Remodeling project makes Big Lake living room feel like ‘cottage on a lake’

Favorite room: Living room.

Created by: Patrice St. Cyr of Big Lake, Minn.

The back story: With the family’s annual winter trip to Maui to visit family thwarted by the pandemic, Patrice decided it was time to replace the living room floors in their 1950s rambler on Big Lake. Ceramic and carpet would be replaced with luxury vinyl flooring.

“I have nine grandkids and we’re used to people over all the time, especially during the summer, and the ceramic just didn’t work,” Patrice said. “They’re wet and walking through the house and I wanted something safe.”

A game-changer: The project grew from there. They started reassessing the living room, wondering if a wall it shared with the hallway was load-bearing. “After finding that it was not, I decided it was coming down,” she said.

They brought in independent contractors for most of the remodeling besides the electrical, for which Patrice’s son-in-law, an electrician, took the reins.

Midcentury, cottage flair: Since the living room was already getting an update, Patrice decided to redecorate while she was at it. The home’s history as well as its lake vibes were brought to the forefront. New pieces included chairs with clean, midcentury modern lines and vintage cottage patterns.

“This is a 1951 rambler and it needed a little piece of itself,” Patrice said. “But the other piece of this is when I was little, my great-grandparents and grandparents bought two cottages on Lake Minnewashta. I wanted to re-create the feeling of a cottage on the lake because it was so special to my childhood.”

Finishing touches: Painting the walls taupe provided the perfect backdrop for artwork such as landscape photographs taken by Patrice. Over the fireplace, a painting of purple cosmos at Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud can be found. And last but not least, framed lithographs of Minneapolis landmarks are a reminder of the days Patrice and a friend owned a condo and lived in Northeast.

“The art I have up evokes special memories,” she said. “I’m a city girl at heart, so having those lithographs reminds me of so many good memories and keeps the city girl in me alive.”

Cost: Approximately $20,000. Patrice said that in addition to the cost of removing the hallway, “the flooring required a new subfloor and was a huge cost.”

The payoff: Now Patrice and her family can enjoy Big Lake from multiple angles.

“It really opened up the lake views of the home from more rooms. It also added a tremendous amount of light because the wall was blocking the light coming into other rooms like the kitchen,” Patrice said. The new flooring has resulted in “easy cleanup from sand and dripping swimmers.”

The new favorite room: “I love everything about it. Of course, the view overlooking the lake is the real star,” she said. “Out of the pandemic disappointment of missing our time on Maui, where my son and family live, came this delightful space that brings me joy every day.”

My Favorite Room is an occasional series showcasing improved home spaces, as submitted by readers. If you have a favorite room, send a snapshot or two, along with a brief description of what makes your room special, to [email protected] We’ll showcase favorite rooms in Sunday Homes sections.