5 Things to Know Before Starting a Cottage Renovation

Cottage reno tips

Whether you wait until the end of school or until until the end of summer, if you have a cottage there is no end of potential projects to tackle. If this is the summer you might tackle a cottage renovation, here are a couple of key essentials to keep in mind:

Cottage Renovation Tip #1 – Take a Peek Behind the Walls

Older cottages can sometimes present a bit of a mystery in terms of how they were built. DIY additions and not-so-strict building codes of yesteryear might leave your new renovation susceptible to potential damage.

In a recent kitchen cottage renovation I completed, we opened the walls up to find an insufficient amount of insulation (especially since this wall was formerly an exterior wall!) so we fixed the issue by installing Certainteed insulation to ensure the cold stays out and the heat stays in. Made of eco-conscious materials it is a great family-friendly material. So, before you start to renovate, check for things like proper structural support, correct electrical work, potential water and mold damage, and proper insulation.


#2 – Spend Your Budget Wisely

For many families. the cottage is an investment in addition to their primary residence, and therefore renovation funds need to be used with great strategy. In this kitchen, one way we stretched our budget strategically was to keep the original cabinets which were still in great condition. But we wanted to give them a modern upgrade, so we changed out the interior cabinet hinges and drawer slides to quiet close hardware by Grass Canada.

At this property, my kids used to slam the doors and make games out of the sounds the slamming made. Now the noise is a thing of the past as these doors function with the luxurious quiet close. In addition, we replaced the dated and warped counters with a beautiful grey Belanger laminate counter that was a wallet-friendly investment. The key to using laminate is to use a modern edge profile and keep the colour neutral for the most modern look. Lastly, with the help of some on-trend, well-priced overhead light fixtures and pendants from Bouclair, we were able to infuse some current design elements without breaking the bank.

#3 – Play with Colour

While many of my interior design clients prefer to stay neutral in their city homes, they are often more adventurous to use a bit of colour at the cottage. In this cottage renovation, we infused a playful hit of blue in a few key areas. Instead of replacing the drawer and cabinet pulls and knobs, we sprayed them out Oxford Blue by Krylon and then colour matched an interior paint and gave the interior of the glass-front cabinets a hit of blue.

We picked up the blue again in a simple paisley window covering and large area rug. Decorative accessories on the floating shelves and breakfast bar from HomeSense continued our colour story in fun patterned mugs and striped table linens. To keep your colour story cohesive, use your desired colour at least three times in a space whether it be in paint, decorative accessories, or textiles. And hopefully, guests will see your colour story and find thank you gifts for the cottage to match!

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#4 – Invest in Reliable Appliances & Fixtures

Regardless of how large or small a budget is, appliances and plumbing fixtures are two areas I love to invest in. In addition to the homeowners enjoying this space, this cottage kitchen is also used as a rental unit for many families to enjoy. So for the range I was looking for dependability and ease of use and selected an electric front range by Maytag. With a fast pre-heat option and flat cooktop, cooking, and clean up time is super efficient.

In a similar way, I went with the beautiful Delta Trinsic faucet with an integrated pull down spout that provides great function along with a touch sensor allowing you to just tap the faucet anywhere to turn it on. Where possible, appliances and fixtures are where I like to invest my renovation dollars in kitchens as they are the elements that get so heavily used and enjoyed for functional purposes.


#5 – Use a Lot of White

In my books, white is so essential to a cottage space. White reflects natural light so well, it acts as a neutral for other elements, and really is a timeless and classic design principle in a kitchen. Even if your cottage renovation budget only includes paint this year, consider a coat of fresh white paint on the walls, trim, and ceiling to freshen up the space and allow the natural beauty of the outdoors to bring in all the colour.


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