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Custom Home Construction and Remodelling Tips

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These days, family cottages are more than simply rustic “up north” escapes from the suburbs or the city. Many families are making substantial investments in their cottages, spending money flipping a fixer-upper, building additions to accommodate a growing family, or taking on renovation projects to turn the cottage into an eventual retirement paradise. It seems that for many cottage-owners, the cottage is an opportunity to get creative with additions and remodels – turning their getaway into a dream second home.

And why not? Most people own cottages in a location that inspires, re-energizes, relaxes, and provides them with a connection to its natural setting. Nature plays a huge role in the kinds of projects undertaken in most cottages. Two of the most common (whether a new build, a renovation, or an addition) are Muskoka rooms, and screened porches or decks. Both of which, make for a comfortable escape, and allow for closeness to the natural beauty of the setting.

 

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS, AND ADVICE, FOR THOSE CONSIDERING BUILDING (OR ADDING) A ROOM THAT EXTENDS INTO THE OUTDOORS.

A furnished Muskoka room with large windows letting in a lot of natural light. There's a fireplace in the corner and the floor is made from wooden planks.

Muskoka rooms

Whether building from scratch, or adding to an existing space, it’s best to consider the optimal position for a Muskoka room. You want to maximize the sunlight, all day. You also want to bring in the very best views! The defining feature of a Muskoka room is the large (often floor to ceiling) windows that let in streams of sunlight, and ideally, a panoramic view of nature.

 

The light and the view should also inform the shape and size of the space. Work with a builder to customize your plans for room shape, dimensions and windows to make the most of your room with a view.

 

Now give your space some character by adding unique finishes and touches. Be creative with materials for your floor, walls, and ceiling. Perhaps, even use a mix of materials, like stone, wood, metals like tin or copper, and varieties of glass. A stone accent wall, or feature fireplace with modern finishes will add to the overall look and feel of the room.

A view of a lake from a furnished wood porch. A small boathouse and dock are on the water across from the porch at the edge of the yard.

Screen porches and decks

The draw of screening in a section of a porch or deck, is that you don’t miss out on the benefits of being outdoors – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feeling of a cool breeze and warm sun.

 

However, installing a screen will allow you to escape the elements of nature that are less than comfortable, like bugs, or inclement weather. That’s what has made this a staple trend in cottage builds and renovation projects.

 

There are ways to customize a screened space to fit your design and lifestyle sensibilities. Use materials that are consistent with your indoor space, and harmonize with your natural setting. For example, use wood frames around the screens instead of plastic or metal. Use stone materials that can be found on walls or flooring within your cottage, or that are consistent with local raw materials.

 

A word of advice: remember that all materials, features, accents, or furniture should be durable and weatherproof.  Although it may feel like an extension of your indoor space, screening lets in moisture, and isn’t fully insulated from high and low temperatures or adverse weather conditions.

 

You could also consider 3-season screens that are ideal for porch conversions and feature telescoping and sliding screen covers, providing protection from weather elements and windy conditions.

Thinking of designing and building a custom room of your own? Download our eBook to learn all the ins and outs of home renovation.

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