Colin & Justin: Cedar so good!

decorating cottage with cedar

Just as a painting can elicit an emotional response, or the sound of a favourite song can bring a tear to your eye, so too are there some décor elements that have a magical ingredient that can truly evoke feelings of escapism, tranquility, and nature—Western Red Cedar being one of those elements.

By choosing to completely wood-line the living and sleeping quarters of our newly built basement, we not only added beautifully toned timber decor but also an amazing forest scent via a wood genus that really commands respect. Add to the mix that Western Red Cedar forests are sustainably and carefully replanted and the eco credentials stack up. Visit to discover more about the sustainable nature of this gorgeous genus.

Whilst perusing the internet looking at rental cottage accommodation, we noticed certain stand out elements that make a property feel more five star than two star—notably wi-fi, flat-screen TV, coffee-making facilities, as well as outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, and saunas. We felt that adding cedar to the mix would further tempt interest. Come on: who wouldn’t be seduced by a cedar-lined family room and wood-clad guest room?

Next up, we turned our attentions to the floor. We aspired to the look of a hardwood but worried how it might react to temperature and moisture fluctuations that sometimes occur in basement areas. So we took the advice of the expert team at Taylor Carpet One in Huntsville and opted for an engineered timber floor.

Made up of layers of wood, bonded together with adhesive, engineered floors are rigid and can easily cope with heat issues etc. We chose Kentwood Sculpted Oak Cougar Rock from Metropolitan Floors for its wide plank appearance, rewarding warm tone and the way it so beautifully complements our Western Red Cedar walls. Gorgeous, right?

There’s little point having a room with such close proximity to the lake if you’re not going to “connect” it, so we added two huge tilt-and-turn windows in the bedroom and a double sliding glass door in the living area to provide a view to the lake whilst flooding the room with light.

Further natural illumination comes from the extra long “letter box” window that also acts as a modern architectural feature. Built by Canadian company Eurovinyl and installed by family firm Nortech, the adjustable windows allow us to keep the cool breezes blowing in summer and the cold chills out in during winter. Aye, it’s a full four-season experience.

And so it came to pass that once the windows were installed and the divine Rory from Randy Blain Construction (our very own Norse god of renovation) had hung the last of the wall cladding planks, we were able to start adding furniture and accessories to complete the look. To tone with the timber we opted for greyscale accessories and moderated colour pops.

In the bedroom, we positioned a smoky-toned sleigh bed from Casalife. Dressed in Canadiana red and a Pendleton blanket from Roots, it positively screams comfort. An assortment of mirrors (Marshalls and Artemano) commands attention, whilst their darker colour notes build a sweet relationship with the black-framed Euro Vinyl windows, attired with ebony taped shades. Check out Select Blinds for further info.

In the commodious L-shaped living room, we zoned everything to optimize lifestyle. The principal area makes a perfect crash den—comfy Ikea sofas flank a large TV positioned on a wide Artemano credenza, whilst a salvaged-wood table serves as a solid surface upon which to rest books, rustic “objets” and, erm, wine glasses. Full wine glasses, you understand, for those at Plan B are seldom empty.

At the other end of the room is our “whisky bar.” Arranged around a contemporary wood fire by Stuv is a quartet of leather “Bowring” chairs, the perfect nook from which to gaze dreamily at the log fire’s dancing flames. To further tempt the spirit of days gone by, we added a retro turntable as well as a vintage amplifier and speakers, all of which were rooted out in The Haliburton Thrift Warehouse—in perfect working order, we might add—for a modest $130.

The last thing we intend to change about this space is the name—c’mon, is it still a basement when most of the space is above ground level, if the former ground floor above has now been raised and accessed by stairs to effectively become a second floor? Basement is just too “low” a word (no pun intended), so our new moniker for this area is “Lake Floor.” Sounds much more exciting, n’est pas? And if 90 percent of product sales are based on smart labeling, it looks like our rental book will fill up in no time!

Watch the third season of Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure on Cottage Life TV, Sundays at 9pm et/pt. Find your channel here.