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A healthy home-away-from-home | Toronto Sun

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Sustainable style in demand at home and on the road

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High-end hotels offer a heightened version of daily life, in which all needs are seamlessly met in beautiful private rooms and splendid public places for eating, chatting, and gathering.

As sustainable design become more widespread in the home, the hospitality industry has begun to add environmental awareness to short-stay luxury-level offerings.

In the case of 1 Hotel www.1hotels.com/toronto the eco-conscious hotel brand that’s just opened at 550 Wellington Street West in Toronto, sustainability actually anchors the brand.

On a recent overnight stay (it was on the house) I came away not only with a refreshed appreciation of my city (more on that at www.aroundthehouse.ca ) but with ideas for adding environmentally-friendly, hotel-like luxury to the home, and several names of new-to-me regional makers.

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Overseen by New York City’s Rockwell Group www.rockwellgroup.com , the design is grounded in hyper-local partnerships with climate-conscious designers, makers, artists, florists, craftspeople, growers, and chefs — a trend that is also taking residential décor by storm.

Local sourcing starts with a colour palette inspired by Lake Ontario’s watery blues, rocky greys, and sandy beiges. Repeated through the hotel, the subtle tones are handsome, flattering, and versatile.

Touches of texture are layered into rooms with organic bed linens, and natural cotton towels, robes, and cozy slippers. Minibars are stocked with artisanal local products, and guestroom glassware is made of re-purposed glass.

Small chalkboards take the place of note-pads. Many of those elements, I thought, could be easily executed at home. To make it even simpler, the hotel sells its signature bedding, robes, accessories, and skincare online.

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Reclaimed Elm wood from a dismantled barn in Blyth, Ontario is used in as shelving and flooring in the lobby and guest corridors. Local limestone figures prominently, and a stone shaped by glaciers stands as a backdrop to the reception desk.

A magnificent sculpture inspired by the wings of loons, from Toronto-based art studio Moss and Lam www.mossandlam.com , hovers above.

Stone reappears in a fireplace in the lobby lounge, which reads like a contemporary version of a deluxe old-school lakeside resort. The communal space leads into the Flora Lounge bar, overarched and framed in showstoppingly beautiful greenery designed by Toronto-based floral designer/founder of Timberlost ( www.timberlost.ca ) Lauren Wilson, who uses flowers, flora, and moss foraged in Ontario.

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It’s equally stunning from a distance in from an easy chair in the lounge or up-close at the bar, where you can nibble on cheeses, cured meats, crostini, and house-made jams sourced within 100 km of the hotel.

Close to 1,000 pieces — dining tables, grazing boards, desks, and side tables —were created by Just Be Woodsy www.justbewoodsy.com — which handcrafts one-of-a-kind furnishings from fallen trees.

Dining options include the hotel’s signature restaurant 1 Kitchen Toronto, which relies heavily on fresh produce and traditional methods of pickling, fermenting, and smoking. Drinks include cold-pressed juices, biodynamic or organic wines, and a rotating local craft beer is always on tap.

The zero-waste kitchen composts all organics and recycles or upcycles everything else. A pollinator-friendly seasonal garden provides organic herbs, fruits, lettuces, edible flowers, peppers, onions, and beans.

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Guest rooms start at 337 square feet, going all the way up to the 3,150 square-foot Birch House suite, which has living and dining areas, full kitchen, 50-inch TV, expansive views, and is connected with two bedrooms. It can also be booked for intimate private dinners and corporate/media events. Room prices start at about $500 a night; look for special offers on the site.

If you can’t manage a city staycation, stop in at the bar for a smart cocktail on an evening when there’s jazz or a Tarot Card reading session, and check out markets and other events held at the outdoor Garden Pavilion, and rooftop lounge. Because this home-away-from-home is designed to double as a favourite local hang-out.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House, www.aroundthehouse.
ca. Check her out on Instagram@athwithvicky, on Twitter ATHwithVickyand
on facebook.com/ATHVicky.

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