Talking Home Trends and Design Tips with Colin and Justin

Makeover masters Colin and Justin share the secrets of their stunning cabin renovation

BCLiving catches up with TV design stars Colin and Justin

After a full season of embracing the Canadian bush on the Cottage Life TV series Cabin Pressure, designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan are bringing their special brand of Scottish flavour to the 2014 Vancouver Home + Design Show October 18 at BC Place.

As brazenly hilarious as they are knowledgeable, these not-to-be-missed Euro treasures give BCLiving a sneak peek into their upcoming cabin-to-condo design presentation.

Click through for photos of Colin and Justin’s stunning cabin design.

What are you going to be speaking about at the Vancouver Home + Design Show? Can you give our readers a bit of a preview?

Colin McAllister: “We’ll be discussing how Cabin Pressure, our latest show on Cottage Life TV, came together — focusing on kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms (pictured above). Although the show was set in the country, many of our design principals can be played out on an urban canvas.”

Justin Ryan: “We don’t want to exclude anyone, so there’ll be advice for everyone, no matter where they live — in an urban or suburban setting, or even deep in the woods! ‘UPCYCLING’ will also be a big part of the presentation — we’ll show some wonderful visuals of junky furniture transformed into useable home items. Abra-blinkin’-cadabra!”

Are you doing Cabin Pressure again next season?

JR: “Eek! Yes! We’ve surprised ourselves with this actually — we were so fortunate that viewers responded so well to our caper in cottage country, it seemed like a no-brainer to do another one. So guess what? We’ve bought another cabin (this time on our own) and plan to create another C&J-inspired wilderness style adventure! Just wait till you see what we have in store!”

Has the show had any influence on your designs elsewhere?

CM: “You know what? A trip into the wilds of Canada has a really positive effect on life. With this in mind, we have started bringing some of that purity and honesty into our urban design work — locally sourced pottery, rough-edged timber finishes and screened porches are amongst our latest obsessions. And of course you can see some of this pushing through into our homewares collection in stores like HomeSense, Winners and Marshalls. Exciting stuff!”

What is the most common change you guys make when transforming a cabin?

JR: “It’s wonderful to see so many cabins that are on amazing lakes, with forests as far as the eye can see and tall, statuesque mountains as their backdrop. So why have so many of them got really small windows? Our log cabin was dark and disconnected from the great outdoors, so we replaced a wall of wood with a wall of glass to let the light in and enjoy the scenery. In all of our future cabin designs, we intend to use glass as a common change — just wait till you see what we do with glass to transform two tiny, boxy bedrooms in season 2 of Cabin Pressure.”

What design principles do you live by?

CM: “Our design principle is to give every inch of space a proper use and identity and make it beautiful. We hate wasted space and cannot stand the idea of ‘spare rooms.’  Be selfish and indulgent — it’s your home, so make it your own — express yourself and showcase your personality. Only that way can you feel truly at home.”

Design principles to throw out?

JR: “Misplaced sentimentality — you don’t have to hold onto everything your parents/grandparents/aunties gave you for your first home. Everything old is not gold, so weed out furniture and accessories that you don’t really care about and free up some space to bring in newer pieces that will modernize your style.”

What’s your favourite trend this season?

JR: “We love timber and concrete-looking porcelain plank tiles. Being able to create a natural or industrial look in the bathroom or kitchen and knowing it’s totally waterproof — and that you can fit heating systems under the tile for a little extra comfort over the winter — is a must-have for us this season.”

Trend you can’t wait to see go?

CM: “Actually, we appreciate all trends (it’s good to be aware of what’s out there, but of course you don’t have to follow them all), so the one thing we really hate is timid decorating — putting in a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.”

JR: “There are some newly decorated spaces out there that are just ‘so what’? Wishy-washy doesn’t wash with us, so make your home bold and beautiful and it’ll transcend trend after trend!”

What’s next for Colin and Justin?

CM: “Well Cabin Pressure season 2 has just started filming, so we’re wilderness bound until November! Already, we’re dealing with having to jack up a subsiding cabin, installing a new septic and figuring out a way to turn our cast-off dock into recycled patio furniture.”

JR: “We’re also reprising our roles as Toronto International Film Festival red carpet reporters for City TV, guesting on a still-to-be-announced new Canadian design show and finishing off our home collections for Spring 2015.  Busy, busy, busy.”