We made our long-awaited return to Cottage Country this weekend. Because we're water-access, the options for winter-cottaging are slim and require walking, driving, or snowmobiling across the frozen lake - All activities I will not be participating in.
So, once closed in the Fall, she'll sit quietly until our return each Spring. The lake thawed in record time this year (signs of a hot summer ahead?) so we got here a month earlier than anticipated. While beautiful and scenic and quiet, it's still a bit freezing fucking cold. But it was glorious.
The main house has a lovely wood burning stove, which keeps it toasty warm no matter what's happening outside. We, however, sleep in the bunky near the shore. When we bought the place last summer with Jeff's brother and his wife, we staked our claim there, thinking ahead to the godawful hour at which children wake and a need for a quiet refuge from all that comes with a Family Cottage.
The Uncles need their rest.
The Unky's Buncle (as it's known) is huge (as far as bunkies go, maybe 20 by 12) and we've it set up to sleep six, when necessary. It's a magical place to lay your head, the water lapping underneath, coaxing you to sleep and then waking you again. It's breezy and quiet, cozy and gentle.
We got the cottage mid-summer last year, so didn't do much in the way of fix-ups - We just wanted to enjoy it for its brief (yet rainy) maiden season. This year we've got some plans up our sleeves.
Much of the main house is paneled in tongue-and-groove knotty pine. I don't mind it, really, the cottage being a place where my mind and body tend to shut down completely. The things that might normally grind my gears don't seem to: sticky drawers, tacky furniture, and that tongue-and-groove pine paneling. But I think we'll white-wash the whole place. A murky cloak over the knotty wood will work to brighten and tidy the whole joint.
I've also thought a lot about blowing out the ceiling in the living room, opening it up to the peaked roof above. I'd love to hang cool vintage lighting fixtures up among the rafters. As much as I like the ceiling (not sure what it's made of, but it's divided by thin strips of wood, creating a paneled ceiling of sorts. I love the way the light hits it on an overcast day.)
We're also going to do some stuff to the bunky. Its paneling is one-worse: that shiny, horrific faux-wood sheet nailed onto the studs. A bit of scuffing and some priming will allow us to paint that shit out. If we take it to the rafters too, the place will surely double in size.
A big task is replacing the very child-unfriendly railings on the deck. In order to preserve the openness and keep the views intact, we're going with glass and white vinyl railings, which will match the siding. Gates will make the whole thing a giant playpen for the kids, perfect for boozy and neglectful summer afternoons.
Purely decoratively, I want to turn the little corner below into a giant photo gallery, years worth of cottage-photos on the walls above a card table. Gin and tonics, a bowl of pistachios, and outrageous amounts of fun for the next 50 years.
I also want to swap out the kitchen knobs with something more interesting, something old school and ceramic. The cottage is the place to explore all the decorative nooks and crannies of your brain, a place to try the things you'd never think to put in your downtown apartment.
And I can get real country if I put my mind to it.
I love few fabrics more than flannelette. My grandma has dozens of blankets like these all over the house, tucked into drawers to be pulled out on cold winter nights or hot summer ones. Every bed in the bunky has one.
Our family photo wall slowly grows. Jeff (bowl cut, overalls) and his brother Billy in the early 80s, their picnic-perfect Tupperware© bowls and Elise above (Billy's daughter, our zany niece). Two generations already.