Design & DIY

What would the Cottage Coach do for love? Rebuild an outhouse

cottage coach adam holman sitting in his rebuilt outhouse

When Cottage Coach Adam Holman visited the family cottage of his then-girlfriend, Jennie, for the first time, there was only one bathroom. “I heard there was an outhouse out back that Jennie’s grandfather had built in 1969,” says Adam, of the property on Little Cameron Lake, Ont., “but it was totally run down and rotten.” 

before shot of the old rotten outhouse
Photo by Adam Holman

Where others saw ruin,  Adam saw opportunity: “I was the new guy, I wanted to get in good with the family, so I decided to rebuild the outhouse.” So Adam went out back with his shovel and started digging. “The outhouse probably hadn’t been used in 30 to 40 years,” he says, “Luckily, I didn’t have to go in the 40-year-old hole at all.”

before shot of the old outhouse with the seat removed
Photo by Adam Holman

Then, he vacuumed out the spiders from the existing structure, shored up the frame, rebuilt the flooring, and reframed the seat with new wood. He repainted some parts, doing his best to match the stain colour that was already there. The finishing touch was adding a new roll of toilet paper and hanging up the old seat in the woodshed “as an homage to the original,” says Adam. And it only took him a weekend.

The finished, repaired, new outhouse
Photo by Adam Holman

Did it help Adam get in with Jennie’s family? Well, Adam proposed to her there in 2014 (at the lake, not the outhouse), and they still use the biffy as a second washroom today, toddler in tow. Survey says: worth it.

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