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Black is the New Black

by Laura Weil

Haliburton Highlands has become a work-in-progress cottage destination for Scottish power couple Colin & Justin, as they have recently taken on a Canadian cabin rebuild on the area's clean and serene Drag Lake.  Perhaps their allure to the area is the geographic similarity to their home based Scottish Highlands.  The draw may have been the thriving local arts and culture scene that inspired them to take on this rustic challenge.  Whatever the reason may be, we were pleased that it allowed us the opportunity to work with them.

Word spread quickly in the community that Colin and Justin, hosts of Cabin Pressure were going to film Season 2 at the jobsite.  The community was pleased to embrace the couple and the project, as local trades were utilized and the community sights and scenes were featured during the social media frenzy and show filming.  Haliburton Lumber was a key supplier in building materials, as well as a key reference point for Colin & Justin to gain in-tell for area trades and suppliers.  This is where we came into the picture.

The Meiorin family, owners and operators of Euro Vinyl Windows, has called Haliburton Highlands their home away from home for many years.  The recent completion of their own cottage, a build that was dreamt of and subsequently worked on for many years, became their family retreat.  Chris and Susan Meiorin dedicated almost every weekend to driving from Toronto up to Drag Lake and build the cottage themselves to keep the budget realistic and to ensure that the details were their own.  

This hard work paid off, as the space is most definitely an extension and expression of their personal tastes and passion for architecture.  BlackBirch; clad with a dark exterior and inviting warm wood interior is a showcase for Euro Vinyl Windows & Doors.  Walls of glass tower up, stretch across, tilt in, seal up and open to the wonderful lakefront, perched high up on a granite cliff.  Now weekends at BlackBirch are for stand-up-paddleboard tours of the lake, entertaining guests, family holidays and of course serious downtime.

Timing for Colin & Justin to discover the area couldn't have been better.  It was suggested that there is a window and door pro with a contemporary cottage nearby.  The connection was made and Chris was called to meet across the lake that next weekend.  Mapping out the location, Chris determined that the drive from one cottage to the other would take twice the time as it would for him to go via paddleboard.  Perfect opportunity to combine a window & door chat with a good paddle.  

The meeting went well, as the three men have similar taste in Scandinavian design, contemporary architecture and a fondness for Haliburton Highlands.  An invitation was presented for Colin & Justin to come over to BlackBirch and gain insight to what can be accomplished with vinyl windows and to check out the other side of the lake.  In typical Meiorin style, incredible food would be served for the full Cabin Pressure film team.

Well, a bit of inside information: film crews don't get to eat very well with their hectic shoot schedule.  Roasted porchetta sandwiches, made with an Italian flair, was a beautiful way to put the crew at ease.  After the feast and with a more relaxed approach, it was time to take in the scenery and design details at BlackBirch cottage.  Colin and Justin were captivated by the space and the mixed use of windows.  Working the tilt feature of the windows, they felt the ambient air flow draw through the space and immediately understood how these windows are perfectly suited to cottage living.  The indirect airflow meant that air conditioning was unnecessary.  The screen system kept out man eating bugs.  The smells and sounds of the area, which is ultimately are why they want to spend time in the forested area, can be included in the experience.  Mission accomplished.  The Colin and Justin crew wanted to align with EVW and the Meiorins for the Cabin Pressure cottage build and even made exceptions in the shoot schedule to accommodate manufacturing timelines.

During the build process, the EVW team stayed engaged with Colin & Justin through Twitter and Instragram feeds.  Image posts and online banter became a fun diversion from the work at hand.  A relationship was established and EVW wanted to meet and exceed the expectations placed.  We weren't the only ones though.  In an inconceivable manner, the layers and layers of trades and suppliers that were involved with the project worked almost seamlessly with one another.  Typically, a jobsite is not the most approachable place, as trades often compete for time and budget.  Not this build.  There was an open understanding of what was needed to succeed and every participant in the project did their very best to create harmony on the jobsite.  That's right - harmony on the jobsite.  Big machines, muddy landscape, tight spaces and sometimes very bad smells didn't hinder the positive vibe that was created.  Colin and Justin were restless leads on site.  Even while traveling from Toronto or sometimes Glasgow and living from hotels with only items packed in their truck, they still put everyone at ease and inspired premium workmanship.  And of course, as always, they made it fun and stylish too.

The end result, well you will have to catch that on Cottage Life Network this coming Spring 2015.  

The reveals will be captivating!

For now, check out what these two are up to on Instagram and check out their side of the story in their Room for Improvement article

Views of Blackbirch can be found in this EVW Case Study and EVW Houzz Project

Colin&Justin Black is the New Black

Download Colin & Justin's Toronto Sun article - below