A vintage wonderland by the lake – Macleans.ca

An Etsy seller fills her lakeside cabin in British Columbia with second-hand treasures


May 8, 2024

The Mitzi Shields concert Her career as a vintage fashion and home goods seller began in 2022, when she saw a pair of Prada heels in a Vancouver thrift store and bought them for about $30. She posted them on Etsy and, just two days later, she sold them for over $300. She (she At first she thought she was being scammed). Since then, her Etsy shop, called Vintage by Mitzi, has taken off. Now the only things she buys new are electronics, running shoes, rugs and underwear. “I’m not interested in buying anything where there are a thousand available,” Shields says. “I like things that have been around the corner.”

Mitzi Shields grew up on a farm in Jamaica.  After moving to Canada in 1999, she dreamed of living in a house near the forest with a garden by the water.

That much is clear from the smorgasbord of products stored inside their cabin on Shuswap Lake in British Columbia. The lake, more than six hours northeast of Vancouver, has more than a thousand kilometers of scenic shoreline and a mountainous backdrop. She spends summers there with her partner, David Askew, whom she met in 2019 when he approached her outside a post office. The couple belong to a grassroots agricultural cooperative and share an interest in books, politics and history. They play board games like Qwirkle and watch foreign films. “We are not going to see The 40-year-old Virgin. “We’re old souls,” Shields says. Two years ago, they added a bubbly Portuguese water dog, Charly, to the mix.

Shields grew tired of intense subway rides in Toronto and traffic in Vancouver.  She now lives most of the year in Salmon Arm, a bucolic community five hours east of Vancouver, and spends summers at Shuswap Lake.

Shields and Askew live most of the year in a cedar-clad house in Salmon Arm and spend summers at the cozy cabin on Shuswap Lake, about two hours away. The three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot retreat is hidden among trees at the end of a winding road. They have a private beach, a sauna and a terrace facing the lake. A smaller porch in the back overlooks the woods where Shields is planting a lavender field. She originally wanted vines over her pergola to create a Tuscan atmosphere. “Fortunately, my neighbor talked some sense into me and told me it would surely attract bears,” she says.

Shields renovated the summer cottage with soft, nubby textures, earthy colors, lots of plants and lots of renovations.  She and her partner, David Askew, repainted the kitchen a dull green and installed hardwood floors, a new fireplace, a gas stove, and a wood stove from Spain—an epic undertaking.

Each room has beautiful water views and Shields made sure the interior lived up to them. The pine kitchen, which she initially thought was bland, looked beautiful after painting the surrounding walls a dull green. The couple also installed hardwood floors, a new fireplace and a wood-burning stove from Spain. “The front door of the house had to be removed and the stove put in its place. I’m telling you, that’s the last wood stove I’ll ever buy,” says Shields, although she admits there’s nothing that compares to it in terms of ambiance.

Shields abhors empty walls, so he fills them with largely Canadian artwork.

Whenever Shields visits a new city, her first stop is the bookstore, then thrift stores to search for homey, mostly mid-Mod treasures. (She primarily looks for handmade pottery, plates and glassware.) She visits local stores twice a week, and her eclectic finds are displayed throughout the cabin: a pair of ’60s tubular chairs in the living room that cost $10 each, collectible glass genies. bottles from Empoli, Italy, in the guest bedroom. A recent addition is an exquisite and rare orange vase from 1967. “I Googled it and found out it’s by the famous Finnish glass artist Nanny Still,” she says, and she popped it into her cart.

As lovers of food and art galleries, Shields and Askew love being located between two major hubs: Vancouver and Calgary.

Shields also uses the cabin as a showroom for her Etsy store, so the space is always evolving. Currently, an African Kuba shirt hangs above the staircase and a Don Freedman tapestry featuring a trio of tulips hangs over the couple’s bed. Brass chandeliers illuminate the fireplace and many 1960s glazed bulb lamps exude nostalgia.

Shields began searching thrift stores years ago for cotton and silk clothing, which back then she could only afford to buy secondhand.  Now, he's looking for handmade pottery, plates, lamps, chairs, and glassware to sell in his Etsy store.

Today, the couple reads books while lounging on their sweet brown velvet couch. “It’s ugly but comfortable,” Shields says. She is also an avid cook and shares her dishes on her Instagram page @mealswithmitzi. With Charly in tow, the couple hikes, kayaks, paddleboards, and literally stops to smell Shields’ white roses. Damn bears: she’s even thrown up some raspberry bushes. The couple takes road trips through Canada and the United States and sometimes spends a month in Spain and France, as they did last June. “Oh, the things you see. “It could have filled a ship in Spain.”

Shields and Askew are proud of their quintessential Canadian cabin.

Leave a Comment