Dec­o­rate your cot­tage to keep a fresh look

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - CON­NIE OLIVER

MAN­I­TO­BANS are known for their love of the out­doors. Cot­tagers are ea­ger to open up their sum­mer re­treat for the up­com­ing sea­son. Dec­o­rat­ing the cot­tage is a great way to keep it from looking dated and stale. Keep­ing the dé­cor fresh and ap­peal­ing will help main­tain the value of your cot­tage as well as mak­ing it ap­peal­ing to you and your fam­ily.

Main­tain­ing the me­chan­ics of the cot­tage is im­por­tant, too. If you are at that place where you need to up­grade the bath­room, for in­stance, you might as well pur­chase items that will make your space at­trac­tive. Our main fea­ture room boasts great bath­room fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories from Kohler. The cot­tage flavour of the soft white fur­ni­ture is per­fect for your week­end re­treat. I par­tic­u­larly like the table­like sink van­ity and the trim at the top of all of the pieces. The long wall mir­ror is ac­tu­ally a cab­i­net that can hold tons of bath­room items. If stor­age is an is­sue, this item is a great so­lu­tion. It is not very deep so it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it’s large enough to hold lots of lit­tle bath­room sup­plies as well as pro­vid­ing a large dress­ing mir­ror. It’s sort of like a bath­room pantry, if you will. As an aside, Kohler of­fers this cab­i­net in many styles so it could also work at home if you need more stor­age for your small space.

Walls and floors

Most of us don’t have a cot­tage bath­room that is as large as our fea­ture room but I chose this pho­to­graph be­cause along with the great bath­room fur­ni­ture, it has other cot­tage el­e­ments that are eye-catch­ing. The large plank pine floor is per­fect for the cot­tage as is the sisal rug that sits on it. The wood treat­ment on all of the walls gives the space a sauna-like feel. All of th­ese rough, earthy, tex­tu­ral fin­ishes work well with the clean, white cab­i­netry. Walls and floors at the cot­tage beg for nat­u­ral fin­ishes that are sim­ple and usu­ally af­ford­able. Tongue-and­groove wood on the walls is at­trac­tive and will take the shift­ing of the cot­tage in stride as op­posed to dry­wall that can come apart at the seams when the cot­tage shifts. The walls in our main fea­ture room are hand­some yet rus­tic and low main­te­nance.

For those who pre­fer a softer look, our sec­ond room, also cour­tesy of Kohler, might be up your al­ley. This room has a soft pink paint fin­ish over raw wood which pro­vides a more fem­i­nine cot­tage feel. The walls are sim­ple ply­wood which has been detailed us­ing half-round and one-inch wood trim to mimic a tongue-and­groove look. Us­ing this trim tech­nique over ex­ist­ing dated pan­el­ing is a great, in­ex­pen­sive and quick way to up­date a dated dé­cor. Once done, paint the en­tire sur­face in a cho­sen colour (I’d go with soft white) to unify the look. If you have higher ceil­ings, adding a shelf that bor­ders the room near the ceil­ing will add to the cot­tage feel and pro­vide a great place to dis­play unique cot­tage items.

Fun ac­ces­sories

In the pink bath­room, note the twig mo­tif sconces and ceil­ing chan­de­lier (re­flected in the mir­ror.) Items from na­ture or rep­re­sent­ing na­ture can be great cot­tage ac­cents. In this case, the items are painted in soft white to main­tain the monochro­matic scheme. Don’t be afraid to paint found out­door items to co-or­di­nate with your space. Drift­wood, for in­stance, can look awe­some when painted and dis­played cre­atively.

Sport­ing goods stores have a range of fun cot­tage dé­cor items. I re­cently dropped into Ca­bela’s sport­ing goods store and found an en­tire sec­tion ded­i­cated to out­door mo­tif items for the cot­tage. Ev­ery­thing from birch bark-like bath­room ac­ces­sories (cup, tooth­paste holder, trash can) to linens with moose and pine cone mo­tifs can be found there. Whole­sale Sports also car­ries items like antler toi­let tis­sue hold­ers and small snow­shoe photo frames. Th­ese items are not every­one’s taste but can be fun when used in small doses. There are lots of beau­ti­ful pic­tures and prints that are def­i­nitely worth con­sid­er­a­tion as well as unique pho­to­graph frames and fur­ni­ture at both stores.

Cot­tage ac­ces­sories can be and should be more re­laxed and ca­sual than those in our city homes. In­ter­est­ing drift­wood, rocks, aban­doned bird nests and so on are all great ac­ces­sories for the cot­tage. Other items that can be fun to use are things like old fish­ing tackle, fish­ing rods or old boat oars, which can be used to make ev­ery­thing from wind chimes to cur­tain rods. A lit­tle whimsy goes a long way.

Cot­tage trade shows are an­other great place to get ideas for main­tain­ing and dec­o­rat­ing the cot­tage. The Cot­tage Liv­ing Show will be at the Red River Ex­hi­bi­tion Park April 23 to 25. Check out their web­site at www. cot­tage­liv­ing­show.net

En­joy your get­away with fam­ily and friends. The cot­tage is a mag­i­cal place at any time.

Your cot­tage bath­room isn’t likely to be this large, but this dis­play by Kohler con­tains some great ideas, from the plank floor­ing to the tongue-and-groove walls.

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