Can winter please be over now? Not that I’m not enjoying the beautiful, fluffy white stuff. It makes the roads kind of snotty (as my Dad said), but in all honesty it hasn’t been an extremely cold winter. (Of course, maybe last year’s seven weeks of -35 C has changed my perspective of “cold”.) Bob and I love being active and we have enough winter gear to keep us cozy. We snowshoe, we hike, I skate, the dogs love romping in the newly fallen snow. Other than the lack of light that wears a human down, a lot of fun can be had in winter.
But I want to go to the cottage.
So we count down the days until spring and dream of all the fun projects we could be doing.
At first, when we bought the cottage in December, we were disappointed that we’d have to wait four months until we could really get to work and enjoy it. But in retrospect, the timing gave us time to plan, research, and save money and materials for our upgrades. Since we are keeping things as low-cost as possible and trying not to create a large carbon footprint with our projects, as well as not yet knowing a lot about living off-grid, we’ve had lots of time to research, plan, and learn.
And something else I should mention is that neither of us knows anything about home renovations. We’ve never owned a house. The beauty of renting is that when something goes wrong, you get someone else to not only do it but foot the bill. This is going to be a huge learning curve. HUGE.
Here’s the bottom line. We’re not made of money. And this cottage is a cottage, not a lake house. It will always be small, rustic and off-the-grid. We’re there for the quiet, the water and to restore our souls with good books, good conversation, long walks in nature and a few bevvies around the campfire.
Here are some projects we’ve come up with so far. (All of these photos were found on Pinterest.)
Insulating the outer walls and ceiling. Because we have to remove the walls to do this, the walls we put back up are going to be made out of stained pallet wood. Because pallets are free, it adds a lot of rustic charm for not a lot of money.
This is not our cottage. But I like the wall.
We never play darts at home, even though Bob has a kick-ass Sons of Anarchy dartboard. Why? Because we have pretty bad aim and we don’t want to wreck the walls of the basement after we put so much time and energy into repairing the damage from the previous tenants. So we want to put it at the cottage. With a backboard made of corks.
We love wine but I’m not sure even we can drink this much!
A deck will be one of the first things we build because having an outdoor living space is just as, if not more, important than an indoor space when you’re at the cottage. So again, more pallets for the deck. But the land is sloped so along one side of the cottage, the deck will be made out of paving stones. Paving stones can be expensive. So we are going to look for random pieces of flagstone. There are also recipes online for how to make your own paving stones using a form as a mold.
And of course, to put on the deck, we need furniture. Good old-fashioned lawn chairs and camping chairs will do. But I’d love to spruce it up with some other upcycled ideas. Mom has given us a vintage milk can so we can put a round, wooden top on it and make it into a side table. I love the idea I found on Pinterest using old tires for small tables and stools. The top could be removable and it could also be used for storage. Storm coming? Just take the seat covers inside and leave the tires out.
We are bringing our beast of a BBQ out to the cottage. It has a very large grill as well as a side element so it will be perfect for having visitors since we don’t have the luxury of an electric stove at the cottage. Check out this brilliant upcycling idea for an old filing cabinet. A perfect outdoor food preparation station.
Love the funky colour too.
Now that we have amassed all of these amazing ideas, we now need to gather the materials. So I’m compiling a Wish List and I will list it along the side of this blog. When you visit this site, take a look at it and if you have something we could use, and are willing to part with it, we would love to take it off your hands in exchange for bevvies, BBQ and a campfire.