Thursday, July 2, 2009

A guest cottage over 40 years in the making

When my mother, Louise Schwartz, first bought this cottage on the shores of Seneca Lake, New York in the early 1960s, one of her early projects was to convert the free-standing garage into a cabin for overflow for the many kids that came to spend their summer.

We were living in White Plains, outside of New York City, and racing up to the lake for summers with all the cousins, who still live around the lake.

Eventually, my mother had a vision to turn the cabin into a guest house in the woods or a studio for her while she turned over the 'main' house over to the rest of us. She had a friend of my brother's help design and construct an upstairs loft bedroom, a small kitchen, and a bathroom that resembled more of an indoor outhouse.

In the past four years that Michael and I have been spending summers here, we've made baby steps of progress, with a lot of help from friends and family. Cousin Brett did some carpentry for us. Our friend from Hazlitt's winery, Brad Phillips, painted the cottage inside and out in exchange for rent. We got the better deal, we think....

Brother Dan became the plumbing and electrical maestro. Michael did everything else, and I got to decorate.

So almost 50 years later, our first official guests are set to arrive.

I've felt my mother's presence on the property this past week as I put the finishing touches on the cottage. She is tickled, I'm sure, with how the place looks and how her vision finally has come to pass.

It took a lot of years and a lot of people to make it happen. But it was her vision, once again, exactly as she planned.

If you knew my mother, this is no surprise.

More pictures of the cottage.