Monday, December 13, 2010

Stylish Cottage Accessories

With winter solidly upon us and warm summer days many months away, we’ve been slowly accumulating items that we’d like to bring up to the cottage on opening weekend. We are lucky that our cottage came with pretty much everything, but we still want to make the cottage our own, so here are some of the items we’ve picked up for the cottage so far.

Cottage Radio
This staple of summer time cottage relaxing has endured for decades. Mostly resisting the advancements that we see in all other home entertainment products, the cottage radio remains decidedly low-fi. A really good cottage radio doesn’t need surround sound, subwoofers, tweeters, crossovers or equalizers. All it needs to do is pick up the few stations available in the area clearly, and fade into the background both aesthetically and sonically.

The previous owners left us with a great cottage radio, which is probably as old as the cottage itself. This radio would be perfect, except for a single technological advancement that I wish it did have - the ability to play mp3’s.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Moose FM “Putting the Wattage in Your Cottage”, but sometimes you just want to listen to some dinner music. And so my wife bought me a worthy replacement for my birthday – The Tivoli Model One. The Model One is everything a cottage radio should be, it has great reception through it’s internal antennae, and even better reception if you use an external antennae, it looks like a relic, it’s analog, has one speaker and a tuning dial. But in addition to all that it sounds amazing and has an auxiliary jack for an mp3 player.

Vintage Luggage Rack
We got the idea for this from our friend Lorie, who has one in the guest room of her beautiful cottage in Muskoka. When you have guests to a cottage for a weekend, they rarely unpack all their belongings and place them into drawers, instead they usually just live out of their bags. That’s why the luggage rack makes so much sense; it allows your guest to unpack some of the items, while still making it easy to access their bag and contents.

Ours isn’t actually a luggage rack at all, in fact it started life in 1923 as a “tub bench”. In the olden days, they would wash clothing in large wooden staved buckets that sat elevated on the rack, using something that resembled a big toilet plunger. The tub would then be at the right height to pull the laundry out and dry it through a wringer. Here’s a picture of what the whole get up would have looked like. I wonder where the fabric softener and dryer sheets go?

We bought ours from Arcadia Antiques on Queen Street West in Toronto. It was a bit weathered and the wood was a bit dry, so i put a few of coats of Minwax satin urethane on it to protect the wood from drying out further in our unheated cottage during the winter. Here it is after a bit of cleaning and finishing:

Wool Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blanket
Nothing says Northern Ontario quite like the classic multi stripe HBC Point Blanket. These iconic blankets were first introduced in 1780, and have found their way around the world. The point system (short black lines on the side of the blanket) denotes the size and weight of the blanket. They are renowned for the warmth and durability. While I have yet to find one of these beauties, I do have my eyes peeled for a nice condition vintage one.