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Rethinking The Cottage

by - Saturday, June 04, 2011

As temperatures rise, most of us dream of heading out and spending some time at the cottage, kicking back, enjoying beers and bbqs, and dips in the lake. The cottage of my dreams would look a bit like this...

{Photo: House and Home May 2010, photographer Ted Yarwood}

...wide open spaces, white walls and ceilings, warm woods. But, in reality, most cottages I've stayed at look like a 1970's furniture graveyard. Think sunken chairs, old beds (and even older mattresses), mismatched dining chairs, faded curtains. Have I just described your cottage? :)

In her new series Summer Home, designer Karen Sealy tries to put the pretty back in cottage country. Tackling everything from cottage kitchens and decks to bunkies and bedrooms, Karen turns these homes away from home into dreamy retreats.

I attended a launch party recently to celebrate the show at the Sealy Design office. I don't know how Karen and her talented team get much work done when their office (in a converted garage) looks like this:

...and their boardrooms looks like this:

Uhm, hello, where do I sign up?! Such great summer decorating inspiration. They plied us full of mimosas, sliders, salad and the delish signature Sealy Slammer drink while we watched the premiere episode of Summer Home. And I'll tell you, the show is perfect summer viewing. Full of humour, fun, and inspiring design, Summer Home is as refreshing as, well, a swim in the lake.

I've always enjoyed Karen's appearances on CityLine and found that she is just as warm, energetic, and engaging as she appears on screen. Her designs always offer a great mix of renovation, customization, and decoration, like this renovation of a Toronto bungalow. I love the custom Ikea touches and how she has the forethought to plan for future renovation needs.

In Summer Home, Karen puts those reno and decor skills to use again. She has tips on how to deal with the small space and small budget challenges of cottage decorating - tips any city dweller can use too! Since we have deep emotional attachments to our cottages, Karen also features a lot of reuse of existing materials and some DIY to repurpose beloved objects.

If you're like most people and always put the cottage on the bottom of the decorating list, this show may cause you to reconsider that. You may have to live with the mosquitos and black flies, but that doesn't mean you have to live with the ugly knotty pine and musty furniture too ;)

Summer Home premieres on HGTV Canada on Sunday June 5th at 9pm EST.

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  1. Sounds fab! I'll have to check it out when it airs again!


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