A rustic lake camp cottage is low maintenance and designed for carefree summer family living.
The notion of “unplugging” in a house by a lake is one way to live a less frenetic life. What better place to do that than a lakeside home in Maine? There, my pal Marsha and her husband, Lin, renovated an old camp house. “We love it here,” she told me by email (not everyone needs to disconnect completely). “I stay from Memorial Day to Labor Day with my husband coming back and forth using his vacation days. All my children and grandkids come in July. My daughter, Sarah, lives in Bangor, Maine. So…it makes for a wonderful summer for me.” I’ll say. She says she wants to officially call it “Mainely Virginia,” in homage to her two home states. “But my kids don’t like [that name].”
Marsha and I have known each other for ten years now. She and her husband built their home in Virginia at the same time my husband and I were renovating ours, as I explained in the introduction to my post on her Virginia Farmhouse. So it’s a treat to visit her again, this summer. Her lake camp cottage has most modern comforts including electricity and a luxurious bath by camp standards. Take note, she says. “There’s NO television. We play board games and card games.” Here’s part one of our tour.
Welcome! A twig-style sign hangs on the porch (seen from inside, through the screen door).
Downstairs is essentially one open room with seating around the fireplace and a dining table. An American pieced quilt hangs over the back of the sofa. Marsha loves high beamed ceilings (which we also saw in her other house) and, as a furniture dealer, quite naturally has a talent for finding interesting chandeliers. The one in her great room has compass directions engraved on it in French – Nord (north), Est (east), Sud (South), and Ouest (west). Chic!
The dining area faces the screen porch and the front of the house, which overlooks the lake. The two-board table is an antique as are the slat-bottom chairs with mixed green-painted and natural woods. In true Maine cabin style, pine paneling abounds.
An Amish-made Adirondack-style twig and slat rocker sits near the fireplace, facing the sofa. The gray-painted storage bench behind it has a lift top, and above is a painting by Marsha’s son, the artist Will Corr. In the home belonging to a military family, it’s no surprise to find red, white and blue accessories everywhere. The floor covering is natural fiber.
Stairs lead to a twin loft bedroom where the grandchildren stay. And no furniture dealer’s camp would be complete without a grain-painted antique chest and a compass pattern American pieced quilt thrown over the back of the sofa.
A closer look at the chest, found in Ellsworth, Maine, shows grain-painted drawer fronts and a contrasting dull green frame.
Grain painting is a wonderful expression of painstaking hand painting most often done by an unknown person. A surprise bonus with this 3-drawer chest is the charming stylized flowers on the side panel that is easily seen from the passageway.
In keeping with the simplicity of camp style, the pine-planked ceiling and beams are left unpainted. But there’s color on the paneled wall that extends into of the no-nonsense, utilitarian kitchen.
Basic is the kitchen’s theme. It has all the “modern conveniences except a dishwasher,” Marsha says.
A picture-frame sign over the kitchen sink expresses the spirit of the camp. And, there’s much more to see.
Please continue with Part 2 of the tour.
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