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Cottage & Lakefront Living Show experts talk summer living

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published February 21, 2018

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METRO DETROIT — With about 17 weeks left until summer, Dawn Baker wants people to start thinking about their cottage and lakefront needs before they shed their winter coats for sandals and shorts.

Baker, show manager of the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show in Novi and Grand Rapids, said that the upcoming show in Novi is an opportunity to prepare for summer housing options.

“Everything is in one place for property and vacation homeowners or those looking to buy, build, rent or maintain cottage and lakefront property,” Baker said in a press release. “Exhibitors will provide tips, ideas and resources for summertime fun.” 

The March 1-4 show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, 46100 Grand River Ave., will feature outdoor furniture; the latest water toys; resources for renting, renovating or maintaining cottages and lakefront properties; and more exhibitors, according to a press release.

Show hours will be 1-9 p.m. March 1, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. March 2, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. March 3 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 4.

Also on tap at the show is The Beach, a giant sandbox for people to play in, according to the release. 

Baker said during a phone interview that the show is a preseason destination.

“If you are already a property owner … or maybe somebody that lives on the lakefront … there are exhibitors, as well as services and products, that will help you make this your best summer yet,” she said.

Baker added that there are a lot of exhibitors who can help with cottage building, cabin remodeling and more, especially when it comes to different styles of cabins.

Baker said that potential cottage owners can expect to learn from experts how to make their cottages and lakefront homes turn from a dream into a reality.

“There are experts who are on-site willing to help you,” she said. 

Grand Rapids resident Andrew Alt has attended the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show in the past in Grand Rapids and said that he is on the consuming end of renting cottages. Alt, who is in his 50s, has had cottage-living experience since he was a child, and now he takes his own family.

“Since I was a kid, my family has rented a cottage (on Lake Michigan) to go and stay in,” Alt said. “We still do it every year; we usually go to the same basic place — go near Grand Haven on Lake Michigan every year.”

Alt said that his parents rented the same cottage for about a decade or so, and it became his “home away from home” for a couple of weeks during the summer.

“It became super familiar to us. … There were a lot of the same people around us in other cottages. … We had a strong sense of community,” he said, adding that when it comes to updating or renovating that home away from home, going to shows like the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show is a good place to start.

Alt said that it’s important when renovating to keep in mind the property’s use to let the updates reflect that.

“Whether more of (an interest in) watersport pursuit or somebody tanning on the beach, what are their particular lifestyles?” Alt said. “We’re definitely, at this point in our lives, going to relax, and it is really just a time to slow down and get away from ... the normal hustle and bustle of our own professional lives.”

Exhibitor Bob Batchik, owner of Sunfish Woodworks of Sylvan Lake, said that he has participated in the Novi show in the past, which he described as a good experience because of the crowds.

“I carve fish in sizes from a few inches to 6 feet long; they are for cottage décor, mostly,” Batchik said, adding that his products can be displayed indoors or outdoors. “I also do signs like ‘The Smiths’ or ‘Welcome.’ And they can have just about any image they would like on it.”

He said that his bigger pieces are often displayed outside, but not always.

Batchik said that he hand-carves his pieces using traditional hand tools, and that it could take anywhere from 20 to 30 hours.

He said that his materials are exterior grade, and to keep in mind for cottage or lakefront décor, when displaying them, to purchase one that will fit the space so that it is not too big or small.

“If it is too small, it is going to be lost, and when things get displayed outside, they tend to look small,” he said.

For more information on his work, go to

Baker said that if you are building a cottage or lakefront property from the ground up, exhibitors could help with that too.

“Do you want to go with log or timber frame? Do you want to go with a design build on a waterfront property, or do you just need general new construction?” she said. “There are so many new ideas. (We’re) kind of like Pinterest for lakefront and cottage ownership, and they come to the show to get all different ideas. … What are we going to do this year to make lakefront living the very best that it can be?”

Admission to the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show costs $10. The price is $4 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and younger will be admitted for free. For more information and discounts, visit, or call (800) 328-6550.