Summer living, right around the corner

Cottage show sparks warm-weather dreams

C&G Newspapers | Published February 13, 2013

 Visitors will be able to explore cabins and other vacation-home designs at the 2013 Cottage & Lakefront Living Show Feb. 21-24 in Novi.

Visitors will be able to explore cabins and other vacation-home designs at the 2013 Cottage & Lakefront Living Show Feb. 21-24 in Novi.

Buried in drifts of snow, there might not be a better time to be thinking about warm weather and heading Up North.

You can do just that at the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show Feb. 21-24 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The sixth annual show will run in concurrence with Outdoorama, an outdoor exhibition show, giving Michiganders a chance to dream of summer in the middle of winter.

“This is not just for people who have cottages,” said show producer Mike Wilbraham, of ShowSpan Inc. in Grand Rapids. “It’s for people that enjoy cottages and lake fun. The show is for people who enjoy going north.”

Exhibits will include the Log and Timber Frame Showcase, where visitors can learn how a cabin is put together and see all the options — including choices for those who want to do it themselves. Michigan agencies and departments will share information on shoreline construction and natural shoreline landscaping to protect lake ecosystems and Michigan’s inland lakes. And the sounds of summer will come alive with the 2013 Cottage Favorite Play List.

The show spans 60,000 square feet, with another 120,000 square feet occupied by Outdoorama, Wilbraham said. He said those looking to buy or rent a cottage, or wanting to put a cottage they own up for sale or rent, can find resources at the show to help them, as well as help decorating their home.

“There are design things that are unique to cottages and lakefront homes that people like to use on their regular home,” he said. “If that’s the design look you’re looking for … there’s good things you can get there.”

FunSpace in Clinton Township will be on hand with its Temo sunrooms and retractable screen rooms, good for a cottage or a suburban backyard.

“Our space is going to be how to utilize the outdoors in Michigan,” said marketing director Wally Ayotte. “Everybody loves Michigan because you get multiple seasons. Everyone hates Michigan because of multiple seasons.”

Manufactured in Michigan, Ayotte said a variety of products that can block bugs, ultraviolet rays, wind and rain will be on display at the show.

“A lot of people are trying to take back the backyard … trying to design something to utilize their backyard more,” he said. “They can really start designing their own little backyard resort.”

Ayotte said Temo rooms are popular with cottage and second-home owners because they offer some do-it-yourself kits and freestanding units that are easy to install without contractor help.

“Those people want to enjoy the outdoors and there’s a reason they can’t, and we’re the reason they can,” he said.

There will be something for the whole family, too, including “Sand Pirate” Janet Schrader, of Fairy Godmother Services in Lakeside, Mich., who will build a giant medieval sandcastle, teaching tricks of the trade along the way. Kids can get in on the act at “The Beach.”

“Kids always enjoy getting in The Beach,” Wilbraham said. “They can build a sand castle (and) just mess around digging holes. They can fish the trout pond (and) we have a climbing wall and kids’ activity area.”

And while the kids have fun, parents can check out the latest décor or learn more about cottage ownership.

Seminars will be held throughout the show. Topics will include a “smart garden series,” which will share tips on gardening at a home you only visit on weekends, protecting nearby water sources, and how to legally create a legacy of ownership for a cottage so it can be passed down to future generations “without problems or issues,” Wilbraham said.

The Cottage Fine Art Show exhibit is set up to resemble a tourist town’s main street — to give “the feel of being at the cottage and, once you’re in that setting, what improvements do I want to make to my cottage this year,” Wilbraham said.

“Or for some people, is this the year I’m going to get my cottage?” he said. “This is a great time. The interest rates are right. They’re not going to get any lower. Now’s the time to take that step.”

The Cottage & Lakefront Living Show runs from 2-9:30 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 23, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 24. Admission is $10 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-14. Children 5 years and younger are free. Discount coupons are available at and ticket price includes crossover admission to Outdoorama.

The show will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave. in Novi. There is a $5 parking fee.