Hayley Dineen was living in a 400-square-foot condo when she decided it was high time for a little more space.
"Toronto has these amazing pockets of old Victorian homes," explains the Canadian-born Sackville & Co. entrepreneur.
Founded 2017, Dineen creates bespoke, elevated cannabis accessories and apparatus. She's on a mission to shift the way society perceives her favorite plant.
"My husband and I knew we wanted something with character — and more space," she says. "We saw a ton of different places and were rejected many, many times. It's a tough market out here."
Thanks to a late night stroll and the onset of a seriously good feeling while walking through Greek Town in the East End of Toronto — the stars eventually aligned for the creative couple.
"The previous owner was born in this house, her father built it in 1904 and at 90-years-old, she decided it was too much for her to look after all on her own. The top two floors had been totally ruined by some tenants who didn't respect the space, so we knew taking it on would require a lot of work. We just felt instantly connected to this house. In a crazy coincidence, the woman selling the house actually taught at my elementary school. We are the second family to ever live here, which feels incredibly special."
Room by room, foot by foot, Dineen and her husband Alasdair have been quietly chipping away at their Victorian labor of love.
Step inside the period home, all original windows and hardwood floorboards, and you can't help but feel it straight away — that "feeling" that initially drew Dineen in.
Art and artifacts decorate the walls and halls, many of which have been painted by the couple's close friends or family. Stacks of vintage vinyl — they have a thing for hip-hop and reggae — lush house plants and eclectic furniture, adorn the corners of Dineen's living spaces, adhering to a whimsically eclectic, artfully cozy vibe throughout.
"We both come from very artistic families and love to travel and collect things along the way, turning them into something new," she explains. "I think I would describe my design style as a little bit curious — I love learning and researching about art, photography, and architecture, and I think combining different styles and references is pretty exciting."
Inside, opposing references join forces in unique and endearing new ways. Assorted picture frames are dotted up the stairs, popping against the matte blue walls. Artwork sourced from trips abroad and watercolors by her brother, Ryan Dineen, give the couple's Victorian vintage new life.
"I love the credenza in our living room," says the entrepreneur, of her favorite piece of hand-me-down furniture. "It was passed down from my Grandfather, I remember it in his house. I love that it now has a whole new life with us."
Dineen describes her home as a colorful extension of her personality — vibrant, creative, sentimental, and unashamedly candid. Terracotta bongs double as vases for freshly cut blooms, decorating the couple's antique dining table and looking perfectly at home, as if to emphatically say "Bong Appetit! Now what's for dinner?"
"I love weed," Dineen explains. "I was always a recreational smoker and became a medical consumer after an injury. Lana [van Brunt], my business partner, is also a fan of the plant and we wanted to create products that made cannabis more... acceptable."
"We felt like the best way to break the stigma was to make products that people actually want to show off and display in their homes. Pieces that had the potential to bring consumption out of the shadows."
Pieces like the Maye Lopez Bong — a sinuous showpiece hand-crafted in Mexico by an artisan ceramicist. Dineen describes the bong as "something beautiful for your mantle," a way to elevate the mundanity of your smoking rituals. Artfully molded with terracotta clay, boasting a glazed interior, and a raw, matte finish — you can rest assured that no two bongs are the same.
"We have a cannabis cart," Dineen smiles, when asked how her products are styled throughout her own home. "I always thought, 'people have wine carts, why not have a cannabis cart?' — It's perfect for hosting and has everything you need.
Our products are made to be displayed, having them on a mantle or on the shelf just adds a little bit of character."
The women-owned-and-operated business has quietly amassed an impressive following in an industry that's still finding its feet. Sackville artfully taps into otherwise unchartered waters, territory unclaimed, she's steering a new kind of conversation — Dineen and Van Brunt are a refreshing acknowledgment that cannabis consumers are also women. Thought-leaders, artists, creatives, professionals, each bringing diverse and unique perspectives. Beautifully bespoke bongs and intricately
hand-painted pipes reinstate smoking weed to something of a lost art form. The entrepreneur knew all too well that when it came to breaking barriers or dispelling stigmas, you can't please them all — but you can make it art.
While primarily working from home in her studio presents its own unique set of challenges, Dineen admits she remains mindful of creating a workspace that reinstates calm, allows her to mellow, sit back, and take stock of the day's challenges.
"I think it's about not getting overwhelmed," she explains. "There are always too many things to do every day, and it can get really overwhelming. Recognizing what's actually realistic to accomplish in a set amount of time definitely helps, and also allowing yourself the space to step away from it all and refresh. It can be hard, but it's just as important."
"We live near a big park that has an expansive view of the city skyline. My husband and I get hot chocolates and walk through the park at the end of the day. It's our time together to catch each other up on whatever we've been doing."
A typical work day starts in the kitchen, a light, bright and open space complete with a custom stained glass window — a family portrait — by Max Parr and happy house plants. An IKEA kitchen counter sits comfortably in the center, while a brass bulb light fixture hovers overhead. Assorted kitchen things and go-to gadgetry — "it's always CBD smoothies for breakfast," Dineen insists — remain on hand in plain sight. Recipe books and cannabis culinary inspiration are tidily stacked around the space, should the mood strike.
Rustic floors bask in the Toronto light that skews warmer through the stained glass, while white wood panelling and tall bentwood bar stools (another IKEA find) evoke a revived farmhouse vibe.
"Victorian homes are special here in Toronto, because most of the city is slowly being taken over by condos," the entrepreneur explains. "It feels like this house was actually built to last. We still have the original 19th century screen door — I'm so excited to refurbish it back to its former glory."
Make your way upstairs and you'll be struck by the restorative aesthetic yet again. Dineen's studio, complete with a large artist's easel, hanging pot plants, and custom velvet-clad pedestals by Diana Vander Meulen in cotton candy pink, mirror the pages of visual and creative references carefully tacked on the walls.
"Cannabis is a brand new space and there are so many incredible opportunities to create great brands, products and communities," explains Dineen, when asked about the role she's carved out for herself.
"The industry needs different voices, perspectives, and experiences, to really show how diverse and wide-reaching this plant is. Value your own voice, your own passion, and bring that to cannabis."
Vintage table lamps, an antique telephone bought at auction, and custom floral prints, shot for Sackville by local photographer Duncan Foy, give Dineen's intimate work space a personalized and sentimental aesthetic, while fresh white shelves by IKEA ensure everything knows its designated place. Pops of pink and sunshine yellow, neon orange, and ocean blue provide welcome inspiration for the entrepreneur's lively creations.
In the room neighboring, the master bedroom adheres to a pared back, somewhat muted aesthetic. A queen bed from Canadian furniture favorite Structube, assorted H&M Home throw pillows upholstered in pastels and black, an artwork by Kelsey Brookes, and an ornate vintage mirror decorate the angled space.
Dineen is not afraid to go against the grain, mix and match, or break the rules — by any means. It's this creative and holistic approach that she's embedded into all facets of her working life.
"I think you have to do what feels good to you," she says, refreshingly matter of fact. "We choose to display things that matter to us, so even if it's not perfect — or it doesn’t match — it doesn’t really matter."