‘Ottawa’ Motelluxe: Escape From it all at Airstream B+B
Lori Anglin and Philippe Noël are so enamoured with their home and its bucolic surroundings in the Gatineau Hills they want others to enjoy it, too.
The couple has launched Motelluxe, a contemporary bed and breakfast inside a shiny silver and delightfully retro Airstream trailer located on their property in the tiny hamlet of Lascelles, a 35-minute drive from downtown Ottawa.
Referred to as Bella, the spiffy Airstream offers visitors a luxury getaway in a tranquil setting and will appeal to those seeking a “glamping” and rejuvenating wellness experience. Parked on a hillside slope with views of cows on a nearby farm, the aluminum trailer boasts solar panels and grey-water recycling, smart red leather upholstery, a queen-sized bed and an ensuite shower with fluffy towels and bathrobes. There’s a separate washroom, expansive windows and a skylight with night views of the stars and fairy lights that twinkle in a canopy of trees overhead.
“It’s like stepping into a capsule — a cosy and secure galaxy,” says Noël.
The pair is keen that visitors to Motelluxe will appreciate the eco-conscious choices they have made.
“We try to live a small-footprint lifestyle here,” explains Anglin, “and that’s reflected in our choice of an Airstream. The company was founded in 1932 and 70 per cent of all trailers built since then are still in use. It’s all a part of the recycle, reuse continuum.”
Noël, who has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for years, has thought of everything a guest could want. There’s an outdoor shower with hot water tucked amongst the trees and a separate building referred to as the Atelier Room that includes a cast-iron wood stove for cooler days, games and music. A deck and bar area is located next to the Airstream where guests can barbecue and cook their own meal while enjoying a drink. A fridge located inside the trailer is stocked with everything for a fulsome continental breakfast, including homemade jams and jellies. (Magasin Général La Pêche, a quaint country store located only a few minutes away by foot, offers fabulous fresh bread during the weekend and other basic necessities, including wine and beer.) If you book in advance, Noël will prepare a meal for guests or offer dishes from Les Fougères restaurant.
If you’re feeling sporty, there are tennis racquets and balls to use against a customized backboard and a platform to practice yoga. Adirondack chairs let you kick back and relax. Guests can also borrow bicycles to tour the countryside, enjoy a hike through the many trails in Gatineau Park, take a dip in the Gatineau River, go birdwatching and enjoy free access to a swimming beach at Lac Philippe. Motelluxe can also be used as a base to visit nearby villages such as Wakefield and Chelsea or to enjoy an outing to Nordik Spa, located 20 minutes away by car.
The design-savvy couple purchased their home, a former schoolhouse, in 2008. Originally built in 1889, the open-concept design now boasts new windows, polished concrete heated floors and a floating staircase made from massive slices of local pine.
“We knew what we wanted: clean lines and uncluttered windows, nothing to the ceiling,” says Anglin, a conservation architect and historic site planner who works on projects worldwide to create master plans for sites such as Petra in Jordan and the Marrakesh Medina in Morocco.
The home has a minimalist vibe featuring locally sourced wood throughout, and in the kitchen, stainless steel and vibrant red floors made from an eco-conscious linoleum product called Forbo. An Afghan Turkmen rug covers the living room floor and picks up the red tones of the kitchen’s Forbo flooring.
Elsewhere, the couple has taken pains to remain true to the history of the house, which was used as a school till 1960. Hanging above the dining table is an old schoolhouse light fixture the couple found in Port Hope, while the kitchen boasts a deep farmhouse sink. Upstairs, they chose to expose the original notched hemlock ceiling joists of the house and added six dormer windows for height. The effect is rustic but contemporary with eye-catching sloped ceilings and interesting shadows.
Underneath the stairs is a 1968 Vespa from Ho Chi Min City, a memento that Anglin brought back from a job there.
Several years ago, she began bringing salts from the Dead Sea back to Canada. What began as a hobby producing soothing, scented bath salts for friends and neighbours has turned into a small business. Les Sels de Lascelles are available in citrus, eucalyptus, lavender and an aroma she calls La Forêt, made from essential oils of cedar wood, pine, ginger grass, sandalwood, patchouli and bergamot, with a sprinkling of toasted cedar needles.
“We’re offering a sustainable, interesting option for a weekend break,” says Anglin. “And we hope that guests will appreciate the natural beauty.”