The ultimate retreat: Colchester lake house renovated for DIY Network giveaway

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DIY Network designers took inspiration from local vacation rentals when creating the spacious kitchen for this Colchester lake house giveaway. (Courtesy photo)

A lakeside paradise situated on the discreet wooded acres of Red Rock Point Road in Colchester is about to make its cable TV debut.

The fully furnished, $1 million house is the culmination of a months-long renovation filmed for a show on the DIY Network set to premiere next month. The kicker? Program organizers plan to hand the keys over to the winner of their “Ultimate Retreat Giveaway.”

This local home is the first branded project of its kind, though a similar show called the “Blog Cabin” previously ran on DIY for nine years. The contest complements a suite of home sweepstakes offered by HGTV, DIY’s sister station.

Network officials say this series will invite viewers “to escape it all” and follow along as a property is transformed into a “show-stopping retreat.” Projects were unveiled in Tennessee, Florida, Maine and elsewhere prior to the show’s name change.

Kristin Alm, the network’s director of media relations, said last year’s home garnered 43 million entrants. She expects interest in the Colchester property to meet or exceed that figure.

“It took quite awhile to source this stuff. I wanted the perfect fit,” project manager Dylan Eastman said, surveying the rocky backyard from the wrap-around porch. He’s now tackled seven projects for DIY Network and lived in Vermont for six months while this construction was underway.

“We didn’t want to have the house feel like it had just kind of been plopped here,” Eastman said. “[Rather,] really like it had been here for a long time and grew from the spot.”

Eastman said he salvaged original pieces of the 1960s home whenever possible and relied on local supplies and vendors in the area. A new septic system and sprinkler set-up were among the required fixes needed to zone the former seasonal camp for year-round living, he said.

Built in the 1960s, this year-round retreat was formerly a seasonal camp. (Courtesy photo)

The now 2,100-square foot home, which enjoys 250 feet of waterfront access, highlights a striking view of Lake Champlain at almost every turn. The central feature is a set of “stackable” glass doors opposite the entryway. Opened wide, they reveal a sizable porch that functions as an outdoor extension to the living room.

The adjacent kitchen was one of several rooms restructured to feel more open, designers said. That decision is emphasized by vaulted ceilings and barn-style wooden beams contrasted with clean white paint and elongated subway tile backsplash.

A winding deck leads to a charcoal grill mounted on granite and a canoe-themed set of benches and chairs, then to a dock at water’s edge. Back on ground level, a heated garage is already complete with enough storage bins to make any organizer swoon.

A sweet sleeping nook in the downstairs den features two twin beds, perfectly staged for younger inhabitants — board games and playful colors abound in the camera-friendly space. With a pullout couch and two additional beds, interior decorator Elizabeth Demos said the house easily sleeps seven.

Demos looked to vacation rentals in the area for inspiration when redesigning the fresh New England lake house. This marked her first full home renovation for the production company, and settling on a style was especially difficult in this unique contest scenario.

“This homeowner is the everyman. That’s a line we really have to walk,” Demos said. “We don’t do anything that’s dialed up one way or another … I kind of mentally created who I thought would have this house.”

Striking views of Lake Champlain are visible from nearly every corner of the property on Red Rock Point Road. (Courtesy photo)

That doesn’t mean the team didn’t take any design risks, though. A shiplap accent wall in the master bedroom is painted a vibrant kelly green — still an easy switch, Demos noted, if a homeowner shunned the look.

Through the home, Demos also tapped into universally appreciated space-saving measures like pocket doors and setback bathroom sinks. Though the space feels expansive, Demos said the square footage is somewhat small compared to other homes in the neighborhood.

“I always think about what I would want if I lived here,” she said.

Modern conveniences stand out among the typical lake house touches, too. Smart appliances seem to pop up at every turn — including “intelligent toilets” in the two bathrooms — and a Wi-Fi enabled HVAC system allows inhabitants to remotely select the temperature of each room on an iPad.

Weekly episodes featuring the Colchester home will be broadcast on the DIY Network starting Monday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m. Viewers can subsequently enter the sweepstakes to win the home twice per day at diynetwork.com and HGTV.com until September 27.

DIY Network designer Elizabeth Demos took a decorating risk with this bright green accent wall in the master bedroom of a lakeside home in Colchester that will be awarded to a sweepstakes winner later this year. (Courtesy photo)

Two twin-sized sleeping nooks in the downstairs den increase the capacity of the 2,100-square foot home without taking up too much space. (Courtesy photo)

A charcoal grill is situated on the lower deck of the property. Winding stairs lead down to the shores of Lake Champlain. (Courtesy photo)