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Cottage renovations: the right approach

Last modified: 2021-02-16 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Amanda Harvey

A cottage is a luxury, and thus, owning one is something that should be taken seriously. Though it’s usually best to wait for the warmer months to take on your cottage renovation project, spring and summer are just around the corner! Everyone chooses to renovate their cottages for different reasons, whether that be cosmetic or structural.

Any form of cottage renovation will greatly work to increase its value and lifespan. If you’re planning to buy a cottage this coming season or you’ve got one in the family already and it needs a few repairs or upgrades, we’re here to go over these specifics and offer general rules of thumb for cottage renovations!

Salon chalet

How to approach cottage renovation

Your cottage's kitchen

Of course, your kitchen needs to be both functional and beautiful, and the kitchen in your cottage should be no different. In most cases, upgrading your cottage kitchen will work to add value while also keeping family, friends or visitors comfortable. Especially true of more rural or older cottages, often the kitchen isn’t in tiptop shape or equipped for full time living.

The amount of time you plan on spending at your cottage will greatly determine how you choose to take on the layout. Consider things like an adequate amount of storage space, especially if you need to hold a lot of non-perishable pantry items. Also, if you plan on doing a lot of cooking indoors, ample counter space is an important factor.

Another aspect to consider is the state of the appliances. If you need to invest in some new appliances, you should start by making sure the electrical work is up to date and can power them. Dealing with electrical work should be left to the hands of a professional, so do bear that in mind before grabbing the wire cutters and attempting to re-do everything on your own.


source: unsplash

If you are renovating your cottage with the hopes of selling, make sure to keep things in check. Remember, this is a cottage and its ok for certain pieces to remain rustic. If it really just needs a few cosmetic updates, consider repainting your cabinets or adding some fresh hardware to them. This might seem like a simple DIY project, but it will have a bigger impact than you might imagine!

Here are some articles about kitchen renovations that could be useful for your project:

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The bathroom and plumbing

Due to the nature of their location, cottage plumbing usually involves a septic tank. If your septic tank is old, then it might be time to consider replacing it. In other cases, if you are expanding your cottage to include a more intricate water system or you're going to be making it bigger, the septic tank in place may not be able to support it. Unfortunately, septic issues are all too common when it comes to cottages, especially if you’re not aware when your tank was built or how long it’s been operating.

Check with local or municipal health codes and make sure it complies, this may involve calling in an expert or a plumber. If you find it doesn’t, or it’s difficult to operate, you should consider upgrading. This is one aspect of a cottage renovation that should not be treated lightly or left for later, so if you notice any signs of an issue then deal with it right away.  Other excellent additions to a cottage bathroom are low-flow toilets and showers. This will work to keep costs down while also saving water. In all possible instances, water should be saved.

Here are some articles about bathroom renovations and plumbing:

Staying dry and warm


source: unsplash

Especially if your cottage is located in a rural part of Canada, winterization will be a necessity. Insulation is something you might not think about during the summertime, but once those chilly months hit, proper insulation becomes a make or break situation. If your cottage is particularly old, chances are it might not be insulated at all. 

In excessively cold climates, you need to not only have insulation behind the walls but also in the floors and in some cases, in the roof. Proper insulation will not only keep your cottage warm during winter months but will also help to keep things cool during spring and summer.

Another way to keep warm is to replace your single-pane windows with double-paned ones. If you plan on spending a good chunk of time at your cottage during the winter, it is recommended that you switch to double panes. As the appeal of year-round cottage visits and living gains popularity, new buyers will likely be interested in these. While piquing the interest of buyers, it will also work to add further value to your cottage.

Check out the following articles about insulation and windows:

Outdoor aspects of your cottage

terrasse chalet

Whether on the waterfront or in the middle of the forest, the point of the cottage is to experience all that the great outdoors have to offer. For this reason, creating an outdoor area for hanging out, relaxing, cooking or otherwise is usually part and parcel of owning a cottage. If you’re considering building a deck, think about all of the different facets.

Location, size and material will be important, as well as safety features depending on how high it hangs. Of course, if you’re building a deck, the most crucial consideration is what side of the structure gets the most sun. Build your deck on the sunniest side, and this will allow for maximized time spent outside.  

Next, it’s important to think about incorporating a space to cook or prepare meals outdoors. Most cottages do not come equipped with a central air system and due to their rural location, usually don’t have the means to power one. Therefore, it’s important to think about how you might cook outside during exceptionally hot summer days.

A barbecue is an excellent way to keep things cool inside, also offering a space where family and friends can mingle and congregate. Keep it comfortable by adding some deck chairs, some pillows and a table. Don’t overdo it; keep things simple and clean but always relating back to your and your family's needs.

Get 3 renovation quotes for your cottage renovation project can help you get quotes for your cottage renovation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals. 

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