One of my favourite parts about what I get to do here at Do The Daniel is making some incredible friends. Over the past five years, I have met and befriended some of the most inspiring people both here in Canada and abroad. Two of my absolute favourites are the talented Colin & Justin – and so when I found out that this dynamic duo have a new show coming to Cottage Life on October 18th I took the time to sit down and catch up with them about life and what this new endeavour means to them. Come & take a look at one of the shows I am most looking forward to this fall and why I’ll be watching Great Canadian Cottages when it starts this week – it doesn’t get much more Canadian than this!
I remember living in Ottawa years ago and watching Colin and Justin with such admiration and respect. They had the career I wanted most of all – and while I’m still working on my own television show (hint hint to my producer friends out there), I now get to call them dear friends in the Canadian media. From appearances at Toronto events where I get to chat with them about life, to religiously following along as their empire continues to thrive in Canada, these two are some of the most inspiring men (and media moguls) I have ever met.
I luckily had the opportunity to ask them about the new show and what it means to them. Take a look at what they had to say below! Whilst filming, they intrepid Scots visited some of the country’s most indulgent vacation escapes in search of inspiration…
Can you tell us about your own entry into cabin ownership/renovating?
We used to stay at a friend’s cabin in Muskoka and just loved the escapism. To wake up in the woods, on a lake surrounded by nature, was intoxicating. We later bought with friends before selling up and going it alone.
What do you love about cabin life?
Having a second home makes a huge difference to overall ‘self’ – put simply, it restores equilibrium. A rural home, as we see it, is a reward that just keeps giving. To escape the hustle and bustle, swim in the lake, enjoy the wildlife and sit around a camp fire may sound cornily Canadian, but come on: the foregoing pursuits are some of the greatest things to do during down time. Beer, wine and cocktails are a given – as are great friends and neighbours…
Do you spend winters in your cabin?
We love being there when it’s chilly – we’re winterised and have a log burning stove for extra heat and drama. We also have a gas bowl on our Western Red Cedar deck and light it in the snow… and sit there drinking hot chocolate and Bourbon. We’re part of our road association and pay to have the roads and driveways snow ploughed by a subcontractor – no point having a winter getaway if you can’t get to it, right?
Any tips specific to cabin design, in terms of décor and/or renovations?
Update for less
If your cottage kitchen is dated, swap out counters for butcher block timber from Ikea. Rub wooden cabinets with sand-paper before applying satin–finish paint using a small foam roller to tempt slick, bristle free results. Thin coats build up to provide strength and colour density, so take your time. Add new handles, under cabinet lighting and new appliances and your old kitchen will soon look as good as new.
Let the light in
Many Canadian cottages are situated in the most beautiful locations, yet many have small windows that effectively shut out the view. During previous projects, we’ve cut entire walls out of cottage guest rooms and installed full height windows to allow friends to ‘connect’ with the great outdoors… from the comfort, of course, of their ‘C+J Home’ linen attired beds. Hey – go big or go home! Visit stores like Homesense and Winners to scope our decor line.
(en) Suite dreams
If possible, transform a master bedroom into a suite by adding a dedicated shower room. Having a private bathroom is amazing in the city, but even more indulgent in cottage country.
Give your cottage a clear design identity
When we redesigned our log cabin’s interior, we transformed its aesthetic from dated rental style to luxe lodge using chic furniture and accessories, rather than via a major rebuild. Second hand furniture added heritage, whilst a luxury faux antler chandelier, a reclaimed hemlock table and a grey sectional helped us perfectly balance country and modern style.
Comfort = luxury
It’s worth spending a bit more on comfort, so do your best with beds, chairs and sofas to amplify the luxe factor. Choose lambs wool or cashmere throws to indulge, and use feather filled cushions (rather than foam) for extra thickness and chopability!
How about those who aren’t fortunate enough to have a cottage – how can they bring the cabin vibe to their home?
Follow the design rules outlined here, apply them in moderation to your metropolitan home. Balance man made and natural elements to create your own look and hang escapist outdoor inspired vintage artwork – ski posters, train journeys etc to create a time travelled look.
If you aren’t already, make sure to follow @colinandjustin on Instagram, @colinjustin on Twitter and ‘Like’ their Facebook Page. Tune in this week as Colin and Justin’s new 8 part docu-series, Great Canadian Cottages, airs on Cottage Life starting on Thursday October 18th at 10pm EST.
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!
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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Colin & Justin, Cottage Life & Daniel Reyes