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
How to spruce up your old wicker baskets
Wicker baskets are one of those things that seemed to multiply in my cottage without our even trying to accumulate them. Which is fine, because they are always useful for holding the random bits that also appear unaided at the...
DIY pallet projects
The internet seems to be abuzz these days with ideas for upcycling shipping pallets. It's easy to understand why: These flat, wooden crates are made from solid wood that is strong enough for all sorts of DIY projects, from beds to...
Four unique headboards
When we first moved into our house, the first project I set my mind to was finding a really great headboard. We had decided to splurge a little and buy a king-size bed, and it looked so massive in the room and really needed...
Cottage makeover from the folks at Mjölk
"The Milky Way," in the May issue of Cottage Life, is exactly the kind of story that I love having in the magazine. It's about a young couple who inherited an ordinary, clapboard cottage and, with a lot of elbow grease and heaps...
Samantha Pynn at the Spring Cottage Life Show
As I've previously admitted, I'm a total junkie when it comes to home makeover shows. I love HGTV and have been known to surrender hours of my life to it. So of course I was delighted when the network sent over a few sneak-peek...
A cottage in the city
We've entered the worst/best time of year for cottagers.
It's the worst because by this point in the calendar we are itching to get back to the beloved cottages we've left so many months ago. We've had it with winter; bring on...
What to do with old board games
I know that I have been blogging rather infrequently lately, and for that I do apologize. It's been a busy fall and winter! But I'm back now with full force and have so many ideas, big and small, stored up that I can't wait to...
Valentine’s Day gifts for cottagers
My cottage is not winterized, so I've never spent a Valentine's Day there, nor has it ever occurred to me that I might. Which is a curious thing, really, because what better place is there to cozy up than on a snowy lake, a fire...
Art in unlikely places…
Just a quick note from the kooky cottage decor department:
First it was a Hello Kitty septic tank, now it's a propane tank logo head. What will they think of next?
How to build a personal fire pit
Karen Bertlesen is a true Renaissance woman. On her blog, The Art of Doing Stuff, she explains how to make a delicious curried chicken salad, how to raise a Monarch butterfly, how to paint a lampshade, and even how to "kill a...