There are a million purchase decisions with any renovation and a summer home is no exception. There are however a few variables to consider that are unique to a cottage. Here are some things to consider.
Some Product Tips
If you need to remove windows, to maximize storage or add kitchen cabinets (particularly if the view isn’t great), consider adding a skylight or sun tunnel. I particularly like the ventilating skylights for getting air through the cottage.
Add a ceiling fan with the skylight and you can keep your cottage cooler while helping to remove the warm air that rises to the ceiling.
In high humidity areas like the cottage consider an engineered hardwood, instead of a solid hardwood. There won’t be as much expansion and contraction. If you are going this route, it is a good idea to add insulation (even to the floor) and use a dehumidifier. If you want really low maintenance, consider a vinyl floor (a material with no humidity concerns).
When buying appliances, consider gas/propane vs. electric. If you have an older cottage you may have limited power available (i.e. 60 amp fuses aren’t uncommon), so you may want to go gas/propane. Then think about whether gas is available in your area. It may only be propane, so make sure you can get a propane conversion kit.
If you plan to heat your cottage, consider two forms of heat — just in case. Often there is a wood or gas/propane stove/fireplace and baseboard heaters. There are pros and cons to each. A wood burning fire provides great atmosphere, but requires maintenance and someone present. A gas/propane fireplace/stove can be put on a thermostat and can be set to come on if the temperature dips to a certain level. This way you could leave baseboards on very low (12 degrees Celsius) to keep the cottage just warm enough. Then if there is a power outage the gas/propane fireplace could kick in if it dipped to 10 degrees (for example). This is a safety feature to prevent freezing pipes etc.
To keep the costs down and the timeline short consider as many off the shelf products as possible- off the shelf cabinets that you could install yourself, in stock windows, a propane stove instead of a fireplace, doesn’t require a mantel or surround. Install it and you’re done.