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Innovative Ideas for Your Summer Retreat

Cottage-themed decor for every room in your rural retreat.

Pictures in the flames

Muskokafirepits are cut into traditional and surprising designs, from bears and beavers to bicycles, fairies and spooky supernatural creatures. For an extra $50, you can add a saying or a family name. For an extra $100, you can have a completely customized design, like a business logo or a favourite pet. $525,blueoceanlighthouse.com

Pride of place

No two lakes are alike, and oh, how we love that special waterscape we’ve come to know over the years of swimming, fishing and canoeing! As long as the map of your own treasured piece of shoreline is available online, Blue Ocean Lighthouse of Gravenhurst, Ont. can custom-carve it into a plaque labelled with your lake or cottage name. It can even include a “point of interest” showing the exact location of your retreat. $300, blueoceanlighthouse.com

Blanket coverage

Artist Charles Pachter is as Canadian as can be. He’s known for his paintings of a waving Canadian flag, Queen Elizabeth II and the majestic moose. He created panels called “Hockey Knights In Canada” that show hockey players on the subway walls beneath Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Now he’s teamed up with another Canadian icon, the Hudson’s Bay blanket, to create a cotton-wool blend throw that’s just right for a chilly evening by the lake. $349, thebay.com

Weather watchers

Weathervanes have a practical purpose in predicting bad weather—as any sailor knows. But they also have lots of charm, especially if they feature a favourite hobby or frequently spotted wild visitor. Good Directions of Banbury, Connecticut, produces artist-designed weathervanes in bright copper or verdigris. Its catalogue includes birds (ducks, geese, hummingbirds, roosters and the great blue heron), as well as icons like a racing sloop, a golf player and a Labrador retriever. $218-$514, amazon.ca

Screen star

After the call of a loon, no sound says “cottage” more than the clatter of a wooden screen door. Why not make it special with a one-of-a-kind design? Muskoka Dragonfly creates custom-made doors out of Ontario white pine decorated with hand-cut outlines of local flora and fauna, like moose, bear, loons and pine trees. Each one comes with a high-quality removable aluminum-framed screen panel. Delivery to south central and southwestern Ontario. $974, muskokadragonfly.com

Lunch basket

Ikea’s three-tier Sommar 2017 serving basket could simply sit on the kitchen counter to corral napkins, fresh produce and other comestibles. Or you could hang it by its convenient ring to clear extra space in a small cooking area. Bonus: bring it outdoors and suspend it from a tree or a canopy frame to create an impromptu barbecue larder. $29.99, ikea.ca

Delightful decoys

Once, when hunting and fishing were important sources of food for the family table, hunters would carve lifelike wooden decoys to attract the ducks. Their carvings, which mimicked the colouring, plumage and even the personalities of particular species, are now recognized as accomplished pieces of folk art. Some craftspeople are still making them, and you can still find antiques in shops like Halifax’s Maps and More (in person or online). $120-$280, mapsandmore.ca

Simple seating

In the great days of ocean travel, the deck chair was the place to kick back, sip a drink and enjoy the view while watching the world drift by. It still is, whether your vantage point is a shady veranda or a sun-soaked beach. Adjustable, easy to carry and quick to set up, Ikea’s Mysingso beach chair comes in classic stripes and solids, or your choice of great contemporary fabrics. $39.99, ikea.ca