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Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York


Paul and his family live in Canada, but had a three-season shed on their property in the Thousand Island region of Upstate New York. They wanted to spend more time at their vacation property, but first needed a spot to stay.

So they spent about 4 months of weekends (over 4 years) renovating the old shed into their cozy vacation home! They had lots of help from family and friends, and are looking forward to enjoying the property once COVID restrictions allow.

Take a look at the photo transformation below, and read Paul’s full story at the end of the post.

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They Made a 3-Season Shed into a Year-Round Home

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Here’s what their little shed looked like before.

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Time to build a new (strong!) foundation!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Inside the updated cottage. Clean and bright!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Needs a few finishing touches, but it’s almost there!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Cute dining nook opposite the living room.

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Ladder takes you to the sleeping area.

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Luxurious bathroom accommodations!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

In the process — lots of hard work!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

The bottom “garage” holds all that summer gear!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

What a fun spot to spend time as a family!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Great job, Paul and family! Enjoy!

Shed to Vacation Cottage for Family in Upstate New York

Images via Paul

Paul’s Story:

Our tiny cottage is located in the beautiful Thousand Island region of Upstate New York. We were able to enjoy it for about 2 years before Covid hit. We reside in Canada so have not been able to get to our cottage in in 2020.

We took and existing shed on the property and hoisted onto a new foundation. We then started to renovations which included wiring and plumbing rough-ins, new windows, insulation, drywall, floor finishing, painting, and cabinets. All this took muuuuch longer than normal due to being on a pay as you go financing plan. The cottage lifestyle of big late breakfast with friends and three o’clock happy hours did not exactly help expedite the project. In all, we spent about 3 or 4 months worth of weekends spread out over about 4 years.

The project was done with a lot for volunteer labor from friends and family. What we could not do ourselves or get done with begged labor we contracted out. We did not skimp on the materials or finishes. The cost of construction is around 60,000 so far.

The original cottage is an old three season structure with sloping floors in what can be considered as “rustic” condition. My wife and I spent many a night at the campfire dreaming about replacing the ordinal cottage with a year round building. Unfortunate we kept arriving at the same road block. We did not want to be property poor. We had seen stories about tiny homes and eventually came upon the idea of turning the storage shed into a tiny year round cottage.

There is still more to do to get it 100% complete but we are enjoying it in the meantime.

We would like to say a big huge thank you to our family members and friends how helped us with this project. You all know who you are.

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Our big thanks to Paul for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
Natalie C. McKee

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Delos Turner
    November 2, 2020, 12:01 pm

    Nice this project turned out wonderful, beautiful location.

  • Avatar Linda Baker
    November 2, 2020, 1:11 pm

    wonderful to see what you have done to create a wonderful place for the family to get away – people frequently overlook what is right in front of them.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      November 3, 2020, 8:01 am

      Isn’t that the truth!

  • Avatar Lori Davis
    November 2, 2020, 3:47 pm

    I love square tiny houses. Will you paint the foundation when you’re all done?
    So glad you chose to have a large fridge. A small stove is so much easier to work with than a small fridge.

  • Avatar Lee Baldwin
    November 2, 2020, 6:19 pm

    It looks wonderful and fully functional for a holiday place! I would be happy to spend time there and commend you for making a beautiful vacation spot on the budget that works for you. Small footprint maintained but beautiful finishes with no skimping. I love it!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      November 3, 2020, 7:59 am

      Precisely! They made it work even on a small foundation.

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