Design & DIY

Colin and Justin show off their stylish new shower room

Having a cottage surely is all about sharing the experience—with friends, neighbours, and even the odd passing raccoon, all of whom regularly drop by to enjoy a slice of heavenly life at the lake. And with a liquor store just 15 short minutes away, you can be assured of a warm welcome. Cheers!

To accommodate a steady stream of visitors, the measure of a good cottage is often attributed to the number of bedrooms therein. And, as is often the case, from the number of beds fitted into each sleep zone. Hey, some cottages even dedicate another building to nothing more than sleeping accommodation. Enter the ubiquitous bunkie and its pile-’em-high bunk bed quotient. Yup, some cottages can accommodate an entire hockey team…

The dormer added next to the master bedroom


Little surprise, then, having decided to add a dormer in our cottage’s roof space, the initial response from Randy Blain, our superstar contractor, was that the extra bedroom would indeed be a useful addition. He even joked that a few of his guys would be thrilled to book in as our first guests!

The idea of “guest winging” our new space was actually the last thing on our mind. Yup, plans for our extension were entirely selfish—we aspired to an ensuite shower room to service the dramatic attic bedroom next door. The combination of stone, tile, wood, and glass (not to mention the awesome sightlines and natural light passing through our own private attic) would create a personal eerie of which even Batman would be jealous. With three other bedrooms—and our own four-bed Canada Builds bunkie—we already had plenty of crash space at Grey Gardens…

Barn doors separate the master bedroom from the ensuite


With the new configuration already in place (from the bedroom reno’) and the amazing wall of Rebarn vintage barn doors waiting to slide backwards and forwards in a monolithic woody sweep, we set about the installation, choosing to divide the space into a shower cubicle, a focal point sink and window area, and a walled off toilet, modestly tucked out of the way to tinkle on one’s tod.

Reno 3
Laying out the bathroom’s flooring


With the barn doors creating a semi-open concept feel between our new wash zone and bedroom, the idea was to create a stylish intersection where repeated design “mediums” would merge. The transition of flooring is a perfect example—in the bedroom, wide plank oak Kentwood Barbican boards yield to timber effect ceramic tiles from Saltillo—the former is the real woody deal, while the tiled pretender is simply an entirely waterproof “interpretation.”

The stone sink and steel vanity compliment the bed across the room

With the squared off metal and timber bed looking directly onto the vanity area, we echoed the bed’s industrial strength with a long stone sink and sleek steel vanity by Unikstone. Topped with a Rubinet custom black faucet, the sink positively oozes ‘modern cottage’, while at the same time providing an amazing place to wash up at the end of the day and the best wake-up vantage point to enjoy the sun bursting through the trees each morning. Yes, our stone sink rocks.

Positioning a sink in front of a window does present certain challenges, but by installing retractable wall mirrors from Ikea paired with bulkhead wall lamps (a steal from the outdoor section in Home Depot) either side, we’re assured of a well lit place for shaving and teeth cleaning.

The shower area

Wrapping the timber effect ceramic around the shower cubicle proffers a modern cottage vibe whilst keeping it all simple with a glass screen increases the feeling of space and allows unrestricted viewing of the custom shower mechanism with matching black drain. Yup, designers like us love to add detail.

With the emphasis on “four seasons,” under floor heating by Warmup allows us to pad about barefoot in the winter without the slightest fear of frostbite, while the double-glazed window baffles even the coldest chills. We wintered in Haliburton last year (lol: from October to April) and really reaped the benefits of our very own “Kozy Korner.” Kozy Korner being a play on words that references a wickedly good breakfast restaurant in Haliburton.

Shoe trees re-purposed as towel hooks


If you follow our work, you’ll know we love to spend on build quality. And you’ll know we love to save money by shopping thrift stores and antique barns (for items to upcycle) to create our own style. Here, a trio of ten buck wooden shoe molds was sanded, sprayed black to match the window frames, and then hung in a row as a fun place to hang towels.

The finished room


So c’mon Canada: why not take a little ‘me time’ and reward yourself with something you really want? Hmm? A dreamy bathroom or a dressing room for the fashionistas out there: you know you deserve it! And as for the guys? Go on fellas: tell your wives Colin & Justin promised that a new flat screen TV and a subscription to Rogers HD hockey channel are the perfect ways to attract guests to the cottage. And that really is what “cottage life” is all about.

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.