To see Youssef Hasbani in his tailored suit with his hair groomed just so, you wouldn’t peg him as a cottage guy. But
the owner of home store L’Atelier spends much of the summer at his secluded retreat in Ontario’s Kawarthas region. The five-acre cottage offers a much-needed reprieve from his busy city life, where he spends little time in his midtown home. “Creating a relaxing environment was very important to me,” he says. His modern city pad is sprinkled with rustic details that soften the urban vibe, giving him a space to unwind after work. Take a tour of the Toronto tastemaker’s city home and cottage and see how he created a soothing ambiance in both spaces.
The main-floor living area in Youssef’s city home is minimal yet theatrical in shades of grey and black. An extra-large vintage bubbled sectional by Paul Evans has a futuristic night club vibe, while a cubby filled with stacked firewood introduces a rustic note.
Leggy tables and chairs make the living room look light and spacious. The vintage lacquered armchairs are by Italian designer Roberto Ventura. A 1957 goatskin parchment-covered gentleman’s wardrobe by Italian architect Guglielmo Ulrich anchors one wall. “It’s a huge, spectacular piece with exquisite interior detailing like leather-covered drawers, bleached mahogany, ebony and rosewood,” Youssef says.
A salon wall — complete with a brass picture light — helps the open-concept kitchen (which also functions as a study) feel more like a gallery than a cooking zone. Youssef stopped the lower cabinets midway under the marble prep counter to allow for a breakfast spot. The fridge, range and full-height cabinets fill the opposite wall (not shown).
The home’s sweeping staircase evokes the glamor of Art Deco. Youssef opened up the stairwell to spotlight its curves and create an airier look. An interplay of light and dark — in the black and white art and between the floors and walls — always feels luxurious.
Wicker isn’t reserved for the cottage. In the principal bedroom in Toronto, Youssef gave a woven wicker and leather bed frame an urban twist by pairing it with white-lacquer side tables and a mod armchair and ottoman. The painted-glass table lamps sport shades trimmed in a graphic stripe. Glass doors open onto the back balcony and provide a leafy treetop view.
A Mongolian sheepskin ottoman and an alabaster amphora on an unpainted teak pedestal add quirk and texture to the ensuite bathroom. Carrara marble floor and wall tiles and glossy white cabinets echo the materials used in the kitchen.
At his cottage, Youssef’s fondness for sculpture extends to the outdoors. A horse topiary, found in Chicago, greets guests outside one of the property’s two bunkies. “Every year I add moss to it — it’s relaxing for me,” he says.
While dark hardwood floors flow through Youssef’s Toronto home, the cottage’s interior gleams gorgeously thanks to layers of white paint. “I have the floors lacquered every two years, so they build up a nice patina,” he says. A sectional slipcovered in terrycloth is a practical choice for lakeside living. The wood-burning stove was the only item salvaged from the original cottage.
Youssef puts his own spin on shabby chic by pairing a chintz-covered 18th-century bergere with a mid-century modern Paul McCobb table.
In the dining area, an oval table and slipcovered armchairs pull up to a banquette piled with pillows covered in casual ticking stripes. A clear Murano glass chandelier adds an unexpected touch of glamor. The floor lamp (by the door) was made out of a minaret ornamentation from a Turkish mosque.
In a screened room, a late-18th-century, French-Canadian harvest table doubles as a desk. Even a formal wing chair feels laid-back slipcovered in white terrycloth. Because this room can feel cool even on the hottest days, Youssef covered the floor with indoor-outdoor carpeting that’s easy to clean.
The principal bedroom follows the cottage’s serene all-white scheme, but chocolate lampshades on black twig bases lend balance and weight. The sculpture over the bed is by metalwork artist C. Jeré.
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Windows in the 10′ x 10′ guest bunkie save space by swinging up for a classic cottage effect. The ceiling trusswork appeals to Youssef’s appreciation for architectural details.
An outdoor shower that includes a wash basin is a highlight of one guest bunkie. “I love that the ‘ceiling’ is trees and sky,” says Youssef. The marble vessel is from India, and the mirror is framed in horns.