According to the calendar, spring is here (though it doesn't exactly feel like it). While the carefree days of flip-flops and patio weather seem a bit far off, the slightly warmer temperatures are a sure sign that the ice on our northern lakes will soon be gone and my favourite of all seasons, "cottage season," is on its way.
Open And Shut
When considering your fenestration (a.k.a. window) needs, it's important to factor in furniture placement. While I was drawn to the idea of having multiple doors leading outside, I found it was very limiting to the amount of seating I could squeeze into my 16-by-16-foot space. If I'd had doors on all three sides, there would be no room for luxurious, deep, comfy seating, so I opted to put one giant pair of sliding doors on the south end and make the other two walls casement windows (which crank open wide and give the feeling of a screened porch on a hot day). While the windows are extra tall to capture the best view, I opted for a sill height of 26 inches so that the view from the outside looking in isn't cluttered with furniture sitting in front of panes of glass.
Be A Lounge Lizard
Lazy cottage days are meant for curling up with a good book, enjoying the sunrise with a cup of coffee or the sunset with a cool cocktail. Forget the stuffy rules of furniture arranging and do what makes sense for you and how you live. Since I wanted every seat in the living room to be oriented to the views outside, I paired one-arm chaises end to end as the ultimate relaxation spots. Like the favourite spot in any family room, the chaises are always the first seats occupied. While they may not normally be your first choice for a room designed with entertaining in mind, they do offer great flexibility and a comfy perch for many when you've got a crowd in the house.
Opt For Low Maintenance
I spent many summers as a teenager and young adult stripping, sanding, painting and repainting our old cottage. While I really don't mind painting, I'd far rather spend my precious few moments of downtime enjoying my surroundings than doing chores (and between opening and closing the cottage, the to-do list seems to grow but never quite get conquered). So when it came time to choose the materials for the exterior of the building, I wanted them to last. Prepainted Cape Cod siding (with a 15-year warranty) promises that my paint brush can stay in the shed where it belongs. Same goes for the windows (they came in a prepainted finish colour matched to my specification and are guaranteed for 10 years). By the time the exterior needs a facelift, my girls will be old enough to make the project a good old-fashioned family work party! In the meantime, we can enjoy the sun and take in the views from our new "storm room."