-and-yellow vibes on the outside, while upgrading the inside with lights, a fan, a bar and some seating. Combined with all of the upgrades in the main space, this property can now rent for an impressive $600 a night during the high season. Not too shabby for a throwback, huh?