While the blog has been quiet that certainly hasn’t been the general case here at Steep Hill Cottage.

After two years of planning and patience (and more planning), we’ve started to make headway with our renovations and global vision for the property. The initial phase we’ve been tackling, before winter arrives, is a three bay garage with an exterior drive in portico, revisions to an existing driveway and some significant landscaping changes. We’re feeling really good about the direction we have for this special place and seeing it come to life is such a thrill.

Scroll on for some progress shots and life behind the screens.

The Garage Build

The garage started with a concrete slab.
Then some walls went up…
…and garage doors were framed.
Then plywood sheathing, a roof and skylights went on.
All the while, I was painting and staining the siding, doors, beams, soffit and trim.
The portico went up…
& it’s a thing of beauty. Next time I share the garage, it’ll be fully sided!


We deleted an old, VERY steep, portion of the driveway that was unserviceable in the winter, and not terribly fun to use even on the best day. We have replaced it with a long, curving drive path, which will be used by our Kabota, contractor machinery and for walking up and down. This is a change we’d been brainstorming and talking about since we first acquired the place and I’m beyond thrilled to have it ready for the winter.

Dave looking dapper on the drive path he created with a little skid steer, a lot of dirt, innumerable rocks and an unbelievable amount of determination.
Genie posing for a shot of the fenced path.


I’ve been doing my best to get outside as much as possible while the weather is good (read: before the cold). The fall foliage was incredibly beautiful this season and the higher than average temperatures have been a delightful surprise. Here’s a look at some of my captures on walks with Dave and Genie.




Evie has been the true hero of the family this fall, running point on all rodent evictions. After a night on the prowl she loves her usual morning sun sessions and well-earned snoozes on the freshest sheets.


Our sweet girl G has been the best little buddy. She’s been hanging out in the truck, in her extremely cozy bed, while we work on the garage. Then she joins us for walks, sometimes on foot, but usually she’s happiest in her sling (shown below). I recently picked up some winter outfits for her and so far the gingham hoodie has been the favourite (also below). We’re completely obsessed with our spunky little beauty and so grateful to have her company. Even Evie has stopped growling when she inches up for a snoot boop.



My corgi boy is always on my mind throughout the day. Whenever I’ve heard a sound he’d have barked at or I see something that reminds me of him, his presence comes rushing to my side.

This photo is from 2015, on a camping trip in Algonquin. Seeing him enjoy the park so much was one of the initial reasons we started talking about lake life.

Thanks for tuning in!

I’m deeply grateful for the life we’re creating here at Steep Hill and I hope this post brought a sense of the calm and delight I feel out here to you too.

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Kirra says:

    I enjoyed reading this post Lee so thanks for sharing. The photos are AMAZING! I can see why you moved there. I love seeing renovation projects (not necessarily doing them myself though 😆) so look forward to seeing the final garage and also how it improves your life in the winter snow. Love seeing your four legged friends too 🙂

  2. Ashley says:

    Hi Lee – Lovely photos and update as always! The Muskoka area is so special.

    Do you happen to have an affiliate link for the sling little Genie uses? I’ve been searching for something similar for my 10 year old dachshund without much luck. Their long bodies can be a fit challenge 😉

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Hi Ashley, You bet, here’s a link to the sling, it’s from Max Bone. So far I’ve found their products to be very well made, functional and elegant.

      Eco Packable Sling Carrier

      It’s not totally perfect (I wish it was deeper and that the strap could be made even shorter) but for a mini doxie (G is about 13 lbs) it does the job. I hope that helps!

  3. Rya says:

    Hi Lee! Thanks for a peek inside your “other” life of home construction and renovation. Your photos are stunning! You’ve inspired me to slow down and enjoy the beauty around me. What camera do you use?
    Keep in touch – we all love reading your posts.
    Warm regards from Florida,

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for reading Rya! I really appreciate your kind note.

      I took all the photos in this post with my iPhone 13 Pro Max and gently edited with the VSCO App.

      Enjoy the warm sunshine for me. xo

  4. Judy says:

    Lovely post. Thanks so much. I appreciate your hard work on building. My parents did the same on a lake in Michigan in the 50s. Good luck. Have a lovely winter!