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Seasonal Cottage Improvements: rethinking the renos

When I was 20 years old I bought my first car.  It was used and old.  I remember the day when I went shopping with my dad.  I showed it to him.  He was not overly impressed, underwhelmed.  I told him I was going to have it tuned up, and cleaned and sent in for a paint job, and get some newer cushion covers, possibly change the radio.  His one question made me pause, “So why don’t you take the money you would spend in the redo and put it towards a better model?”

Sometimes as cottage owners we forget that the original purpose for our cottage was to enjoy it and get away from the noise and restlessness of city life loudness, to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature’s gifts.  If we spend all of our time, money, and energy into remodeling that which we bought for its raw beauty, why exactly did we buy it?

Okay I get that in some cases we inherit our extended family’s 85 year plus heirloom that has no electricity or running water.  Okay I understand that sometimes the carpenter ants have eaten through the roof joists and the ceiling will cave in soon.  And yes, it is not safe if your furry little friends have decided that just cuz you’re human and they are rodents, you are the only ones that get to be snuggled inside the dwelling when it’s 40 below outside…  However, you really have to remember that renovations have a time, cost, and more than likely a bunch of permits that require due process.

  1.  Create a plan with a list of priorities and most importantly:  a budget.
  2. Contact your local township office and find out where the building code by-law is for both indoor and outdoor projects.  Chances are they are available on their website.  Do some research.
  3. Talk to your neighbours.  See how they would think about you putting up a garage, bunky, remodeling your deck… working with people is the best way to get people on your side.
  4. Go back to your plan, and then rethink it, time it differently or adjust it.  Make it more realistic and achievable.
  5. Talk to your family.  Let them know what you are thinking about doing, see if they too have the same thoughts.  That may kill their desire to join you and your spouse that summer….ummmm work????  Yeah………….no.
  6. Go back to your plan again.  Remember what is most important, and tweak it one last time.  Think about timelines.  When to start, and when to finish.

Key here is do your homework, and not just with the township, but with your loved ones and neighbors as well.  The last thing anyone wants while they’re relaxing to the sound of the delightful water hitting their dock, is some loud compressor going off while some jack@ss decides to put in hardwood flooring on a Sunday morning at 8 am!