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Born to Build: The Cottage Coach on what drives him

Some cottagers crave a hammock in the shade. Others couldn’t imagine spending an afternoon at the lake without their tool belt hanging off their hip. Cottage Life’s resident DIY expert, Adam Holman, who shares his weekend-project wisdom as the Cottage Coach, has a firm foot in the latter camp. On any given Saturday, you can find him building nature-inspired climbing structures, elaborate grill enclosures, and floating swim rafts at lakeside properties throughout Ontario’s cottage country—and that’s in addition to maintaining and improving his own family cottage.

“Building things has always been in my blood,” he says. “I love the grit involved in tackling projects in such a rugged landscape. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment after I’ve figured out how to construct a bunkie on the Canadian Shield while hauling my power tools and lumber over roots and granite.”

But four years ago, when his son, Will, was born, Adam’s obsession with building took on a new significance. Suddenly, his projects weren’t just about making weekends more enjoyable, or about watching the eyes of Cottage Life readers widen during the big reveal—they were about building things that could be passed down and appreciated for generations. Which meant that, for the Cottage Coach, the idea of grit had a whole new meaning. “Grit for me has changed over the years,” he says. “When I was younger and I built projects, I did it to get dirty and haul heavy things. But having a family has changed me. Now it’s about building something that my son will enjoy, and teaching him how to use those tools along the way.”

Obviously, tackling projects in cottage country’s varied terrain calls for a truck that can haul gear, tow trailers, and navigate unkempt gravel roads in unpredictable weather. But blending those rugXged traits with a vehicle that suited his growing family proved to be a new challenge. Enter the Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, which blends powerhouse performance with sophisticated amenities that make it comfortable and capable in any environment. “I was amazed from the first time I got behind the heated steering wheel,” Adam says. “It’s a workhorse. It pulls. It hauls. And it’s a great family vehicle. It’s the perfect truck for everything I need.”

When Adam’s family asked him to build them a horseshoe pit, they knew he’d put his special spin on the project. And Adam knew that it would be the perfect opportunity to put the Tundra through its paces while bringing his son along for the ride. “Your basic horseshoe pit is pretty generic,” he explains. “You drive a spike into the ground, and you throw some horseshoes. So I took it one step further. I wanted to build something that was unique, that could really wow people.”

For this project, he incorporated a backstop to keep errant horseshoes from flying too far—a key feature when you have a four-year-old wandering around the pitch. And of course, there had to be a drink holder for when it was someone’s turn to toss. More features meant having more building material and tools on hand, and that’s where the Tundra’s fibre-reinforced composite bed came in handy. Not only does the ultra-durable material resist rust, dents, and scratches, but it has built-in conveniences like integrated LED lighting and a 400W power inverter to keep projects humming along no matter how far off the grid you go. “I loved having access to the outlet for plugging in my tools and charging batteries right there where I needed them,” Adam says. “It’s so convenient to be able to work out of the back of the truck.”

While the feature-loaded truck bed was perfect for getting the job done, the Tundra’s engine was ideal for getting gear to the site. “I haul and tow a lot, whether it’s bags of concrete for a spring project or my ice-fishing shack in the winter,” Adam says. “So power is crucial on those winding back roads.” Luckily, the Tundra is available with an i-FORCE or i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain, both of which boost performance without sacrificing efficiency when the going gets tough. And its performance shocks and multi-terrain modes keep everyone in the cabin comfortable on the roughest routes.

For Adam, it’s those creature comforts that really set the Tundra apart—especially since they make it easier to bring his son along on his DIY adventures. “The interior is absolutely beautiful,” he says. “The smooth leather, the massive back window that opens at the touch of a button, and especially the panoramic moonroof. We can never see the stars back in the city, so I love being able to look up and see them when we’re cruising down cottage-country roads at night.”

It’s that blend of priorities—the ability to get the job done while still putting his family’s comfort first—that underpins every project Adam tackles, especially when it’s at his own family cottage. 

“I love the look on my son’s face when he gets surprised by something,” he says. “Seeing my project come together and knowing that he’ll get to use it—there’s nothing better in the world.”