LYNNE KNOWLTON
GET A ROOM: Hotels, Home + Design, Travel

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton’s Treehouse Retreat

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Where the drinks are strong, and the wifi is weak.

YES.. You read the title correctly. It says treehouse. TREE HOUSE. Lynne’s treehouse retreat has been at the top of my “must stay at” list for as long as I can remember. (Actually, one of my first blog posts on this blog over two years ago- was a roundup of five must-see boutique hotels in Ontario.. and Lynne’s retreat was part of that very list.)

I had some pretty high expectations coming to the retreat as there is quite a fair bit of hype around the space. Well folks, Lynne’s meticulously crafted little retreat far surpasses the Instagram hype. Every inch of space has been thoughtfully considered and every detail is impeccable. From the soaring reclaimed beam ceilings in the cabin (using reclaimed wood from an old barn that had a tornado run through it) all the way down to the intricately patterned hinges that secure the ladder to the floor- the space is oozing with character and layers upon layers of warmth, texture and Anthroplogie-esque eclectic style. (Might I add.. Even Lynne’s MAILBOX on the way up her driveway has board and batten!)

It’s like jumping into a hand knit sweater crafted by your great grandma during a bonfire with all your closest friends and family on Christmas morning whilst drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

I recently read: The Little Book of Hygge– and it really made a big impact on me. In a nutshell, Hygge is the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness It’s all about appreciating the little things. Enjoying slowness, being cozy, lighting candles, and entertaining company. I think Lynne’s retreat would impress any Dane as it encompasses all the most hyggelig characteristics.

I stayed over with my Mom and we had the best time unwinding, snuggling up and watching movies/laughing into the night. We were pretty much Gilmore girls. We wanted to get the FULL experience, so we spent one night in the treehouse, and the second night in the cabin. Spoiler: They were both  fantastic. 

The Treehouse:

If you didn’t day dream about having your very own treehouse as a kid, we can’t be friends. I was such a fort-fanatic. I loved the idea of having my own fort, and I had tonnes. I had a lean to once made out of sticks in the yard (but we were unfortunately evicted by bees).. I had a bunk-bed turned playhouse.. that I FULLY furnished with a china cabinet and carpets.. (Also evicted, this time by earwigs in my fancy ass rug).. I even had a stint as the proud owner of a chicken coop fort.. which saw a similar demise to my other forts.. but never a tree fort. Lynne’s treehouse is like all of my childhood dreams come true, but possibly better because my imaginary tree forts didn’t have their own SLIDES?! (Whaaaaaaaat!)

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Our tooshies were kept warm by a genuine wood fireplace that we had to stoke ourselves. What a cool experience. The sights, smells, VIBE.. everything about the treehouse is so picturesque, relaxing and just overall heart warming. Waking up in a cozy loft, peering out into pine trees, heading down the ladder to brew some coffee.. there’s nothing like it.

The Cabin:

In addition to the treehouse, there is also a cabin. It’s such a great little retreat for two couples to enjoy as one couple can have the treehouse and the other can stay in the cabin. The cabin is spacious, light, bright, and where the eggs are made ;). With a fully functioning kitchen, stocked with all of your essentials.. the cabin is where we would meet up for brekkie and stretch out with books on the sofabed.

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I think the railings along the top loft are one of my favourite details. That, alongside the vintage door from an old bank. One thing that really stuck with me was Lynne’s ability to effortlessly mix old and new. So many items were upgraded with a simple swipe of white paint, but just exuded luxury.

LaTreen:

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And if you thought the washrooms couldn’t be as beautiful as the rest of the property- you’re wrong. I would pay rent to live in the washroom by myself if Lynne would let me. Imagine a SPA in a forest. That is LaTreen.

We squeezed our trip into the very end of Lynne’s season so we didn’t get a chance to experience everything that the property has to offer due to weather. (Uhmmm, like the hanging chairs, the hammock, the pool, the airstream.. the list is never ending.) If you live in Ontario (And even if you don’t!).. This place should seriously be at the tip-top of your bucket list. A great romantic getaway, a little girls-vacay, a couples retreat.. or in my case, a Gilmore Girls weekend with Mama bear + plenty of Jackson Triggs.. whatever your affliction- make your way to the treehouse, you will not regret it!

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sarah
Home + Design

My first Apartment Therapy Article is Live!

Holla!

This gal right here is now a contributing writer to one of her favourite websites ever. Say whaaaaat!

Just popping in to share my first article.

In today’s modern homes, open floor plans are common. True they have a lot of appeal but, when you knock down walls and merge the kitchen with the rest of the home, you then have an equally modern problem: what to do with the reverse side of your cabinetry or — now more frequently —the kitchen island facing the living or dining room. Put a little bit of extra care and attention to your kitchen’s “backside”, and add an entirely new and unexpected element. It’s also a smart way to boost storage and function, making the most out of your space.

I’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to transform your island into a hard-working piece of furniture that not only looks great, but also works with your lifestyle. Catch the full article here:

Baby Got Back: Adding Style & Storage to Your Kitchen Island’s Backside

+ cheer for me ‘cuz this is cool af.

Autumn

Img via: Sarah Sherman Samuel

leaping
#Life, Biz

Leaping over Posting Paralysis + A Few Life Updates

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written a free-form blog update on my life in general. I guess a struggle I often have is overthinking everything, and turning little things into big things- that then feel like giant mountains that I’m tired just looking at. I think I tend to turn my blog into this intimidating shadow that looms in the back of my mind, that “I should be blogging”..

I have lists upon lists upon lists of “post ideas”- then I get caught up in my own internal battles as to which post I should write first.. One thing I want to try to get better at with my new freelance life is lightening up and writing when I feel inspired to. Sharing as I go, and not putting so much pressure on myself to write the best blog post on the planet every time. I also think it’s important for me to really carve out time for myself. I often put every other project ahead of my own and rarely leave space for my own creativity and ideas to flourish, so moving into this new season I hope to explore more of my own ideas and put more out into the universe.

In terms of updates, there’s lots going on- and I think that might be why I’ve avoided blogging about it- because it seems like this entire past year has flown right by and I’ve barely been able to catch my breath.

I digress. If you’ve been following on social, you’d have maybe seen that I’ve leaped.

I’ve made a gigantic, massive, huge, bold, terrifying and exhilarating decision to jump feet first into the world of freelancing. It’s one of those crazy decisions you’re not fully sure you want to blog about in case you fall on your face and fail miserably- you know? It’s an even crazier decision when you haven’t quite fully made up your mind about what you want to spend your time doing, haha. But- I think it’s all good. Everything is really good. I am super happy with my decision and I’ve been spending the end of my summer working on projects, still working for Leon’s- funnily enough- who have become my very first freelance client, building a shed from scratch, joining the Studio Bicyclette team, writing for Apartment Therapy, learning to drive (ha), shooting the new Hello Holiday magazine, trying to create new routines, edit my life, and explore more.

Fall for me feels like new beginnings. I am currently on a plane back from an extended work trip. Paige, Scarlet and I had our final Hello Holiday shoot in Kamloops with Colleen. Paige and I stayed back in BC a couple extra days to unplug, read, hang out in hot springs, and enjoy lots of comfort food. Next week we finish off the magazine, and we’re fully recharged and ready for the final push.

In addition to big career moves, we’re also MOVING. Remember when I said I would pop champagne and spray it all over the place when we finally moved above ground? Well the time has come. The apartment gods heard my plea and almost  serendipitously. I stumbled upon the apartment of my actual dreams. A main floor, Victorian 1 bedroom apartment in Parkdale. I can already feel that it’s going to change everything. We’ve lived in a basement for the better half of a decade and I think it’s just been weighing on me. Basement apartments lack sunlight. We have a terrifying problem with the scariest kind of bug on the planet i.e. centipedes. We never had a lot of space- and although we have a stunning little kitchen here (and and amazing little shed) that we’re super proud of- it’s time for us to move on.

I think I am mostly excited for LIGHT. My new apartment has 12 foot ceilings and heaps of natural light. I can’t wait to be able to spread my papers out on my dining table, sipping coffee, working on projects. Having pools of sun pour into my bedroom when I wake up. Aah, it’s going to be miraculous.

November 1st will prove to be pretty life changing. A new apartment. A new career. New goals. New projects and ideas. A new neighbourhood. A fresh lease on life. And baby I am ready for it.  My mantra for this year was MAKE MOVES.. I think I am following through.

Photo via Scarlet O’Neill

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projectparentreno
Home + Design

HOMETOWN HEART: A Surprise Master Bedroom Makeover

Hellllloo Sunshine. Boy am I ever late to the game! In June Leon’s launched the fourth in their series of Hello lifestyle + home decor magazines, Hello Sunshine.

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I’ve been up to my eyes with projects, deadlines, recording voice overs, making big life decisions.. you know, the usual. Better late than never, am I right? // SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE VIDEO REVEAL!

As editor in chief of the Hello magazines for the past four issues I worked quietly behind the scenes. For this past issue of Hello Sunshine I was very fortunate to be able to flex my own design skills and complete a very special makeover project, for my parents. I shared the big #ProjectParentReno Reveal in this year’s issue, but I also wanted to share a bit more about the process leading up to our big shoot. Firstly, I’ll start by saying that what started out as a “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m going to makeover your bedroom.. It will take one month”.. Turned into 5 months of my parents being temporarily kicked out of their bedroom haha. Isn’t that always the case with renovations?

As a bit of a backstory- the whole reno was spawned out of a couple health scares and a few lucky breaks. My family had a tough couple years with accidents and overall well-being.. that really led me to want to create a safe space for my parents to unwind in. A fresh start, a new outlook, a relaxing retreat.  From new floors to trims, to paint and everything in between- it was truly a head to toe makeover.

To get started on the design process I began by pinning some overall design concepts based on a need to create a space that felt eclectic and bohemian to appeal to my Mom.. but also equal parts mixed metals to appeal to my biker Dad. Previously a pretty boring box-like-room, I knew I wanted to add as much architectural interest as possible to really make it feel like a new space. So, I called on the board-and-batten experts- Bethany and Art  from This Little Estate for some expertise. Little did I know one phone call looking for some advice would turn into a full on collaboration to re do the space together. Bethany and Art are two of the most kind hearted, generous and truly genuine people I’ve ever met.  Back on their blog in 2014 they started a project called The Porch Project– which in a nutshell was all about doing kind things for other people- specifically in this case by leaving unexpected packages on peoples doorsteps. This year, they decided to bring the project back- but this time- rolling up their sleeves and using their design knowledge to surprise people with updated spaces. (See one of their makeover reveal videos here. AND, they are actually tackling a lucky contest winners space for the next issue of Hello Holiday.) This makeover would not have been possible without this design duo, so Bethany and Art- thank you SO much.

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We partnered up with Metrie to bring the ho-hum walls to life and the difference was DRAMATIC. This was my first time working with trim and it’s actually stunning how much of a difference great trim can make in a space.

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I nixed their ratty old comforter for this stunning high quality duvet set from Unison home. The sheets are also Unison and are oh-so-smooth and super dreamy!

Art even built a 100% custom herringbone barn door using wood from Metrie. (I’m honestly jealous it’s not in my space!) Art was truly the master installing the trims..Driving to my parent’s place through sun, snow, rain.. you name it. Many a’ Tim Horton’s coffees were had in this room haha! See the POWER of trim below & the incredible herringbone barn door created by TLE Build and Design!

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We went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore on the walls. I knew I could go dark and moody on the top half of the walls because the pop from the white trim would brighten up the overall space. And I knew from the get-go I wanted a big fluffy textured JUJU hat above the bed- so picking a dark hue to contrast with was a priority. Plus, adding a splash of something rich is just so nice.. My parent’s home otherwise is pretty safe, lots of creams and neutrals- so this was totally unexplored territory.

One other element I was sure of was that I wanted a sophisticated brass sputnik. Brass + Navy= a winning combination. And you’d never believe this was a cheapie from Costco, spray painted brass! (It was like $120!) I used Gold Sabotaz Spraypaint- as recommended by Lindsay Stephenson– and I loved it! You can pick it up at Deserres.

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How stunning is this brass drapery hardware from Tonic Living?

The closet, actually came as an afterthought. Basically I was obsessed with having a Herringbone barn door (rightly so).. but totally forgot that when the door slid on the barn track- it would bump right into the dresser I had perfectly measured out to go along that wall. So.. I changed the plans, moved the dresser under the window- and found the PERFECT mid century dresser to go into the closet to create a thoughtful little nook for my mama. (This dresser was actually found in the BABY section if you can believe it!)

I decided straight away I wanted to paint the inside of the closet HARLEY orange for my Dad.. but wanted to figure out a way to make it feel feminine and lovely for my Mom.. So floral wall it is! I had the greatest instructor (Bethany) as she’s done a couple floral walls in her day.  I found a few designs I loved from Rifle Paper Co and combined them to create something unique to my Ma. (To paint them on, I cut out templates I made from bristol board, traced em on, and filled em’ in!)

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Ta da!

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And here’s a look at the closet before.. a bit of an upgrade I think ;)!

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You can see my parent’s adorable/emotionally charged reactions to their new space in finale episode of our Hello Sunshine web series below.

 

+ If you’re just tuning in now- be sure to catch up on the other 5 episodes! (And subscribe to the Leon’s Youtube channel so you’ll be notified when new content goes live!)

EP 01 | NEW BEGINNINGS | We travel to Edmonton Alberta to shoot Kristina and Jack.

EP 02 | THE NOT SO TERRIBLE TWOS | Shooting Twin Toddlers in Cobourg Ontario.

EP 03 |EASTERN HOSPITALITY | Rainbow eyes in Berwick Nova Scotia.

EP 04 | BEHIND THE CURTAIN | We visit a Canadian factory.

EP 05 | SUMMER LOVE | Nothing but sunshine in Guelph Ontario

SHOP THE ROOM:

Simmons Paradise Plush Mattress | The Pineridge Bed | Calvin End Table |The Finley Dresser (Also available in white.) | Tibet 8×11″ Rug | Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy | Benjamin Moore’s White Dove | Himmeli Duvet Cover- Unison Home | Chambray Stone Sheets- Unison Home | Striped Beige Throw- Le Flique | Mudcloth Pillows- My Haven Home | JUJU Hat | Kilim Lumbar Pillow | Mudcloth Blanket | Hanging hammock Chair | Moroccan Pouff-Baba Souk | All trims by Metrie. Herringbone barn door was custom created by TLE Build and Design with Metrie Products. |Matte Brass drapery hardware- Tonic Living |Final photos by Scarlet O’Neill

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