Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan Of “Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure” Talk Cottage Décor

As the hosts of Cottage Life TV’s Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure, Scottish interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan are known for their passion for creating gorgeous cottages. With décor enthusiasts planning to renovate their summer homes for yet another season, Real Style spoke to the dynamic duo about transforming a humble space into a breathtaking property. McAllister and Ryan, who split time between Glasgow, London and Toronto, shared their insights on cottage design and décor for Summer 2016. Here’s what the dynamic designer couple had to say about their favourite trends, easy cottage entertaining tips and the most beautiful Canadian cottage locations.

Cabin Pressure‘s season finale is this Sunday, June 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Real Style: What are some of the biggest design challenges you’ve had to face on Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure?

Colin and Justin: Renovating in cottage country is a very peculiar beast – where else can you experience flash flooding covering your Bunkie foundations, plagues of moths living behind a bathtub or a cavity wall filled with dead rodents – yes our very own mouse mausoleum! Add to that longer delivery times, a shortage of trades and the thrills and spills involved trying to deliver construction elements along a mud track road and you’re just getting the tip of the hassle laden iceberg!  On the plus side, you do get to enjoy a beer on the dock and watch the sun go down at the end of the day.

Real Style: Describe some trends in cottage décor for Summer 2016.

Colin and Justin: The industrial feel has crept into cottage country, so try mixing wood and metal – maybe via a console table with metal legs and a timber top. Open up rooms with oversized windows to flood them with light and connect to the great outdoors – black window frames are a must have! The contrast of rough and smooth is also a trend – a rough sliding barn door against flat painted drywall would fit the bill. Layering your sofa and chairs is not just for winter! Add comfort with cushions and throws but use lighter fabrics and bright colours to create a summertime feel.

Real Style: How can cottage owners renovate their spaces on a budget this season?

Colin and Justin: Cleaning and clearly defining rooms costs nothing – lose the clutter, clear away tools and household equipment like brushes and vacuum cleaner and store them properly out of the way.  Try to keep rooms single function, but if you have to house say a home office in a bedroom, try to keep the bureau in a closed armoire or in a cupboard to keep it out of sight when not in use.  The easiest way to change anything is with a lick of paint, so if your cottage is dark and dreary lighten it up with a soft pastel tone or white with a hint of colour.

Real Style: Describe some of your best tips for easy entertaining at the cottage this summer.

Colin and Justin: Make it easy on yourself by utilising the skills of your guests and sharing the workload – if one of your friends is a master barbecue, then let them do the cooking! Dress for success – if you’re gathering at the dock or on the deck, dress the area with outdoor rugs, throws and candles and make sure that you have space at the table and seats for all. But keep it simple – it’s the cottage and your guests are probably not going to dress for dinner! If you can paper plate it, then why not?  Go for bright colours and patterns to add decor and drama to the table.  And hey: there’s no washing up at the end of the night – result! Plastic glasses are ideal too – no broken glass equals no accidents along the way! Create a summertime playlist – preset your music on your iPod to set the tone and provide a soundtrack for the day – you are your own DJ, after all!

Real Style: Is there a stylish new colour scheme which cottagers can incorporate into their spaces this season?

Colin and Justin: We find that grey tones work well as a backdrop – maybe a grey floor rug or sofa – and then you can add brighter tones to seasonally bring it alive –blues, white and yellow are ideal for summer and work well with grey.

Real Style: What are your best tips for de-cluttering and preparing your cottage for yet another summer?

Colin and Justin: If you have storage you’ll use it – invest in a separate garden shed or convert your basement to provide stash space for all the paraphernalia we all seem to accumulate.  This will free up your more valuable life space and allow you to create better designs in the rooms you use most.

Real Style: What should everyone look into before purchasing or renting a summer property?

Colin and Justin: Location, location, location – you can change everything about a cottage except its location, so do your research before you buy.  Ideally, you’re looking for a quality lake, beautiful sunsets and close proximity to the things you might need – like a supermarket, hospital and a liquor store!

Real Style: Which Canadian cottage country regions are your personal favourites, and why?

Colin and Justin: Can we like them all?  Honestly, Canadian cottage country is just beautiful– the trees, the lakes, the abundance of Canadian Shield – amazing. We love Muskoka and love Haliburton (where we have our cottage) and absolutely adore Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast in B.C.

Photos: Colin and Justin