Published October 22, 2017
Interview: The Edward
Hi guys! Would the four of you like to introduce yourselves?
Hi Annabelle, absolutely! We are, Rebecca and Jessica (sisters) and our husbands, Manolis and Payam, respectively.
From what I understand, you all met in Toronto. When did you realize you wanted to make the transition from city life to slow living out in the county?
Rebecca: Although we called Toronto home before moving to The County, we actually know each other from our university days in Ottawa. Manolis, Payam and I all went to the School of Industrial Design at Carleton University. Payam and I were housemates in our last year, which is how he got to know (and eventually fall in love with) my Sister! We chose Toronto for work opportunities in the Design field, but after 7 years of career climbing it was time for a change.
Payam: Manolis and Rebecca had been dreaming about a B&B in the countryside for years, while Jessica and I hoped to one day live in a peaceful town, away from the hustle of the big city. We knew we wanted to live close to one another and it only made sense that we joined in on this venture. So, last November, we took a weekend trip to Prince Edward County to "casually tour the area". Before we knew it we'd found the perfect countryside home and there was no turning back. "Let's just do it" became our collective motto!
In what state was the inn when you found it on the market? Did you have to do many renovations in preparation of opening the Edward?
Manolis: First impressions are worth so much, and we knew this house was 'the one' before we even set foot in it! The first time we drove up the winding path towards the house, our hearts leapt as the yellow, cape-cod style home appeared from behind the trees. It's one of those things: you just know it when you see it!
Jessica: The house itself had everything we were looking for: lots of natural light, plus ample space for our guests as well as ourselves to co-live comfortably as two families. Each bedroom already had a spacious ensuite bathroom, so our work has been mostly cosmetic. Beyond furnishing the rooms, our biggest job was to paint the walls of the cathedral ceiling in the living room from lime green—seriously—to white. Now we're working on some exciting projects around our 75 acre property, including a chicken coop and meadow inspired landscaping.
Rebecca, you have a young toddler in tow, and another one on the way. What has it been like raising a child in a bed and breakfast environment?
Rebecca: I'm so grateful to work alongside my Husband, Sister, and Brother-in-law for their support and helping hands when it comes to raising my daughter. Working from home means we experience all the precious moments as she grows up. Eva also loves interacting with our guests; she recently hand-fed a freshly-baked muffin to one obliging visitor! My hope is that, growing up around people from all over the world, Eva will develop confident social skills and a curiosity for people's unique stories.
The four of you (well, five, including Eva) obviously work well as a team. Do each of you have a specific role you occupy or do you tend to share and swap jobs?
Payam: A bit of both. We've naturally grown into certain roles that we're good at or passionate about. But we've had to make sure that each of us can step into another's role, in case one of us is sick or needs time off. We've also realized it's important to rotate what we do from time to time so we're not repeating the same tasks over and over and over, you know! The biggest tasks are breakfast and room turnover, so we like to work in pairs for efficiency (and, of course, good company).
Do you have any advice for urban dwellers looking to move out into the country? Are the any unexpected challenges you faced making that move yourself?
Manolis: The best advice we can give to anyone looking to move to the country is to try it out, see what it's like, and see if it's the life for you. Moving to the country is very often a romanticized concept, yet it certainly has its own challenges. Naturally we think the benefits outweigh the challenges, and that's why we are still here. But you are dealing with a completely different lifestyle—think larger properties, more physical work, more space. We also face unexpected weather and nature related challenges such as high winds, flooding, and invasive species growth. All that to say, we're trying it and, so far, have no regrets.
A couple weeks ago, you launched an online shop. How do you see that evolving? Are you looking to mainly sell items you've made yourself or bring in other small brands?
Jessica: We see the shop as being a combination of products we develop ourselves, as well as collaborations with other lifestyle brands and businesses. The Edward Shop will focus on beautiful handmade goods; woodcraft, textiles, prints, jewellery, home and self-care products. We have a selection available already and are super excited for the next round to go online. So stay tuned!
Beyond your shop, do you have any other projects on the go?
Payam: Oh so many projects! And to be honest, sometimes to a fault. We've been learning to prioritize so we can focus our energy on fewer but more impactful projects. We continue to work on the B&B experience, and perfecting that. We're building a chicken coop, plus a fruit and vegetable garden to ensure healthy, ethical breakfasts. We're also expanding our shop, and working on a BIG project for 2018 which is still in its infancy and may be too soon to reveal!
Last question, and I have to ask it: Is there anything you miss about Toronto?
Jessica: Of course! We all love Toronto. We miss the conveniences (no Uber Eats in PEC) and the easy accessibility the city has to offer. And of course we miss our friends and family! But hey, now that we own a B&B we have lots of room for them to visit—as long as they bring us ramen from the East End ;)
Book you next stay at The Edward here. More photos below.