A woman buys an abandoned lighthouse and transforms it into a cozy ‘nautical’ home. ​

Imagine owning a lighthouse – a towering sentinel that watches over the vast expanse of water, a sign of both history and hope. Sheila Consaul, a 65-year-old historic preservation enthusiast, didn’t just imagine it – she made it a reality. Sheila purchased an abandoned lighthouse in Fairport Harbor, Ohio for $71,000. She has since invested over $300,000 to transform it into her dream summer home. Living in a lighthouse is anything but ordinary. The first thing you notice is the isolation. There is no driveway leading to the main entrance. Instead, you park half a mile away and carry all your supplies—food, water, even gas for the generator—by hand. But once you’re there, the experience is unique. Sheila’s journey began with a desire for a cooler summer retreat and a love of historic preservation. When she heard that the government was auctioning off lighthouses, she saw an opportunity to combine the two. The lighthouse was in a state of disrepair when she purchased it – broken windows, crumbling plaster and in desperate need of paint.

But Sheila was not deterred. She took out a home equity loan and embarked on a renovation journey that would be both challenging and rewarding. The renovation process was anything but straightforward. The lighthouse’s remote location meant that any building materials had to be transported by boat and lifted by crane. The challenges didn’t stop there; the lighthouse was completely disconnected from the power grid. Sheila had to rewire the entire electrical system and rely on a gasoline-powered generator for electricity, making gasoline another item on her long list of supplies. Despite the hurdles, the transformation is amazing. The Lighthouse now features a fully equipped kitchen with granite countertops and modern appliances. The electrical and plumbing systems have been completely overhauled, and the windows – once broken and unusable – are now fully functional and even feature beautiful stained glass windows. But it’s not just about the physical changes – it’s about preserving history.

The lighthouse still features its original cast iron staircase and dark brown floors. The cistern, which once contained water for the lighthouse keepers, has also been converted. Now she collects rainwater, which is then treated and used throughout the house. Sheila has managed to modernize the lighthouse while maintaining its historical integrity. The Lighthouse is more than just a home – it is a community treasure. Sheila understands this and has opened her doors to the public and hosted annual open days since 2012. The lighthouse also remains an active aid to navigation, its beacon maintained by the Coast Guard and lit each night as a symbol of both history and community.

Would Sheila do it again? Probably not. The journey was fulfilling but also exhausting. She is happy with her unique summer home and has no plans to rent it out, although she doesn’t rule out the possibility in the future. For now, she is enjoying the fruits of her labor and the unique experience of lighthouse living. Sheila Consaul’s story shows what can be achieved when passion meets perseverance. She didn’t just buy a property. She bought a piece of history and lovingly restored it for future generations. Check out the full tour of the lighthouse in the video below! Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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