Decorate your cottage to keep a fresh look
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.
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.