Life Lately – First Summer Lakeside


Hello friends, I hope you’re having the summer you dreamed of all winter (or at least a much better one than last year!). My dreams of mornings on the dock, sunny afternoons, sunset paddles, and lots of boat rides have all been coming true (with a few bug bites and A LOT of rain storms in between) and I’ve been doing my best to stay present and savour it all.

Now, here’s a little look at the best of life lately this summer, including:

  • Small Domestic Projects
  • Summer Blooms & My Indoor Jungle
  • The Cat & the Corgi
  • My Current Closet Thoughts

Grab a coffee or tea and join me for a little tour around Steep Hill lately!

The lake seems to serves up a stunning view almost every day.


We’ve been busy with lots of projects around the place and it’s been really fun to make some small but impactful updates to the house and property. Here’s a look at a few of them.


We moved an old metal shelving unit from a hallway off of the kitchen and replaced it with a rough and ready set of plywood shelves. Not exactly Pinterest perfection but effective nonetheless.

The metal unit then found a new home in the kitchen where it replaced a wooden bookshelf. Dave installed our dish washer (praise the universe!), which is a panel front unit that we’ll be keeping for our official renovation next year. It’s all still very much a work in progress but we’re doing our best to minimize work that will only be getting “undone” once our full update is underway. That said, I’m kind of obsessed with the plywood look!


The bookshelf we removed from the corner (where the metal unit is in the photo above) then made its way over to the living room. I finally unpacked some of our books and reorganized them with a few gems that came with the cottage. I tried my hand at shelf styling and I’ll admit I need some practice but I love being able to grab a book to flip through over coffee in the morning.


When we moved up to Steep Hill getting a washer and dryer was at the top of the list. We did some research and found that the MIELE compact duo was going to be our best bet for the space, septic and longevity. They’ve definitely been earning their keep and I’m really happy with them so far. While they won’t be staying the front entrance permanently, they’re pretty easy on the eyes as far as giant appliances go.


I took a stab at reorganizing the boathouse a bit so that it’s a more functional multi-use space instead of a catch-all for extra boxes. It’s where I work most days and serves as a spot for guests to sleep in when they’re visiting. Other than being uneasy about the armless wooden bust (see who I mean below) we’ve had only positive feedback on the sleeping quarters so far!


We got a bit of wood delivered (just a few logs nbd) and spent an afternoon stacking it all to begin drying out while we build a proper woodshed near the house. Since we have a wood burning fireplace as a main source of heat (more on how that evolves in time) we go through a lot of logs in the winter and wanted to get our supply started on drying out in plenty of time (last year we missed out and it wasn’t ideal). Dave (with Dobby’s help of course) has been busy preparing the site for the shed we’ll be building in the coming weeks.


You may recall the stainless steel planters from our house in Guelph, which we liked enough to use again here. This time we tripled the number and despite planting late in the season, the rain and sun have been working some major magic.


I thought I’d be missing out on lots of summer blooms being so much further north but was I ever wrong! It’s been such a treat to see what pops up and I can’t wait to get into the dirt more this fall and next spring.

I even managed to forage myself a little medley of wildflowers, which was a true pinch me moment.


The dynamic duo has had no trouble settling into life by the lake. Evie’s days consist of bird watching, sun beam naps, couch naps, bed naps and the occasional friendly nudge to let me know she’s hungry.

Dobby has been getting braver on the dock (treats always help) and loves an evening canoe ride. He also made a new friend with our neighbours sweet angel, Cookie, and the two of them meet up for daily chasing sessions. He just turned 10 and she’s only about 10 months so he comes home completely knackered.


Maybe no one cares but I know I get invested in other people’s plants for some reason so here’s an update on mine. They are all thriving here at the lake where the air is much more humid and they get lots of sunlight. They’ve grown so much since we moved them up about two months ago. So much so that I’m running out of pots big enough and had to split my snake plant and several succulents, propagate my fiddle leaf fig tree and my pothos, and give both my jade and cacti new homes. I’ve always wanted a conservatory/greenhouse and I think I may have just turned our Muskoka room into one!


I haven’t been thinking too hard about my closet over these past few months, except for what will be the most comfortable and enjoyable to wear given the temperature and forecast. Here at the lake I’ve needed layers more than I did for city summers so I’ve had to keep my favourite cardigan handy. I’ve been living in my EVA Arizona Birks, my denim shorts, and this dress, which was a recent addition (more to come!).

I’m still processing what my closet and style needs are going to be in this new location. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that a good portion of my closet may very well be ready for a new life elsewhere. I’ll do a closet sale eventually, I promise!

It’s interesting how our clothes can hold memories. In a way, garments are portals to times in our lives. To versions of ourselves that we may have since outgrown.

One thing remains for sure though, which is that I still love clothes and I still love a good outfit. They’ll be a little more casual for the foreseeable future but I’m dreaming up my “city travel” capsule to keep handy for visits with friends downtown. Stay tuned for a handful of summer outfits I’ve been wearing coming to the blog soon!

Thanks for tuning in today. I’m so excited for what’s to come from life at Steep Hill and look forward to sharing it with you all along the way. Be sure to follow @steephillcottage if you’re keen on more regular updates.

If you’ve been working on any projects or have some summer goodness to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Kirra says:

    Somehow I missed this Sumer lake update when you posted it, so I’m glad I found it. It’s so fun to see your lake life, it does look lovely with the flowers, thriving veggie patch and indoor plants and beautiful views.
    I loved seeing how you put in one set of new shelves and moved a few others around to improve your space. Smart thinking over buying everything new. And I like the bookcase with its kind of scalloped edges.
    I vote for Miele too, we’ve had a washing machine of theirs for around 15 years and when it needed fixing about 5 years ago it didn’t cost us anything under the warranty. Still going strong!
    I’m very interested to see what it’s like in winter at the lake, that looks like a lot of wood but seems like you’re building a decent size wood shed too! Here in Australia our winters aren’t very cold but our heating can be pretty average, but nothing like snow or frozen lakes!!
    Enjoy the last bit of summer 😎

  2. Molly says:

    Hi Lee, I am a bit late to reading this – just thought I’d check in on you now while I am on vacation – and I am living vicariously through your peaceful lakeside life. Sounds completely idyllic. Congratulations! I’ll be excited to see more of your progress.

  3. lily says:

    I love everything but those planters…where are they from?

  4. Mia says:

    Obsessed with your new lake life, living vicariously through you. Love seeing the animals enjoy lake life as well. Happy to see you posting about it. (And cannot wait for your closet sale! Hope you’ll ship to the US 🤞🏽) Can’t wait for more updates and more beautiful lake pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Andrea H says:

    I enjoyed every chapter of this post! Your indoor jungle is amazing! Can I ask, do your steel planters have bottoms? I almost bought one this year for my tomatoes, but wasn’t sure if it would work for me. I love the way they look all lined up, just gorgeous!

  6. Mari says:

    Saw your Instagram update about the hydrangeas today– I hope your cute garden has survived the deer as well!

  7. Hailee says:

    I took your advice and settled in with a coffee on my patio for this read and it was delightful! Your new simpler way of life is so inspiring and my dream is to live on a lake! It may not ever be in the cards for me as I have a medically complex child with special needs but in any case, your blog is so refreshing and a good reminder to find joy in the little things especially when there is so much content out there that is of the contrary. I truly look forward to your blog posts and beautiful imagery! Xx

  8. Ali says:

    Hi Lee. So lovely to have an update – I really enjoyed reading this post, and of course, the stunning pictures! I was interested to see you are thinking about how your wardrobe might change, having moved! We relocated from the UK to northern France a couple of years ago, having been lucky enough to take early retirement… my wardrobe has completely changed from needing smart attire for work to spending most of my time doing DIY and gardening (sound familiar??!!). I have recycled a whole bunch of stuff, put away other clothing that I may need at some point, and am trying to purchase hardly anything while I work out what I really need that fits my new lifestyle! Sending love and best wishes! x

  9. Mary Grogan says:

    Utterly delightful! Cats, plants, a lake, decorating, what could be better. You have a beautiful new home.

  10. Marlee says:

    Thanks for this amazing update! There’s a potential big move on the horizon for me when my husband finishes up school in the spring so your move is inspiring! As someone who’s lived in city’s for the past 10 years (which likely won’t be the case after our move), I’m excited for the possibilities of life in a less hectic location.

    This summer I’ve been working on building up my stylist business which has been going really well! I’m hoping to have the business in a really solid place so that I can continue it with some ease when we move.

  11. Linda M says:

    Looks like you’ve settled in nicely, can’t wait to see all the future renovations.
    Interested to see how & why you part with some of your clothes since moving. I luv my clothes but find between not working & Covid I hardly wear most of them. Parting with clothes makes me feel remorse ( what if I need it down the road) looking forward to seeing how you deal with yours!!
    Miss seeing your outfits & smiling face!!😍

  12. Kris says:

    Hi Lee – thanks for sharing your life at Steephill Cottage – already so comfy and cozy and can’t wait to see how you renovate. Life gets pretty simple outdoors.

    I too appreciated your research about your septic/laundry choices – we are about to shop for our Island place – and would love to know more about the Miele appliances. (probably too boring for most people)!

    Will look forward to more country-casual looks and that essential city/travel capsule!

  13. Lindsey R says:

    Hi Lee, this is going to be a funny comment, but I am so thrilled to hear you considered your septic system with your appliance purchase! I lead a county septic program in the US, and usually no one thinks about their septic system until it has issues or presents an obstacle to development. A considered and maintained septic system will last longer and function better. Thanks for thinking of septic 🙂

  14. Kathleen says:

    You make me want to run away from the city and dive into country living on the lake! Beautiful pics of your home, lake, flora and fauna 🙂 You’re doing a brilliant job of your cottage. You inspire me to think more simple and less is more theme for our home. Yours always exudes such a powerful sense of peace and harmony.