How Colin and Justin doubled the value of their cottage
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