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Cottage Kitchen

Colin and Justin — stars of Colin & Justin Cabin Pressure, on Cottage Life — spice up their food preparation and dining area using a modern touch and adding heaps of character.

The moniker ‘Ikea kitchen in drag’ stuck, the moment it was espoused by one of our team as he toured the completed food prep’ and dining zone at Plan B.  His surprise, however, was unsurprising, though even we were delighted as the project concluded.  It’s fair to say our rustic reversion is proof perfect (were it ever required) you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a stylish abode.  It depends, quite simply, upon where you shop.

We’re serious fans of the ‘Big Blue and Yellow’.  The Swedish store’s kitchen aisles, indeed, have long since been our default when budgets are limited, though the results achieved are far from second best.  Whether suburban modern, cutting edge or ‘rustic cottage’, it all comes down to what you do…with what you’ve got.

A before picture of the kitchen

A before picture of the kitchen

Take today’s before and after.  Faced, as we were, with humdrum pine cabinetry (undermined by water ingress) we had little choice but to rip everything out and start again. The appliances, however, were savable so these were dispatched to charity.  Everything else, though, was bundled into the hungry jaws of a waiting dumpster.

Space cleared, our first task was to remove the old windows (a team member claimed some – for a cabin project of his own – whilst the others were dispatched to The Haliburton Thrift Warehouse) and, this done, we set our compass to ‘light speed’.  Or, in other words, speedy installation of new daylight tempting glazing.

Assisted by the team at Euro Vinyl Windows and Doors ( we plotted the best way forward.  A row of small windows was specified (for above the sink elevation), a large window ordered – for the dining area – and extra units manufactured to site over the sunroom doors.  Our holy glazing grail?  To promote an architectural – and infinitely brighter – vibe.

Continuing our jet detailed vision – witnessed throughout the cottage – the look is at once crisp and modern.  Being that lumber finishes are such an important part of the overall esthetic, we embellished the windows with wood Venetians by Select Blinds ( and these, accented with black tapes, provide light screening, as required.

In our favour was ample square footage.  As such, we positioned a large Caesarstone ( island, ‘wrapped’ to the floor at either end.  Installing unbroken counter is relatively straightforward (for an expert) but to master invisible bond 90 degree corners, professional fabrication and installation are required.  We worked with Mike from House of Granite whose corners – as well as cuts for the Blanco sink and General Electrics hob – are perfection itself.

Set within the island is a GE dishwasher (whisper quiet: noise bleed in the open plan area is negligible) as well as countless drawers which more than accommodate

everything required to make cottage life a synch.

cottage kitchen

Around a large table are cafe chairs and a beautiful bench;mellow wood tones suffuse the space and create a relaxed cottage vibe.

To facilitate breakfasting, we extended the island’s width but, rather than leave the underside plain, installed barn board to compliment the Kentwood flooring that runs underfoot.  Overhead hang two spun metal shades by Rejuvenation, dramatic pendants which more than brighten the counter when daylight fades.

Anchored around a large table (also from Ikea) sit café chairs from MFKTO and a beautiful bench, manufactured (using factory floorboards and beams) by Mark Livingston of Rebarn. The mellow wood tones further suffuse the space with that relaxed cottage vibe we so keenly sought to create. Visit or, if you’re oot and aboot in Toronto, check out the company’s brand new store at 1611 Dupont.

The wall behind?  Well, dressing an unusually shaped area such as this can be tricky. To problem solve, we arranged a collection of artworks (this works better than one large piece) rooted out in Marshalls and Urban Barn. The quirky pieces are a fun nod to collections of old and a great conversation starter when guests arrive.

So there you have it: a great quality, but nonetheless basic buy, flat pack kitchen, in pristine white, thoroughly re-identified.  Post transformation it boasts heaps of character but it was far from a ‘drag’ to create.
Meanwhile: sad faces all around.  It’s hard to believe Sunday sees the penultimate Cabin Pressure 3 reveal.  Time flies, huh?  Which means next week is the finale – tune in and watch as a gloomy living room is reborn with cosy leather chairs, textural wicker furniture, a DIY concrete hearth and enough zesty orange to make the most ardent colour fan levitate.  It’s a big, brightly hued finish, and one which we’re certain you’ll love!

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