Heritage and High-Living
From the Publishers perspective | Photos by Autumn Photography
Ask any St. John’s resident in the early 1900s about The Maples and they would point to a beautiful estate on the Northeast corner of Patrick and Hamilton. Perched halfway up a steep hill on a tree-lined section of downtown, the plum-and-white property strikes an imposing image. It’s been that way for over a century.
It was built in 1898 by John Steer, a prominent English merchant. That name may sound familiar—he’s one of the Steers after which the downtown street was named, the site of the popular store he owned. One of the jewels of St. John’s, it hosted in 1922 his granddaughter’s marriage and for the next 30 years was home to her and her husband. The Maples remained in the Steer family for over half a century.
Now, it’s yours. For a few nights, at least. Property manager Emilie Bourque of FabStay Accommodations added the estate to her portfolio of luxury short-term rentals and, much like the rest of the city, has intimate knowledge of its robust history. The house has endured such widespread and lasting acclaim that, until 1970, it wasn’t even referred to by its street address—St. John’s residents simply knew where it was.
St. John’s is a mecca for fine, world-renowned cuisine. But, should you and and your houseguests prefer to dine in, you’re in for a treat. The sleek, modern kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-range stainless steel appliances.
The property, like all of those available from locally-owned FabStay Accommodations, comes stocked with snacks and basic cooking ingredients. At The Maples, next to the glass-top range, you’ll find a full spice rack, perfect for seasoning choice cuts of local meat and seafood.
Then, gather under a beautiful hanging light fixture at the dining room table: there’s seating for eight. Or spread into the parlour through massive sliding doors for a more relaxed experience. And for an intimate meal early in the morning, prepare a light breakfast and read the paper in the bright breakfast nook. You could also enjoy yourself outdoors on the beautiful patio set.
After properly refuelling, take your time exploring the house. The four bedrooms amongst the estate, along with most every space, have individual personalities which, be it the stately master bedroom or cozy loft-for-six, paint a cohesive portrait of luxury and fine taste. It’s easily apparent the owner, Italian architect Elena Patarini Slawinski, is skilled at interior design and enjoys the process of creating beautiful spaces.
The property is populated with a carefully curated collection of antique furnishings. Midcentury Le Corbusier sofas, high-pile rugs, and beautifully-ornate conversation sets. These are expertly blended with modern finishings and high-end appliances. The study, for instance, is home to a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind desk fashioned from plate glass and the inner mechanics of a piano, designed by the owner herself. It sits between floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a massive, razor-thin television.
If you decide to hit the town, take your time getting ready. Enjoy his-and-her sinks, beautiful glassed-in showers and one of the crown jewels of the property: a porcelain-and-chrome claw-foot bathtub. It even comes equipped with rubber duckies. The Maples truly offers an at-home spa experience. It’s a refreshing way to start—and end—a day of East Coast Canadian adventure.
Reward yourself, your family, and travelling companions with a luxurious stay at one of the area’s oldest and most beautiful properties. Whether you’re looking for a quiet few days to yourself or a week of sightseeing and local fare, The Maples offers an experience which, much like the house itself, is unforgettable.