Design & DIY

Colin and Justin bring beauty to a challenging small space

It’s true. We can fix anything. In terms of reno, construction, and design, certainly. We depend on our teams, sure (without them we are so much less), but come on: you know by now we enjoy little more than correcting dodgy style – and problematic function – in challenged spaces everywhere. And the more problematic the better: we LOVE a challenge.

Colin and Justin working 1

Starting the overhaul from laundry and utility room to guest bedroom

Take this laundry, for example. The cabin’s previous owner clearly didn’t need the ground floor space as a bedroom (hence its incarnation as a laundry) but we certainly did. We have people over all the time, and bedroom count is therefore crucial.

Anyway, being that we’d already literally raised the house to kick off a basement excavation of almost Biblical proportions, we took the opportunity to relocate services downstairs. Creating a whole new basement meant we were able to construct a brand new electrical room (hoorah: bye bye power board as seen on the wall in our before shot) and a fully equipped laundry kitted out with Electrolux appliances and more storage than you could shake a stick at.

All things considered, the time was right to transform the upstairs former laundry (a space that measured just 8’ x 8’) into a fully tricked out guest bedroom. But first we’d need to steal … a little space from the connecting closet. To this end, we borrowed 14 inches, our logic being that, where tight rooms are concerned, if space can be enlarged by even a fraction, it’ll seem wildly more commodious.

Colin and Justin working 3

Removing the old pine and installing new walls

Room “robbery” tackled, the previously difficult space has been significantly bettered. Now at least a double bed can be squeezed in and, what’s more, painted white – and with the pine hauled off the walls, it’s visually bigger too.

Colin and Justin working 2

Removing the room’s tiny window (top) in favour of a full view (bottom)

Guest Bedroom Beauty 1

Still chasing the holy grail of maxing up, we removed the tiny window and replaced it with a huge glazed fixed panel and a door that affords access to the wrap around balcony. After working with Euro Vinyl Windows and Doors (they installed the exciting glazing within our lake facing elevation) we hope the results speak for themselves. A cute wee table and chairs, positioned in front of the window, trick the mind into ‘seeing’ extra-perceived space because of the additional function. It’s all the little things that conspire to make the biggest difference, right?

Colin and Justin working 5

Creating a headboard with materials from the cottage’s old dock

Next up, we embarked upon a host of less expensive changes. The wooden headboard, for example, being the perfect observation of what can be achieved with a little imagination. And no cost whatsoever! Having dragged the old dock from the lake before installing a new pontoon, we removed a portion of its cedar boards and cleaned and sanded them back to life. Fitted to the wall (with the addition of a shelf made from further discarded deck) and dressed above with all manner of mirrors from Marshalls and Winners (and ceramics from the local thrift store), they make a commanding statement in the rebirthed guest space.

Our next port of call was the big blue and yellow shed (IKEA), where we found a double bed with four drawers neatly contained in the base: ideal for storage and assorted guest paraphernalia in a compact space. Attired with an assortment of Homesense throws and toss pillows, the zesty tangerine and brown accented vignette is thoroughly atmospheric, its colour scheme redolent of cottages from days gone by.

Guest Bedroom Beauty 2

The guest bedroom’s details

Hanging space? A $15 second hand oar studded with coat and towel hooks. Problem solving and a little whimsy into the bargain? That’s how we like to roll.

As you can probably discern, space (whilst enlarged) is still compromised and, to this end, there wasn’t enough room for regular bedside tables. We fixed this issue with $12 storage crates from Marshalls (upside down, no less!) bracketed securely to the wall. Hey presto – an easy to achieve (and easy on the pocket) nightstand solution. Hoorah!

Finally, we removed the regular door (as it was it clattered onto the bed when pushed open) and replaced it with a barn board portal on wheels that slides effortlessly along a slick iron rail. We’ve worked with Rebarn for many years on various projects both on and off screen, and they always do a stunning job. Check them out and prepare to be blown away by their creativity and their choice of lumber genus. While Toronto based, the hard working company will deliver – and install – nationwide, working, of course, to your precise specifications.


The end results

To say we’re happy with this little conversion is an understatement. Surveying the completed space, we’re nothing short of thrilled. And as the first “interior” conversion during Cabin Pressure Season 2, it’s been a bonding experience for our team to enjoy. Next up? Our four-bunk-bedded guest annex, which we’ll reveal in just seven short days. Until then, keep the faith. There is so much more “correction” to come. Blimey: let’s hope the Cabin Pressure lid doesn’t pop in the meantime. See you next week!

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.