Friday Five

The Friday Five: Top links to lead you into the weekend: 

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1. Talia Kleinplatz is my soulmate, she just doesn't know it yet. Check out her site Two for the Bar and follow along as she indulges in her love of the drink. 

2. The summer edition of Merry Mag was released this week! Full of inspiring content from, and curated by, editor Melissa DiRenzo of The Sweet Escape, this online magazine is full of inspiration to fulfill your ultimate summer - from DIY projects, entertaining tips, recipes and more, this handmade guide has everything you need. 

3. I need to start a capsule closet. Both Coco & Vera and Style Bee have me convinced! 

4. I'll be in New York next week and staying in the Lower East Side, and since it's one of the few neighbourhoods I haven't explored yet, this guide on The Tig is going to be my bible for the week. 

5. Next Sunday is Father's Day and all this week I've seen many gift guides recommending what to buy for dad. I'm not able to celebrate this day with my dad because I lost him to cancer five years ago, but I'm still able to honour his memory. His favourite place (and mine, too) was our family cottage, of which I shared photos on my blog previously here and will be on my mind more than usual this weekend, I'm sure. Another memory I have of my father is his love of music. I made a playlist of his favourite songs and shared them in this post last October - my dad loved sharing music and the best way I can honour his memory is to further share his favourite songs with others.  

Father's Day - Cottage Memories

Thinking of my dad today, who passed away three and a half years ago, after fighting a two year battle with cancer.  I want to honour his memory today by sharing with you photos of his favourite place to be - our cottage.  My parents purchased it when I was just a couple of years old.  Back then, it was a four bedroom cottage with all the typical, cottage-tacky finishes and furnishings that you would expect from a Muskoka cottage.  But over the next 26 years, my dad would constantly be expanding its walls, decorating it and making it the amazing place that it was - a place for family and a place for entertaining guests.  He was very talented - my dad built additions on the cottage, as well as constructed additional buildings on the property (a bunkie, a shed, a garage, a boathouse).  He did most of the work himself.  He was incredibly talented - he didn't just build the structures, he made a lot of the furniture within them, too.  And as if that wasn't enough, he did all the decorating.  While I've always thought of my dad as a designer, an architect, a builder, a landscaper, it never occurred to me to think of him as a decorator.  But he was a decorator.  Now I see where I get it from.  He was a huge influence on me before I even knew it.  Two common themes stand out across his decorating style - he loved antiques and he loved bar paraphernalia.  And he loved to display it all at once!  There wasn't a bare wall, or even a bare ceiling, to speak of.  There wasn't enough time to see it all and absorb everything in one weekend.  Even if you could see it all, it was different the next weekend anyway.  New things were often added, or existing things were moved around. It was a great place to be.  It was my happy place.  (I say "was" because we sold it shortly after my dad's passing.)  It was my dad's happy place.  He was so connected to the cottage that it's impossible to think of my dad without thinking of the cottage, and vice versa.  So that's why sharing pictures of my family's cottage is the perfect way to remember him today.  

Lake-facing front of cottage, screened-in Muskoka Room shown.    

The room at left was an addition that my dad built and can only be entered from the outside since the part of the cottage that it's attached to is a bedroom.  This room was nicknamed the "Honeymoon Suite."  ;) 

Before I take you on a tour of the inside of the cottage, here is our view across the lake.  Friends of ours still own the cottage that is just barely visible through the trees - though our families met as neighbours, we became good friends and still keep in touch and occasionally get together - lots of love to the Warners and the Wheelers.  :)  

The most popular spot inside the cottage - The Bar.  Behind the bar is the kitchen.  My dad built the wooden bar atop the peninsula and extended it a few feet further after building the addition at right of picture (not shown).  Contributing to the pub feel are beer taps (for show only, they never functioned), beer signs, neon lights, brass bar rails, and of course, a compact fridge under the bar for easy access to cold beer.  Thanks and love to the Parkers for providing us with most of the bar/beer paraphernalia.  

This is the addition my dad built off the kitchen, next to the bar.  It functions as a breakfast nook, library, and antiques showcase.  The window was salvaged from one of my dad's job sites and the antique glasses were collected over time.  This room has a peaked ceiling (wish I had a picture) that was plastered with old bond certificates, and more beer signs and antiques.  

A view of the bar and kitchen from further back, standing just between the open-concept dining/living room.  Directly behind us are the French doors leading to the Muskoka Room, we'll get there soon...  

The dining room.  My dad built this table.  The pressback chairs are antiques (I don't know where they came from but they've been in the family for as long as I can remember) and they are now in my eat-in kitchen!  I'm really glad that we didn't sell these chairs with the cottage (most of the furniture went to the new owners).  Before we sold the cottage, my aunt had the foresight to insist we didn't just give them away and, until about a month ago, she had been storing them in her garage for the last three years because she knew that one day they would find a place in my home.  Lots of love to Aunt Linda - it's so nice to have a little bit of my cottage in my city house.  

The dining room at night.  Now you can see the French doors to the Muskoka Room.  This picture is a great example of how my dad utilized every inch of space to display things - pictures, graphic beach towels, and tin signs were affixed to the ceiling.  

The living room.  Originally, this room had wall-to-wall green carpet and that fireplace didn't exist.  My dad built the fireplace himself.  The cozy black velvet tufted sofas were from my dad's first condo that he purchased when he was 19 years old.  My dad installed those French doors (and I painted them!) - they enter onto the hallway that leads to the three bedrooms, bathroom and mudroom.  There is a fourth bedroom just to the right of this picture, that is entered from this room.  

A close-up of the fireplace, at night.  That electrician's nightmare of wires at left is the stereo.  My dad had the entire place wired - this one area controlled speakers in this room, in the kitchen, and to 2 areas down by the lake, one on top of the boathouse and one next to the lower dock.  Many, many years ago, we had a record player, and my dad would sit on the arm of the couch and play records for us all night.  

The Muskoka Room (a.k.a. the screened-in porch).  The couch belonged to my grandparents.  I don't remember where the trunk came from but it makes a great coffee table.  Just behind the lamp on the other side of the screen at the top-right of the photo is an old Canada Post mailbox that my dad picked up at an antique store.  

We had a lot of Coca-Cola paraphernalia around the cottage.  This cooler wasn't used much in later years (it became too weather-damaged), but I can remember a few big parties where it was in business.  It lived on the deck just outside the kitchen/dining room.  

This is the seating area opposite the bed in the "Honeymoon Suite" (the addition my dad built).  The log wall is actually the original exterior of the cottage.  The chairs and coffee table belonged to my grandparents.  

The unfinished "Honeymoon Suite."  Loon blanket acting as headboard, doing its best to hide the exposed insulation.  I have this problem where I can't ever finish a project because I quickly move on to the next project before I'm finished the one before it.  Ohhhh NOW I see where I get that from!  :) 

The boathouse!  My dad built the cribs, hired someone to build the boathouse up, then laid the deck on top and built the railing himself.  I mentioned earlier that the bar was the popular spot INSIDE the cottage - well, the boathouse was the popular spot OUTSIDE the cottage.  

View of the other side of the boathouse.  

North view of lake from top of boathouse.  

Facing west from top of boathouse.  Huge seating area where we hung out with our friends, family and neighbours.  

South view of the lake.  And that concludes the tour.  

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my family's cottage.  It was a very special place for us.  We really miss it, but it wouldn't be the same without my dad there.  For those of you who have been a guest at this cottage, I hope you enjoyed the memories that seeing these pictures undoubtedly brought back - my dad loved hosting and entertaining and sharing this cottage with friends, and it meant a lot that he was able to share it with you.  :)