Design & DIY

The Ultimate Cottage Build Challenge: 3 Projects, 3 Days, 1 Material

western red cedar lumber association

“We simply couldn’t have succeeded in these projects with any other material,” says Colin of Colin & Justin, the fearless design duo of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure on Cottage Life TV. He’s referring to the daunting task they faced building a timber frame car port, dining pergola, and sauna for their cottage on Drag Lake in Haliburton in just three days. Check out the videos on

“We knew Western Red Cedar would give us more than a leg up for such an ambitious undertaking. It’s the Rolls-Royce of lumber,” agrees Justin. “Real Cedar’s so lightweight and pliable, yet very strong, so its structural integrity is bar none, yet it’s easy to build with.”

Of course, the projects served up some hefty hurdles, but the designers say their great crew, including Discovery Dream Homes and Greg Brown Construction (and sauna supplier Dundalk Leisure Craft), saved the day. “The end result more than makes up for my extra grey hair,” jokes Colin. “We adore the way raw Real Cedar ages to a beautifully silver patina,” adds Justin. “Lots of other woods degrade, but Real Cedar only gets better over its long life. Western Red Cedar, with its majestic, natural beauty, truly belongs in cottage country.”

Project one: The epic car port

Colin and Justin car port

No one anticipated just how challenging this project would be. “We might not have needed such a huge car port,” admits Justin. However, the airy addition gives them plenty of room for parking and extra storage, and left unfinished, will age beautifully to match the greys of their cottage.

Project two: The pretty pergola

Colin and Justin Pergola

“A pergola really helps create an outdoor living space. This one transformed an otherwise unused space into a favourite place to entertain with guests,” says Colin. He points out that Real Cedar is also available in a wide variety of lumber dimensions, surface textures and grades. “We chose knotty Real Cedar because it’s affordable, and we love how its natural state visually connects with live trees that surround us,” adds Justin.

Project three: The inviting sauna

Colin and Justin Sauna

“Real Cedar always smells incredible, but the scent of our new sauna is sensory titillation to the max,” says Colin. “When you walk in, the mesmerizing aroma defies description, and as it heats up, it just permeates the space.” Western Red Cedar was also a no-brainer for the sauna, they add, since it’s naturally resistant to insect attacks and, in this case, importantly, mildew, rot and decay.


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