A remodeled enclosed deck area with wooden floors, wood ceiling, ceiling fan, and large windows

A redesign of outdoor decks can open up lake views.

If you are among the fortunate ones to own a home or property on Lake Lanier or another of our nearby northeast Georgia lakes, you have likely enjoyed the great views and outdoor options available while being stuck at home more than usual lately.

If you’ve been eyeing lakefront property or looking to upgrade what you have, then you are probably familiar with the lack of properties (and dock permits) available on the market right now.

Why not consider a home remodel or addition? If you love the quiet cove where you are but need more room for the grandkids now that you’re making the lake your primary home, remodeling may be the ideal option for you.

In fact, there’s been a lot of recent interest in renovations of secondary homes for those nearing retirement. And if you’re planning to spend more time in your lake home, you’re probably familiar with the areas of the home that you need to be more functional. After all, you may be able to manage an outdated kitchen or cramped bathroom for long weekends, but when they become rooms you use every day, shortcomings become evident.

A design/build specialist can evaluate your current situation and help you create a plan for a functional and beautifully renovated space. You may be surprised at what can be accomplished using your kitchen or bath’s current footprint, as well as ways you may be able to open up your home’s layout to give you more useable space. In older lake homes, especially, the layout tends to be compartmentalized and dark. Opening up the floorplan will give you a brighter, more visible layout and be more inviting for entertaining or hosting.  Bathrooms in older lake homes tend to benefit most from a simple facelift, including updating all the finishes and fixtures, but that doesn’t always mean the layout needs to be changed.

Kitchens in a lot of the local lake homes tend to be dark and closed in. The most common request I get is to open up the floorplan to give the space more natural light and maximize lake views. With the help of a designer or remodeling specialist, there are many ways this can be accomplished without having to sacrifice all your storage or counter space.

Another popular renovation space in lake homes are bonus rooms. Converting smaller rooms into a large play/sleep area for the grandkids is a great use of space. Basements also are popular areas to remodel for additional room.  Incorporating built-in bunk beds or creating multi-purpose rooms can give use to space that might otherwise just be used for storage.

There are also those who purchase a lake property as an investment or rental property but now want to live on the water themselves; however, they now realize the existing home on the property is too small for their families. Their first instinct may be to look for an existing, ready-to-move-into home on the lake, only to find a limited, pricey inventory. This scenario is also true for first-time buyers who may feel priced out of living on the lake. Evaluate older, smaller homes on pieces of property or in areas of the lake you love and see if they would be worth updating.

These properties are perfect candidates for a whole home remodel or even an addition. Many people are surprised at the bang for your buck you can get with a remodel and/or home addition when compared to current lake home prices. Expanding your home’s square footage can give your family the space you need and serve as an investment for the future as your home’s value increases. If you are worried about space being too limited to build out, don’t forget to consider building up.

When you’re updating your lake home, remember to give some attention to the exterior. Updating finishes, lighting, colors, windows, and doors all can have a huge impact not only on your home’s curb appeal, but also potentially on your energy bills. Also, consider your outdoor living spaces. Decks, screened porches, firepits, and outdoor kitchens all can be used year-round in Georgia, offer additional living space, and could help with resale value.

If you’re looking to purchase a home on the lake don’t be turned away by older homes that need some work, just make sure to get the home inspected thoroughly and have a plan and design ready before getting started.  Alternatively, if you already have a lake home that needs some TLC, consider your remodeling options before selling. Either way, the lake home of your dreams is in sight!

Photo: courtesy of Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling