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

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...

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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?

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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...

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Banquet Atelier prints

If you are anything like me, you have the hardest time finding art for your space. I always find that the pieces I love tend to be very expensive, and the less-expensive pieces tend to be...not as lovable. Of course, there are...

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5 things you need to learn on the water

Rights of way The vessel being overtaken has the right of way. The boat approaching from the right, or starboard, also has right of way; the boat coming from the left, or port side, must make clear they intend to yield. If two...

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Pretty DIY ribbon pendant lamp

My cottage DIY skills are fairly limited. Okay, they are basically non-existent. (I add that caveat with the snickers of each of my family members firmly in my mind.) I mean, I can paint and sand, and I even replaced the screen in...

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Cottage-country Hot Spot: The Treasure Shop

We've just returned from a twelve-day summer stay at the cottage. We had a fantastic time, although I will say that I noticed a few differences being on holiday with a baby. Not quite as much hammock time as in previous years!...

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Septic tank art

Here's an idea that can't be matched with words: A Hello Kitty septic tank. No kidding! Click here to see. Seems like a lot of work on something that people won't even see, but I love a cheeky attitude!

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Milk crate furniture from Made

Are milk crates ever actually used for milk? I suppose they are, but I'm not sure I've ever actually seen it. I usually see them crammed with old books or acting as makeshift side tables. Sturdy, cheap, and colourful, milk crates...

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Tonight on Cottage Life

  • 06:00 pmCOTTAGE CHEESE
  • 06:30 pmWEEKEND RENO
  • 09:00 pmBROJECTS
  • 10:00 pmMONSTER MOVES
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Colin Field