Design & DIY

Colin and Justin: Roof, siding and windows

Plus ca change! Yup, cue the monolithic exterior transformation of our cute wee Haliburton cabin. Gosh, is this really the same house? Of course, but OMG—the drama. We feel like we’ve aged a thousand years. Thank God, then, for a happy outcome.

At first glance this cabin was so crappy that we considered its full-scale demolition. With it completed, however, we’re more than happy. The Jurassic-scaled project, overseen by Randy Blain (of Randy Blain Construction) is an utter joy to behold. Even if looking back at the transformation makes us want to swoon.

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The exterior transformation of Colin and Justin’s cottage

When we first bought the crooked shack, our planned job list was simple: fix, paint and learn to love the house. And then patch the roof as required. Our primary ambition? “Repair and make good.” How we laugh as we recount that innocent ambition.

And yes—we did conduct an inspection, but problems still arose for which no one could properly account. The windows were shot, not to mention “cloudy,” and ready to fall from their rickety frames. But no drama: we’d already decided upon new black framed glazing to modernize the overall esthetic.

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The original windows and siding

Enter “Euro Vinyl Windows and Doors,” with whom we worked closely to address weight, stress, and installation. Thank God for company director Chris Meiorin: he’s a windows and doors demigod. And conveniently, he’s also a resident on Drag Lake, the location of our cottage. Popping by regularly on his paddle board (we jest ye not!), he carefully worked through concepts, took our ideas on board, drew together plans and, hey, presto: a taller glazed front apex was added, coupled with wide aperture sliding portals that add commanding sightlines to the lake. Genius. These guys are the best in the business, and Chris took the project to the next level.

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Creating a better view of the lake

Battling a path towards Haliburton Lumber (located, conveniently, just a few miles from the cottage) we worked with the knowledgeable in-store team and specified Cape Cod siding in dramatic grey to create further external drama. Having already developed wonderful trust with Jodanne Aggett (she’s part of the in-store design department, and the one who crafted our technical drawings) we felt confident to employ other aspects of the company’s guidance. Haliburton Lumber, in fact, became our local “go to” for many associated building supplies. They’re almost literally a one-stop shop for everything that cottagers or renovators will need as their projects protract.

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Justin installing the new siding

Jodanne worked with us on site on numerous occasions to redraft internal layouts and was always available to give her expert opinion on anything build or design related. Liaising with an expert (such as Jodanne) in cottage country is perhaps one of the best pieces of advice we can offer: expertise is crucial when talking to local townships and planners.

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The cottage’s sleek new siding and windows

Next stage? Roof repair. We contacted Dave Baker Roofing (with whom we’d worked on Season One of Cabin Pressure), and after Randy and his boys had replaced virtually all joists and boards (they were previously rotten and not to code) and insulated with Roxul product to keep everything warm, he positioned Building Products of Canada Corp shingles to provide a tight, hermetic seal against the elements. We’re thrilled with the results, and the resultant grey black vision is testament to our plan for a tailored, almost Scandinavian vibe.

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The finished roof

As we cast our eyes, once more, over the transformation, we can still hardly comprehend its scale. But please don’t mistake our enthusiasm for self-satisfaction: we’re simply proud of the before and after. And it all comes down to teamwork. Without Jodanne at Haliburton Lumber and Randy Blain and his contracting apostles, this monolithic rebuild might never have been finished. Sure, it’s been a joy—but it nearly killed us. That said, there is so much more to reveal. Dive back here next week and see what happens when we undertake the biggest deck install we’ve ever tackled. And hmm: did someone say BC Red Cedar?


Watch the latest episodes of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure below and stay tuned for new episodes, Sunday at 9pm et/pt. Enter our Cabin Pressure contest here for your chance to win an Electrolux vacuum cleaner! Cottage Life television is now in free preview. Find your channel here.