Family Lake House Remodel: How to Start a Large Design Project

Of course you know that the beautiful images we show you of our complete design projects don’t begin that way. Often times we are handed either a blank slate (new construction) or a home in much need of remodeling. Either way, those projects are complex and it may not be easy to identify where to begin. We are going to take you through the start of a new remodel to give you a glimpse of how we approach a large design project.

At Hoskins Interior Design, our process begins with a discussion with our clients about project scope, as well as their goals for their space, both aesthetically and functionally. Once we make sure we are a good fit for their needs, the next step is a site visit. It is important for us to go beyond the pictures our clients show us, to walk around the interior and exterior of the home to get a feel for the three-dimensional space. It is much easier to identify any opportunities or challenges facing us in providing our client with exactly what they are looking for. This lake house is being remodeled by a few family members, so we are mixing the desires of many people into the final design. It had been remodeled previously and in stages, so portions of the home look very different than others. The kitchen is mid-century and other areas convey a cottage bungalow feel. In a nutshell, each area has architectural elements that reflect the time in which it was built or remodeled. The lake house felt like three different homes, and we wanted to bring cohesiveness to the whole space. However, one family member wanted to create a mid-century cottage, and the other wanted a typical cottage style. Visiting the site allowed us to see how we could combine these desires into a home the whole family would enjoy.

Living Room Before pic

After our site visit, we realized we were going to have to embrace one style to achieve the flow our clients were looking for. The exterior of the home is in the cottage bungalow style, so we suggested continuing that look inside. The one caveat was the kitchen. The homeowners wanted to keep the original pink metal cabinets which are solidly mid-century. Here arrived the main challenge for the project!

We developed a design concept to make sure the family members were all on the same page. Seeing the sketches of the floor plan and examples of the elements we would bring in helped the homeowners understand what we were envisioning for them. Images are central to creating a shared design vocabulary with our clients. They showed us pictures of their design desires, and we showed them pictures of our response. “Speaking” in imagery allows for clear communication of everyone’s design goals.

dining room before pics

Our plan is to bring back the character that an old lake cottage naturally has through to the home. For the exterior, all windows are being replaced. At the moment there are four types and we are narrowing them down to two.  We are replacing the existing living room plate glass picture windows with more traditional undivided casement windows for an unobstructed view, which will now open to catch breezes from the lake. The remaining windows will be casement windows with bungalow style dividers. For the interior, we will be adding painted wood paneling in areas throughout the main living space to add back cottage/bungalow style architectural details. The large floral wallpaper is going away and being replaced with another wall covering. Right now there are several types of flooring that can be seen from one spot – brick, wood, carpet, and black and white tile. We are installing a wide plank wood product to give a light, lake-house feel. The walls will be painted in neutral colors, and we are redesigning and replacing the dated cabinetry in the living room. All of the flat, hollow core doors are being replaced with bungalow-style three-panel doors to match existing doors in the back of the house. Finally, to accommodate a wheelchair-bound family member, doorways are being enlarged and unnecessary doors are being removed to create an easy flow. We are also creating furniture layouts with wide pathways to allow easy access.

master bath before pic

All of the bathrooms are being remodeled, including combining two to create a large master bath. We are also making one bathroom handicapped accessible and adding a curbless shower. Right now, our clients are considering blue cabinets in the master with a white cut-patterned marble floor. The shower will have white hex tiles on the floor and oversized subway tile on the walls. The fixtures have not been selected yet.

kitchen remodeling before pic

The kitchen pink cabinets are staying because the homeowners like the quirky, fun look. We are balancing the color with plain white quartz countertops and a tile backsplash in grey and white that has an architectural pattern providing a nod to the mid-century roots of the space. The flooring in the kitchen and breakfast room will be a dark gray and white tile in a checkerboard pattern to complement the playful nature of these spaces. The island is not centered on the main window in the space, so we are still determining the best way to light it. The rest of the space will have canned lighting. Stainless steel appliances are planned as well.

Now that the design concept has been created and out for approval by the family, we are preparing to move into the next phase of the project – finalizing all of the construction details for the contractor. The lake house is located two hours away from our office, so we make the most of site visits by thoroughly photographing and measuring the spaces and contents to help us minimize the travel costs for our client. Detailed plans and good communication are key to working easily with a distant contractor. We have plenty of experience with this situation so we are prepared.

We will keep you posted on this project as it progresses. While we are providing information to the contractor, we are also creating furniture plans and selecting furniture and fabrics with our clients. While the construction phase is taking place, we will be special-ordering the needed pieces so when the construction is complete we will be able to deliver the furniture all at one time to fill the new space. Keep an eye out on our Instagram for images and samples along the way!



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