Welcome to Gingerbread Point, our new rental cottage at Lake Mitchell, Alabama! You can rent our cozy 2 bedroom cottage on AirBNB and experience all the joy of lake life for yourself!
Welp. It’s official.
We listed our little lake cabin on AirBNB last week! After working hard all summer to get it fixed up and ready for renters, finally, the day has come. Since my introduction post back in March, all the decks have been replaced, new furniture was brought in and we added a screened-in front porch!
Throughout the whole process, the main goal has been to stay on budget and not go crazy decorating the place. So, I’ve spent countless hours scouring the aisles of Big Lots and Bargain Hunt and Five Below and every Dollar store in the state of Alabama (and trust me, there’s a lot of ’em) trying to decorate on the CHEAP.
Want to take the tour and see all the updates? Step right this way….
The biggest change (and expense!) so far has been replacing all the decks and steps around the house. With approximately 1,000 square feet of decks covering three sides of the house, this was a big undertaking. The old decks were completely rotted, though, so this was an immediate must-do on the list. Every time we went down there my husband would put his foot straight through a rotten board.
Thankfully we got them all replaced before he broke a hip and had to be airlifted out.
Here is the Before, During and After of the deck board replacement. Doesn’t it look SO much better? We hired a local deck builder to do all of this for us and he did a good job.
The stairs down from the parking area got shored up but not totally replaced, so they are still a little bit whomper-jawed and crooked. Way better than before, but I still have to warn guests to be careful on the uneven steps.
We had lockable gates put on the openings so that I don’t have to worry about a certain little girl escaping and making her way down to the lake without us. It’s also nice for keeping stray dogs from wandering onto the porch while we are there, which has been known to happen.
To save some money we opted to keep the old railings since they were in decent shape. He did add a board underneath them to keep any small children from falling off. Let’s just say there are not any building inspectors way out here in the backwoods of Alabama, so not much on the house was built to code.
Hands down, one of the best deals I found while shopping for this house was that propane fire table out on the deck. I was my umpteenth excursion to my local Bargain Hunt searching for lake stuff when I saw a giant stack of boxes in the middle of the store. Turns out, they were filled with these Best Choice 48″ square firepit coffee tables for… get this…. $150 dollars. These suckers are regularly priced at $650-$700 at big box stores and Amazon. The best part about Bargain Hunt? If you sign up for their email newsletter you automatically get a 30% off coupon for any items in the store. So… I whipped out my coupon and bought this firepit for $105.00. Isn’t that a crazy amazing deal? I was so excited.
It has a propane tank underneath so you can light it with a click of a button and turn it off in an instant. For my husband, who is severely allergic to hardwood trees (and their smoke) this was a Godsend.
Step right on through the screened-in porch around the front of the house. Here is what this area looked like before….
And here is what it looks like now:
This is actually more of a before photo as well because I would love to eventually transform this porch into an awesome outdoor room like the back porch at our house. Again, it all comes back to staying in budget at this point. I plan to write a post specifically about how he enclosed this porch on a serious budget in case someone out there is looking for a similar idea.
Let’s head down to the boathouse now.
Don’t let the screen door slap you on the way out, ok?
One of my favorite things to do at the lake house is get up early before the rest of the family wakes up and go bass fishing. Trolling around the banks while the fog is still lifting and before the sweat starts dripping is the best time for fishing.
I was headed down to the boat early one morning when my Birkenstock hit a patch of dew on the slippery moss and Ka-BOOOOOMYYYY.
Down I went. I fell right on my butt on that steep hill. Thankfully I was not hurt and there was nobody around to see my graceful ass get busted, but that was the moment I decided it was time to spend the money and get the deck and steps replaced.
Here is what that booty-busting hillside looked like before:
And now there is a glorious set of super sturdy, safe stairs to replace those ankle-breaker stepping stones.
Don’t let this staircase fool you, though. It looks like a lot to climb, but I specifically asked them to build the steps to be 6″ high and double-deep so they are really easy on the knees when you walk down them.
They are easy for everyone to climb up and down, including yours truly, Mrs. Graceful.
We have two slips in the boathouse but currently only one boat, so we have room for our AirBNB guests to park their boats, too. This slip will easily hold a large pontoon boat. I absolutely LOVE having the boat on a lift, ready to fish with just the drop of a lever. If you’ve ever spent any time at a boat ramp, you’ll understand why this is a big deal.
From the water, the house looks WAY different with the new screened porch, stairs and extended upper deck. It has lost some of its Gingerbreadness, but that’s ok. The improvements were worth it. Once the deck has had a few months to dry out we will paint the railings white to match, but that will be a big job so we are saving it for Fall when the weather cools down.
Outside the screened-in porch, we added two fence panels with a piece of copper pipe between them for a little outdoor “shower” area. It’s not completely private so I don’t recommend anyone take an actual shower out here (unless you’re just into that) but it’s a great spot for the kids to rinse all the lake water off before they go into the house. I’ll give y’all a more in-depth post about the making of this fun little shower eventually as well.
Full disclosure- there’s a Ring floodlight camera directly above this shower so please don’t get naked out here. I really don’t wanna see your ding-a-ling.
The upper deck off the Master Bedroom got extended so it is about 6 feet wider than before. We put a cafe table out here, so you can pretend you’re sitting in a treehouse while you’re drinking your morning coffee. It has an AMAZING view with more than 180 degrees of water surrounding you on all sides. This is the best place to see the water, IMO. Here’s a panoramic view from the Master Bedroom.
Ok guys, I just realized this blog post is basically the size of War and Peace, so I’m going to wrap it up for now and save all the interior photos for the next post!
In the meantime, if you wanna come to Alabama and drink a glass of wine with your feet propped up on my $100 firepit while you enjoy this million-dollar view, come rent our lake house!