Design & DIY

The Colin & Justin Cottage Build Challenge: A Real Cedar pergola perfect for outdoor spaces!

Colin and Justin's Pergola

Sometimes the most used space at the cottage is an unexpected space. That was true of Colin and Justin’s Drag Lake cottage, where a bunkie deck turned out to be the perfect spot for catching sun or shade depending on the time of day. “The deck was positioned between the bunkie and the main cottage and just felt barren. Yet, often, guest would hang out there,” explains Colin.

So when the design duo of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure on Cottage Life TV were invited to build three cottage projects in one day using Western Red Cedar, a pretty dining pergola to better define the space was a must. “We opted for a multi-leg structure with open lines. It offers us an extra seating area and defines an otherwise wasted outdoor space in a remarkable way,” says Colin.

Colin and Justin Pergola

Knotty Real Cedar

“We just love the visual appeal of knotty Real Cedar,” says Colin. “When you walk over to the pergola, the raw knotty finish is so naturally beautiful—reminding me that it’s real wood and complementing the forest that surrounds our cottage,” says Colin. They also use knotty Real Cedar whenever possible because it is less expensive.

Respecting nature

“Real Cedar is organic, unlike other man-made materials, so it just makes sense for outdoor projects,” says Colin. “When you are seated up close to the pergola—taking in its signature scent—it’s also comforting knowing the Western Red Cedar is sourced from the most sustainably managed forests in the world, and that it’s biodegradable and renewable,” adds Justin. ‘We’ve been out to British Columbia and seen how the Real Cedar is grown and harvested in a responsible way. That appeals to us. Plus, cedar actually removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere!”

Cedar pergola wood

Long life

“Many woods degrade over time but not Western Red Cedar,” says Justin. “Our neighbour has had a Real Cedar deck for over 40 years! ” Justin and Colin opt not to stain their Real Cedar projects because they love the grey patina that results over time. “It’s not that we are lazy bones. The grain of wood tightens as it ages so it offers natural protection against the elements,” explains Justin.

Colin and Justin's cedar pergola

That’s not all: Real Cedar is naturally resistant to insect attacks and, in this case, importantly, mildew, rot and decay. “We’re looking forward to enjoying entertaining under our pergola for many, many years to come. We’re thrilled with the end result, especially since it was done in such a tight time frame, and it couldn’t have been done without the help of the talented crews at Discovery Dream Homes and Greg Brown Construction,” adds Colin.

Check out the videos of Colin & Justin tackling three ambitious Real Cedar cottage build projects at!

Can’t wait to see the design duo’s Real Cedar products? Take a sneak peek at the action: