A DIY Newbie Finishes Her Cottage in the Catskills Thanks to Facebook Marketplace Scores

In the dining room, four chairs Wood found on the street in Park Slope years ago were grabbed and reupholstered with blue leopard print. The two additional chairs on the table’s end were bought on Craigslist. The wooden light fixture pendant and the blue glass cabinet were both Facebook Marketplace finds. The rug is from Rugs USA.

A contractor and some friends helped paint the home’s walls in just a couple days.

Photo: Regan Wood

A welcoming greeting from the porch

Photo: Regan Wood

Transforming the house has been a massive endeavor, so the lessons Wood has learned are ones she’d recommend any aspiring DIY’er to consider.

Consider a contractor

Looking back, Wood says she wishes she had brought a really good contractor with her to the house inspection, since there were a lot of things the inspector didn’t catch.

“A contractor is gonna see things an inspector doesn’t see from a time and money standpoint in terms of renovations,” she notes, adding that when it comes to the availability of contractors, anyone who is really good at their job is probably booked. That’s why you need to plan as far ahead of time as possible in order to bring in the best person for the job.

High seasons means high profits…and sacrifices

Wood and her partner in the renovation, Tara Cox, have already started to see profits from the home, which has been pretty consistently booked on Airbnb since mid-April. They’re hoping that with the profits from Airbnb, they can at least pay the mortgage and maintenance costs, as well as extra expenses. But it also means giving up the property during holiday weekends, when the duo normally would wish to use it themselves.

An entertaining-ready outdoor space makes the cabin an ideal rental for vacationers.

Photos: Regan Wood

“It’s going to do well on holidays, so I’m gonna have to just eat it on holidays,” says Wood, who kept the cottage listed over Memorial Day weekend because she knew it would bring in good money. They took advantage of the summer high season and hoped to get good reviews on Airbnb, which would boost them up in the algorithm.

Wood says she believes the home’s current value has made up for all the money they put into it. If they ever sell, they’re likely to make a profit. But ultimately, this cozy little corner of the woods wasn’t purchased as an investment property.

When in doubt, trust the process

The lessons of a renovation go far beyond window measurements and floor staining tips. However, Wood still found the process to be a bit “alarming,” since it’s impossible to control a situation with so many variables, ranging from the speed of the contractor to the winter weather. But being willing to let go of expectations proved to be the key to satisfaction.

“Have a little bit of a spirit of adventure around it and trust the universe,” Wood concludes.

The charming house dates back to the 1900s.

Photo: Regan Wood

Painted touches helped modernize the space.

Photo: Regan Wood

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