Real Estate

Colin and Justin end their reno with a light-filled living room

Cabin living room

For us, cottage country is all about escaping the city and immersing ourselves in the amazing Canadian landscape. Think tall trees, rippling lakes, and the harmonious way in which man becomes one with nature. Meeting the neighbours, for us, extends to the occasional bear sighting, hanging out with wild turkeys, and a regular visit from the handsome groundhog who has taken up residence in a pile of pavers in our garden. Hey, it’s a bustling neighbourhood!

Being indoors is also an integral part of the whole cottage experience, but the idea of being cooped up in boxy, dark rooms leaves us cold. So! Wherever possible, we blow out walls and replace them with large-format windows. In fact, that’s just what we did whilst tackling the living room–the final room in our cabin renovation.

The room’s shape remains largely unaltered, but, to open it up–and build connection between inside and out–we replaced the small windows with larger double-glazed units and sliding doors by Canadian manufacturer (and fellow Drag Lake neighbour) Chris Meiorin of Euro Vinyl Windows. Further custom, wedge-shaped glazing was added, celebrating the sloping shape of the room and providing further exposure to the forest and lake beyond. The room now has incredible views and increased natural light, but remains cool in summer thanks to wood Venetians by Select Blinds and shading from the forest beyond. Tree shadows and a gentle breeze provide all the air conditioning we need.

Being that the living room is opens up into the kitchen (albeit spread across two levels) it was important to keep sightlines clear. As such, we installed identical railings to those used around the deck. Sunspace products work just as well indoors as out, and the black-framed lines enhance the cabin’s architectural vernacular.

Flooring throughout is Cougar Rock by Kentwood a hard wearing, engineered product that marries beautifully with the ceiling, which we faced with Western Red Cedar, a superior genus derived from environmentally sustainable forests. Whirring silently overhead, a wood-trimmed fan cools proceedings even as the mercury rises.

Anchoring the look (and warming the space) is a block-shaped log fire by Stuv whose heat emission is stunning. Visually, it adds unquestionable pop, positioned, as it is, against white drywall. To clip costs, Randy, our genius contractor, fashioned a wood frame into which he poured concrete, surplus from our basement build. Two days later, the compound hardened, we dragged it (okay Randy and his boys dragged it) across poles–think ancient Egyptian construction techniques–to its final destination. Hey presto–a chunky hearth that’s totally compliant with Stuv’s installation recommendations.

With a secondary living room downstairs (all squashy sofas and flat screen TV), we elected to keep things a little more tailored on this level. Toffee-coloured wicker sofas from Artemano provide ample seating with extra comfort coming courtesy of a Homesense pillow mountain. Adding ethnic flair is a woven top wood bench (used as a coffee table) and everything floats on an easy-to-clean Ikea rug. Mixing texture–as we oft’ opine–is paramount. We slipped in a pair of leather tub chairs: sourced at Bowring, they’re super comfy and the perfect place for a coffee at the beginning of the day or a fat glass of wine as the sun sets.

So there you have it: Plan B is finally complete. Our hearts are brimming with pride! As renovators, you see, we prefer rescuing, rather than razing, if at all possible. It’s especially rewarding to see our fully-renovated cabin retaining an element of the past. For us, cabin décor is all about transcending time and being appreciative of the past while looking to a brighter future–memories start today! So here’s to a future filled with family gatherings, adventures on the lake, and many more wildlife sightings.

Isn’t that what cottage life is all about?

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