So often beautiful old cottages are torn down to make way for something new. It doesn’t always work. To me, a weekend retreat needs soul. I love it when I come across a fabulous older cottage that’s been fixed up without erasing its charm.

In the October 2010 issue of Cottage Life magazine, the charming Muskoka farmhouse cottage owned by designer Viki Mansell and her husband Kevin Keeley tugged at my heart. Viki, who owns the antique and home decor shops Absolutely in Toronto, has a talent for blending old and new, traditional and modern in a unique and appealing way. She sees beauty in everyday objects.

Photographer Stacey Brandford captured Viki’s talent for creating a natural unpretentious retreat. Here are a few photos that never made it to the magazine.

The tablecloth pulls in the colour of the trees.

 Ah, the wood burning fireplace – an essential ingredient at a cottage.

Viki is a master at creating art from everyday objects.

White and wood – it always works in a cottage.

Vintage details make all the difference.

The boathouse takes us back to a slower easier era.

Coffee please.

For Viki, it’s all about layering different textures.

A neutral blend of old and new.

To see more of Viki and Kevin’s cottage, check out Cottage Living magazine here.