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Community Support
By Suzanne McCarthy

July 29, 2016

Cottage Woodworks is pleased and grateful to have significant support from our Kawartha Lakes community. This year, we have received a sizable grant from the Kawartha Lakes Futures Development Corporation (KLFDC), and have just now received word that we have been approved for a second significant grant; this time from the Kawartha Lakes Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre (KLSBEC).

A little about these organizations:

The KLFDC is a Federal project has been supporting the Kawartha Lakes community for over thirty years, providing over 50 000 000 towards small business growth during this time. Besides financial assistance in form of grants and loans, this organization also offers business planning, consulting, and networking opportunities.


The KLSBEC is provincially funded through the ministry of economic development and growth and is similar to the KLFDC in that it provides grants and business education opportunities. It operates from the City of Kawartha Lakes municipal office and is mainly focused on supporting those in the beginning stages of their developing business.


The grants have been/ will be used partially to increase our visibility to potential clients and also to buy new equipment which will further increase the efficiency and expansion of our small business.

Past Blog Posts

True Value
By Suzanne McCarthy

July 27, 2016

Conor and I recently visited one of our favourite lunch restaurants in town for a sandwich and noticed they had recently had a new tile floor installed.

"Wow, you picked a great colour for this floor" I told the owner.

"I made a bad choice with the guy I hired" he replied "I got a number of quotes and just picked the lowest price. The handyman who got the job had little experience with tile and I realized too late that the price was so low because he simply did not have enough experience to quote the job properly. He was slow working because he was learning to tile and ended up taking an extra week – meaning that I had to keep the restaurant closed an extra week.

...I wish I had just paid a little more and got a real tile worker."

Too often we come on to the job as the second contractor on the scene to correct another person’s work whose quoted price was literally “too good to be true”. At Cottage Woodworks, we are committed to detailed, realistic pricing down to the last nail. That is one reason why you may notice that we ask more questions than many other building companies.

We want to understand your project, expectations, and preferences before we provide your quote and before we get on site so that you have the most realistic price possible.

The Cottage difference is evident in the quality of our work.

When it comes to our workmanship, you get what you pay for. At $31.50/ man hour we remain competitive and provide top-notch quality. With over 20 years of combined experience, our core two-man team delivers efficient carpentry and construction services and carefully planned projects mean minimal surprises and extra project-associated costs.

Our projects are completed with low maintenance and product longevity in mind. Our small structures stand out as some of the few in Ontario built with soffit. Why? Think of sitting out on a sunny day with a bag over your head. This is the way the average small structure roof is designed – with little opportunity to breathe. Our installation of soffit and facia is just one way that we build our structures using standard home-building practices. This allows the hot air to escape more easily and dramatically increases the life of the shingles –

saving you maintenance and extra expense.

Professional soffit installation examples– Winter Workshop and Suburban Chic Garage

Employer of the Month
By Suzanne McCarthy

April 21, 2016

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded “Employer of the Month” by Job Quest in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.

A little about Job Quest:
Job Quest is a non profit employment program and a division of Community Living Kawartha Lakes. This program supports employers, at no cost, to find trained, skilled workers. Their services include employment planning, support coordination, labour market and job search, job development and placement, skills teaching and job coaching, job trial placement support, help with job searching, on-the-job training and job maintenance.

This program supports clients before, during and after a job placement, ensuring the success and satisfaction of both the employer and our clients by providing ongoing monitoring and support, for up to three years to ensure that employees have long-term success at work.

As a company, we believe in dignity before profit. We operate from the belief that by treating employees with respect while challenging them to push their own limits we will see the best results. We believe that each team member brings their own strengths and limitations to a project. Conor McCarthy, who manages the employee(s) on site, explains that “running a construction team is much like running a sports team; you need to know how to strategize your players”. Working as a team is important to us as Babe Ruth once remarked “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime.”

We plan to continue striving towards excellence, in not only our treatment of employees but in every aspect of our business, for a top-rate quality of craft and also clear business communication.

Renovations for Better Living
By Suzanne McCarthy

April 12, 2016

How rewarding it is to rejuvenate a living space. When the planning is well informed (and especially when a space really needs it) it is surprising how a renovation can breathe new life into a home. The following are renovation angles for better living.

  1. Better space optimization. You may have more space than you think. I never cease to be amazed with particularly Tiny Home space optimization concepts. Utilizing spaces such as unused vertical pace, under stairs, or directly beneath windows can add great storage. Also, I consider how walls impact the use of a room; even in the case of load baring walls they can be opened up with proper engineering.
  2. Improving sunlight exposure. Increase your vitamin D intake and minimize energy output with more windows and also removing natural light blockers.
  3. De-cluttering. Motivation and ability to focus on my work is key. That is why I am passionate about de-cluttering. Saving time and money calls for a storage design as unique and versatile as you are.
  4. Safety. It is amazing to see how skilled a toddler is at getting into trouble – not only in their own homes but at the homes of friends and family. Stair pitch and stair and porch railings as well as deck safety can be a real concern for children and pets. Also, there are legal requirements for properly fencing off a pool area for safety’s sake (the added privacy is a bonus). Properly enforced carpentry work is not only safer but more visually appealing.
  5. Re-sale investments. It is rewarding to have an investment that you can enjoy every day. “I don’t want to wait until I have to sell my house to start enjoying a more beautiful space” a friend once explained when she was completing re-sale renovations on her home years before her scheduled move. Some investments have better return than others – professional painting and new flooring are two popular re-sale investments.
  6. Details. We get used to unwanted details like a bad drywall job or unattractive baseboard but these details often draw the eye. Conversely, I find freshly painted white or off-white coloured trim can really make a hardwood floor “pop!” and polish up a room to make it look smart.

Perhaps it is true that “if you build it they will come”. Envisioning the way one wants life to change and building to suit that vision is undeniably a step towards your goals. Let us build towards your vision together.

Decisions, Decisions...
By Suzanne McCarthy

March 22, 2016

When the average person spends hours deciding on the right shoes to purchase it is not surprising that an investment often spanning from $5 000 to $30 000 takes considerable time. For this reason, this first blog entry is focusing on construction and renovation decisions.

It can be very difficult to make those final decisions about what you want especially if you are making decisions about a living space. Here are some key considerations you may want to review before you request your quote.

  1. Functionality: realistically, what will be the primary uses for the structure? How can you imagine yourself using it on a day to day basis? If you are planning on using the structure during the winter we can discuss heat conservation options and adjusting the floor plan around your wood stove or other heating device.
  2. Your Cohabiters. Interested in building a “Man Cave” structure in your backyard to get away from it all? Although the interior design may be a moot point to the other residents in your home the exterior may be a different story. The placement on your property and its impact on the visual appeal of the backyard are important topics to bring up before the walls start going up. It may be easiest for numerous decision makers to agree to match the design and colours to that of your primary residence.
  3. Investment. Even structures of the same size can vary significantly in cost based on utility and quality of the building materials. When the price of the materials is often half of the price of the build it is very important to consider where you want to direct your budget; for example, would you prefer a large non-insulated Bunkie with non-opening windows to fit the most number of overflow guests from your cottage or would you rather a smaller one with insulation, drywall and designer paint? Many clients consider the return on investment as well optimizing their ability to profit from income property and/or resale.

    When considering cost keep in mind that once the structure is over 100 – 110 square feet (depending on your region) there will be added costs such as building permits and more expensive foundation options. Also, windows increase the cost significantly although they do add a lot of visual appeal.
  4. Visual Appeal. You have the perfect floor plan, and you have found some great Tiny Cottage concepts that you know you want to incorporate. Consider how all of your plans will look when you combine them. If the structure will be close to your home or cottage, how will your concept present once complete? How will the flooring you’ve chosen match the walls once the painting is complete? When working on a personal project I like to create a vision board; a concept where one takes various relevant pictures related to the project and makes a colleague. This helps to determine whether or not the different concepts are congruent with one another.
  5. Professional Opinion. We recommend discussing your general ideas with the right professionals before you firm up your decisions. If you are not sure about the functionality or general expense of an idea you may need to clarify it. Perhaps your property has landscaping issues and need to discuss which foundation type will work best or maybe you are not sure whether or not your idea will be in congruence with the building code in your area.

If all else fails, visit us on Pinterest to get inspired and also feel free to openly discuss your incomplete vision with us via email or phone. Ultimately, we want you to have a finished product that you are satisfied with; that meets your unique needs and taste.

Tiny homes, bunkies, small cottages; these small structures go by many names but the quality and affordability they offer remains the same. If you're looking to build a tiny home in Haliburton or the Muskoka Lakes area then call Cottage Woodworks, we are here for you from concept to creation of your tiny home

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