Before and After: A Designer Cottage in Haliburton County, Ontario

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If you love watching home shows as much as I do, then you’ve probably heard of Scottish natives and international design duo Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan. They’ve tackled home renovations across the globe, and most recently, I got to share the screen with them — woo! — as a guest judge on Game of Homes, a competitive renovation series where Colin and Justin flaunted their talents as resident judges alongside host Dave Salmoni.

When they weren’t perusing the dusty GOH stadium last year, the pair could be found in Ontario’s cottage country filming for one of their other shows, Cabin Pressure. In the first season, Colin and Justin renovated this gorgeous Muskoka cabin in 12 short weeks, and in season two, as they explain, “we turned our attentions to Haliburton and bought a ramshackle fixer-upper. A big job and then some…”

After touring over 40 properties in search of one with potential, they chose this overgrown and  rundown lakeside charmer in Haliburton County, Ontario to showcase in season two. It needed work top to bottom and front to back, a process which included pouring a new foundation to fix the slanted shanty, replacing the entire façade, and getting creative inside using IKEA kitchen cabinets — all while battling the elements. “We can honestly report that rebuilding our cabin was a joy and working with Randy Blain, our contractor, and our wider team, has been a blast. To our entire crew and to all of you for watching and reading – thank you,” Colin and Justin share. “If you’re in the area, come on by — just make sure you bring a bottle, ’cause we do like the odd tipple…”

If you like this transformation, be sure to tune in and watch their third season of Cabin Pressure unfold (starting this Sunday at 9 pm on Cottage Life) and catch even more fun and creative tomfoolery on Game of Homes (airing April 12 on the W Network)! –Sabrina

  1. Colin and Justin says:

    Cheers for such an AWESOME piece! Cant wait to see you with us on Game of Homes! C&J xx

  2. Dana Mac says:


  3. Dean says:

    This is really excellent, the rooms are very nice, thanks for letting me read this, I look forward very much the show, Dean

  4. Lola Kerecki says:

    Just wanted to point out the sliding double bypass barn doors and custom hardware are all crafted by REBARN in Toronto, it wasn’t credited in the article.

  5. conor says:

    Love the photography in this post :)

  6. Marty Davison says:

    What a beautiful place, watched these guys since their Million Dollar Experiment show and love having them here in Canada. Beautiful cabin, Marty

  7. Laura Weil says:

    Just imagine these two uber dynamic designers asking to work with your products? That’s what happened with us! C&J graciously aligned their creative minds with our windows and doors and executed their vision perfectly. This feature shows it well – nice work Design Sponge and hats off Colin & Justin. Looking forward to watching your transform another ‘mission impossible’ in Season 3

  8. stephanie says:

    They did an amazing job with their transformation using furniture and accent pieces from many locations. I cannot imagine tearing down all the walls to find dead animals but in the end, what a great project giving that house a second chance at life!!! I agree with Laura it would be absolutely flattering to have them approach any business to help them with their creation. Hoping one day they will discover Rustic Furniture Outlet if they need some unique pieces or a good selection of Mexican pine furniture which would also look awesome in that transformation for a more rustic cabin feel:-)))


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