Michelle Kelly

I've spent every summer of my life visiting the Rideau Lakes cottage that my parents built in 1972. I grew up watching my mom fill the place with antiques, mostly purchased from auction sales all over eastern Ontario. I suppose it's her taste that first nurtured mine: If it's old, I probably like it. My ideal cottage weekend involves waking up early on Saturday and hurrying to our local flea market to find a new treasure. It's usually something vintage, of no great purpose other than it makes me happy to look upon it (and I have the milk-glass collection, a sweet set of 1960s hankies, and the most-awesome two-tiered 70s chip bowl ever to prove it). As an editor at Cottage Life magazine, I've seen hundreds of cottages covering a whole range of styles. And while my own tastes lie on the more traditional (and often quirkier) side, I'm equally impressed by the sophisticated modern aesthetic that has drifted ashore in cottage country. I admire the daring break from the traditional cottage-as-lodge look (bear rugs and hunter green plaid anyone?) to something cleaner and more open, and very often more environmentally friendly. Cottage style—whether it be the design of the building or the decor that fills it—”is hugely varied. I love it all. I've never been one to follow trends in design and decor; I just like what I like, and I try to make sure that everything in my personal space is something I love. This is especially true at the cottage, the place that has given me my most precious memories, and where even the smallest, most utilitarian object can hold so much meaning (sort of like that chip bowl). -Michelle Kelly


Recent Articles and Blog Posts

Editor’s Pick: Red Dot Blankets

No matter the season, you can never have too many blankets at the cottage. Wrapped around you in winter or slung over the back of the couch in summer, they are a way to add colour, texture, and character to your cottage...

Read »

Editor’s pick: Schoolhouse Log Carrier

With all this crazy winter weather we're seeing this year, our only choice is to rely on more traditional ways to keep ourselves warm and happy. No power? No problem—if you are lucky enough to have a roaring fireplace to huddle...

Read »


The evolution of a cottage exterior

One of my colleagues, Randy Craig, is about as hardcore a cottager as I've ever met. He and his partner, Rita, have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making their heritage Muskoka getaway into their dream cottage. And that's...

Read »

Monopoly art

When I was a kid, Monopoly was a favourite at our family cottage. I haven't played for years, ever since my obsessions with gin rummy and Scrabble began, but I still harbour a love for the old-timey feel of the game, especially...

Read »




Three options for outdoor chairs

Listen, we at Cottage Life like a good Muskoka chair (or Adirondack chair, or Westport chair, or whatever you want to call them) as much as the next cottager. But that doesn't mean we aren't allowed to perch elsewhere all summer,...

Read »

How to make a gutter garden

Neither of my thumbs are green. Quite the opposite, in fact. I've never had a plant in my home that lived longer than a couple of months. This is pathetic, I know, because with the kind of plants I buy all I really have to do is...

Read »

Tonight on Cottage Life

  • 06:00 pmMY RETREAT
  • 06:30 pmDINING INN-VASION
  • 07:00 pmBUYING ALASKA
  • 07:30 pmWEEKEND RENO
  • 08:00 pmFARM KINGS
  • 09:00 pmBUYING THE BAYOU
  • 09:30 pmWHAT'S FOR SALE
  • 10:00 pmMY RETREAT
  • 10:30 pmWEEKEND RENO
  • 11:00 pmBUYING ALASKA
  • 11:30 pmCOLIN AND JUSTIN'S CABIN PRESSURE
View Full Schedule

MOST POPULAR


Michelle Kelly