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May 1, 2020

7 min. read

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!"

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Little Wood Chipper Pinecone Fire Starters - 6 Pack

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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.

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Cottage coverage logo.

Protect your property.

Our cottage is a retreat from life's hustle and bustle, but that seclusion makes it vulnerable to theft, water damage and other risks - especially when you're not there to keep an eye on it. Richard Phillips, manager of brokerage operations at CAA Manitoba, explains how to protect your home away from home while it awaits your next visit.

How do I insure my seasonal cottage?

A seasonal property is usually listed as a secondary location on your primary home insurance policy. The amount and cost of coverage depends on how the property is used, how often it's occupied and if you rent it out.

What's usually covered?

A typical policy covers fire and theft, and includes liability coverage in the event that someone gets hurt on your property. Depending on your needs, you might consider an insurance package that also covers the contents of your cottage. (Things you pack and take with you would already be covered by your primary home policy.)

What about detached structures like boathouses or bunkies?

Some policies include limited coverage, but if it's not enough for your needs, you can talk to your broker about purchasing more protection. While you're at it, ask about adding an endorsement for your powerboat, canoe and/or sailboat, to keep your outdoor adventures afloat.

Do I need extra coverage if I rent my cottage?

No, but even if you only rent it out occasionally, the type of coverage you need will be different. Think what would happen if renters damaged your property, or if a guest slipped and was injured. By telling your broker exactly how your cottage is being used, they'll make sure you have the right coverage.

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