What You Need to Know About Building a Lake Home

by Holly Welles

Building a home can be a great alternative to buying. You get increased control over customization and pricing, and you can create an efficient construction from scratch instead of retrofitting an old house. Plus, you witness your personally curated design come to life. Watching your dreams come to fruition is undeniably satisfying.

You’ve set your sights on constructing a waterfront home, and who can blame you? They’re pinnacles of serenity and beauty. However, building on the lakefront offers a different set of guidelines from a regular home.

Know what the process entails before diving in. You’ll have greater confidence in tackling your goals when you understand the details.

1. Choose a Waterfront Property

Obtaining a waterfront property is a contrast from choosing an inland lot. Your municipality might dictate the distance your house must be from the shore. Ensure your chosen property is available for construction and have it checked for septic tank placement, soil condition and erosion history.

Your inspector will inform you of flood plains, septic tank drainage plans and the ordinary high water mark (OHWM). The OHWM tells you where you can place your home to prevent water damage or erosion. The local climate will also determine the building’s quality and the materials you’ll use.

Consider the lake itself — is it safe for swimming and fishing? You don’t want to set your heart on a property only to find the water isn’t suitable. Check with your local health department about the water quality and keep an eye out for restrictions on boats or wave runners.

2. Find a Builder

When searching for a builder, look for reviews from other homeowners. Waterfronts require unique expertise, which means you’ll need a builder to match those standards. An excellent contractor will know how to build on a lakefront lot with efficiency and wisdom.

Building your perfect home will require someone who’s understanding of your vision and open to design modifications. They’ll figure out how to situate your bedroom, kitchen or living room with the best lake view without compromising quality or integrity. Conduct extensive research before making a decision — check their permits and industry association memberships.

3. Consider the Costs

Your home’s structure — as well as the materials you use — determine how much you’ll pay to build it. Solid materials like granite and real wood cost more, but they also have a long lifespan.

The upfront price makes the investment worthy if it saves you from doing maintenance for the next decade. Large homes will naturally be expensive, but pricing can vary depending on the shape. Square houses, for example, tend to be cheaper because they require fewer materials.

The key is to avoid stretching your budget to where covering costs becomes difficult. Downsize or eliminate additions if necessary. It can be easy to get caught up in possible frills, but these are often elements you can incorporate down the road.

4. Plan the Design

The terrain will play a part in your home design. Builders typically advise you to avoid areas prone to erosion or with unsuitable topography. You’ll likely want a view of the water from various rooms, meaning you need an accommodating design.

Then, there’s residential factors to consider. Choose a plan big enough for your family and potential guests, especially if you often have people over.

Living near the water doesn’t mean you have to choose the standard coastal look. Experiment with a range of designs to discover one that fits best. You might opt for an all-glass home, a cozy cabin or a Mediterranean style abode. Whichever plans you select should embody your favorite elements while considering the location.

5. Check Building Codes

You’ll need municipal approval and a permit before you begin building. Every city has its guidelines about what homeowners can and can’t add to their properties. Some rules are specific, while others are vague.

It’s best to contact your town officials to clear up any confusion you might have about restrictions. You don’t want to plan for numerous additions — like a balcony or sunroom — only to find out they don’t adhere to construction codes.

Research your local zoning requirements. These dictate where you can build and how much land you can use. Zoning laws cover residential, industrial and commercial buildings, and each type has unique limits and permissions. Expect to see guidelines on building length and width, including the placement of garages or driveways.

6. Conduct Inspections

Inspections are a major part of any home buying or building process. You and your inspector will conduct several types during construction, including a foundation and drywall check.

An inspector will examine the home’s structure before the builders pour the foundation, ensuring the woodwork is sturdy. A drywall check consists of plumbing and electrical inspection, and it occurs before they construct the walls.

Accompany your inspector on each of these trips to review the process. You can catch problems early and avoid worrying about them later. Make design changes before your builders complete structural components.

How to Construct Your Perfect Lake Home

After reading this post, your ideal waterfront is a step closer to reality. You’ll have a better understanding of how the process works and what to account for concerning expenses and labor.

Find a builder, draw up your plans and start constructing your future waterfront property.

 

Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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The Cabin Comedian

Laughter truly is the world’s best medicine and this year’s Lake Home & Cabin Show guests are in for a full dose!  Get ready to meet the “Cabin Comedian,” Tom Crowl — a high-energy comedian and ventriloquist who brings more than 30 years of professional entertainment experience into each new performance.

A rare talent, Tom is often recognized from his appearance on NBC’s Last Comic Standing as well as his performances at corporate events, associations, theaters, cruises, and casinos and resorts from around the world.  Tom has been the featured opener for celebrities including The Drifters, Chubby Checker, Rodney Atkins, The Marvelettes and The Diamonds.  Known for his customized comedy, razor-sharp improvisation and total audience participation, Crowl packs non-stop laughter into each of his unique performances.

He is a published author, podcaster, the executive director of the International Ventriloquist Society and is the creator of the first virtual ventriloquism course titled: Learn-Ventriloquism. His act has been captured on DVD in Tom Crowl Alone Again Un-Naturally. Tom’s early influences include Señor Wences of Ed Sullivan fame and the comedic performances of Steve Martin and Robin Williams.

Tom Crowl and his hilarious duck “Dangerous” will be appearing daily on the Northwoods Stage.  Performance times are 4 & 6 p.m. Friday, noon, 2 & 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Sunday.

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Make Your Cake & Eat It Too!

Presented by Chef Patrick Moore, the “Getaway Gourmet”

Chef Patrick Moore, the show’s very own “Getaway Gourmet” from Brule, Wisconsin is bringing three of his favorite dessert recipes to the cooking stage this year!  As always, his unique cooking presentations combine great award winning flavors with his own belief that cooking at the cabin can be a wonderful experience that doesn’t have to take all day.  “You came to the cabin to relax with family and friends,”  Chef Patrick said, “I’m going to teach you how to make memorable meals and still leave time for play.”

This year’s “Darn Good Desserts” recipes include;  Mixed Berry Shortcake with Chantilly Cream, Piña colada Pineapple Napoleon and Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Raspberry Sauce and Fresh Cream.  Free recipe cards and “Darn Good Dessert” samples will be served!  Cooking demonstrations will be presented a number of times each day.

Friday – 3, 5 & 7 p.m.

Saturday – 11 a.m., 1, & 3 p.m.

Sunday – noon & 2 p.m.

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5 Signs of Water Damage in a Lake Home

by Holly Welles

Lake homes and cabins are wonderful investments. Like any property, however, they need some care and maintenance to stay in pristine condition. Plus, for these lakeside getaways, the risk of water damage is more present than it may be for your primary home.

Fortunately, a keen eye and regular inspection can help a homeowner identify issues as soon as they arise. If you detect any of these signs of water damage in your lake house, act quickly or consult a professional to mitigate the source of unwanted water in your home.

1. Damaged Roofing

A damaged roof can impact your lake home’s insulation, let in moisture and make your home susceptible to major water damage. While a property needs a roof replacement every decade or so, your roof also requires upkeep — especially in a lakeside setting. How can you check that your exterior is in order?

Flashing is waterproofing that roofers install at the intersections or ends of your roof. If these appears damaged, it means the sealing is broken and water is likely to seep through. You can also check your shingles. Missing, damaged or moldy shingles indicate a water problem that you need to take action on before moisture makes it further into your home.

2. Unusual Stains on Walls

Your walls and ceilings can provide useful visual clues that something is amiss. Water damage may create stains or even streaks of discoloration. You should especially check around door frames and windows for telltale stains around your home’s openings.

There are several possible culprits behind these signs of water damage. Your lake home may have a leaky pipe, condensation in the walls or a poorly waterproofed building envelope. It’s important to call in an expert to identify the water source before your walls get worse.

3. Floorboard Problems

Hardwood flooring is a luxury pick for a vacation home, and you’ll want to do your best to protect this investment. Unfortunately, this material is also susceptible to moisture, so it’s crucial to keep a careful eye out for signs of water damage in a lakeside property.

Your hardwood flooring will show a few easily identified signs of water damage. Floorboards may be buckled if water has seeped into the subflooring, which means they will separate or peel upward. Or, excess moisture may cause floorboards to crown upward in the middle. Lastly, keep an eye out for mold and discoloration.

4. Caulking Issues

Pipes are frequently the cause of water damage in homes, and your lake house is no exception. Take the time to regularly check on the pipes in your kitchen, bathroom and other crucial locations, like a laundry room.

Besides obvious mold or wetness, a telltale sign of leaky piping is loose or missing caulking. This happens because water seepage wears away at caulk and grout, creating an important visual cue for homeowners.

5. Unpleasant Smell

This final step is the most visceral, but it’s a dead giveaway that something is amiss. Let your nose guide you while inspecting each of the above parts of your lake home. Standing water and mold will create an unpleasant musty smell.

First, identify and treat the underlying source of the water damage. Then, you’ll want to disinfect the space to prevent the odor of mold from tarnishing your lake home. Clean all damaged surfaces by mixing one gallon of water with one and a half cups of bleach. This will stop mold growth and let you bounce back more quickly.

How to Detect Water Damage in a Lake House

Moisture can access your home through various routes, so it’s often hard to prevent every issue before it creates damage. Lakeside property owners know that a life by the water also comes with certain maintenance responsibilities.

Fortunately, most issues can be mitigated without massive expense. A watchful eye and an alert nose will help you identify problems quickly and schedule maintenance before mold, stains and other telltale signs have a chance to fully take hold of your vacation home.

 

Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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How to Design a Country Kitchen for Your Lake Home

by Holly Welles

Waking up in the morning, throwing back the curtains and seeing the water — that’s why you bought your lake home. As such, you want your house to pay homage to its rustic surrounds by designing a kitchen that fits with the landscape. Country style always goes well with a house set amid the beauty and warmth of nature.

Of course, decorating a space so that it evokes a theme isn’t always easy. To make the process easier, here are six tried-and-true tips for designing a country kitchen that’ll fit right into your lake home:

1. Choose Colors Wisely

You don’t want your country kitchen to be too boring, nor do you want it over the top. So, you must be smart about the color palette you choose. Most country kitchens have white as the focus color, but they branch out with subtle accent shades.

For instance, you might choose a white stone for your countertops while opting for cabinets painted in a more saturated hue. You could also choose colored appliances or backsplash tiles to give your space that country feeling.

Are you unsure what your accent color of choice should be? Fortunately, design experts have already pinpointed what will be next year’s trendiest shades. The Pantone color report for 2020 inspire your choices if you don’t already have a hue in mind.

2. Swing for the Farmhouse Sink

When it comes to country kitchen must-haves, you can’t design any such space without a farmhouse sink. The apron-style basin looks as if it drapes over the front of your cabinets, creating an eye-catching design feature. Plus, it’ll be large enough to handle all the dishes that family gatherings and parties generate.

Most of the time, farmhouse sinks come in shiny white porcelain, but you might be able to find different materials or colors to suit your kitchen’s style.

3. Furnish With Classic Pieces

A stainless steel fridge with a touchscreen monitor on the front may look cool in a modern kitchen, but that’s not the look you’re going for in a country-style lake house. You might want to consider purchasing appliances with more traditional styling instead.

Then, think about your table, chairs and other crucial kitchen pieces. A classic farmhouse kitchen usually has a long, welcoming table. This might be the perfect choice if you’re fond of guests and love the idea of serving family-style dinners.

4. Consider Traditional Styles

Next, consider the textures present in your kitchen. Classic elements of country style include distressed wood, lace and wicker. You can seek out lace table runners for your farmhouse table or hunt for chair cushions made with gingham. Wicker side tables or baskets can serve as useful storage while contributing to the classic look.

You can dress up more than the kitchen table, too. Copper cabinet pulls or faucets will help your kitchen hardware look more country. These accents also help make your kitchen feel warmer and more welcoming.

5. Dress It Up With Antiques

The whole point of country design is to make your home feel cozy and lived in. Even if your lake house kitchen is brand new, you can make it feel just as rustic and warm as you want with some careful decoration.

One way to accomplish this is to decorate with antiques. Pick up a wall clock, knickknacks, art or any other item that screams “country kitchen” to you. This is a great opportunity to check out local antique shops and find great, classic pieces at bargain prices.

6. Display Your Dishes

On a similar note, a country kitchen isn’t meant to look pristine and perfect all the time. Instead, create a lived-in aesthetic that’s perfect for the heart of your lake home. No need to hide away all your dishes, glasses and other culinary accouterments. Instead, find ways to display them in your kitchen.

For many country kitchens, this means swapping a few upper cabinets for open shelving. You can artfully stack some dishes, bowls and glasses on these tiers. Plus, it’s an easy DIY project for handy homeowners.

Or, you could swap out cabinet doors for a glass panel, which will also show off your stacked wares. There are plenty of ways to get creative — you could install hooks from which you can dangle your coffee mugs. The same goes for your pots and pans, oven mitts and any other kitchen tool that you want to display.

Country Style in Your Lake Home Kitchen

The kitchen’s the heart of the home, and your lake home is where your family loves to gather and make memories together. With the above tips, you can transform your space into a cozy country kitchen, the perfect backdrop for the unforgettable moments that are sure to unfold at your lake house for years to come.

 

 

 

 

Holly Welles is a writer and decorating enthusiast. She shares tips on home improvements and design for homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update. She’s also a regular contributor to industry publications including Build Magazine and Today’s Homeowner.

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How to Increase Your Cabin’s Value on a Budget

By Clint Whitworth

Ah, the cabin in the woods — or by the lake. Some of us are fortunate to have that little piece of paradise. Often cabins don’t get the level of care a full-time home does because they’re used part-time and are intended for chilling, not working. But if you’re putting your getaway on the market, you want it in the best possible shape to move it quickly and get the best price.

Here are some things you can do to make your cabin appealing to potential buyers – and they won’t break the bank.

1. Clean it up

Cabins are made for relaxing and casual living, but that shouldn’t translate into leaving a mess. Clean it thoroughly inside and out. Clear the grounds of rubbish, weeds, and the other things that can accumulate at a part-time house. Just as you would if you were selling your home in town, keep the property mowed and trimmed. You’ll be amazed at how much grime a properly set power-washer will remove from exterior walls. Be careful not to set the pressure too high or to blast away indiscriminately — you could do more harm than good, especially on an older log cabin. If not a pressure-washer, find another way to clean it up. Nothing turns off a potential buyer more than the thought of facing a heavy clean-up before they can enjoy their new cabin.

2. Fix it

Repair leaking faucets, pipes, showerheads, etc. Make sure everything works — water, gas, electricity. Replace outdated fixtures with new and better lighting. Bare bulbs with a string are a little too primitive for most people’s tastes. Replace dirty grout in the kitchen and bathrooms and make sure all cabinet doors open and close properly.

Fresh paint can make the difference between rustic and shabby. If you have natural wood, either outside or in, give it a fresh coat of stain. It’ll freshen it immensely. Apply the right kind of stain — interior for inside and exterior for outside. Use natural bristle brushes and apply over three or four boards at a time. Don’t stop until you reach a natural breaking point, such as a corner, door, or window. Stopping between will leave ugly lap marks. If you have a deck, clean and stain it, then apply a sealant.

4. Windows and doors are important

Hopefully, you washed the windows during your clean-up phase. Replace any broken panes and rusted, torn, or sagging screens. Better yet, replace old windows with new energy-efficient ones. Front doors make a huge initial impression on buyers, so give it a fresh coat of paint or replace it with a new one that fits your cabin’s motif.

5.  Stage it

Your real estate agent can help you stage your cabin to maximize its appeal through proper placement of furniture and rugs and artwork. De-clutter the interior. Would-be buyers are not interested in personal knick-knacks, family pictures, or grandpa’s mangy old moose head over the hearth. Staging on decks, patios, and other outdoor living areas is as important as the interior. Attractive landscaping is a must! Potted plants in a variety of containers are always a winner inside and out. The idea is to make your getaway inviting and homey when a potential buyer walks in.

Even if you’re not planning on selling right away, following these tips will make your oasis more comfortable for your family. It will also give you less to fret about when the day comes to say goodbye to your little slice of nirvana.

Clint Whitworth is a retired real estate agent who alternates spending time between his cabins in Colorado and Wisconsin. He enjoys fishing, hiking and growing an eco-friendly vegetable garden on both properties.

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What Are the Challenges of Landscaping a Lake Home?

By Tanya Mayer

Living by the water might sound like a dream for many homebuyers, but once you secure a water-side property, there can be plenty of roadblocks to overcome. Given the proximity to nature, not all of them will be easily manageable, either, but the draw of lakefront living may well make it all worthwhile.

The Challenges

Even the most beautifully-manicured lawn is prone to the occasional weed, and in any ordinary yard you might just grab a bottle of pesticide, but living by the lake comes with extra layers of responsibility. There are many pesticides that, when introduced to the water, pose dangers to aquatic life, so you’ll need to consider other methods of removal. Mulch is great for preventing clovers, while nettles can be carefully removed by hand, and your lawnmower will help put an end to soursop growth, but identifying and removing weeds like dandelions without pesticides might be a job for a professional gardener.

Even once your lawn is in spectacular condition, one of the biggest threats to any lakeside property is the potential for flooding and erosion. There are several options for keeping your shoreline sturdy, including sand, but riprap is the only trusted method of preventing erosion in the long-term.

If you intend on landscaping near the water itself, you may need prior council approval before any plans go ahead, as any significant changes you make are likely to impact the lake’s ecosystem. 

Working around the wildlife in your backyard is another potential concern, especially in areas that are home to protected species. Therefore, it would be wise to read up on the range of animals that share your yard. 

You’ll also need to be aware that as you get closer to nature, the likelihood of coming across dangerous animals increases. Freshwater lakes and their surrounds can be occupied by a number of somewhat panic-inducing species like electric eels or Goliath birdeater tarantula, and then, of course, there are the bugs.

 A range of insect species, including the humble mosquito, breed on the water, so unless you’re prepared to be eaten alive during the breeding season, you’ll need to explore methods of keeping pests at bay. Whether you decide to opt for insect-repelling candles, sprays, or nets, remember that the condition of your garden and what you choose to plant in it will, to some extent, determine the types of pests you have hanging around.

The Benefits  

There’s no doubt that one of the most universally attractive things about living by the lakeside is the view. By starting with views of the water, you can add instant value and ultimately set your property up at the luxury end of the market. Taking advantage of your outlook could be as simple as extending your living quarters beyond the home with an outdoor furniture set. 

Once you have that prized outlook, privacy is the next logical consideration, and it’s easy to understand why. Some level of seclusion is crucial to creating a feeling of comfort in your home, and being by the lake automatically eliminates any possibility of new neighbours moving in directly across from you (or next to you). This will leave you with plenty of space to enjoy unlimited access to the water, whether it be for swimming, boating, or any other kind of aquatic activity. You might even like to accentuate this feature of your yard by installing a path from your front door to the water. 

Proximity to the water and trees also means you’re likely to spot all kinds of wild creatures living around your property. If you give your landscape due consideration and select your plants with care, you’ll be able to maintain – or even improve – the conditions for native animals, and enjoy having them visit your yard. 

If you have done your research on the pros and cons and still have your heart set on the lakefront lifestyle, then there’s nothing stopping you from getting to work with the toolkit and turning your outdoor oasis into a haven for native wildlife and human visitors alike – just don’t forget the bug spray!

Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home and home improvement.

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How to Make Your Log Cabin More Comfortable

By Bethany Seton

Having a log cabin means having a charming, cozy, quiet and energy-efficient place where to relax and get away from the daily grind. In some cases, these cabins have enticed their owners so much that they became their primary residences. They are renowned for their comfort and majestic appearance, so here are some tips on how to make yours as comfortable and appealing as possible.

The Importance of Insulation

Traditionally, log cabins do not have typical insulation you would normally find in a framed house. The solid logs themselves provide both insulation and structure of the cabin. However, they are not as efficient, and there is still some heat transfer that makes it harder to maintain the desired temperature indoors. Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can make your logs work in your favor. The battery effect means that logs in your cabin are storing the heat accumulated from the sun and indoor heating sources, only to slowly release it at night.  Even if the temperatures during the day are low, direct sunlight can provide a lot of heating, especially on darker surfaces. This effect is particularly noticeable in climates where daytime temperatures are significantly higher than the ones at night. The thicker the log, the greater the effect. Furthermore, log cabins tend to lose some heat in certain places, such as the roof for instance. Warm air tends to rise, and attending to the roof insulation will help keep the much-needed heat inside.  Insulate your floors as well and fill in all air gaps between the logs in order to keep your cabin nice and warm.

The Bathroom

Needless to say, having a practical and fully functional bathroom is essential. However, the esthetics is not to be forgotten due to the unique style and décor of a log cabin. Therefore, a comfortable, rustic bathroom will always make a wonderful asset. Very often, designing or redesigning it will require most of your funds, so approach it strategically. There is a myriad of ideas for contemporary bathrooms that will complement the rustic overall design of your cabin.  Firstly, you should mind your space. Before you go shopping for components, determine how much square footage you have available. Everything should be in proportion to the room – from your sink to your mirrors. Wooden tones and natural colors that can be found outside (such as brown, green or blue) will fit in nicely with natural elements like wooden floors, walls, a natural stone shower or a textured sink.

The Kitchen

Again, when it comes to practicality, whatever your design ideas for the kitchen are, be sure to utilize all the free space that you have. Adding a pantry will triple the amount of space you can use for dry goods and storage. Heavy drapes are always a good idea, as well as candlesticks, cozy rugs and iron cookware. You can never go wrong with adding fur in all shapes and sizes. The secret to a great design is balancing the wood, stone and metal materials in order to get that rustic, close to nature feel. Imagine a combination of natural wood cabinets, copper pendant lighting and stone surfaces – perfect.

Furniture

A chunky, log-like style which reflects the log construction found in the cabin would be the right way to go. The living room furniture should combine comfortable seating with functional pieces that bring the family together. You can have sofas, loveseats, chairs, ottomans to name a few. Consider how much space you have and how much seating you need, and whether or not you need additional sleeping space. Position the sofa so you can enjoy the view through the window and take advantage of the outdoor scenery. Decorating your cabin doesn’t have to stop in the common areas. Carry your rustic decor to the bedroom and give your residence a cohesive look. The bed is the star of the room, and if you have enough space, opt for chunky log pieces for both the footboard and the headboard to achieve that distinct cabin look. A couple of nightstands, a dresser or a chest of drawers will make the room complete and functional.

Your log cabin should be both comfortable and practical; it should breathe serenity and provide that irreplaceable feeling of peace and relaxation you can only get from a secluded abode surrounded by nature. It needs functional elements as much as it needs a quaint and cozy design. Do not rush into anything and approach the decoration strategically, keeping in mind the available space, budget, as well as the climate and the fact how often and for how long you will be using the cabin for. After all, it should be your place of refuge for many years to come.

Bethany Seton is a real estate agent from Melbourne. For the last two years, she decided to leave her office job and follow her passions for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.

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How to Add Value to Your Cabin

By Tanya Mayer

Your cabin or cottage is a wonderful sanctuary where you go to enjoy rest and relaxation as you escape from the noise of the city. Log cabins are usually built in places where you can enjoy the beauty of the open skies, the trees and water.

If you inherited a log cabin or you bought one at a great price, you will need to do some work it for you to enjoy its warmth and comfort or to let it out as a vacation home. Here are some of the best ways to add value to your cabin.

Make more room for outdoor views
A log cabin could be dark and boxy with inadequate sunshine during the day or cool air at night. If your cabin has small window and door spaces, you need to open it up with new windows.

Replacing the old windows with modern double paned windows will not only improve the visual appeal of your cabin, it will also make it more energy efficient. Installing larger windows will also help you to enjoy exciting outdoor scenery while you are sitting comfortably inside the cabin.

Create space for outdoor living
Your cabin should have a patio or deck where you can sit and look at the beautiful sunset or the twinkling stars at night. It is also a nice place to have a cup of tea or coffee at dawn. You can spend time with other family members on a front porch that has well-trimmed grass and a screen to prevent insect bites a night
You front porch can also be a great place to play family games in the evening. To make the most of the outdoor space at night, you may also add fire-pits. This can serve as a nice gathering spot for all family members.

Upgrade water and plumbing systems
Check the quality of water that you get from your well. Ensure that the well and water-pumping system are still working efficiently. Check all the pipes and ensure that you don’t have any leaky pipes, faucets or valves. Also, pay close attention to your septic or sewage system. Consider harvesting and recycling your rain water so you can conserve water in an environmentally friendly way.

If your cabin is in a place where there could be extremely low temperature, consider installing a reliable freeze alarm to give you a notice when the sensors detect abnormal weather conditions. You can also add other alarms to alert you about flood, smoke, fire or power failures.

Renovate the kitchen
Old cabin kitchens are usually lacking in color, and the appliances are usually old and in urgent need of replacement or upgrading. In fact, most cabin kitchens are not designed for full time use like the ones you may have in your city home. So you have to workout a way to put a new kitchen in place, fit it perfectly into the old cabin space without spending a huge amount of money. Here are some brilliant ideas for adding value to your cabin kitchen:
* Build cabinets from recycled pieces of wood
* Use white shades or pale yellows with rough sanding to make them fit the age of the cabin
* Create a butcher-block style countertop that can fit an old sink or drainboard made of cast iron.
* Upgrade the fridge and freezer to energy star rated models that will save a ton of energy.

Upgrade the bathroom
Most old rundown cabins have bathrooms with outdated fixtures and plumbing. You can replace the old sink with a modern vanity sink that will give you some additional storage space below it. If you only have an old cast iron bathtub, you will need to install a new water-saving shower fixture on it or replace the entire shower section with new hardware. The old lighting will also need to be changed to a modern LED energy saving lighting fixture.

Those are some of the best ways to add value to an old cabin at a relatively low cost. Whatever you do to modernize the cabin, you should still ensure that it retains its warm, cozy, quiet, natural and comfortable look. At the same time, you should use materials, fixtures and finishings that will appeal to your taste and to potential buyers or people who will like to rent it.

 

Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home and home improvement.

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How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing at your Cabin

by Tanya Mayer

 

When water turns into ice, it expands but the pipes containing them don’t expand when the temperature drops. This puts your frozen pipe at the risk of bursting. Fortunately, you don’t have to allow your pipes to get damaged during winter. You can keep the pipes from bursting with the following tips.

 

Wrap pipes with insulating material
Special rubber insulation has been designed to keep pipes from freezing. Use them to wrap your pipes. Ensure that there are no gaps between the pipe insulation rubber. Secure the ends of the insulation strips with duct tape and keep them dry as you wrap them around your pipes. To increase the flow of warm air to the pipes, you should open up all cabinets that have plumbing at night when the ambient temperature drops.

Heat-Line

Insulate pipes with heater tapes
Heater tapes can keep your pipes warm throughout the day and night. Buy a UL-certified tape that has a thermostat. UL-endorsed tapes have been tested for safety and the thermostat will stop the tape from getting too hot. You can run the tape along the length of the pipe if you don’t want to wrap it around it. Follow the instructions in the user’s manual when you are installing the tape. If you don’t want to use heater tapes, you can set up a heated reflector lamp in an enclosure and ensure that lights are on at night.

Keep your pipes dry
If you are not going to be using your cabin in the winter, you should drain your water pipes to prevent them from freezing. You can also do this at night if you feel that the temperature could drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. To do this, you need to locate the water main cut-off valve and have a water cut-off key handy. You can find the main supply valve close to the meter at the side street outside your home. Another main supply valve will also be located near the outside wall in a box underground. In very cold climates, however, this valve is located in the basement. After you locate this valve, follow these steps to drain your pipes:

  •  Open all the faucets in your cabin
  •  Turn the main supply valve off
  • Ensure the water stops flowing out of the faucets within a few minutes
  • If water keeps flowing, return to the shut off valve and tighten it.
  • Call your plumber if you can’t turn it off successfully.

Heat up your drain lines
Place rubber insulation around your drain pipes the same way you did around the water pipes. Make sure you pay close attention to the sinks in your kitchen and bathroom. On very cold days, you can direct a heat lamp at your drain P-trap.

Close up the gaps around your pipes
Broken insulation can allow cold air to get to your pipes and make water freeze. So fill all the cracks or gaps around the pipes. Look around all the areas where you have your plumbing. Close any cracks or gaps using caulk. This will prevent cold air from coming into your home to reduce the temperature of water in your pipes.

Use a RedyTemp to control pipe water temperature
This gadget monitors the temperature of the water in your pipes and regulates it. To use it, you need to:

  • Disconnect an end of the supply lines to your faucet
  • Attach it to the device
  • Connect the supply lines that came with the RedyTemp machine
  • Plug the unit into your mains power supply
  • Set the temperature you want.
  • Check the water that comes through the cold water faucet
  • Adjust the temperature until you have the desired temperature.

During the warm months you can lower the temperature to reduce your electricity bill.

Regulate your thermostat
Adjust your cabin thermostat to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your water should be able to flow freely without freezing since  it is above the freezing point. Setting your thermostat appropriately will also improve the movement of warm air to the places where pipes are located behind your walls, in your basement, or attic.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, you need to keep them warm. You can apply the tips provided here to insulate them. When you are leaving your cabin for a long time, it is best to keep the pipes empty by shutting off your main supply valve.

 

Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home and home improvement.

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