Not your grandpa’s cottage…

By Edilka Anderson

Mention family cottages to many Canadians and they’ll get sentimental and start musing about romantic weekends “Up North,” crackling campfires, lazy afternoons on the dock, water-sports and walks in the woods. After all, isn’t that what being a Canuck is all about?

In days gone by, seasonal cottages, with their rustic lakeside charm and timeless furniture, were handed down through generations with very little muss or fuss, save spring opening and fall closing chores. They were, after all, designed as simple, wilderness retreats where extended families could enjoy quiet and purposeful disconnects from the craziness of city life.

Today, the lure of escaping to a cottage still has that happy, “get away from it all appeal” but, along with the allure of crystal blue lakes and uninterrupted family time, comes the trend of undertaking major renovations.

Yes, on many a lakefront, grandma’s cheerful cottage disorder, musty furnishings and moose heads have passed their lengthy expiry date. Rather, investing in four-season weatherproofing, making plans for year-round use and working with an interior designer are in vogue.

Sure, the quest for relaxation and a more “basic life” is still on every cottager’s bucket list today, but there is also a healthy, 20th century thirst for all the comforts and style of in-town life. Bigger is now better, with elaborate chef-style kitchens and barbecues, grand living areas inside and out and floor-to-ceiling triple-glazed picture windows. Spacious bathrooms with soaker tubs and walk-in showers mix with loft style bedrooms and chic guest bunkie’s and boat houses. Modern furnishings and fabulous statement pieces come by truck from the city with fun and colourful accessories, home entertainment set-ups, and all the latest lifestyle toys.

But fear not…the calm and earthy cottage vibe will never go away, neither will the timeless views of the lake and the everlasting buzz of the evening mosquitos. Modern cottage-ing has simply been been re-invented, just like grandpa’s easy chair, to accommodate the everyday busy lifestyles and expectations of multi-gen families where low maintenance and energy efficiency rule.

 Look for energy starred European appliances, non-fuss slip covers, easy to clean floors, bold accessories, lots of organized storage, simple fresh linens and even some sexy animal or botanical prints for fun. Wicker will sit beside a French antique chair and a harvest table. And why not?

With dash of sleek here, and a pretty punch of colour there, your cottage should be a fabulous second home, be it old, or new, renovated or rustic.

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