The stuff summer dreams are made of: the cottage life
Photo: Marianne Helm
A guide to building, living in or renting a home away from home.
A good vintage.
When Kim Werestiuk first saw the ramshackle cottage on Ash Avenue, it was love at first sight. Looking past the peeling paint and haphazard electrical, the Winnipeg native could see afternoons in the sun, flowerbeds bursting with blooms and evening drinks under the stars.
After touring the Winnipeg Beach property in 2004, Kim and her realtor husband, Pat, quickly placed an offer. "You wouldn't have stepped foot in the cottage when we first bought it," Kim says, "but it had good bones, including beautiful shiplap walls." The 1,200-square-foot structure, which served as the seller's family cottage for generations, had certainly seen better days, so the Werestiuks went to work.
The industrious duo gutted the place. With some help from friends and family, they relocated the kitchen, installed a new bathroom, replaced all the electrical and painted every square inch. "We did all the work ourselves," Kim says, "which I loved because it showed us what we're capable of."
Their hard work certainly paid off. The charming cottage—which is exactly an hour door-to-door from the Werestiuks' Winnipeg home—boasts bucolic lake views, three well appointed bedrooms and a sprawling backyard, complete with firepit, potting shed and bocce-ready lawn. "Although our yard is slowly being taken over by garden boxes, thanks to my son," Kim says. The budding gardener has mapped out plots to harvest tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and asparagus. "The asparagus hasn't produced yet, so we're keeping our fingers crossed this summer."
The green thumb runs in the family, as Kim maintains flowerbeds around the cottage. "I built a perennial garden with a reclaimed brick sidewalk. I was very proud of that project."
She extends the DIY philosophy indoors with found and upcycled decor, which she brands "garage-sale chic." Many of her finds—from vintage steamer trunks to board games to oil lamps—came from local yard sales. "Winnipeg Beach is a hotbed of garage sales," she says. "Every Saturday morning, at the corner by the DOMO station, signs advertise the weekend sales. It's a really fun part of the community culture here."
When she's not knocking down walls, tending her flowerbeds or scouring garage sales, Kim loves nothing more than doing, well, nothing. "It's so relaxing to sit by the fire as the sun goes down. There's no better place to be!"
If your vehicle breaks down on the way to the cottage, at the cottage, or on your way home from the cottage, don’t forget about our roadside assistance. CAA Manitoba has a province-wide network of contractors who can help in the event of a vehicle breakdown.