Home & Decor

Cottage Living 101



Jennifer DeFrenza

Summer is quickly approaching and whether you’re planning to spend your time at the cottage, the trails, or the beach, you may find yourself on a boat, motorcycle, ATV, or in a trailer. Being able to use these
fantastic summer “toys” gives Canadians the chance to take their long weekends and cottage vacations to another level of fun. Do you want to save on insurance this summer? Try these tips:

Increase your deductible Increasing your deductible is a tried-and-true way of saving on monthly/annual insurance payments (be prepared to pay more if you file
a claim).

Do your research You should never stick with the first quote that you get! Always shop around to find the best deals on coverage.

Stay claims-free Do your best to stay safe and avoid getting into accidents. This will help you remain claims-free and potentially make it easier to save on coverage.

If you’re thinking about switching providers or simply have questions that you’d like answered, you can count on Surex.


Kevin Breitner

Should I buy a cottage and rent it out via Air BnB? This is a question I am asked often and the answer I give is “Let’s chat about it.” We discuss what’s important to you, now and in your future. The next question I would ask you is, “Do you plan on enjoying the cottage for a few weeks a year or more?” Would you want someone else to help with the bills? If so, then this could make sense for you. It’s a lot of work to own a cottage and to operate an AirBnB business, and there are always professionals to help. But you need to determine if you want to enjoy your cottage or turn it into an income generating cottage. As a real estate broker and investment specialist we can have that “chat” with you.


Michael Bobula
Vintage Woodcrafters

Hand Hewing refers to the traditional process of converting a log into lumber. Before sawmills, an axe or adze was used to square up wooden beams for timber framing. This process, while slower than modern options, creates a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece that can be completely customized to your needs! These stunning beams and exterior trims have a rustic feel which is perfect for your cottage interior and exterior, adding a stunning architectural detail that will stand the test of time!

In addition to beams and trim, hand hewing can be used to create stunning deck posts, fireplace mantels and shelves! Mixing the rustic, traditional look of hand hewn pieces with luxurious, modern finishes will create a stunning, one of a kind look for your home!


Tyler Wilson
Pilot Mortgage Group

Many Canadians dream of owning their very own vacation property. A cottage at the lake. A condo in the city. A cabin in the mountains.

Regardless as to your preference for your home away from home, the question remains, how can I make that happen? With real estate prices increasing across Canada, the idea of owning a vacation home or cottage has started to feel unattainable for many.

The good news is that it is likely much more attainable today than you might think. A second home in Canada can often be financed with as little as only 5% down. This falls under what we call an Insured Mortgage in Canada and it can open the door to that second property for clients who now own their own home but don’t quite have the resources for a sizeable down payment on a second property.

For Canadians who have owned their principal residence and built-up equity within their home, either through the rising real estate markets or paying down their initial mortgage, you could also choose to refinance your existing residence to obtain a much larger down payment.

With many online options for renting your property out when you are not using it yourself, there are many who are able to cover the cost of this second home with 1-2 months’ worth of nightly rentals. So, the question remains, what are you waiting for?


Brett Bauman
Solar YYC

With energy costs rising, residential solar systems have seen an explosion of interest in recent years. Electrical costs are skyrocketing and will continue to climb in the future and going solar offers a fantastic option to control those rising costs!

It is a common misconception among homeowners that Canadian winters keep solar from being a worthwhile investment but one of the key benefits of a northern climate is that we have incredibly long summer days which more than make up for our sometimes miserable winters.

Considering solar? Combining great performance with generous government grants (and multi decade warranties) makes solar a great way for homeowners to secure their monthly expenses and generate passive income.


Kamden Holder
Wrench It Up

Your vacation may be held up if you have to deal with plumbing issues at your summer home. Poorly installed plumbing can result in blockages, a sewer smell from your plumbing system or pipes that freeze and eventually burst, causing floods or other irreparable damage. Leaky pipes or slow drainage is a common problem you need to watch for when the water has not been utilized all season. If you use well water, you also need a proper water filtration system and you must know how to service it. To avoid these problems, hire a licensed plumber to complete any plumbing work on your property. Make sure you winterize your property and deal with the small issues while they are small.


Workshop Inc.

Railings are an important part of the exterior builds such as decks, porches and walk-outs that often get slippery and unsafe in winter! Metal/glass rails come in handy when you do not want anything bulky for small spaces or you prefer not to block the view. On the other hand, there are plenty of options for privacy screens and walls that will help you keep some privacy when enjoying “you time” in the warm summer evening. Railings should not only be considered when building a new outdoor living space. They can become a game-changer when talking about updating your space as well. You will be surprised how the old dull staircase can change by simply repainting the stairs or replacing the treads and changing the railing!


Michel Cerny,
Ambassador Fine Custom Homes

Much like a luxury home, a luxury cottage or vacation property will often include specialty features that go above and beyond what you might expect from a second home!

CUSTOM OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES The kitchen is the heart of every home and at the cottage, the outdoor kitchen is king! When designing a luxury vacation home, thought is given both to creating stunning, highly functional living spaces both indoors and outdoors including manicured paths, complete outdoor kitchens, lounge areas, pools, hot tubs, saunas and much more.

SPACE TO ENTERTAIN A luxury vacation home is generally designed to be shown off and will include space to host plenty of guests! This may mean extra bedrooms and bathrooms in the home itself or, in many cases, a guest house or boat house with guest suite is part of the plan.

WELL CONNECTED From state-of-the-art electronics to advanced plumbing and electrical features, luxury vacation homes are designed to offer all of the conveniences of home. Smart home features, automated lighting, security systems and other modern amenities are standard inclusions.

Shane Kinch
Steelhead Ventures

When selecting a water storage tank for the cottage, it is important to know the difference between potable and non-potable options. A potable water tank is approved for safe water storage and is suitable for storing drinking water. A non-potable tank is not safe for drinking but can be used for rainwater harvesting, gray water storage, etc.

It is important to ensure your potable water storage tank is properly maintained including being cleaned and disinfected twice a year to remove algae, sediment and harmful bacteria. For short term, seasonal use, renting may be a lower maintenance option!

Molly Maid

Cottage owners often can’t wait to open the cottage in the spring, but there’s a lot to do. Here is a thorough checklist to get you from spring chores to summer snores.

The Drive-In: Bring cleaning supplies, including garbage bags. Plan a quick and easy meal for the arrival night. Make note of new potholes that need fixing in the cottage laneway.

Outside Inspection: Do a walk-around visual inspection. Look for damage caused by weather or pests. Check roof for missing/loose shingles or any sagging spots. Visually inspect power lines leading to your cottage and report any damage.

Inside Inspection: Do a walk-around visual inspection indoors. Look for leaks or other damage as well as signs of mice. Open windows to air things out. Get Things Going: Turn on the power. Check appliances. Make sure they are working, and clean as necessary. Turn on the water. Ensure the toilet and taps are in good working condition.

Time to Clean: Clean the entire cottage. Start by dusting everywhere with a damp cloth. Vacuum floors and rugs. Disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Check all drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, and clean all contents, as necessary. Wash windows and mirrors.

For Safety Sake: Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries. Check expiry date on the fire extinguisher – replace if needed. Check the fireplace – if the chimney has to be cleaned, call and schedule it.

End of Day One: Make the beds. Set out towels in the bathroom.

Day Two: Remove any deadfall on your property. Clean the eaves trough of winter debris. Clean the barbecue.Wash outdoor furniture and set up.

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