Design & DIY

“A kitchen to dine for” with Colin and Justin

It’s kitchen reno time! But first, Colin and Justin visit the local potter to channel their inner Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. 

As designers, we strive to look at things differently: we’re obsessed with how change can alter the quality of life on offer in every home we renovate. And in the kitchen – the celebrated heart of the home – quality of life is paramount. No one wants to live through a kitchen sink drama, right?

Before shot of the kitchen
The kitchen before being renovated


Due to the 850 sq.ft. nature of the original cottage footprint, we decided to apply a little “condo logic in cottage country” and treat the cabin like a loft apartment that had been cast adrift by the lake. First job? Remove the walls that previously boxed in the kitchen and open the space to the main, double height living area. “Stealing” the built-in wardrobe space from the adjacent bedroom provided us with an additional 10 sq. ft. to claim for the kitchen – perhaps this doesn’t sound much, but in reality the tweak makes a huge difference!

Breaking down walls for a more open concept
Breaking down walls for a more open concept


Condo logic! Open concept is big news in condoville, and that feeling of connection, sharing, and spaciousness can work similarly well in cottage country – especially in a small space cabin. We opted to create a tall rear elevation in white, using top-quality but nonetheless affordably priced cabinets from IKEA to bounce light back into the main room. This done, we delineated the boundaries with a run of cabinets topped with an oversized slab of “concrete” Caesarstone to form a breakfast bar. The double duty from this area serves as both counter top and breakfast bar. Very “city.” Planned, cut and fitted by House of Granite the results are slick and hardwearing.

Colin and Justin 3
Bringing in the cabinets


Built-in appliances and seamless stone surfaces go hand in hand with this look – we opted for an Electrolux induction cooktop, with a matching oven positioned below. Streamlining like this makes more of space and creates a modern, tailored aesthetic. Put simply? Just as much cooking space without a bulky, standout cooker.

Kitchen After 1
A view of the built-in cooktop and cabinets


Even our fridge/freezer and garbage bin are hidden behind cabinet doors – either side of the Blanco under counter sink. Our Electrolux dishwasher boasts a simple feature that literally has our guests oohing and aahing: it projects “cycle time remaining” onto the floor below! Yup – the sight of a blue light digital time clock is enough to work guests into a frenzy – especially after a glass or two of Scotch. What’s more, the energy efficient and capable dishwasher is whisper quite – particularly great news in an open concept space. Detail, right? It’s crucial.

The single full height black framed tilt and turn window/door from Euro Vinyl Windows continues our modern monochrome colour story and provides an extra entrance portal that’s ideal to bring groceries straight into the kitchen. It also floods the room with light and provides a tilt/turn screened window, ideal for ventilation. Again, when it comes to increasing the feeling of space in a tight room, there’s no better way than using glass where dark flat walls once lived.

Kitchen After 2
The new door provides easy access and makes the room feel larger


Continuity of flooring from space to space also feels very condo-centric, and with wide plank oak boards laid lengthwise from the front of the house to the rear, the floor’s infinity feeling as it moves from room to room suggests ampler proportions. We opted for warm tone oak, Barbican by Kentwood Flooring, to warm up the white and ground the entire main level.

During the reno, we visited Debbie Wales and her partner Grahame (or the Hairy Potter as he’s better known; he’s got a huge beard) to try our hands at pot throwing. Honestly, if you’re in the Haliburton area, book a class or just go shopping at The Hairy Potter studio.They have awesome stuff. And, if you see two Scottish lads capturing that Demi Moore / Patrick Swayze Ghost moment, don’t panic: it’ll probably just be us showing off our new skills! Suffice to say, the kitchen at Grey Gardens now boasts a collection of ‘made by us’ bowls. All gorgeous.

The finished kitchen


Life at the cottage kitchen is about sharing, drinking, eating, cleaning up afterwards, and than doing the whole damn thing again. This in mind, who wants to be shut away in a cramped, dark space feeling annexed and alone with nothing but a mountain of washing up to keep them company? Come on: swap those soapy dish bubbles for a bottle of, erm, bubbly. Yay: that’s that sorted. So, without further ado, break out the “Bolly,” tear down those walls and start planning that new cottage kitchen!

Watch the latest episodes of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure below and stay tuned for new episodes, Sunday at 9pm et/pt. Find your channel here.