Renovating a lake home to fit a modern lifestyle

living room

All those slasher films would want you to believe that the cabin by the lake is a scary place, but the only thing scary about Christina Dennis’ new lake home is that it didn’t have an indoor toilet.

Christina, Edmonton’s own The DIY Mommy, has embarked on a second lake property, this time by the shores of Seba Lake, about an hour west of the provincial capital.

“After a year of successful hosting in our first lake cabin in nearby Spring Lake, we were inspired to invest in a second one on an even bigger lake. We enjoy transforming a neglected home into something beautiful, we’ve loved meeting so many people virtually as vacation rental hosts, and it’s been a wonderful side gig for our family.”

Christina, known as the DIY Mommy, has crafted a niche for herself in the busy home show circuit with her own brand of homespun, budget-friendly, beautiful decor and do-it-yourself hacks to create the perfect homelife.

Based in Edmonton, Christina maintains a lifestyle blog in her website focusing on home décor tutorials, home organization ideas, upcycling tips and even easy recipes for the family to enjoy. The website is every homemaker’s friend.

Last year, she, along with her husband, Sean - a general contractor and electrician who owns The Greenovator Corp. – had done a complete renovation work for their first lake front property in Spring Lake, just west of Edmonton. It has been a complete success for the family, and they have made a decision to embark on another renovation project. This time, it was a little more challenging.

“The biggest challenge with our new lake cabin project - affectionately called “The Tiny Lake House” was that it was SO small,” she tells R+D.

“At only 467 square-feet, we had to be very careful with its design. There was no bathroom (only an outhouse!), so we had to completely gut the home, redesign it, and rebuild the entire interior.”

Christina says they had come up with a plan to work around those challenges. “After much thought and reworking, came up with a layout that included a small wetroom style bathroom, a cozy bedroom, and then a completely open living space featuring a living room that can double as a second sleeping area.”

Originally the cabin had two small bedrooms, no bathroom, and a tiny kitchen in the center. “We completely changed the layout and built a small bathroom, a mechanical room with a stacking laundry, and a more open concept kitchen, dining area and living room. The kitchen is my favourite part of the renovation, and it features vintage-look appliances in a gorgeous mint green colour with open shelving and lots of cabinet storage to maximize the small space.”

She emphasizes that the durability of the finishes is the most important aspect in designing a lake house that will see plenty of use and activity.

“Luxury vinyl plank flooring is my favourite durable flooring, and I also chose washable furnishings and accessories. A relaxing decor scheme is also very important for me, and we achieved this by using light, fresh paint and furniture colours,” Christina says.

You can hear more of her thoughts in how to design such small spaces when she presents at the Home + Garden Shows in both Calgary and Edmonton.

“At the shows, I’ll be sharing 10 Tricks to Make Your Small Space Feel Bigger. I’ve designed and renovated several small homes and tiny rooms, and these tricks have been essential in making these spaces feel more open and inviting.”

Christina has been a mainstay at both shows, having been a main stage presenter several times. “I always love meeting folks there and sharing my favourite home decorating tips and tricks!”

The Calgary Home + Garden Show will be held from February 23-26 at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. For tickets and more info, go to

While the Edmonton Home + Garden Show is on March 23-26, at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Go to for added information.

You can learn more about the Little Lake House and all the other DIY tips from Christina at

Photo: The DIY Mommy, Christina Dennis.

Pepper Rodriguez, Editor Calgary/Edmonton
Pepper Rodriguez, Editor Calgary/Edmonton
A Reno + Decor Influencer
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