I don’t have a cottage. I wish that I did. Someplace to get away, relax, sip a cool adult beverage. The thought of it makes me downright wistful. And yes, I realize there are lots that aren’t so fun about them—daily or seasonal upkeep, opening and closing them for the season and renovations—but even Adam Holman makes that look fun.
Each of the six episodes of the web series Cottage Coach—available now on cottagelife.com—features Holman as he takes on projects. The challenges range from building a removable flagpole and updating the deck at Cottage Life founder Al Zikovitz’s cottage to creating a pond float and a pergola. The projects are meant to be done in a few hours or a weekend—writer/director Chris Jackson, producer Cynthia Mutheardy and director of photography and editor Amanda Fusco all help Holman in his quest—and are packed with safety tips and facts (flip over a deck board instead of replacing it, or a super-cool way to remove a headless nail) that fit perfectly within a webisode.
We spoke to Adam Holman about Cottage Coach; catch him at the 2019 Fall Cottage Life Show that runs from Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27 at the International Centre, Mississauga. Tickets are available now on cottagelife.com.
Give me your background. Are you a professional carpenter? Are you a professional DIYer? Are you a guy that just does stuff on the side? How does it work for you?
Adam Holman: I’ve always loved building things. I’ve always loved working with my hands and taking chances and opportunities, and just going for it, and making mistakes and learning from my mistakes. And that’s kind of what got me into building things, to begin with. My school background is media and television. And it all just kind of came together. I started working for Cottage Life cutting promos for TV shows. And an opportunity came up to start doing DIY projects. And we started small, just doing little projects, and it kind of grew. And then I started hosting my DIY projects, and that’s kind of how we fell into the idea to do Cottage Coach.
In the first webisode, you’re at Al Zikovitz’s cottage.
AH: Al started Cottage Life. And we thought that would be a great way to start Cottage Coach, to take it full circle and bring it back to Al’s cottage and have him put me to work. We knew we wanted to do builds that involved the crew and have that behind-the-scenes feel to the show. And we thought having Al in the first episode or first two episodes would just go full circle. And it was really humbling for him, too, and he loved being part of it.
You don’t just show people how to do things. You also pack a ton of little tips in, like ‘Click the link below to find out how to sharpen your chainsaw,’ ‘Firepit safety.’ You have fit so much information just into a five-minute segment or a seven-minute segment.
AH: Yeah, 100 per cent. When we sat down and first started talking about this whole Cottage Coach idea, we didn’t want the show to look like every other show out there. I wanted to make it so that we weren’t hiding things from the audience, and you got that behind-the-scenes feel where you saw me talking to Chris, our director. And you see the crew helping out when I can’t carry everything myself. And it just made it a little bit different from anything else out there. That’s the plan. We want to keep it going like that and keep it open for people and let them see what actually happens.
One of the things that really stuck out for me was flipping a deck board rather than replacing it. So simple and so genius. So often on a home reno show, it’s, ‘OK, we need to replace everything.’ You said, ‘Flip it over. If it’s not rotten, you’re good to go.’
AH: Exactly. And there’s little tips and tricks like that that we want to get out there for cottagers, because when you’re in cottage country there sometimes isn’t someone to call every time, and you have to do those things yourself. It’s a great way to get these little tips and tricks across to people, and it’s fun and it’s entertaining all at the same time.
It looked to me as though each of these projects, even some of the bigger ones, are the type of thing that you can either knock off in a day or maybe in a weekend. Was that the whole point?
AH: Yeah. The pergola, we wanted to go out with a big bang and kind of do something exciting and a little bit bigger for the end of the season. But I also wanted to keep it simple enough that somebody could do it. You didn’t have to go and dig a whole bunch of sono tubes in, and pour concrete. I attached it to an existing structure that was already there. But the other ones, yeah, we wanted to make it easy enough that people could just go pick up some wood and build these projects, show how easy it was to build a raft, and just the tips around the cottage, the flagpole. Most people are only up at their cottage for the weekend, so we wanted to make those projects easy enough for people to do in one weekend.
What’s going to happen when you show up at the fall Cottage Life Show?
AH: I have three main stage presentations, every day at 11:30 a.m. And then I’m going to be going back to the Cottage Life booth where I can chat with fans, meet and greet, and just talk about the show. There’s a lot at the show. There’s tons of things like fall prevention, renovation, real estate, entertaining at the cottage. And there’s so many vendors. It’s just a great place for anybody to come, who have a cottage or don’t have a cottage, and learn about what the great outdoors is and just living up north.
Catch the web series Cottage Coach with Adam Holman, exclusively on cottagelife.com.
You can also catch Adam Holman at the 2019 Fall Cottage Life Show that runs from Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27 at the International Centre, Mississauga. Tickets are available now on cottagelife.com.