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I know you are probably tired of hearing about my cottage so this is my last entry on the topic. The photo shoot is done (see our October 2011 issue), and so is the video, so I'm going to take a break from doing anything up there for a bit. Well, aside from putting a new roof on the bunkie, finally painting the floor in there, and removing a few more trees to open up the view — just a teensy bit more. Maybe it will only be a short break.

Anyway, the photo shoot this past spring went well. (We shot half of the story in the fall last year and half this spring.) The spring portion was only one week after I brought up all of our furniture (in a rain storm, no less). Things hadn't even had a chance to settle in!

I thought I would share a few of the moments and details that didn't make it into the layout in our October issue. I also wanted to share a few snaps of what life up there is really like after the photographer leaves.

Here is photographer Michael Graydon setting up a shot in the living room. It was early June and he was eaten alive by mosquitos. They were drawn to the light from the computer screen so his head was always surrounded by bugs.

This is what our dining room table looks like most of the time — a mess of books, laptops, newspapers, crosswords and cups of coffee. I love this view that shows how the dining area relates to the living space. You can see that Arriz's giant speakers are in the shot here. We took them out during the photo shoot, but when I see them here I don't really mind the way they look and I have to tell you, they sound amazing.

I didn't have these pillows with their long ties in place on the day of the shoot, but I absolutely love them. I found them in Sweden about ten years ago and was thrilled to be able to finally use them.

This view shows even more of how the spaces relate to each other and you can clearly see the quarter sawn white oak dining table and benches that Arriz designed specifically for the space.

This is me trying to figure out if I can fashion a huge stretch of linen into a privacy screen for guests who might want to sleep on the daybed. Until the folding doors arrive (you can see the track in the floor), I'm hoping a linen curtain will do the trick.

Here is what the bedroom looks like in the morning as the sun comes in from the side window. Arriz has no idea I snapped this photo while he was still sleeping.

I have been talking around the office about how dream catchers are totally hip, and our deputy editor Hilary Smyth gave me a toy dream catcher kit as a joke. But I put it together a couple of weekends ago and actually kind of like it hanging on the painted Ikea closet!

This is a photo wall tucked around the corner in the bedroom so only Arriz and I can see it. It's a collection of images and mementos that share personal meaning for the two of us. I hung them up using the same Japanese tape from our March 2011 weekend decorating story.

I had to go in for a close up shot of these two industrial lamps. The one on the left is a really old Ikea lamp that Arriz had forever. I found it in the basement, gave it a fresh coat of paint and it fits perfectly on the West Elm round outdoor table. Last week at the Ikea exhibition on King Street, I noticed that they have just re-released it in grey.

This is Arriz and I making lunch for everyone on set for the photo shoot. The kitchen layout is really functional — easy for several people to prep and cook at the same time. Everyone had burgers, but I'm a vegetarian so I tried a Lick's veggie burger. My best friend's mom, Sandy Dunkelman, who is an amazing Toronto potter, made the gorgeous dishware.

Here are a few of my fave kitchen details, like the row of rocks in an old olive tray on the ledge above the sink, and the DWR cups that our friend Mazen gave us as a wedding gift.

Since there isn't a dishwasher, this is a common site: the Ikea wood dish rack next to our deep sink and gooseneck faucet.

Here's the butcher block waterfall surface on the island wrapping over the custom painted drawers. The artwork is by my friend George Whiteside, and the bench below offsets it perfectly.

A collection of old glass, pottery and a pair of binoculars sits on the sill of the interior window that looks into the screened-in porch (my favourite room!). Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast the day of the shoot, so I had to include some snaps that show just how gorgeous the light can be.

I added in a wee bit more colour to the porch with the pillows and throw. You can see the beginning of the screened walls at the right — in fact, two of the walls are full-height screens, so napping on that daybed feels like you're sleeping outdoors. I am still on the hunt for the right coffee table.

This shot of the far end of the deck gives you an idea of how much the space feels like a tree house. And the black folding mesh chairs by Fermob are the most comfortable outdoor chairs I have ever sat in.

Former H&H design editor Joel Bray helped me out immensely the day before the shoot putting up the last few rows of cable railing on the back barbecue deck. Joel, thank you so much!

I had to include a shot of our crokinole board — Arriz is a shark!

We removed these three wasp nests from the overhang right outside our living room door one day. We brought them inside and they became coffee table art!

Here is the back entryway into the breezeway, loaded up with sun hats, brooms and flip-flops.

The magazine shoot didn't capture the round carpet in the breezeway. I moved it there the day before the shoot and I kind of love the graphic hit there now.

Here it is again, and you can see the barbecue that sits on a dedicated balcony behind the kitchen.

And of course I had to include a shot of our composting toilet. Not the sexiest thing in the world but as far as composting toilets go, this is a pretty great-looking one. It's a Mulltoa from EcoEthic. I'm contemplating wrapping the white pipe in coir rope but I have to make sure it doesn't compromise functionality in any way.

And here is a look inside our toolshed underneath the house, outfitted with Ikea's utility tables and rod and hook system. The cloppers, handsaw and axe are the first tools I bought for the cottage.

Our builder, Michael Carty, spotted this mother deer (right) giving birth to her baby fawn right under the construction zone — he didn't disrupt them, of course! Pictured left, the fawn is taking his first wobbly steps. Cute!

And that's it for now! I hope that through my blog posts, the October 2011 issue, and our Online TV tour, you've enjoyed a glimpse into my other — simpler, quieter — life at the cottage.

To read Arriz's take on the cottage, check out his blog, or feel free to ask him questions about the design at

Photo credits:
1, 9. House & Home October 2011 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
2-8, 10-25. Suzanne Dimma
26. Michael Carty
27. Arriz Hassam

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