Photography, Charlie Warl, Unsplash.com
Whether it's to watch the sunset or cozy up with a book, the Muskoka chair is a beloved staple for cottage living. Discover the tale of how it came to be.
Do you say Adirondack or Muskoka when it comes to this classic outdoor chair? Likely, it depends on whether you live north or south of the 49th parallel. But our story begins back in 1903 in upstate New York, when a certain Thomas Lee put pen to paper while vacationing in the picturesque Adirondack Mountains. The chair he sketched was simple in form, then prototyped and tested on family members, and is the original version of the chair we know and love today.
First designed with a wide single plank for the seat and back, the chair soon evolved to the familiar slatted profile, making it easier – and more affordable – to craft. Then, as the story goes, Americans vacationing in Ontario’s Muskoka region brought the fashionable design north to their lakefront cabins and cottages, catching the eye of locals and firmly cementing it as a beloved part of the cottage experience.
Based in Port Carling, Ont., the Muskoka Chair Company has been crafting these beauties for more than 25 years. Their version in clear Western red cedar will age over time to a chic and stylish weathered grey, but if colour is your thing, they also offer 18 summery shades in durable first-generation recycled plastic.
Red Cedar Muskoka Chair, from $699, Muskoka Chair Company, muskokachair.com
While classic is definitely cool, contemporary design has also had a say when it comes to lakeside lounging. Loll Designs has a range of standout deck- and dock-ready chairs that are clean-lined and modern. For the European design aficionado, Hay has just reintroduced Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld’s Crate Lounge Chair. First made in 1934 of wood from shipping crates, the updated version has a slightly severe form-meets-function vibe in lacquered pine for out- doors. No matter which perch you prefer, let’s make sure to meet on the dock to sit and watch the sunset.