Autumn Hachey Blog
GET A ROOM: Hotels, Travel

GET A ROOM: Airbnb in Costa Rica

Bo and I decided randomly one night while sitting on the couch at home that enough was enough, we had to go away again. The year previous we had traveled our epic journey around the world (Milan, Amsterdam, Prague, Thailand), and since stepping foot back in Toronto it had been all we thought about. (And it still is!).. We started the usual process for figuring out where to go. Usually I’ll start somewhere like Pinterest and type in a few places to start getting inspired. We knew we wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t across the world.. as we only had a week to travel we had to plan  something that wouldn’t eat up too many of our limited vacation days.

I had personally always wanted to see Costa Rica. Seeing wildlife is a big thing for me, it’s probably one of my favorite aspects of travelling. After a few Google searches I discovered that I could see TONNES of animals in the wild in Costa Rica.. everything from dolphins to crocodiles, to toucans, monkeys and lizards. (spoiler alert: we saw all of those!)

After a few hours of Googling and daydreaming about sloths, we decided.. let’s just do it. (Kind of our travel motto.) And in a complete act of spontaneity we pretty much immediately booked two tickets..

Well.. back that up a second. As soon as we had decided Costa Rica was the place.. I immediately hopped on Airbnb. This was actually my first experience using Airbnb, I had heard really positive sentiment from a blogger I follow so I decided to give it a shot.

For anyone who isn’t aware, Airbnb is this tremendous website where you can rent peoples houses for your trip. You create a profile and join this cool community of travelers. Everything is based on reviews, so every time you stay somewhere you have to leave a review (the host also leaves a review on your profile). The host can approve or deny you, and there’s a messaging feature to let the host know a little bit about yourself. Why is this so awesome? Well, there’s like a million reasons but here’s my top few.

1: Price.

A lot of times the pricing on Airbnb is SUPER reasonable. Not to mention- sometimes the price is for renting the entire house! (Actually in all my experiences so far it’s been for the entire house!)

2. ADVENTURE BABY.

An experience with Airbnb is so much different than a hotel because you’re getting all the insider-super-secret-hyper-local tips on what to do in the town based on the host, you know.. actually having lived there. This my friends.. is pure gold. An example of this in action? Oh, I don’t know.. maybe the secret 20 foot waterfall that was a half an hour hike through the rainforest in our “back yard” that ONLY US were at. (Instead of the tourist waterfalls with 30 people wielding selfie sticks) ..I digress.

3. Great Design & Unique Experiences

There’s a big difference between staying in a hotel room that is a carbon copy of 20 other rooms on the same floor as you, with the same mini bar, the same curtains and the same boring ass carpets- or staying in a house that is oozing with character, stories, and thoughtful design. As someone who really loves design, being surrounded by a carefully curated space makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. With little hints at past stays (sometimes Airbnb hosts will keep a guest book and you can read little tidbits from previous guests), to quirky and adorable little touches.. (Like handwritten notes and fresh flowers)..I just think there’s a lot more heart involved in an Airbnb trip. (And if you’re waving your finger about how staying in a stunning house decorated with vintage mid century furniture MUST be like quadruple the price.. you’re totally off. You can find gems all over the world for reasonable prices, you just have to do some digging.)

Choosing to stay in a hotel on Airbnb might have been the single greatest decision we made the entire trip.

Back to my story.. Not even an hour into my Airbnb search I found it. The money shot. The DREAM HOTEL. You know when you stumble upon something and your heart just lurches out of your chest? That was this. It’s like we were meant to find each other. I went into a frenzy reading all the reviews, 5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars.. Not a single bad thing to say about this hotel with like 20 reviews to back it up. I was already envisioning sipping my morning coffee looking out into the rainforest.

“You can hear howler monkeys when you wake up.”

 

“The entire front of the house is screen so it’s like sleeping in the jungle.”

 

“Hummingbirds, toucans, the most incredible view of my life.”

 

“A fantastic place where time stops.”

At this point I was like, kind of freaking out. We HAD to stay here. I showed my boyfriend, who- obviously wasn’t was psycho about the hotel as I was and he said, “Yeah.. That’s cool.. We should do that!” I am not sure he was even really 100% listening to me.. So I booked it. I didn’t even Google the address. I had no idea where in Costa Rica it was. This is not a travel tip blog. LOL. So, my boyfriend, dear Bo.. Was a little bit annoyed that “You don’t even know where in Costa Rica it is?”.. The new rule is we need to Google the addresses before we book things.. Duly noted.

So where did we stay?

I promise you, photos don’t even begin to do this home justice. My heart literally swells just thinking about this place. We stayed in a sustainable living eco-home with rain water catchment & solar panels 4 KM up the mountains in Uvita Costa Rica. 

I have never seen anything like it. Rainforest kissing the clouds. Like being on top of the world.

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As soon as we arrived we saw toucans hopping on trees right in front of our balcony. Side note: One of the shuttle drivers that drove us told us that Toucans are actually a little bit evil and a lot of people don’t like them because they prey on birds eggs and baby birds.

The entire front of the house was made out of sliding screen doors, with full glass walls in the bedroom. I can’t even describe the sounds at night and in the morning. A symphony of nature. You can hear howler monkeys hooting at 5Am.. The birds all singing together in chorus. At night, all the insects and nocturnal animals can be heard clear as day. Unbelievable and truly indescribable. (Just go stay here please, you will thank me a billion times over).

Costa Rica Airbnb
The view from the foot of the bed

All throughout the property there were fresh fruits that you could harvest and eat yourself. We had Guaro and Squirt.. a Costa Rican version of vodka & 7UP with fresh limes from our backyard the entire trip.

Autumn Hachey

The house sits on 4 acres with views of the Costa Rica Whale Tail, so you really experience the best of both worlds with beach and water on one side, and lush mountains and clouds on the other.

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Are you convinced yet? I want to bring everyone I know here. It’s like the best kept secret ever. If you’re looking to make the trek, here’s a few more details:

We flew from Canada to San Jose. From San Jose we hired a shuttle to drive us to Uvita for around $100 US. (As opposed to renting a car). It was approx a 3 hour drive.

We loved this shuttle company! Our driver’s name was Ronnie and he was awesome. (Everyone in Costa Rica was!).. Ronnie pulled over on the way to our Airbnb and let us check out all the crocodiles at Darcomes Bridge. (We saw 27 people!) He also stopped and bought us fresh mangos- what a guy! When we got to town, we had Ronnie drop us at the grocery store so we could stock our fridge at home.

We then flagged a cab to take us the rest of the way. You will need a 4×4. Since we like to have a few drinks whenever we’re out, we didn’t bother renting a 4×4 for the entire trip but that is an option as well. To save some cash we would walk to town each day and cab back each night for around $20US.

We took a cab back to the airport when the trip was over.. we just arranged it the night before with a cabbie from town and he was there bright and early at 3:30 AM the next morning to take us to the airport.

You can read about the rest of our trip here. (Where I talk about ziplining, snorkelling, and the night we pretty much almost died.. How’s that for a cliff hanger?)

If you have any questions, leave them below. Happy travels! 

Autumn Hachey Blog
Art + Creativity, Classes + Workshops

Surrealism Collage Night @ Gladstone Hotel

I loooooooveee collage! When I saw that Gladstone was offering a collage class I jumped at the opportunity! Because 1: Collage is AWESOME and I have always wanted to learn the tricks of the trade. & 2: Hanging out in the Gladstone is seriously the coolest. There’s wine there, the most inspiring architecture, decor, art galleries.. seriously, what more could you want? Not to mention their completely unique artist designed hotel rooms#goals.

I just love juxtaposing visuals that don’t belong together. I love art that is a little bit mind-bending, surreal and grabs hold of your imagination.

This is one of the first collages that really made me appreciate collage- this image turned into countless nights of “just one more pin”..

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Natural History Museum by Eugenia Loli

A few collage artists I love:

Sammy Slabbink

The Makeup Artist: Sammy Slabbink
The Makeup Artist: Sammy Slabbink

Beth Hoeckel

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lips_hoeckel

Kathryn MacNaughton

kathrynI found out about the class from the Gladstone Hotel Instagram account- they actually offer lots of really great classes- a part of their GetSchool’d workshop series. Get with it. No, I don’t work there.. but I should. Actually, a life goal is to design a room there. Wait for it. 

The instructor for the class was Danielle Cole, aka @GirlsandDinosaurs– and this lady is a GEM.

Danielle is a Toronto collage artist from who creates collages filled with humour; robots encountering animals, strange creatures speaking in tongues, out of control white picket fences and most recently, the explorations overly confident women, dinosaurs and domestic accoutrement.

I fell in love with her series of domesticated birds in fancy vintage homes. Her precision and attention to detail is extraordinary. (Seriously guys, just try cutting out bird legs.. )

And look at this photo she posted the other day of a work in progress- the SIZE is incredible!

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The class size was small, so it’s a really intimate experience- Danielle was able to answer all of our questions and she showed us the ropes & taught us all the basics for cutting & pasting- with all the supplies readily available for everyone to use (including her totally priceless stacks of vintage National Geographics, Space textbooks, Dinosaur books, Deep Sea books + more).

She also gave us a few REALLY great tips.

Tip #1: cut all your white space before you cut the edges. (DUH!) Anybody else remember in public school how cutting around your object was the first thing you instinctively did? Nu uh. Get dat whitespace.

Tip #2: Find images that share a colour story to make it look like the items belong. If you look at her work, she practices this a lot. Like the chairs in her bird images have similar colour tones to the birds themselves- making it seem almost as if they belong there.

And I’m sure you’re DYING to see what I’ve done with what I’ve learned ;)!

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This was an old record.. in preparation for the class I grabbed a PILE of them from a local thrift shop. Old records=awesome vintage imagery. I tried to maneuver the under water scene to look like he still had his eye. I also added the mountains to the bottom and all those cutie urchins.. and you’ll notice a sneaky bird off to the left- using Danielle’s colour trickery ;)!12353216_1148258338537496_175895553_n

This one is a work in progress. I cut out those vintage plants from an AMAZING Value Village book haul. That monstera leaf plant was definitely a sit in my cozies with lots of tea and take my time project. I’m currently still looking for appropriate frames for these guys- I’ve got a few of them! Keep you updated on how they pan out.

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Here’s another idea I was playing around with. Using glass frames to create a 3D-like collage. (& how about that combing her hair in the tropical jungle swinging plant babe?)

Lastly, let me know if you have any questions about the class be sure to leave them below!

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Upcoming collage classes at Gladstone can be found here.

Autumn Hachey Blog
GET A ROOM: Hotels, Travel

GET A ROOM: 5 Boutique Hotels in Ontario

I love to travel. Being in a new place, experiencing new surroundings, culture + people feeds my soul!

And part of the experience of going somewhere new, is where you stay. I love to put in a little extra work to find hotels that are remarkable and unique. Hotels with character and stories and interesting & thoughtful design. I may, or may not pick hotels based on their furniture..;)! But really.. When I am going somewhere, I like to put in some research time to find the hidden gems wherever we’re travelling.

For example, when we went to Prague last year we stayed here, and it was AMAZING. Hotel Sax is a Vintage Design Hotel FILLED with incredible decor from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. It was like hopping in a time machine. Our room was so interesting with crazy orange patterns allover the walls. Our bathtub was massive with floor to ceiling RED tiles and all the hallways were layered with art and hanging installations.

(We meaning myself and my incredible boyfriend Bo who I’ve been dating for over ten years. I know. So far we’re at 7 countries together!)

I could have easily picked one of the first hotels to show up on Trip Advisor, but instead I spent time digging. And it was worth every Google search!

I am big on experiences. At the end of the day, I would rather save a couple extra bucks by not going out every single weekend, or pass on the expensive designer handbag to have $ for travelling zee world.

Splurge on experiences not things! Shop vintage + go travel people!

There’s a few boutique hotels in Ontario that I am DYING to stay at. As soon as I’ve checked them out I’ll be sure to share my experience, but for now, here’s my dream list!

  1. The Drake Hotel

GET A ROOM: The Drake Hotel

GET A ROOM: The Drake Hotel

Whether you’re looking for a cozy crash pad or an XL suite, you can be sure to find something packed with personality, art, and heaps of character at The Drake Hotel. Every centimetre of The Drake has been thoughtfully designed from floor to ceiling. It’s pretty much a vintage furniture lover’s dream come true. (aka mine). Throughout all of the Drake properties (yes, there’s more!!).. you’ll find hints of natural materials like wood, cork, metals & leather. (The light fixtures in the bar are fantastic- I’ll have to grab a photo during my next visit.) With a mishmash of contemporary pieces and antiques, the Drake is unique in every way. You could say, a perfect blend of modern, timeless and vintage.

I dig the throwback vibes – and with award winning cocktails (I tried a “Zombie” during my last stay), yummy eats, events, art exhibits and more, I think that The Drake Hotel is definitely worth adding to the bucket list!  See the rooms & sleep with Drake here.

GET A ROOM: The Drake Hotel
Incredible Mural in the Sky Yard at the Drake Hotel by artist Luke Ramsey

images via

THE DRAKE // FACEBOOK// TWITTER// INSTAGRAM // PINTEREST

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2. The Drake Devonshire

GET A ROOM: The Drake Devonshire

GET A ROOM: The Drake Devonshire

GET A ROOM: The Drake Devonshire

Surprise Surprise, it’s The Drake again. I would get married to the Drake Devonshire. But seriously, I think I hyperventilated the first time I laid eyes on this miracle of a hotel (I might actually pass out when I finally stay here..). Every room at the Drake Devonshire has been meticulously designed mixed with custom furniture, artwork, antiques, nature and vintage pieces. Everything that I love. There are permanent art collections & rotating exhibits alongside specially commissioned local and international artist pieces that enhance the Devonshire experience both indoors and out. Like this jaw dropping installation by Kirsten Hassenfeld. 

GET A ROOM: The Drake Devonshire

This is a hotel you could visit hundreds of times and you would encounter new rich experiences each and every time.

Excuse me while I redecorate my entire house. This looks like a great place to spend Valentine’s Day.. ahem…Bo. 

images: via

THE DRAKE Devonshire// FACEBOOK// TWITTER// INSTAGRAM // PINTEREST

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3. Hotel Ocho

GET A ROOM: Hotel Ocho

GET A ROOM: Hotel Ocho

Bo and I stayed at Hotel Ocho last year for Valentine’s Day. We were on the hunt for a cute boutique hotel that didn’t come with an impractical price tag. (I believe our stay was around $110 for the night, not bad at all!) It’s a very cute hotel with lots of great architectural interest.. steel windowsills, original floor wood paneling & exposed brick. Built in 1986, the building was once a cigar, and a textile factory.

I particularly liked the mid-century tables & chairs in the dining room, it reminded me of our trip to Amsterdam. With only 12 rooms, the service was great! Another great aspect of this hotel is their support of local artists. In the dining/common area local artists work is featured on the walls. It was a cozy loft-like retreat in the heart of the city. I plan to visit again!

images: via

Hotel Ocho// FACEBOOK// TWITTER

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4. Lynne Knowlton’s Treehouse/Airstream

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Treehouse

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Treehouse

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Treehouse

Okay, but seriously HOW CUTE IS THIS TREEHOUSE?! What child hasn’t dreamed of heading outside with all their blankets and their flashlight to stay in a treehouse? Actually, one time.. when I was probably 13.. I ALMOST spent an entire night with one of my girlfriends sleeping in a empty chicken coop that I had deemed to be my fort. (Like, a real chicken coop. Where chickens used to live…laugh cry emoji.) We cleaned it.. and painted it..the only appropriate thing left to do was sleep in it… obviously MOM. Well, we did.. for like, three hours. Until the smells, the spiders, the scary country noises and giant hornet nest spooked us back inside to safety.

I have a feeling Lynne’s impeccably designed treehouse might be the treehouse I’ve always dreamed of.. sans old chicken feed.

I had the pleasure of working with Lynne last year on a project for Leon’s , through that relationship I found out about her lovely treehouse that she rents out during the warmer months. It. is. stunning. What is really funny that I didn’t know is that the treehouse is actually near my home town of Walkerton.. Small world! The cabin is nestled into 100 acres with hammocks, a pool and so much fresh air!

And FURTHER to that- Lynne just recently also got an Air Stream. Before she got it, I actually didn’t even know what an Air Stream was. It’s basically a trailer that she’s completely gutted and renovated into a mini-paradise on wheels!

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Airstream

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Airstream

GET A ROOM: Lynne Knowlton's Airstream

Check out this awesome video from Jon Simo’s stay in the airstream. Press Play!

PRESS PLAY 👆🏻 A silver bullet under the stars // #airstream #timelapsephotography

A video posted by Jon Simo (@jonsimo) on

Lynne Knowlton’s Treehouse// FACEBOOK// TWITTER// INSTAGRAM // PINTEREST

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5. The Gladstone Hotel

GET A ROOM: The Gladstone Hotel

GET A ROOM: The Gladstone Hotel

GET A ROOM: The Gladstone Hotel

Ahh, the Gladstone Hotel. Last in this post, but certainly not least. I have spent lots of time at the Gladstone.. Checking out art galleries and taking advantage of their creative Get School’d workshops. The Gladstone Hotel is internationally recognized as Canada’s favourite boutique art hotel. Supporting 37 artist designed hotel rooms,  over 70 art exhibitions a year, 4 diverse event venue spaces and 2 restaurants…Gladstone has got it GOING ON. I would love to stay in each and every one of those incredibly curated and designed artist rooms!

The Gladstone Hotel// FACEBOOK// TWITTER// INSTAGRAM // PINTEREST

That’s it folks- 5 boutique hotels in Ontario on my hit list! Have you got any secret gems to share? Comment below! If you stay at one of these hotels I would love to hear about it. Thanks for reading!

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 GETA ROOM

Autumn Hachey Blog
Art + Creativity, Screen Grabbed

Screen Grabbed: The Series/ VOL 1

I.. Autumn Hachey.. have a screen grabbing addiction.

I’m not proud of it, but if you have a cool photo on Instagram, chances are.. I’ve got it in my camera roll. There are two things I really love about Instagram. 1.. Saving your photos for me to upload to my computer ..to get lost in the giant sea of other screen grabbed images, that ultimately serve no purpose because I am far too lazy to organize them. And 2. Tagging my friends/being tagged in the most obnoxious memes and posts that are very questionable, and if there were ever an Ashley Madison leak on my Instagram tagging behaviour, ya’ll would be exposed to some realness.

BTW, my friend Katie made a GREAT point to me the other day. Imagine if your phone could automatically sort your screen grabs for you? That would be nice. Or if Instagram just adopted Pinterest super-powers..

Anyways, I usually screen grab photos that inspire me, so instead of hogging them to myself I’m going to share them with you, in my new series: Screen Grabbed. 

 

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charlotte

sophlog

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poketo

max

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Follow these awesome feeds!

1: @mariabrito_ny | 2: @younggoldteeth | 3: @klosaintjames | 4: @charlottelovely | 5: @sophlog | 6: @jealouscurator | 7: @poketo  | 8: @maxwanger | 9: @uglyybaby | 10: @artcrasher

Stay tuned for Volume 2.. happening as soon as I get the energy to dump my phone each month!

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