As a longtime realtor, the type of decor going into a home wasn’t Bryan Wilkins’ business … until now.
That’s because he not only owns the property at 10 King St. E. in Bobcaygeon but is also the proprietor of the Caygeon Cottage inside it, selling unique home decor and original art.
Although Wilkins and his partner Bill Henderson only opened the doors to their gift shop and bistro at the end of November, the building itself had been purchased about 18 months earlier.
“I’ve always loved this house,” said Wilkins of the residence that was built around 1925 and home to the Reid family that owned and operated a lumber mill and grocery store in the village. “There’s just something about the architecture and feel of this building.”
Although much of the main floor retains that same charm that caught Wilkins’ eye close to 30 years ago, the previous owners gutted the second floor, turning the space into a modern living suite.
At the time Wilkins bought the property, the main floor was home to My Favourite Things. The business stayed on as tenants until July when the owners decided to close up shop.
Wilkins and Henderson had to then figure out what to do with the space.
“We got to thinking, why not try doing it ourselves?” said Wilkins, who is no stranger to business ownership. His Cosmopolitan Salon & Spa, currently located at Eganridge Resort, was launched in 2013.
“My Favourite Things had been pretty popular so we wanted to maintain that and also continue to support as many local artists and artisans as possible because a lot of these things, you just can’t find anywhere else.”
Caygeon Cottage features a cornucopia of items for every room, from pillows, throws, and artwork for the living room to one-of-a-kind charcuterie boards and kitchen decor to exquisite bed and bath products. There is also a selection of Bobcaygeon-themed clothing and accessories as well as handmade jewelry.
In an effort to add something else unique, Wilkins and Henderson decided to add a “tea room,” which has since morphed into a bustling bistro.
Although the restaurant’s menu is relatively small, items are packed with “big flavours,” including cookies and muffins, paninis and sandwiches, and hearty soups, most of which are made from scratch.
Wilkins has plans to put in a patio at the front of the building and is in the process of looking into getting a liquor licence.
The rear section of the building will be getting a bit of a makeover in January to accommodate moving the salon and spa over in the spring; their lease at Eganridge ends in March.
Caygeon Cottage is open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The business is closed Monday and Tuesday.