It was the calm before the storm.
Tori Spelling and Canadian Dean McDermott's marital woes have recently been in the spotlight, but there were no signs of cracks back in August 2013, when HuffPost Canada TV ventured to a lakeside property outside of Toronto to speak to the Hollywood couple about their CMT reality series, "Tori & Dean: Cabin Fever."
Airing Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET, the show follows Tori and Dean as they renovate their newly acquired cottage and adjust to the Canadian outdoors. On a sunny Thursday afternoon, the DYI duo sat on their elevated deck and talked about retreats, renovations and scary movies.
HuffPost Canada TV: Dean, you're used to this setting. What is the appeal of the cottage life?
Dean McDermott: It's just a great place to escape from the city. It's a place where you can convene with nature and just decompress, spend time with family and friends, eat great meals, swim and have fun. It's just about forgetting city life.
Tori, what was the biggest adjustment coming to the cottage?
Tori Spelling: Probably unwinding and letting go. Our lives are pretty fast-paced in Los Angeles. I have four babies to take care of. I am constantly working. We're working together.
DM: She doesn't have a shut-off switch. She's constantly thinking. Hopefully being here in cottage country will instill calmness.
TS: When I got here, it kinda forced you to go, "This is so amazing." You look around and it's, "OK," and just breathe.
How did the two of you settle on this particular cottage to renovate?
DM: This particular cottage had great bones to do a renovation. It's nice and close to the city because when you come in, it's a five-hour flight. To drive another two or three hours is a grind. Plus, my sister lives in Collingwood, so that's a big factor. We're familiar with the area.
TS: We call ourselves the DYI Duo, so we love doing projects together. We decided this summer we really wanted to take some downtime. I know there's a reality show following it, but it's what came first: The chicken or the egg? It was the idea that we really wanted to get to Canada and be a part of his family and see that experience. We wanted a fixer-upper, a place where we could add our own touch. We didn't want a place we could just move right into. It's been a lot of work, but it's been great.
Does your dream cottage feature all the amenities of a modern home?
DM: For me, the cottages I went to growing up consisted of one big great room with little bedrooms off of it. No air conditioning. It just had that cabin feel and musty smell. That's a cottage to me. These three-story mansions with all the bells and whistles are a little much for my liking. I like to keep it as close to natural as possible.
TS: We wanted to take that cabiny feel and put our own touch on it. We're very into putting vintage and modern together, and being eclectic. We love antiques. We go to flea markets and yard sales all the time. They have fantastic barns out here filled with antiques. We don't have that in L.A., so we love it. Of course, I did want a television, but Dean said, "No TV."
Are you on the same page with a lot of the decoration and design decisions?
DM: That's the great thing about us and why we love working with each other. We are on the same page 9.5 times out of 10. Our disagreements are so small. We don't have these big pow-wows about trying to figure things out. They are so minor.
TS: It's true. Our taste is very much the same, which is why this partnership, doing this, not just in the romance department, but doing physical work, works. We finish each other's sentences when we're doing renovations. I'll be, "What about if we do..." and Dean will literally finish my sentence. We have the same ideas. We'll just go with it and he'll add to my idea and I'll add something to his. And if there's something I really need or want...
DM: She just bats her eyelashes.
TS: I'm cute, so I get my way.
Do you play it safe when it comes to style?
TS: I think we've done a few things that are very out-of-the-box design-wise. We pushed the envelope. I'm all about taking risks. Your home is your canvas. You want it to be comfy, cozy and family-like, but it's an expression on you. We agree on that.
Dean, you are a foodie. What was your vision for the kitchen?
DM: I wanted it to be simple, but very useful. I have a lot of counter space to work with. I've designed it with the family in mind.
TS: That's our lives. We always get the kids in the kitchen helping. Making them part of the process helps them want to eat it and expand their palate. Dean is our gourmet chef, but even when he's whipping up something crazy, we're all in there.
To end on a fun note, "The Friday the 13th" and "Evil Dead" movies ruined the cottage experience for me. Do you ever get the heebie jeebies being up here isolated at night?
TS: Funny you should mention that. I'm a huge horror fan. I've seen every horror movie ever made, so, yeah, I've always likened the lake cabin experience to a horror film. We share that passion. Of course, when we got here, I was like, "Oh my God. It's Crystal Lake. We can't be in the canoe." Don't think I haven't placed everything in this area into a horror film. We just saw the new "Evil Dead" while we were up here at the cottage.
DM: You referenced "Evil Dead." The first thing I checked was to make sure there was no basement. I don't have to go down anywhere. There's no crawl space or human skin-bound book, so we're good.