Vintage Collectors Embrace Slower Living in a Mid-Century Cottage

updated Feb 19, 2019

Vintage Collectors Embrace Slower Living in a Mid-Century Cottage

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Rob & Evelyn Stewart
Location: Washago — Ontario, Canada
Size: 1,100 square feet (plus a 350-square-foot bunkie)
Years lived in: 9 years, owned

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Thirty years ago, Rob and Evelyn decided to move from the city to Muskoka, a desirable cottage town in Ontario to raise their kids. Now, they’re semi-retired and their kids are grown up, so they’ve taken advantage of “slower living” in their quiet town. The home also has a bunkie cottage (also known as a micro house) on the property, which isn’t short of style or spectacular antiques. The bunkie, which was built in 1959, was updated in 2011 to host friends and family.

While vacationing at their home in Florida three years ago, Rob and Ev got a call from their daughter saying the house had flooded. While it was very unfortunate and resulted in a lot of damage, it was a great excuse for them to renovate their cottage home. With a new kitchen, flooring, and furniture, they took full advantage of the opportunity to remodel. Fortunately, they were able to keep many of their prized possessions.

Rob has never been afraid of picking up roadside finds or knocking on doors to ask to buy furniture from his neighbors. He has a local route full of barns, thrift stores, and vintage shops he visits frequently. Ev is a master of all creative trades, including sewing, refinishing, and cooking. Together, they’ve created a collection of retro goods and unique finds that make up their home, and they have no plans to stop anytime soon.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid-century modern, vintage collectors, with a little Northern Muskoka cottage style, too.

Inspiration: Mid-century furniture, dishware, and patterns, and the lines of mid-century design. The inspiration for the bunkie was old Georgian Bay cottages.

Favorite Element: The location! It’s on a small lake in Northern Ontario.

Biggest Challenge: The layout. All bedrooms and bathrooms are off the main space. Ideally, we’d have a hallway with rooms off of it, but the space doesn’t allow for it, so everything is built off the dining room and kitchen, which was a challenge when decorating.

What Friends Say: “Where did you get this” or “Can we stay in the bunkie!?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The exterior. The driveway is horrible and hard to keep in order due to the extremes in weather up here. Also, the bunkie has no bathroom!

Proudest DIY: Putting flooring on the ceiling in the bunkie. There’s hardwood on the covered porch and cork flooring in the bedroom. Also, Rob built a liquor cabinet off of the dining room with extras left over from past kitchen renovations.

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen sink and faucet.

Best Advice: Buy quality pieces and work with those. If you come across a good find, get it and store it. Even if you can’t use it now, it will come in handy eventually. The tractor seats on the DIY stools at the table were in our shed for 15 years and we finally came across two vintage bases (for 50 cents each) at a garage sale. You don’t need a ton of space, just keep the quality stuff.

Dream Sources: Flea markets, second-hand stores, ReStore, Kijiji


Contour Lounge Chair from 1962 — Kijiji find
Coffee table — Made from a vintage tool box
Horn stool — Found in attic
Black leather chair — Vintage IKEA (20 years old)
Yellow TV unit — IKEA

Chairs — 1970s Italian moulded leather found at auction
Table base — IKEA
Glass — Thrift store find (only $2!)
Stools — DIY
Rug — IKEA

Eames chair — Herman Miller (only $7.50!)

Orange chair — Second hand shop in Washago Beach (only $5)

Thanks, Rob & Ev!

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