Before & After: Interior Designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan Spruce Up Their Canadian Cottage

Add to
Like
Share
By Michele Koh Morollo
Take a peek at the renovated Haliburton cottage retreat of celebrity interior designers and television presenters Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan.

Popular Scottish interior designers and TV show hosts Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan are poised to launch a new show, Great Canadian Cottages, on October 18. In the eight-part series, the couple will visit 24 cottages and cabins that are architectural standouts, and that have plenty of personality.

If you’re not familiar with MacAllister's and Ryan’s work, this renovation of a 1987 A-frame cabin in Haliburton, Ontario—their very own holiday cottage—is a great example of just what these style-savvy Scotsmen can do.

Before

Newsletter
Join the Daily Dose Mailing List

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design

McAllister and Ryan purchased this old cottage in 2013 and undertook an extensive renovation to transform the dated space into a bright, 2,000-square-foot getaway where they can enjoy a respite from fast-paced city life. 

McAllister and Ryan purchased this old cottage in 2013 and undertook an extensive renovation to transform the dated space into a bright, 2,000-square-foot getaway where they can enjoy a respite from fast-paced city life. 

After purchasing the property, McAllister and Ryan realized they’d essentially bought what they refer to as a "slanty shanty"—part petting zoo with mice, squirrels, beavers and raccoons living in the quarters; and part dilapidated cottage.

After purchasing the property, McAllister and Ryan realized they’d essentially bought what they refer to as a "slanty shanty"—part petting zoo with mice, squirrels, beavers and raccoons living in the quarters; and part dilapidated cottage.

"The project was thoroughly daunting. We almost had to start from scratch," says MacAllister.

"The project was thoroughly daunting. We almost had to start from scratch," says MacAllister.

The foundations of the house were in terrible shape, so they had to mechanically lift the entire building and dig a new basement, which added weeks to the project.

The kitchen before the renovation.

The kitchen before the renovation.

Besides being their personal country bolthole, the cottage is also where they bring their clients to give them a better idea of their work, and showcase their professional services, so the refreshed cottage needed to be upscale, adventurous, and wonderfully stylish.

The bedroom before the renovation.

The bedroom before the renovation.

The existing roof was weathered beyond repair, so they had to remove it and start afresh—from the joists and A-frame upwards.

Before & After: Interior Designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan Spruce Up Their Canadian Cottage - Photo 6 of 15 -

After

The couple's updated cottage in Haliburton boasts kitchen worktops and peninsula by Caesarstone.

The couple's updated cottage in Haliburton boasts kitchen worktops and peninsula by Caesarstone.

The dynamic pair added a new septic system, then a new roof—which they had to retile completely—new floors throughout, and brand new windows.

Shop the Look
Brand and Iron Bottle Opener
Brand and Iron Bottle Opener
Solid brass. Handmade in Vancouver, Canada.
Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs
Rock the Shack: The Architecture of Cabins, Cocoons and Hide-Outs
Rock the Shack takes us to the places we long for. For the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country. Yet, at the same time, more and more city dwellers are yearning for rural farms, mountain cabins, or seaside homes.
Alejandro Sticotti Museo Chair
Alejandro Sticotti Museo Chair
Materials: Peteribi and midolo Photo courtesy of Net Muebles...
Added glazing allows light to penetrate the interior.

Added glazing allows light to penetrate the interior.

Wide-plank oak by Kentwood Metro Flooring helps create a clean, inviting space.

Wide-plank oak by Kentwood Metro Flooring helps create a clean, inviting space.

X-frame, gray, leather-topped stools from Sunpan Imports are placed in a sunny nook in the bunkie.

X-frame, gray, leather-topped stools from Sunpan Imports are placed in a sunny nook in the bunkie.

They also custom-designed a "bunkie," a traditional cottage outhouse building for guests, that was created offsite and delivered by Canada Builds. 

A wicker-and-cream linen sofa and coffee table from Artemano add to a rustic, yet contemporary, interior.

A wicker-and-cream linen sofa and coffee table from Artemano add to a rustic, yet contemporary, interior.

This bunkie, which sleeps four, has sides clad in dark gray, vertical board and batten. It contains two tiered sleeping quarters, a compact bathroom, and a spacious dining room.

The bed and night stands in the master bedroom are also from Artemano.

The bed and night stands in the master bedroom are also from Artemano.

"If windows are indeed the eyes of the soul, then our new glazing had to be perfect to see into the wonderful landscape ‘soul’ of Haliburton, Ontario’s premier cottage country enclave," says Ryan.

An IKEA bed is layered with cozy textiles in the guest bedroom.

An IKEA bed is layered with cozy textiles in the guest bedroom.

They modernized the interiors, added new siding to the cottage’s exteriors, had the ground landscaped, then furnished the space in their signature style. 

Ceiling fans by Fan Shoppe help circulate fresh breezes throughout the space.

Ceiling fans by Fan Shoppe help circulate fresh breezes throughout the space.

Watch Colin and Justin tour 24 impressive vacation cottages on their new show, Great Canadian Cottages, airing Thursdays, from October 18, at 10pm on Cottage Life TV.

Black-framed, custom windows by Euro Vinyl are chic frames to the outdoors.

Black-framed, custom windows by Euro Vinyl are chic frames to the outdoors.

Project Credits:

Designers: Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan / @colinandjustin

Builder: Randy Blain Construction

Landscape designer: Greg Brown Construction

Bunkie: Canada Builds