When Sarah and Nick bought their gorgeous Prince Edward County property, they knew there was a ton of potential to transform the guest house into something special. But with no plumbing, awkward walls, and zero heat, they had a long way to go. Enter Scott McGillivray and the Vacation House Rules team. Together he and designer Debra Salmoni transformed this former art gallery into a functional short-term rental with tons of artistic vibes.
Scott’s Vacation House Rules airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada. It is also available on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels. HGTV Canada is available through all major TV service providers.
On the Quilting Trail
One of Scott’s steadfast vacation house rules is to get noticed, so, he made sure that no one would forget this new artistic rental space by submitting it to the Barn Quilt Trail. The outdoor installation is the largest in the area, and it brings in tons of tourists each year. As Scott said in the episode, the swan is appropriate because this rental definitely started out as an ugly duckling. Now, with new siding and clean landscaping, it’s not just a rental: it’s a “must-see” attraction.
A Gallery Transformed
Inside, Scott and Debra made use of the light and open-concept space to create a warm and welcoming vibe. The entrance stands out with artistic finishes, dramatic colours, and a neutral base. There’s also a welcoming nook to hang items, and a refurbished staircase with dark carpet that feels modern but is also helpful in hiding functional when it comes to rental wear-and-tear.
A Dramatic Kitchen
In the main living area, the team installed a dramatic black kitchen with a quartzite counter and backsplash to help bolster that artistic feel. Above, they opted for open-concept shelving that shows off pieces for sale that have been lent to the owners by a local pottery artist. It’s a free way to furnish the space while showcasing local art and earning even more income: should renters fall in love with a piece, then Sarah and Nick will earn a small commission.
A Bona Fide Art Installation
Debra and Scott met with plenty of local artists in their quest to decorate this vacation property, and the result is a true art gallery vibe with pieces that renters can actually purchase if they happen to fall in love with something during their stay. The plan is to rotate the pieces through and showcase many Prince Edward County artists, but for launch the team went with dramatic canvases that really pop against the neutral white backdrop.
Adding the Necessities
Not having a washroom just isn’t an option when it comes to a rental. So Scott installed this artistic alcove of a bathroom, complete with a shower, toilet, and sink. The dramatic brick and high-end finishes are like works of art on their own, but more importantly the addition is one of the final steps required to make this guest house a fully rentable space.
Transforming a Nifty Nook
Upstairs, the team had to get creative in order to make the angled space as functional as possible, but they definitely pulled it together with a cozy nook and a day bed that doubles as bonus sleeping potential at night. Considering the slope of the space there wasn’t much else to do with the area, but now renters who may be meeting up with friends or family (or small groups that don’t need separate bedrooms) will be interested in the rental as well.
Installing the Basics
Having an upstairs laundry isn’t just handy for renters who may be extending their stay, but it’s also helpful for the owners when they’re cleaning up and turning the space around for their next guests. Now, instead of hauling all those towels and linens to the main house and back, Sarah and Nick can just get everything done in the guest house itself.
Before the Renovation
Before Scott got his hands on the space, the upstairs was completely unusable thanks to an awkward layout, weird cupboards, and a dead space behind the wall that no one could actually fit into. Add in leaky skylights and this property needed a ton of work. But as always, Scott and team were up to the task.
A Fabulous New Bedroom
Because the space was too narrow for an actual door, Scott created a curtained bedroom nook upstairs that feels bright but private. It’s a perfect little space for anyone looking for a short-term rental in the area, made to feel even cozier and on-theme with the addition of some local artwork. A couple of night tables, vases, and a painted feature wall for dramatic effect pull everything together.
A Private Outdoor Retreat
Outside, Scott refinished the deck and made the outdoor space just as special and unique as the indoor one, completing this beautiful but functional rental property. Before the renos, a one-bedroom rental like this in the area would have pulled in $175 a night. But afterwards with all of the upgraded features and special theme, Scott bolstered the earning potential to $275 a night during the peak season. Add in potential commission from local artists and the fact that the home is now on the Quilt Trail? Well this is a smart investment that should help the homeowners achieve their financial goals.