9 Reasons Chloe Wilde’s New Airbnb ‘The School House’ Should Be Your Next Staycation DestinationJan 14, 2022
If there was anything good to come out of the pandemic, rediscovering the magic of local travel has to be at the top of the list. And if you’re on the lookout for a new and totally idyllic homegrown spot to spend a relaxing weekend with friends or a quiet getaway with family, look no further than The School House. It’s a 121-year-old school-turned-home near Kawartha Lakes that media personality and Healthy Is Hot founder Chloe Wilde and her partner Ben Johnston just finished renovating from top to bottom, and it’s now ready for guests!
“Ben and I have put so much of ourselves into the house,” says Chloe. “It was a huge undertaking. Way more stressful and overwhelming than we ever could have imagined, but also the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of our lives.” The result? A beautifully unique space with more character and charm than you could ever imagine.
Here are nine reasons to bump The School House to the top of your staycation bucket list.1) IT’S THE PERFECT SPACE FOR A COUPLES WEEKEND, FRIENDS GETAWAY OR FAMILY TRIP
With two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a huge open-concept living area, The School House has more than enough space to comfortably accommodate two couples, a group of four or a small family. The space also has a five-person maximum, so you could even squeeze in an extra friend or family member on an air mattress if needed.2) ITS VARIED MIX OF AMENITIES MEANS YOU’LL NEVER GET BORED
Rain or shine, there’s always something to do at The School House. Keep busy on rainy or wintry days by checking out the assortment of fun board games, or by lighting the eco-friendly pellet stove (real flame included) and cozying up by the fire with your favourite drink.
Outside, there’s an expansive deck that Chloe and Ben resurfaced by hand, which features a BBQ, a big patio table and chairs (perfect for entertaining!) and specially-timed twinkly lights programmed to switch on while the sun is setting.
In the warmer months, you can get into a game of bocce or croquet on the lawn, and if things get a little too heated you can always use the outdoor shower to rinse off. Yep, that’s right! Guests can also look forward to using The School House’s very own cedar barrel sauna, which will be added to the Airbnb in the coming months.
Of everything The School House has to offer, there’s one thing Chloe hopes every guest gets to enjoy: A twilight fire around the perfectly landscaped outdoor fire pit. “I think that magical moment between day and dusk, when the sky starts to change, is really unbelievably beautiful up there,” says Chloe. Add in a fire and you’re set for an evening to remember. “The house is just illuminated in the beautiful warm glow from the fire and the twinkly lights and the sun setting, and it’s just one of those moments that until you experience it, you don’t realize how majestic it is,” she says. Don’t worry if you forgot firewood, by the way, there’s a stash on the property that guests have full access to.
If you’re visiting in the winter months and aren’t looking to brave the elements to witness this magical moment, you’re in luck, because there’s another space in the Airbnb that delivers a similar experience — the loft bedroom. Chloe says the bed faces a series of three windows that overlook the back of the one-acre property, delivering a pretty epic view: “When you open your eyes, you’re eye-level with the windows so the first thing you see is the huge backyard. Being a city kid, it just takes your breath away every single time.” And to top it all off, the owners of the land surrounding The School House are never planning on developing it, which means those breathtaking backyard views are guaranteed for life.
The trip could be a little longer or shorter depending on where you are, but from Toronto it only takes about two hours to get to the blissfully secluded School House. Plus, the Airbnb listing says it’s “nestled on a quiet dirt road,” which means you won’t have to worry about any horns or sirens disrupting your peaceful getaway.5) IT’S LIKE YOUR VERY OWN MINI-MUSEUM
Gallery-lovers rejoice! You’ll love that lodging at The School House will make you feel like you’re staying in your own personal museum. Outside, you can check out the *original* schoolhouse swing set that’s still standing in the yard, or even take a tour of the building’s exterior to see if you can spot any student names that were hand-etched into the brick (probably during recess?).
Back inside, the living room’s wall-to-wall bookcase can take you from Africa to Asia in a matter of seconds. Chloe says it’s filled with items she and Ben picked up on their travels together, and some of her favourites are a mask they got in Uganda, a “Cape Town” sign from Ben’s hometown and tiny little robot figurines from Tokyo.
“It’s such a hodgepodge of things, but hopefully there’s a little something for everyone,” says Chloe.
“We wanted to do The School House in a way that reflected the fact that we’re trying to be less commercial and a little kinder to the planet. So we really made an effort to buy as much used furniture and thrift store finds as possible to add a lot of character, while also trying to reduce our carbon footprint,” explains Chloe.
The sunshine-yellow outdoor Muskoka chairs are the perfect example, which Chloe says were “barely holding together” when they found them. Together, she and Ben sanded, stripped and painted the chairs, adding new brackets and finally sealing them to make them good as new.
Most of the dried flower arrangements (which Chloe says you’ll see virtually all over the house) were literally picked just a few steps from the property, too. “I wanted to get creative and include some of the nature that surrounds the property, so in the summertime I went and picked a bunch of little things that I would see along the side of the street,” says Chloe. She later hung, dried and misted them with hairspray to preserve the precious bouquets.
As guests of The School House, you’ll also have to share the space with a few (super adorable!) animal pals. First up is Todd the toad, who Chloe says is always there to greet The School House’s visitors. Next is Chippy the chipmunk, who usually runs around the property a mile a minute looking for a quick bite to eat. And finally, keep an eye out for the beautiful array of birds who frequent the feeders around the property. Chloe says it’s not uncommon to spot a blue jay or two!8) IT’S A SPACE DESIGNED WITH WELLNESS IN MIND
From the yoga mats, free weights and resistance bands to the Vitamix in the kitchen, The School House is a place that encourages wellness. Feel like doing some light stretches out on the deck? Or what about a little weight-lifting sequence followed by a nutritious green smoothie? You've got everything you need to go for it. “I really wanted to give people that opportunity to carve out a little bit of self-care time,” says Chloe.
You’ll be greeted by a calm and tranquil atmosphere as soon as you step inside the Airbnb thanks to its earthy tones and abundance of natural light. Chloe says she and Ben intentionally decided on a ‘warm oatmeal’ interior paint colour to mirror the muted browns and oranges that surround the property year-round, making it feel like you’re always steeped in nature even when you’re indoors. “When you go from outside to inside, it doesn’t feel like this big jarring switch,” says Chloe. “Instead, it’s like a continuation of the common colours that are surrounding you and the rural property.”
It’s no wonder the space looks reminiscent of a blissful, sun-soaked wheat field when the morning light streams through the living room windows. Take a look at the listing photos on Airbnb to see for yourself! Click here!
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