Woman buys an abandoned lighthouse for $71K, transforms it into a lovely summer retreat

Are you able to think about your self residing in an deserted lighthouse? It’d sound like a beautiful concept, with ideas of peace, ocean mist, and huge views.

Regardless that it looks like a really alone type of life, one thing is fascinating about residing in these tall, previous buildings by the ocean that’s extra than simply being by your self.

In 2009, Sheila Consaul began an sudden journey trying to find a second dwelling.

Shiela Consaul, talking about how she renovated the abandoned lighthouse and turned it into a summer reatreat.


At 65 years previous, this communications advisor had her eyes opened to a novel alternative: the U.S. authorities was auctioning off lighthouses, and it piqued her curiosity.

In 2000, Congress handed the Nationwide Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, CNBC Make It famous.

This act allowed the federal government to public sale or give away “federally-owned historic gentle stations which have been declared extra to the wants of the accountable company.”

An old photo of Shiela's lighthouse vacation home.


Sheila noticed on this an opportunity to mix her love for historic preservation with the dream of getting a summer season retreat.

Sheila had a historical past of restoring historic houses, so taking up an deserted lighthouse excited her immensely.

The one which stole her coronary heart was the Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse in Ohio, which grew to become out there for public sale. In 2009, she started bidding, and in 2011, she emerged victorious with a profitable bid of $71,010.

Inbuilt 1925, this lighthouse boasted three bedrooms, three loos, three flooring, and practically 3,000 sq. toes of historical past.

One of the lighthouse's bedroom.


It had been an deserted lighthouse because the late Forties, making Sheila the primary particular person to stay in it in over seven many years.

Sheila spends her summers on the lighthouse from Might to October, whereas her main house is exterior Washington D.C. When she first acquired the lighthouse, it wanted numerous TLC.

Damaged home windows, falling plaster, and a determined want for a contemporary coat of paint have been among the many challenges she confronted.

To buy the lighthouse and fund the preliminary renovations, Sheila used a $200,000 dwelling fairness mortgage.

Aerial shot of the abandoned lighthouse.


She started renovating in the summertime of 2012, and after over a decade of exhausting work, the mission is almost full. She describes the journey as “lengthy and difficult.”

One of many distinctive challenges Sheila encountered was the lighthouse’s distant location, about half a mile from the closest parking zone in Headlands Seaside State Park.

This meant that enormous home equipment just like the range and fridge needed to be transported by boat and delivered by crane onto the lighthouse platform.

The distance between the lighthouse and the nearest parking lot.


Since buying the lighthouse, Sheila estimates she’s spent over $300,000 on renovations.

Most of this cash went into creating an entire fashionable transformation of the deserted lighthouse, with a eating room and a surprising kitchen that includes granite counter tops, fashionable home equipment, and new cupboards.

It additionally has a comfortable front room, with a helpful utility laundry room close by.

Lighthouse's furnished kitchen with dining table and chairs.


Some highlights of the lighthouse are the cast-iron staircase resulting in the second flooring and exquisite stained glass home windows.

Shiela stated she has a wall devoted to the volunteers who’ve generously lent their help all through the renovation course of, serving to with portray, cleansing, refurbishing, and restoring this lighthouse.

Down the deserted lighthouse, which as soon as served as a mechanical degree for the lighthouse keepers, you’ll discover a cistern, a wine cellar, a bunk room, and a totally restored lavatory.

The cistern at the abandoned lighthouse.


Shiela opted for composting bathrooms and rainwater assortment because of the lack of connection to water and sewer methods.

In the meantime, upstairs are the residing quarters the place the keepers as soon as resided.

The lighthouse’s authentic darkish brown flooring have been fastidiously refurbished, and a compass rose was added to a refurbished part.

Brown, wooden floor with compass.


The lighthouse retains its historic attraction, with the unique white hexagon tile within the lavatory.

One of the vital intriguing facets of her lighthouse life is it’s fully off the grid.

Sheila depends on a gasoline-powered generator, solar energy, and wind energy to fulfill her power wants.

Regardless of surpassing her preliminary $200,000 renovation funds, Sheila believes each second has been value it.

Solar panels at the abandoned lighthouse.


She says, “This was an awesome problem, an awesome alternative, and I beloved each minute of it.”

It’s essential to notice that whereas Sheila owns the lighthouse construction, the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers owns the land it sits on.

To take care of her connection to this distinctive piece of historical past, she paid $2,500 for a 25-year lease.

The Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse stays a functioning support to navigation, so Sheila works intently with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Nationwide Climate Service, and the Ohio State Historic Preservation Workplace when wanted.

The lighthouse’s beacon, an important a part of maritime security, continues to be maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, shining each night time at nightfall and going darkish at daybreak.

Portrait photo of the abandoned lighhouse, taken during a storm.


When Sheila bought the lighthouse, she understood it was greater than only a construction; it was a beacon for her new group.

That’s why she’s been internet hosting open homes to rejoice the lighthouse’s birthday, June 9, practically yearly since 2012.

And so long as she owns the lighthouse, she plans to proceed providing personal excursions. She even intends to resume her lease if she lives out the 25-year settlement.

“One factor that was crucial to me once I purchased this lighthouse was that I understood that this was a part of this group of Fairport Harbor,” she says.

Take a look at how Shiela reworked an previous, deserted lighthouse into an cute dwelling under: