Colin and Justin: Let's Go Outside

05 Jun, 2020

There’s no doubt we’re living through difficult times.  This observed, we count our blessings that we’ve less to worry about than the army of front-line workers, emergency services and health resources, a hardworking and heroic contingent whose unstinting endeavors help the country remain operational.

Whilst our own diary is compromised, you’ll never hear us grumble – mindful of those who’ve really struggled – and besides, we’ve used our spare time to focus on an ongoing reno’ in Haliburton, Ontario.

In possession of an ‘open permit’, our crews completed the job (whilst practicing safe social and professional distancing) thereby drawing a line under what can best be described as an ‘arduous’ overhaul.

Our plans, you see, were trounced by multiple issues: consents took longer than anticipated, material consignments were delayed, roads were closed due to fallen trees, and the elements seemed to conspire – at every turn – to stifle our ambition.

Aye, cue torrential rain (and subsequent floods) snow, ice storms and landslip. Happy days, huh? All things considered, we got through it.  Just, erm, five months over schedule.

There’s so much to show you and, over the summer, we’ll reveal multiple bedroom, bathroom and living room transformations, as well as the two-bedroom guest annex which we added to magnify space.   Worry not: we’ve ideas aplenty to inspire and excite and a host of ‘trend spotting’ angles to share.

But for today – let’s take it outside.  Our first challenge was to address what we call ‘lakeside allure’.  Similar to curb appeal – a term with which you’ll be more familiar in the city or suburbs – it’s all about creating enticing first impressions as viewed from the water.

At the cottage, it seems especially important to optimize al fresco dining and reclining, so a wrap around deck was a no brainer.  Pergolas, too, provide transitional space, not to mention important ‘semi shade’ for those who prefer to dodge full sun.

The best news, being that we left our cedar unstained (so it can fade, over time, to an ashy grey) is the elimination of staining or re-varnishing necessity each year.  A job avoided is free time enjoyed, huh?  Encircled by Sunspace glass and black metal railing, it’s a wonderful spot upon which to enjoy the current batch of northern sunshine.

Our ‘Long Beach’ project (so called because the cottage sits on 2000 feet of golden sand shared with neighbours) was originally pale grey, but we specified a solid, moodier graphite tone to amplify ‘substance’.

The new roof, a raised seam metal update installed by Kind Roofing ( discovered whilst filming Season 3 of Cabin Pressure on Cottage Life, proffers further solidity.  We love the membrane’s modernist steel lines and the fact it’s more durable than other options, and therefore easier to maintain.

More and more, we encourage the pursuit of ‘texture’ whilst planning external modifications.  To this end, re-facing the formerly timber clad chimney with beautiful stone veneer by Erth Coverings  ( amply satisfies this ambition.

An indulgence, sure, but its realization makes a huge statement, especially being that the stack stone reappears on the fireplace, a startling ‘before and after’ which we’ll reveal in a future column.

Further texture can be seen via several tons of river rock (installed by Carnarvon based contractor ‘Francis Thomas’) positioned below the deck’s perimeter, to blur lines before the lawn starts.

FYI – we always use a mix of sod, grass and clover, and we always choose product without fertiliser: the last thing anyone wants is to disturb nature’s balance, especially where proximity to a lake is concerned.

It’s fair to say we’re thrilled with the transformation.  Okay, so it’s been a long time in the making, but the results, we hope, speak for themselves.   Now if we could just find a way to keep the mercury at its currently elevated level, we’d have the perfect excuse to stay outdoors and enjoy a few more beers.  Everything in moderation, huh?  Further counsel from us next week…

Watch for Colin and Justin on Cabin Pressure and Great Canadian Cottages (Cottage Life TV) and on Cityline (CityTV). Find the Colin and Justin Collection in stores across Canada. Visit


To find the right materials and the colours that meet your preferences and suit your needs, look no further than Erth coverings veneers. Browse our Exterior Stone Veneer