A new inn has opened its doors to weary travelers wanting to cozy up for the night in Fort Smith, promising all the amenities of one’s own home.
Entrepreneurial inn-keeper Janie Hobart said she wants her new bed and breakfast, Inn Triallaire, to serve as a full-on home away from home for visitors coming to the community, whether they be business travelers or tourists wanting to spend the weekend.
“I want it to have that warm, welcoming feel,” she shared. “I think with the finishes we put in, I’m hoping that when people come to Fort Smith, they’ll feel like it’s like being in a house – somebody’s home.”
The wee inn, located in what is remembered as the old dental clinic at 55 Portage Ave., boasts a rustic, hip-roofed cottage style architecture, while the interior design mixes a clean, polished finish accented by unique, primarily antique, pieces that are as international as its name, many of which were picked up on Hobart’s travels.
The walls of Triallaire, which means traveler in Gaelic (coming from Hobart’s feuding family heritage of Irish and Scottish) feature a glittering sari from India, unfinished turn-of-the-century wooden furniture, a stamped tin veneer in the kitchen and wainscoting that harkens back to an old train station.
But the true centrepiece of the establishment – and the inspiration behind the entire design – are the antique iron light fixtures that hang in the dining room, which Hobart purchased from Restoration Hardware long before she bought the building.
“Everybody comments on the lights,” she said.
Apart from the regular bed and breakfast service, Hobart offers a fully stocked kitchen and all the amenities, even slippers, and intends to offer evening meals – “a crockpot of something warm” – for tired travelers who request it.
She’d also like to see the place turn into a hub of culture, offering a venue for cooking or crafting courses with a place for out-of-town participants to spend the night.
“All of us have traveled, and these are the things we wish we had in other places,” she said.
Hobart said her dream of having a bed and breakfast was an old one.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do, and once I retired then I could,” she said with a laugh.
But as president of the local Chamber of Commerce, Hobart said she’s also aware of the shortage of rental units in town, as well as guest space during large gatherings. Apart from the two bedroom B&B (plus a hide-a-bed), the upstairs of the inn is a fully serviced apartment to go along with her four other rental units in town.
She also made the conscious decision to support as many local businesses as possible, purchasing most of the construction materials, appliances and decor in town, and employing some 35 local journeymen, apprentices and labourers from start to finish.
The most notable of those, Hobart said, has been Genevieve Coté, who did all of the interior finishing on the building.
“Gen did such amazing work on the woodwork; it’s so pretty. And it’s what I wanted,” Hobart said. “It was much longer than expected, but Gen saw my vision; not everybody sees it. This is what I was looking for.”
Because the clinic-to-inn transformation required a “complete gut job,” Hobart said everything from the walls to the heated floors, plumbing and electrical were installed by local contractors.
While Hobart joked that Coté was “marvellous” in putting up with all of her crazy ideas, Coté said she enjoyed the challenge of putting together something unique.
“It’s fun to do cool stuff, to get out of the box when you start building, to get out of what everybody does and put in cool backsplashes and shelves and cast iron brackets and funky lights,” Coté said. “It’s different.”
A grand opening is planned for Feb. 13.
To book a stay at the Inn Triallaire, call 867-872-0931