How Colin and Justin dou­bled the value of their cot­tage

Richmond Hill Post - - Homes -

We all love our cot­tage oa­sis with equal mea­sure, but our first ven­ture into lake­side liv­ing was not the peace­ful get­away we ex­pected. Let’s just say this seem­ingly “post­card per­fect” Muskoka cabin was a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing. Damp­ness, de­funct plumb­ing, mould and a mice in­fes­ta­tion were just a few of the is­sues we faced.

So we did what we do best, and we over­hauled ev­ery room un­til it be­came per­fect. All the while, our ru­ral real es­tate value went up by as much as 50 per cent be­cause of the trans­for­ma­tion. Here’s how.

The big­gest change af­fected by us, aside from repair, was en­hanc­ing our view. To rem­edy small win­dows, we in­serted three sets of grey painted glass doors. Presto, easy ac­cess to the deck and more light in­doors.

Di­rectly be­side the doors is an out­sized din­ing ta­ble. Dressed with leather end chairs and mod­ern Wind­sor-style chairs, the vi­gnette is il­lu­mi­nated by a faux antler chan­de­lier float­ing el­e­gantly above. Our quest for a ch­ester­field drew to a con­clu­sion when we found a grey sec­tional at Casal­ife. We added a soft leather ot­toman in front of the fire­place and fur­ther tex­ture via the floor rug.

Di­a­met­ri­cally op­po­site is the Cae­sar­stone de­tailed kitchen, il­lu­mi­nated by nickel pen­dants, again from Casal­ife. A state­ment faucet elic­its a slick vibe, whilst a “whis­per” dish­washer as­sures neg­li­gi­ble noise bleed.

Up­stairs, in the house bath­room, the orig­i­nal wall­pa­per was fail­ing, so we whipped it off and smoothed all ar­eas. Af­ter two coats of Ben­jamin Moore Re­vere Pewter satin paint, the walls and wood­work were re­born.

We made time to up­cy­cle: a “junk­tique” wooden ta­ble came alive in its se­cond in­car­na­tion as a beau­ti­ful van­ity, topped with a square-cut sink and an­tique-style taps.

Next up, we re­moved a non­struc­tural wall to com­bine two small bed­rooms as one gen­er­ous master suite. Hand-built night­stands add func­tion, whilst an oat­meal cus­tom head­board elic­its an invit­ing scene.

In the base­ment, we tore away the dated chevron pine, rein­su­lated and then refaced all walls with rough cut “twice sawn” lum­ber, which skinned us just a buck per lin­ear foot. We re­moved the red brick fin­ish fire­place (and the weird el­e­vated plat­form) that shrieked 1980s. Us­ing grey gran­ite, we refaced the surface to the rear of — and — be­low the fire­place.

En­gi­neered oak was our beau­ti­ful floor­ing so­lu­tion upon which we lay­ered a hide rug and a col­lec­tion of comfy fur­ni­ture, be­fore fram­ing our new pa­tio doors with plaid drap­ery to suf­fuse our vi­sion with a whis­per of “high­land hide­away” chic. As Scots, if we can’t have a brave heart at the cot­tage, who can?

Through the doors lies a porch that, when we pur­chased, was rot­ting at ev­ery turn, so we re­built the frame­work, be­fore in­stalling Sun­space Weather­mas­ter Plus win­dows. Cus­tom siz­able, they con­tain “mem­ory” vinyl “glass” that can be poked and prod­ded without harm: “im­pres­sions” slowly dis­ap­pear as the surface re­turns to its per­fect flat form.

The trans­for­ma­tion com­plete, we re­flect on the huge work­load that saved our el­derly cot­tage from de­mo­li­tion: for that is surely what would have hap­pened in most peo­ple’s charge. We, how­ever, pre­fer to save (wher­ever pos­si­ble) rather than raze. We’re sure, wan­der­ing from room to room, that we can now dis­cern a heart­beat. Yup, the pre­vi­ously flat-lined cabin has a pulse. For that we are fiercely proud. COLIN & JUSTIN

Black painted wooden chairs and a large wooden table in the din­ing room

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