Colin and Justin get down and dirty for Season 3 of Cabin Pressure

Anyone who’s done grand-scale home renovations knows that feeling of hopelessness. A “simple” job that grew to into a catastrophe, a project that morphed from costing a few thousand dollars into a massive bank black hole. Such is the case for Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, the Scottish design duo who return for a third go-round of Cabin Pressure this Sunday on Cottage Life.

The timing of the series couldn’t be better—Cottage Life is currently in an eight-week free preview—plenty of time to watch the lads’ cottage country exploits and commiserate when things go wrong. And do they ever. Episode 1 quickly sets up the premise—the pair have purchased a Haliburton, Ont., cottage to renovate and use as an income property—before plans go awry.

“We’re trying to redevelop one of the worst cabins on one of the loveliest lakes in Haliburton,” Ryan said. “It’s been a huge challenge from start to finish.” As in Season 2 with a reno of their own cottage, the pair wanted to lift this cabin off the ground and dig out a basement. But decades of moisture and a bad foundation threaten to shatter hopes and bank accounts. Ryan’s frustration at being over $80,000 in the hole just days into the work is plain. Thankfully, there is good news; sections of the fractured foundation could be saved and most of the floor joists escaped spreading mould, meaning a return to the hilarious (and sometimes very un-PC) comments Colin and Justin fans love. Well, that, and the ingenious design ideas they come up with, sometimes costing just pennies to do, like the coffee-stained walls utilized in Season 1.

McAllister and Ryan’s design inspiration for this project is a black-on-black European minimalism transported to cottage country, something not only reflected in the building itself but deck too. Ryan remembered how they were struggling to find someone to build the deck until a woman named Andrea contacted them via Twitter. Her boyfriend’s St. Catharine’s company, Boys with Big Decks could complete the 2,400 square-foot task.

“We’re now boys with big decks,” McAllister quipped.

“Actually, we’re boys with massive decks,” Ryan corrected.

Cabin Pressure airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Cottage Life.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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