Designer Notes

Summer 2013 – Ode to the Lake Cottage

It was charming and modest, the little green lake cottage I admired as a child…Read the inspiration for the Summer 2013 collection.

This is the artist statement for Summer 2013 collection by Ivey Abitz. Written by designer Cynthia Ivey Abitz. View the 2013 summer look book.

dress form on a lake huron beach
View from the lake cottage.

It was charming and modest, the little green lake cottage I admired as a child.
Overgrown with vines, stone chimney cracked from neglect, hidden by leaning pines that, at any moment, could snap and cave in the roof.

The cottage was blind to the views of the sunrise and shore and sky and sand and snakeroot. It got to live there every day, right on the shore that I only got to visit every summer, but it couldn’t see anything.

The cottage owners had gotten old and tired and couldn’t travel to take care of it anymore. There the little green lake cottage sat alone, drawing me to it every time I looked at it.

I used to sit on a hill of beach grass when I visited the lake shore, right in front of the cottage, just so I could be close to it.

When I felt daring, I would peek in through the windows, knowing it hadn’t been inhabited in decades, but wishing I could see people inside playing Masterpiece around the table or playing piano on the sun porch. Some form of a happy existence. Any sign of life.

But I never did. I only saw signs of former lives when I peeked in through the windows. Hazy glimpses of knotty pine walls. Plaid linen. Stripes. Knit cardigans.

They won a Rustic Cottage Award — the owners. Back in the day when they had the energy to design it and build it and live in it. But they didn’t have the energy anymore.

As their lives faded away, the cottage dutifully followed them, until the day the owners let go and gave the cottage a second life. That was the day my parents bought it.

For the first time in twenty years, I got to go inside the little green lake cottage and look out of the windows instead of looking into them. The dead trees and vines were pulled away from its walls so it could see the sunrise and shore and sky and sand and snakeroot for the first time in years.

At that moment, the little green lake cottage became an immortal part of me, and I of it.

–Cynthia Ivey Abitz

One reply on “Summer 2013 – Ode to the Lake Cottage”

Beautifully written. I just love that little cottage, too. I remember looking through those same windows wishing I could go inside. Lovely to read this tribute here. Lovely you.


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