Colin and Justin

Colin and Justin take their basement from damp to vamp

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A finished basement can be the making of a cottage—not only can you use it to create valuable additional living space, you can also use it to remove “problems” from upper levels. Our new addition includes an engine room—where water tanks and electricals are housed—as well as a storage room, which more than accommodates lawn furniture and canoes during the off season. Moving the electrical panel freed up a wall in a bedroom upstairs and made it much more usable—so all things considered, we’re doubly happy.

Two other basement rooms are also problem solvers, and here’s why: Room number one, our additional shower room, is closest to the lake and the ideal spot in which to enjoy a post-swim warm up. This services guests in the basement sitting room and additional bedroom—but more about those two zones next week! Room number two is the laundry, complete with a full-size washer and dryer. Self sufficiency is a must—does anyone really want to carry bedding and laundry items home with them? In a rental environment, you have to be able to clean as one set of guests departs and another arrives—so a fully-loaded laundry is important.

The style statement in the guest bathroom is certainly bold. Lavished with vintage style ceramics from Saltillo and a rumbustious wood-framed, stone vanity by Unikstone, the generous space features slick chrome fittings by Moen, a minimalist, unframed glazed shower stall, and a modern, close-coupled American Standard WC.

We want everyone who visits to leave feeling energized, yet relaxed, whether they come in spring, summer, autumn, or winter. Accordingly, under floor heating by Nuheat guarantees that, even when the colder months are in play (that’s September to May, lol!), the bathroom floor will remain delightfully toasty. Who, after all, wants frigid tootsies as they pad around?

With the drywall, electrics, and plumbing installed in our newly created laundry, we started laying our bold tiles (also from Saltillo).  Hexagon-shaped and grey-toned, the tiles act as the perfect compliment to the creamy ceramics on the rear wall. Grouted grey to add punch, they’re wipe clean and low-maintenance. To moderate costs, we specified Marsta/Sektion Ikea cabinets in white, detailed with recessed “grain” handles, which compliment butcher’s block counters. The mix of plain units, plain walls, and patterned tile comes together harmoniously and we love the look.

We chose a stylish, deep anthracite sink and chrome tap by Blanco and—wanting washdays to be fun days—added a Nespresso coffee maker. And why not? We like to spoil our guests and who knows when that pang for a cup of coffee might hit. Mid wash cycle? We got it covered! Peace and quiet at the cottage are sacred, so it made sense to choose laundry equipment that can’t be heard from other parts of the house. Our GE machines deliver high-capacity laundry and awesome efficiency (essential for rural electricity costs) and they do it all oh-so-silently! Honestly, they’re so whisper quiet it’s as if fairies have come in the wee small hours to take care of the laundry. If only!

A fun project was the wall shelving. Assembled with $120 worth of interconnecting gas pipe from Haliburton Timbermart and Ikea worktop off-cuts, it adds a touch of hipster, industrial magic as well as being a useful spot to stash towels and associated washroom paraphernalia like detergents and baskets.

So, if you want your basement to transition from damp to vamp, think about problem solving and add rooms that enhance the overall cottage experience. Next week, with our shower room and laundry in place, we turn our attentions to the rest of the basement. So stay tuned for nine-feet-high, cedar-lined rooms, a whisky lounge, and a guest bedroom with an incredible view of the twinkling lake. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Watch the third season of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure on Cottage Life TV, Sundays at 9pm et/pt. Find your channel here.

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