Shobac Cottages is a farm by the sea built on historic village ruins on Canada’s Nova Scotia south shore, offering four unique cottages, several houses and an octagonal barn.
How would you describe Bloom Organic B&B in a nutshell?
Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada, is an art community that is full of writers, scientists and inventors – the perfect location for Bloom Organic B+B. It is a place to reinvent oneself, take a deep breath and let your ideas blossom. There are only 2 suites; they offer yoga classes as well as courses on how to be more present in your life.
How did you end up moving to Salt Spring Island?
We were living a very urban life, a 15-minute walk from downtown Vancouver. We loved it, but it wasn’t appropriate for our children.
I had always worked as an artist and my company was a design company. Paul had established his credentials as a sculptor, so we needed art space. Salt Spring is an art community, so rather than starting an art community from scratch, we went where one already existed.
You can find an expert in any field within two phone calls on Salt Spring Island. There have been Nobel prize winners here, writers, inventors, and scientists. It has a wide breadth of people.
How did you came up with the idea to open a Bed and Breakfast?
I used to travel a lot for my previous company, so sometimes I would stay in hotels and sometimes I would stay in Bed and Breakfasts, and I never found either of them very satisfying. The hotels were either so impersonal, even the good hotels, and they imposed a kind of aesthetic upon me which I didn’t find comfortable. And I found most B&Bs to be so overwrought that I stopped going to them.
Family and friends were always staying with us to get away from Vancouver, so when our children grew up and left, we had this beautiful property we thought we should share with everybody. We wanted to create a space that was visually beautiful and the design sense was there but didn’t impose on somebody so it didn’t override their own imaginations; it could allow whatever they were working on in their heads to blossom.
What’s your philosophy Bloom Organic B&B?
Our core value at Bloom Organic B&B is to create a warm encompassing space that’s friendly, but doesn’t impose a visual tyranny on anybody. When we were working on it, I had people come through and they would take this big breath, and I could see them expanding, even when we were in construction.
Please tell us about the organic aspect of the B&B.
If you’re offering a place for people to reinvent themselves, you want that place to be clean in every way possible. It’s very quiet here, serene, so we also don’t want modern chemicals imposing on that. At Bloom Organic B&B, we have our own vegetable garden and try to live as organically as we can afford to.
My father is a Swedish pastry chef, and I grew up working in his bakery. His philosophy was to have the purest ingredients you could find. Being Swedish, that cuisine is based on butter, almonds, really good chocolate, sugar, lemon and freshness. My pastries aren’t as rich as his, and I personally don’t eat that way anymore, but we have a lot of apple trees, fig trees, pears and plum, and so I use that fresh fruit as much as possible.
We also have a local coffee roaster who offers all shade grown, fair trade coffee. We source really good organic yogurt, and I make our granola with organic ingredients and sweeten it with maple syrup. And Paul makes the bread.
What has been your biggest reward running the B&B?
The people we meet. The island is a filter that brings amazing people here. We enjoy sharing our place and showing them our work and art. People come here to spend their holidays and we see them unwinding. It really helps them find themselves.
Other people come here and see it as a place to get away and get things done. They’re editing books or working on projects, and they get a chance to develop what they haven’t had the time or the space to do that in. We’re excited to be a part of that process.