10 rustic home design tips from TV's Colin & Justin

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As the temperature continues to rise and the West Coast finally breaks free from sub-zero captivity, many will be heading to their home away from home on the lake. If you are staying closer to the city this summer, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a rustic setting year round with these style hints offered by Scottish designers Colin and Justin.

Colin and Justin, hosts of Cabin Pressure

Colin and Justin, hosts of Cabin Pressure

If you live in a condo or townhouse in or near the city, how do you achieve a rustic feel without access to a luxurious log cabin? As hosts of Cabin Pressure, a show that follows Colin and Justin as they find their perfect rustic escape and then undertake its complete overhaul, they are seasoned veterans when it comes to bringing their dreams of a rustic paradise to life on a budget. Now, they are sharing that expertise for city-dwellers.

10 tips for year-round rustic style at home

1. Make more of the views

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

There are so many B.C. homes situated in the most beautiful locations and yet many have small windows to shut the view out when indoors. We’ve re-glazed many of our project guest rooms (in the city, the suburbs or at the cabin) and installed full height windows to allow our guests to connect with the great outdoors. Hey – go big or go home! 

2. Create a new kitchen for less

If your kitchen is a little dated then swap out the tired counters for butcher block timber from IKEA. Rub wooden cabinets down with sandpaper before applying several coats of satin–finish paint using a small foam roller. Thin coats build up to provide strength and colour density, so take your time. Add new handles, under cabinet lighting, and new appliances and your old kitchen will look as good as new.

3. Add an ensuite shower room

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

If you can, transform a master bedroom into a suite by adding a dedicated shower room. Having your own bathroom is amazing in the city and just as much fun in cottage country!

4. Transform your basement

We redesigned a log cabin’s drywalled basement from bare storage space into a bedroom, shower room, and TV room, and clad the entire thing in timber so that it would echo the “loggy” nature of the home. A dead dated space suddenly became a luxury inclusion and major investment lift! In B.C., with such a hugely busy property market, making changes like this will add so much to your home’s overall value, whatever it’s location is urban, suburban or rural.

5. Give your holiday home or city house a clear design identity

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)


When we designed a log cabin interior, we transformed it from dated rental home style to luxe lodge chic and all with our choice of furniture and accessories. Using secondhand furniture pieces adds heritage, while luxury faux antler chandeliers, a reclaimed hemlock table and modern gray sectional sofa all balanced country and modern style perfectly. The “rustic chic” look is so on trend and with shopping in Vancouver as good as it is (blimey – Gastown has some awesome design stores) you’ll find it easy to create the holiday look at home.


SEE ALSO: 5 tips to enhance your patio this summer

6. Comfort = luxury

It’s worth spending a bit more on comfort, so do your best with your choice of bed, chairs, and sofa to really up the luxe factor. This works especially well in condos where walls and floors can be bare and stark. Choose lamb’s wool or cashmere mix throws to indulge and use feather filled cushions over foam for extra thickness and “chopability!”

7. Create atmosphere

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Use lighting to adjust the mood and make more of your house, condo or cabin. From simply adding a dimmer switch to an overhead fitting (easy and inexpensive) to using table lamps to create mood and focus, your choice of lighting will really up the luxury factor. Just imagine peering out over the B.C. mountain scape from the newly warmed up atmosphere of your sky high condo!

8. Add a screened porch

Adding a screened porch will make a huge difference even in a regular urban or suburban home, let alone a holiday cottage. Being able to sit “outside” and enjoy a bug-free existence really does make your day. We use ours as a sitting room and have positioned it at the side of our cottage to make more of breezes in the warmer months. You could even apply this principal to the front stoop of your Vancouver family home or to a rear porch to extend days and time outside.

9. Take the lifestyle luxe outdoors

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Refurbished cabin by Colin and Justin (Colin and Justin)

Building a dedicated fire pit or outdoor fireplace will enhance the cabin experience as you can enjoy being outdoors for longer in late fall, and enjoy endless late summer evenings sitting around the fire telling stories, singing songs, drinking beer, and enjoying s’mores. And why should you only have a fire pit if you have a cottage? As long as you work within permitted burn times you can toast your ‘mallows in the city too!

10. Give it a name

We’ve named both our last and current cottage and then had a guest book, towels, beach bags and slippers monogrammed to celebrate the name. Treating your home like an exclusive hotel will make you proud of it and give your guests a fun luxury extra touch when they stay with you.

Tune in at 9 p.m. on Cottage Life for Season 3 of Colin & Justin’s Cabin Pressure. 

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About the author

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Nicolle Hodges Journalist/Reporter for VancityBuzz, Editor of @Valley_Buzz, Freelance Journalist Black Press and CTV Vancouver Promotions Host. Follow my journey on Instagram: @nicolledoubleL

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