6 Brilliant DIY Ideas You Should Steal from This Lakeside Cottage in Texas

published Jan 15, 2022
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Kitchen with large island and wooden beams across ceiling

When Jennifer Thomas and her husband spotted a 1,600-square-foot lakeside cottage in the charming town of Henderson, Texas, they fell in love with the serene views and the picture-perfect location as a relaxing getaway. But the home itself was seriously lacking. “We found a quirky little house with minimal style but maximum potential,” says Thomas. “You can’t beat the views, so we redesigned the house with that in mind.”

Take, for instance, the kitchen: Thomas and her handy husband decided to move the cramped kitchen from the back of the house to where the dining room was once located. “Having a kitchen with zero solid walls is a real problem, but I love the solutions we came up with,” says Thomas, who gave the new kitchen a modern industrial vibe and acted as the designer of the home while her husband completed most of the carpentry.

After we took the tour (and once we finally picked our jaws up off the floor), we spotted six brilliant kitchen design ideas that were totally inspiring. Come along — we can’t wait to show you the creative couple’s stunning DIY improvements!

1. Add open shelving (even across your windows!) with a convenient kit.

Relocating the kitchen into the pre-existing dining room space was tricky. Given the layout, the couple knew right away that it would be hard to install upper kitchen cabinets. The creative solution? Open shelving across the windows! To make it easy, Thomas chose a stylish hardware kit and selected pine boards that were stained in Minwax’s Early American. Says Thomas of the finished results: “The floating shelves going across the windows set the tone for the whole design.”

2. Build custom pantry storage with an IKEA hack.

Without any additional storage space to use as a pantry, Thomas decided to build her own by using three simple Ekat cabinets from IKEA. After the couple assembled the trio of inexpensive cabinets, they encased the 9-foot-long combined credenza with pine boards and added copper legs. For a custom touch, Thomas painstakingly covered the six cabinet doors with geometric-embossed wallpaper painted black and installed copper, hexagon-shaped knobs to top it all off.

3. Pour concrete for a kitchen island counter.

To keep the modern industrial vibe going, Thomas and her husband (along with her two young children!) all pitched in to create the kitchen’s 6×4-foot island with a concrete countertop. Although Thomas admits pouring her own counter was “intimidating,” all of the anxiety (and heavy lifting!) was well worth it. Once the base was built, the couple set up forms to create the counter’s edges and mixed 80-pound bags of Quikrete concrete to give the kitchen a cool, but rustic feel.

The unconventional countertop (which also houses the stove) and the tucked-away bar stools are definite showstoppers, complementing the kitchen’s overall design. “The house has a lived-in modern aesthetic with vintage-style art and thrifted items alongside industrial storage solutions and exposed beams,” explains Thomas, who clearly doesn’t back away from challenging DIY home projects. “You can’t help but grab a drink and kick back here.”

4. Don’t be afraid to DIY some touches on your appliances.

“I did not want to do a full-height refrigerator because it would have felt unfinished without an upper cabinet,” explains Thomas of the kitchen’s narrow appliance. But even the small, vintage-style Galanz fridge got a little upgrade, too. Thomas started with black chalk paint as a primer on the fridge’s original chrome accents, and then painted with autumn gold Rub ‘n Buff for an easy, but dramatic copper facelift.

5. Opt for butcher block as an inexpensive countertop.

Against the wall of sunny windows looking out toward Lake Cherokee, butcher blocks from The Home Depot were installed by the couple for the sink countertop. The unfinished birch was then sealed with dark tung oil, which provides a waterproof-protective barrier. Butcher block generally costs much less than granite and adds instant warmth to a space.

6. Make your own drawer pulls.

With every beautiful detail in its place, Thomas also adorned the main IKEA kitchen cabinets with custom copper pulls using lightweight pipes. “We placed a copper cap on each [pipe] and mounted them to the drawers using bell clamps,” says Thomas. “They came out to less than $3 per pull and make such a statement!”

Are you inspired by these DIY kitchen ideas? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.