Making the dream happen

By: Julie Snyder | C&G Newspapers | Published February 25, 2015

 Participants in last year’s show Cottage and Lakefront Living Show in Novi learned from the experts how to build and maintain a waterfront home.

Participants in last year’s show Cottage and Lakefront Living Show in Novi learned from the experts how to build and maintain a waterfront home.

NOVI — Coming in on the heels of the Detroit Boat Show, the eighth annual Cottage and Lakefront Living Show taking place this week in Novi will reinforce the belief of many Michiganders that the state’s spring and summer months are the best in the country.

The Great Lakes State offers almost unending choices of outdoor recreational activities during the warmer months — though ice fishing during the winter also has a huge following — and that especially holds true for those who live or own a cottage on one of those great bodies of water.

That is why organizers of the Cottage and Lakefront Living Show, which will be held Feb. 26-March 1 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, say the event is so popular.

Dawn Baker, show manager of ShowSpan Inc., the company that organizes the show, said the event is designed for property owners and vacation homeowners as well as those looking to buy, build or even rent to “make their dreams happen this summer.”

“Whether it’s building or renting a cottage, replacing a dock or seawall, or adding furniture or water toys, attendees will find ideas and products at our comprehensive showplace,” said Baker. “Builders, remodelers and Realtors will be ready with ideas.”

Experts from The Pond Guy Inc. will be some of those with ideas.

Dave Hattis, service manager for the Armada-based freshwater preservation company, said those in attendance and who stop by their booth can expect to learn plenty.

For the past two decades, the Pond Guy has specialized in aeration, muck removal, vegetation control and shoreline restoration to help waterfront property owners enjoy their ponds, lakes, canals or marinas.

“Our experts will be on hand to answer any questions, provide educational information and explain our product line and available services,” said Hattis. “We will  have some of our products on display and information about The Pond Guy’s approach to a healthy body of water. We can also measure the size of your pond or lakefront area at our booth using GPS mapping tools. This will help give our customers a better idea of what costs would be involved and what  products would be the best fit for their situation.”

Hattis said that waterfront property owners from southeast Michigan will also be able to set up an appointment for an on-site consultation.

Baker said the Cottage and Lakefront Living Show will offer something for everyone, young and old.

For starters, the Log and Timber Frame Showcase will include demonstrations on how a cabin is put together, including floor plans, profiles, roof options, log species, cedar siding, full logs, post and beam, and do-it-yourself or contractor-built home packages. Scheduled private consultations with builders and contractors can be arranged in advance through the show’s website.

Both children and adults will have the opportunity to roll around inside an inflatable transparent plastic Zorb Globe in a full-size pool at the Cran-Hill Family Zone. There, Janet Moore Schrader, of Sand Pirate — a professional sand sculptor — will share secrets of sand as she builds a giant medieval sandcastle and shows how to make towers, doors, windows and stairs at The Beach, a giant sandbox for creative building of sand sculptures complete with carving tools.

Experts at the Cottage Living Stage will explain how to set up cottage ownership within a family for sharing and handing down; describe science-based, practical-application gardening practices designed to help the environment and reduce time and money spent on lawns, soil and plants; and explore other ways to get more enjoyment from a cottage.

St. Clair Shores resident and waterfront homeowner Lillian Claycomb agrees that the four-day show is good for those who currently live on the water, as well as those who are looking for a home on a lake or canal.

“I have lived in St. Clair Shores for 50 years, and I have lived on the water for that length of time,” said Claycomb, who enjoys her home with her husband Joe. “People come to the lake or live on the lake for any number of reasons. You have a boat, you enjoy the view, the fishing, the water skiing and the cookouts. We used to have cookouts every weekend, and the whole family would be here the entire weekend. And when you live on the lake, you don’t have to go anywhere. Everything you need is here. Living on the lake is priceless.”

Also featured at this year’s show will be displays by DreamCatcher BoatWorks and the Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. The Michigan Lake and Stream Association will provide informal advice and educational literature from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies, organizations, contractors and landscape professionals. PearHut, of Roseville, will display some of its handmade steel planters and outdoor accessories, and Soulliere Companies, of Romeo, designed the show’s entry garden, which will feature a full-size cabin.

There will be demonstrations on cottage grilling by Mad Dog and Merrill, who will share “GRATE Lakes Grilling at the Cottage” tips featuring grilled comfort food, as seen on their “Midwest Grill’n” TV show on ESPN and Food Network.

In addition, Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s “Cash & Cari” will appear on the Cottage Living Stage and reveal how she refurbishes just about anything she can get her hands on during her “RePurposing with Cari Cucksey” presentation. She will also exhibit furniture from her vintage store and her RePurpose ReColor Paint & Stain line.

Michigan artists at the Cottage Fine Art Show will display their nature photography, lake-depth maps, Great Lakes and Michigan inland lakes steel silhouettes, Petoskey stone art, rustic and driftwood furniture, garden metal art, jewelry, glass artwork, hand-carved cottage décor and signage, chainsaw carvings and wildlife oil paintings, all of which will be for sale. Home décor, furnishings, decorative accessories, hummingbird feeders, wooden nautical charts and handcrafted ceramic art tiles will be available for purchase at the Lakefront Marketplace.

“Start planning for this summer’s family fun and memories by researching a new cottage, looking at a fishing kayak or boat, and playing in the sand at The Beach,” said Baker.

The Suburban Collection Showplace is located at 46100 Grand River Ave., between Novi and Beck roads in Novi. Show hours are from 3–9:30 p.m. Thursday; noon–9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10, $4 for children ages 6-14, and free for children ages 5 and younger. Discount coupons for $2 off Thursday or Friday box office adult admission are available at the show’s website. There is free crossover admission from the Cottage and Lakefront Living Show to Outdoorama. On-site parking is available for a fee. For more information, go to, or call (800) 328-6550.