Guest House Progress and Fire Pit

We’ve been brainstorming away over at the guest cottage. While still mostly in the planning stage, we have made a little bit of progress. Mostly in the form of demo!

wooden kitchen cottage

Remember the kitchen?

kitchen reno progress

It’s gone!

A close up of a sink in a small bathroom

And the bathroom?

Bathroom reno progress

Gone too!

I think this is one of those instances, where it’s got to get worse before it gets better right? Here’s hoping anyway! The bathroom feels so much larger with everything ripped out. It’s actually a 5×8 space which isn’t terrible size-wise. They just had it set up so odd.

Bathroom renovation plans

The new plan is to put a shower/tub combo along that back wall, which means we will lose the window. Then the toilet and pedestal sink will be on the same wall instead of facing each other. We also are relocating the hot water heater out of this room, which will make the biggest difference. We are hoping the plumber can rough that in during the next few weeks.

guest cottage renovation progress

We also ripped out the drop ceiling. I can’t even explain how much better it smells in here now that it is gone. We have plans to plank the ceilings instead (don’t worry I’ll share the whole process!).

We ordered stock cabinets for the kitchen, and they will be delivered in a few weeks. It seems like we are trucking right along. The only snag we are hitting is there is a 10 week lead time on the new windows. This slows down some of the inside painting and trim finishes, etc.

Since we are as far as we can be inside at the moment, we’ve gotten a head start on the outside.

lake view with red shed

First to go was that dilapidated shed! I cannot believe how much better the view is with that thing gone.

fire pit lake view

We had a local landscaping company (Landscape Impressions if you are local) regrade the yard, and add a circle of pea gravel for a fire pit area. The hay is covering the grass seed so it doesn’t run into the lake. A  pallet of leftover fireplace stone has been sitting in our garage for the last 4 years. I always knew there was a reason I was hanging on to it!

fire pit lake view

We used it to border the new firepit area. These quick iPhone photos don’t really do it justice. It’s hard to tell in the photos, but this little house sits up on a hill and has a pretty steep yard. We were able to perfectly nestle the fire pit area right in between these 4 trees. We also had all the dead tree branches removed which made a huge difference too.

stone fire pit area

We bought a bag of mortar and surrounded the firepit ring with the leftover stone as well. It was still drying when I took these quick photos, but I’m really happy with how it looks. I’ll have to finish and style this space once the grass comes in, and we finish the rest of the landscaping. I’m so excited about having s’mores out here this summer with the kids.

stone fire pit area

We also power washed the whole house which made such a huge difference too. The siding thankfully looks brand new. We have new gutters coming as well.

guest house progress

Oh, also I wanted to thank you all for the fun name suggestions! I think Tadpole Cottage and Pollywog Cottage are definitely the top contenders!

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  1. Hi Kelly!
    I love all the things you’ve done over the years to your beautiful lake house! Sure makes living in Mi better when you can enjoy those summer days lakeside! Quick question….is there a program you are using to insert the tub, toilet, and shower into a picture of your existing bathroom remodel? I’d love to know as it seems to work pretty well for planning purposes and designing. Thanks!

  2. I just love what you are doing with your guest house – your blog has given me so many inspirations! Do you mind sharing a link to your tub/shower enclosure? We are doing the same concept with our shore cottage bathroom reno. I’ve only found them with small shelves that I’m afraid won’t hold more than 2 bottles of shampoos! And does yours have shelves too or are you adding in separately?

  3. Looks amazing to me! In a short time you transform a lot of things. You really pick the best. I’m literally hooked on your blogs. I really love what you did in the bathroom. Anyways Roofers Green Valley Ranch Thank you so much! XOXO

  4. Looks so good! Can’t wait to see how you do the planked ceiling. We are in the middle of a big house remodel and are planning on planking the ceiling in the kitchen area. So excited about your shower/tub combo. Our whole family has been using the little shower in our cabana bath while the others baths are being remodeled and it really is not so great with little kids. Good luck!

  5. I like the idea of keeping some natural light in that bathroom. Even with an 8′ ceiling there’s plenty of room to run a horizontal window or glass block area above the shower. I also like the idea of NOT having a tub and just doing a tiled shower. Keep up the good work! Can’t WAIT to see the after! I sure wish I lived closer . . . LOL! You might just find me sipping hot chocolate around that fire pit some evening :)!

    1. Hey Robbin, there is actually going to be a mechanical closet addition on the other side of the wall so a window isn’t an option, unfortunately. We decided on a tub for friends and family with little kids it’s a nice option to have. Thanks!

      1. EVery time we move, the first thing we do is replace the shoer nozzle with a hand-held variety.

  6. Hi Kelly
    My thoughts on this adorable cottage… maybe lose the tub/shower combo
    and just go with a shower only? It would make the room look bigger.
    I can not wait to see it, when you are done.

    1. Hey Linda, we decided on the tub route since we have friends and family with small kids who will use this space. A tub is always nice to wash off sandy babies at the end of the day :)

  7. What about Lilliput as a name for the guest house? Maybe spelled Lilyput? Or Lilliputian Cottage? From Guilliver’s Travels.

  8. Can’t wait to see how the bathroom transforms! We have a summer cottage near Traverse City that needs a make over in a bathroom almost identical to yours. Hate to cover the window but…

  9. I could have worded that more clearly.
    If you go with a standard tub you could inset a glass block window that opens for Light and ventilation into whatever you use for a tub surround such as tile.

    1. Hey Kay, there is a mechanical closet on the other side of the window that currently only goes halfway up the wall with a hatch. We’ve decided to make it full height with a door so we can insulate it better. Unfortunately, that means the window needs to go.

    2. I’ve never seen glass block with an open window. Being old as dirt, I tend to favor a walk-in shower for safety.

      1. I have one. They make glass block with small windows that open. We had a special glass block made for a window opening that we switched out for glass block for our basement bathroom and laundry room. There are 2 windows in our glass block, one in the bathroom/ walk-in shower and the other one in the laundry room. These rooms share a common wall and an old window opening. We wanted natural light in both the bathroom and laundry room so my dad had the idea to have a glass block made with 2 small windows incorporated for both rooms. We live in Chicago suburbs so we had it made by a company in the city and I was able to go pick it up and bring it home for our contractor and my dad to install it. I love it and have used the small window often in both rooms. It is a win-win!

      2. We built 16 years ago and put a casement block window (approx 5 x 4 1/2) above the tub. Have privacy but light and open the windows on beautiful days for fresh air.

  10. If you go with a standard tub you could inset a glass block window that opens into whatever you use for a tub surround for Light and ventilation.

  11. Wow, Kelly! I just cannot believe how MUCH you all get done in such a short time! You all are definitely busy, little beavers! The outside already looks so fresh and clean and tidy now – and how wonderful to already be able to enjoy a fire pit! And you are definitely off to a good start inside, too!
    I, too, think Lisa’s window idea sounds nice.
    And, I had an idea about the names. Perhaps you could have:
    Lily Pad Cottage,
    Tadpole Pool House, &
    Little Pollywog Cottage
    That might be fun! Although, your pool house is rather large, so maybe it’s more of a froggy….hmm, not sure. Whatever your family chooses will be perfect, I am certain! But, I appreciate that you let us offer suggestions. ha ha!
    And thank you so very much for sharing everything with us! It truly is exciting!

  12. Wow, you’ve already done so much! Did you guys forget to sleep, lol? And… since the mechanical room on the street side of the house will eliminate the bathroom window, you could consider a solar tube (I think that’s what they’re called) in the ceiling. When we remodeled this old house 25 years ago, we added a powder room in the interior with NO window. I’ve always regretted placing it there because of the lack of natural light. It’s kind of like walking into a windowless closet. You MUST turn on the light when you walk in and it’s just kind of, well, weird. So that’s my 2 cents worth. But I’m SO excited to follow your adventures! Have a great week, Kelly!

      1. I’d definitely look into a solaratube. Natural light makes such a difference.i can see why the lot water heater must be moved. Increase square footage and natual light…Win Win.

        I love your ideas. Best of luck in all you do.

      2. Our lake house bathroom has a solar tube and it gives some light. We have mechanicals on the outside wall of the bathroom and can’t have a window. I think you may appreciate some light in that bathroom. I’ve had houses with no window in a bathroom and I always hated not having a window.

  13. so much progress already….you have great vision.
    one question..i noticed your adirondack chairs around your fire pit…are they heavy enough to hold up to strong lake winds? there are soooo many out there and have been searching for just the right ones.

    1. We purchased Polywood Adirondack chairs last fall after too many years of inexpensive plastic molded Adirondacks ;which have been relegated to our fire pit). We’ve had some pretty brutal winds this winter and lately and even the little side tables haven’t budged an inch! Love them!

      1. Beautiful space! Are the white colored Adirondack chairs difficult to keep clean? Would you suggest a darker color?

      2. But I can still easily move them myself. And I prefer cheap chairs by the firepit as my kids’ friends have pulled our nicer chairs by the pit and we’ve ended up with holes melted in them. My kids know better but you never know what the extra people who come around are going to do.

  14. Looks fantastic! What about doing a tile shower wall and having a high window so you don’t lose the light and fresh air?

    1. I agree with Lisa! A high narrow window will let in a surprising amount of natural light which is so nice in a bathroom.

      1. Agree on the high window idea! We are doing it in our new build now, but the walls are 9 feet. It might be difficult if the walls are only 7.5 – 8 feet. I’m in love with this little cottage! Reminds of a cottage I owned in Harbor Springs for many years.

        1. Our issue is there will be a new mechanical closet on the other side of the window so we can’t fit any kind of window. It was the best way to get the water heater out of the bathroom.

    2. There will be a new mechanical closet on the other side of the window so unfortunately, a small window isn’t an option. Love that idea though!

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