Cottage Memories

In yesterday's post I made reference to my family's cottage that we had for 26 years before selling it in 2009. In the last few years I've had the privilege of spending time at a friend's cottage, so I'm lucky to still get that cottage experience a few times each summer. However, it always makes me think back to my own family cottage and the great memories that were had there. Last year in June I wrote a post about it and shared photos of the eclectic decor, and since it's on my mind after returning from a 10 day cottage vacation I wanted to link to that post and share it again. One of the bedrooms is pictured above, but see the full cottage tour here

Antiquing At The Lazy Farmer

I can't believe it's September already. Where did the summer go?! I'm just returning home from a 10 day stay at a cottage and wishing I didn't have to go back to work. We had great weather most of the week and on one of the cloudy days I got to do a little antiquing. Like many decor enthusiasts, going antiquing is one of my favourite things to do. If time allowed, I would be out at a different flea market, fair or boutique at least once a week, travelling around to various towns and cities to check out the local assortment. One of my all-time favourite places to hunt for antiques is at The Lazy Farmer Trading Post in Orillia, Ontario, a couple of hours north of Toronto on Hwy 11. It's one of my favourite places because of its great assortment, but also because the place holds good memories for me. My former family cottage of 26 years was just 40 minutes north of The Lazy Farmer and my dad loved to stop in a few times each summer on our way home from a weekend at the cottage. I can remember going there as a little kid and being enchanted by everything; my favourite items were the frail and torn centuries old piano books (I took piano lessons most for most of my childhood). Adding to the enchantment of these visits is the building itself – the antique store is in a huge old barn, dimly lit by scarcely spaced pendant lights, the antique lamps for sale and sunlight streaming through the cracks in the barn board wall. After having a good look around the barn, my brother and I would go outside and play with the baby bunnies that the owners had running free on the property. My dad bought a ton of antique furniture and accessories from The Lazy Farmer and I grew up surrounded by them at our cottage and our home in the city. It's been several years since I've been back and I've been dying to go, so I took a day out of my week's vacation at a friend's cottage last week to drive down for the morning. It held the same charm for me as it did all those years ago. There were so many pieces I wanted to walk away with! However, I had neither the money nor a vehicle large enough to make any significant purchases. Instead, I bought a brass candlestick and wall sconce, and I took a ton of photographs to share. 

This shot perfectly illustrates the enchanting feeling you get when you first walk in to the barn, sunlight streaming through the spaces between the wall boards. 

This leather and iron chair was so beautiful and quite reasonably priced at $195. It was the first thing I saw upon entering the barn and I wished I could bring it, and its matching stool (below) home with me.  

My iPhone photo doesn't do this room divider justice because it's hard to tell that all of the detail is hand-carved and the wood dyed to create this beautiful design.  

Some lovely pink and white porcelain jugs and basins atop a pretty dresser. 

This old operator switchboard is the kind of thing my dad would have purchased - completely useful but full of interesting history. 

Antique writing desk, brass candlesticks, Victorian lamps, vanities and dressers... 

A dentist's chair? You can find pretty much anything at The Lazy Farmer.  

Piles upon piles of all kinds of chairs.  

These end tables!!!! They were already sold, but if available I would have racked up a bit of debt for sure. 

Massive moose head. 

Another gorgeous chair, likely with its original upholstery. 

Difficult to see because it was buried under and behind a lot of stuff, but this desk/vanity with it's marble top, turned wood legs and blue and white tiles was absolutely stunning. It was priced at $400. I wish I had a bigger vehicle! And a bigger bank account. Because this would have for sure come home with me. 

This juke box wasn't for sale but was filling the barn with great music to shop to. 

These were interesting pieces - a coffee table and two side tables that were made out of dug up tree roots.  

On my way to The Lazy Farmer I stopped in at the Bracebridge Habitat for Humanity Restore and picked up a few things there. More on that later this week. 

Cottage Vacation

I'm back!  I spent last week vacationing at the cottage.  I had not taken any holidays over the summer so it was nice to have some time off work and enjoy the sun.  It was also nice to be almost completely cut off from the digital world and just relax with nothing but nature around me, save for the odd post here and there on Instagram.  If you follow me on Instagram, you will by now be familiar with the EPIC invention that I've been referring to as a Splash Pad (because that's what the kids were calling it) but that I later found out from Google that it's actually called a Floater Mat. But no matter what you call it, it was a lot of fun.  Anyhow, here are just a few pics from the cottage, mostly of the lake.  

This is what I woke up to my first morning at the cottage - I saw the sun, the trees and the lake without even getting out of bed.

Splash Pad/Floater Mat!  Great for staying cool while suntanning.  The kids had fun wrestling each other on it.

Even the ducks enjoyed the splash pad!  When there were no children or adults on it, the ducks hopped on.

RMS Segwun out for a sunset cruise on Lake Muskoka.  She's the oldest operating steam-driven vessel in North America.

This picture was taken by my Mum.  We saw sunsets like this every night.

Cottage Weekend!

This weekend is a cottage weekend!  I grew up spending summers at the cottage, it's my happy place.  Since I'll be away for the weekend, enjoying the sun and sitting on the dock with wine, I wanted to leave my readers with some cottage images that have caught my eye recently.  Notice a theme?  I'm really into crisp whites, light blues, natural wood and stone features.  But don't worry, no matter what my current tastes are, I will never lose my love for this style of cottage interior.  :) 

All of the following images are from Sarah Richardson's cottage.  I've saved the best for last, this woman really knows how to design and decorate a cottage.  Everything that I love as mentioned above, plus lots of light and reclaimed wood - now that is perfection.  

Have a great weekend, everyone!  


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.  :)