Just months into the lockdown, two old-school friend couples decided to pursue their dream of co-owning a cottage together.
They called it Cider Haus, and since it opened, it’s been an all-season hot item in Brandy Lake, Muskoka.
“After making some tenant-friendly adjustments, we listed it on Airbnb and were pleasantly surprised by the demand for short-term rentals,” co-owner Rachel told blogTO (who wants to keep her last name and names of its other anonymous co-owners).
“Things just took off from there.”
Luckily, they bought the place fully furnished, so they didn’t have to put too much work into getting it ready to rent, but the little touches they added made a big difference: writing how-to manuals for things like the stove and saunas, adding WiFi locks, keeping a good stock of supplies and taking on a maintenance company.
With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, Cider Haus can accommodate seven people. While the interior is cozy and cute with an indoor fireplace, it’s the exterior that’s most resplendent with an expansive multi-level dock that leads down to the water and an outdoor fire pit.
The crown jewel of their property that people keep commenting on is a barrel-shaped sauna overlooking the lake perched just above a lower dock.
“It’s a great place to warm up after a cool evening swim in the lake, or a great place to rest from the winter cold,” says Rachel. “The sun warms it up beautifully on a sunny winter day.”
The couples also drew inspiration from their own family life to make the chalet as practical and welcoming as possible, as they each have children under the age of five. This includes storing items such as high chairs, baby baths, changing mats and even white noise machines on site.
They were also inspired by their fur babies because finding the perfect home for their children and dogs can be so difficult.
“Makes life so much easier for us when we go upstairs to stay. We wanted to provide the same convenience for our guests,” says Rachel.
“This is also a pet-friendly property with a fully fenced yard. This was very important to us, as we had always struggled to find rentals that accepted our dogs.”
Brandy Lake’s quiet vibe is also just what you’re looking for if you’re struggling to book rentals with lots of other large, noisy groups disrupting the quiet nature.
“The loudest sounds we hear in the summer are children laughing and jumping off nearby docks, with the occasional boat passing by,” says Rachel.
“It’s important to us to find trusted tenants who will respect our neighbors and other lake cabin owners. Everyone deserves to enjoy some quiet time in nature. This is not a good rental. suitable for larger groups which can be louder, our ambiance is more that of close friends and families gathering by the fireplace with a glass of wine.”
Rates for different times of the year are available on Airbnb, where you can also book. While Summer 2022 is sold out and they have yet to open bookings for Summer 2023, Rachel encourages anyone planning to come to consider planning ahead for a magical fall or winter getaway. .
“Fall and winter are our favorite times of year,” says Rachel. “Fall colors, cool days spent canoeing, snowshoeing on the lake, etc., nothing better.”