Design & DIY

The evolution of a cottage exterior

One of my colleagues, Randy Craig, is about as hardcore a cottager as I’ve ever met. He and his partner, Rita, have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making their heritage Muskoka getaway into their dream cottage. And that’s saying something, because when they first bought it, it looked like this:

Not really anyone’s idea of a dream getaway! But they worked hard at rebuilding it, shoring up the foundation, installing decking and a porch, fixing up the windows, opening up the cathedral ceiling, installing skylights and, of course, painting, polishing, and cleaning their weekends away. Eventually, the dream cottage emerged, and it is now a spot where friends gather and memories are made…I know this because I’ve been lucky enough to spend time there myself!

Pretty great transformation, no? Of course, natural-born putterers like Randy and Rita are not ones to rest on their laurels. This summer, the couple confronted a new problem: The roots of a beloved white pine that grows near the front corner of the building were pushing up on the structure, making the aging windows very stubborn to open and close. The previous owners had dealt with the problem by simply sanding down the sills as the building gradually sank, and that can only hold for so long. Randy and Rita decided they needed a more permanent solution and hired a contractor from Sunrise Contracting in Washago to relevel the foundation and install all new windows. While they were at it, they tackled the cottage exterior too, opting for a new colour scheme using Cape Cod siding—a great choice because the colour comes baked on. No need for painting. The result?

Again, quite a transformation! Now the couple can open the windows with ease and enjoy a sunny new aesthetic, all while keeping their worries about a shifting foundation completely at bay.

Well done Randy and Rita!

Now, when do I get to see it in person?