Picture owning your very own lighthouse, a majestic beacon overlooking a vast bay, embodying both hope and history.
Sheila Consaul, a 65-year-old aficionado of historic preservation, turned this dream into reality.
For a sum of $71,000, Sheila purchased a derelict lighthouse in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, and embarked on a journey that would see her invest over $300,000 in transforming it into her dream vacation home.
Living in a lighthouse is far from ordinary; solitude greets you at every turn.
Forget about a driveway leading to the front door; instead, you park half a mile away and transport everything you need by hand, from groceries to generator fuel. Yet, the experience, once embraced, is unparalleled.
Sheila’s journey began from her passion for historic preservation and a desire for a unique summer retreat.
Upon discovering that the government was auctioning off lighthouses, she saw an opportunity to merge her interests.
Though the lighthouse she acquired was in a sorry state, with cracked windows and peeling plaster, Sheila remained undeterred.
With the aid of a home equity loan, she embarked on a challenging yet fulfilling renovation project.
Renovating the lighthouse presented numerous challenges; every construction material had to be hoisted by crane and transported by boat due to its remote location.
Furthermore, being entirely off the grid posed additional hurdles; rebuilding the electrical system and relying on a gasoline-powered generator were just a few of Sheila’s tasks.
Despite these obstacles, the transformation is remarkable.
Today, the lighthouse boasts a fully equipped kitchen with granite countertops and modern appliances.
The plumbing and electrical systems have been overhauled, while the once-broken windows now showcase stunning stained glass.
However, preserving its historical essence was equally paramount.
Original features like dark brown floorboards and cast-iron stairs remain intact, alongside innovations such as a rainwater collection system.
Since 2012, Sheila has welcomed guests to the lighthouse, hosting annual open houses and sharing this community treasure with others.
Maintained by the Coast Guard and still serving as a navigational aid, the lighthouse stands as a testament to community and heritage.
Would Sheila embark on this journey again? Perhaps not, but the rewards have been immeasurable.
While she currently has no plans to rent out her unique summer home, she remains open to the possibility.
For now, she revels in the fruits of her labor and the extraordinary experience of lighthouse living.
Sheila Consaul’s story exemplifies what happens when perseverance and passion converge.
She didn’t just acquire a property; she rescued a historical gem, ensuring it endures for generations to come.
Take a virtual tour of the lighthouse in the accompanying video below!
Feel free to share this remarkable tale with your loved ones.