For most people, a life spent creating project plans, guiding cottagers through do-it-yourself glory, teaching high school technology, and spending quality time with family makes for a pretty full life. But Wayne Lennox decided to add host of Cottage Life Television to the mix just to keep things interesting. We caught up with Wayne to ask him about about life as a cottager and show host.
Cottage Life: Cottage Life Television is back! What’s been your favourite part about filming so far?
Wayne Lennox: Simply having this opportunity to experience a completely new direction in my life has been fantastic. (If only the Sisters of the Sacred Heart could see me now.) However, this TV thing was more challenging than I anticipated; the amount of time and effort it took to obtain the footage for my modest segment was indeed a revelation. But the whole process—lighting, setting up the shots—was truly fascinating. Working with the director Jake Thomas has also been a real pleasure; he knows what he wants, is very professional, and is fun to work with…what more could you ask? His editing also made me look reasonably competent, another bonus!
CL: Let’s talk tools—that’s quite the shop you have on the show. Many cottagers are envious, we’re sure. For those who don’t have the space for a shop at the cottage, what are the top five tools no cottage should be without?
WL: Five tools, you have to be kidding! Okay, well a hammer, adjustable wrench, vice grips, screwdriver set (essentially one tool), rechargeable or electric drill (can also serve as a driver), tape measure—I couldn’t live without them! Now, for my long list…
CL: When you’re not applying your craft in the workshop, where will we find you at the cottage?
WL: Playing Scrabble, reading, on our pontoon boat, in our kayak, on my mountain bike, visiting with the many friends and family we are so fortunate to have on our lake. (There are six generations of [my wife’s] family on Lake WahWashKesh.)
CL: What’s your least favourite job when opening the cottage?
WL: Opening is not nearly as onerous as closing up, but getting the pontoon boat ready for launch is probably my least favourite chore. Likewise getting that thing ready for winter is a huge job.
CL: You and your wife built your cottage from the ground up—any tales of woe or warning you’d like to share with first time cottage builders?
WL: a) Really consider including some of the the things in the budget that may seem to be more than you can afford now, but will come back to haunt you years down the road. We did not, for example, opt for a frost wall foundation or steel roof, decisions I always regretted (we eventually did the steel roof); b) Spread construction out over a couple of years so you can take time to enjoy yourself as well; c) Be wary of doing anything that involves a bunch of buddies and a case of beer; d) If you are not sure of your ability with a particular aspect—say electrical—call a pro; likewise, call the roofers for a steep pitch; e) Invest in good quality tools (consider it part of the cottage financing package); f) make friends with the local building inspector—he or she can be a valuable asset; g) Consider the neighbours during construction (don’t start construction at sunrise and invite them over occasionally for a barbecue or some other fence mending get-together).
CL: Any decisions you made about design or function during the build you are glad you made?
WL: My wife Lynn essentially designed our place (it was a Beaver Home plan and when we got the blueprints she said, “Tell me which walls cannot be moved!”) Our place isn’t big, but she utilized every square inch to maximum efficiency. In the end, her redesign was a great improvement over the original. I suppose that one of her best ideas was to put our bedroom at the front of the cottage and then include a huge window so that in the mornings we get to look out over the lake—a view that never disappoints.
CL: Family traditions—every cottage has a few. What are some of yours?
WL: Scrabble (we play every day—sometimes more than once), Thanksgiving, homemade pancakes on Saturday morning, cocktail hour, hikes to Maple Lake, and an annual treasure hunt.
Watch Cottage Life Television Sunday nights at 9pm on Travel + Escape. Or check it out online!