If someone were to play Jennifer Bassett in a movie, they could easily cast Gwyneth Paltrow and no one would blink.
The tall, fresh-faced blonde – who usually has her hair up in her signature pulled back ponytail – runs Bassett Events, a luxury event management company based in Toronto. Her company coordinates and hosts high-end charity events like the annual Joe Carter Classic After Party. And her home also acts as the backdrop to some of her most notable parties to date.
Bassett recently moved out of her Rosedale home to a rental just a hop, skip and jump away. But the move was never in her and husband Sam Bennett’s plan.
“We were approached to sell and decided it was a smart move,” says Bassett. “We love Rosedale, and since our kids go to school within walking distance, it was important for us to stay in the neighbourhood. Luckily there was a fabulous house around the corner.”
They made a profit from selling before the bubble burst, leaving the opportunity to spend on her next place. They ultimately signed a three-year lease.
“Selling and leasing ended up being an easy decision,” says Bassett. “I find that a lot of our friends are leasing these days. Less hassle and less cost. And renting both short and long term alleviates a lot of the stress one might have with owning. When something needs fixing, we just have to pick up the phone!”
If you think a rental house is just a ‘holding cell’ before moving onto something more permanent, Bassett’s place proves otherwise. It was important for her to make this place feel as lived in and comfy as possible.
“Home is what you make it,” shares Bassett. “Our new house is perfect because it’s where my family is!”
Bassett and Bennett were married in 2015 at Langdon Hall, his family hotel. They were only together for about a year before getting married, but their families have known each other for many years and she tells me, “When you know, you know”.
Bassett has two kids, a daughter Mackenzie, 12 and son Will, 11, from a previous marriage. Will went from a Habs-themed room in the old house to a Seahawks one in the rental. And Mackenzie helped with the design of her own room. She bought new queen beds for the not so little, little ones, who are tall and “growing like weeds,” says Bassett.
The new rental also has space for their two African Mastiff’s Aya and Oak. The couple has made the home dog-friendly, with two sets of dog beds: two in the living room and two outside the couple’s bedroom.
“Our dogs are spoiled!” Bassett says proudly.
Bennett is a trained chef, so a good kitchen with the right appliances was a key element for them.
“As a chef, you don’t want to hit your head on the cooking vent. The new house has a bigger, higher one. Also, the double sink is a win-win, especially being on the same side as the stove/oven,” says Bassett. “All Sam’s cooking utensils, pots and pans are within one space so they’re much easier to access. Also, there’s a great energy in the house, so that makes for a happy chef. And delicious food!”
The couple shares a love of art and are avid collectors.
“I love the art we own,” Bassett says. “I purchased a new piece for my hubby’s Christmas gift and he bought me a fabulous life-size unicorn for our anniversary. This new house has enough wall space for them all, so, fortunately, we didn’t need storage.”
Speaking of art, if Bassett had to choose her favourite room in the house, it would be her office, “especially as I’m surrounded by my dear friend David Drebin’s art,” she says. “As well as pictures of my family.”
The art showcases the couple’s style when they host friends, something they do often. Bassett would insist that it’s the people that make the party, but says that Bennett’s great food always helps.
“Depending on the size of party and time of year, Sam typically does braised short ribs or lamb. He has a couple of signature pasta dishes that are to die for!”
Bennett also designed a sunglass wall, so as the night moves on, dinner becomes a dance party and everyone gets to pick their sunglasses of choice.
Bassett’s one piece of advice to people who want to entertain in their home: if budget allows, hire staff to help.
“People appreciate when efforts are made: florals, hiring a caterer, great music, lit candles,” explains Bassett. “As long as you made an effort and host from the heart, it will be a success.”
After hosting elaborate events either at varies venues or at home, it’s in her bath where she finds solace and unwinds.
“I don’t typically give myself enough time to enjoy all that when I’m home. But when I do, I turn the lights down and use lavender or peppermint Epsom salts. At our cottage, my hubby installed an outdoor bath for me surrounded by trees and overlooking the bay. That is my fave.”
Speaking of self-care, Bassett’s washroom cabinet is full of her fave potions and products.
“I’m obsessed with Biologique Recherche, as well as some products from Skin Medica that Dr. Born introduced me to. And I’m very excited to try out his new spa when it opens,” says Bassett.
Her skin also has good glow thanks to how she stocks her fridge, telling me it’s filled with fruit, drinks for the kids and her go-to, Revive Organics.
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“It’s premade frozen fruit for smoothies that I keep in my freezer. My friend started the company and its genius because I don’t need to worry about freezing massive bags of fruit.”
When Bassett isn’t spending time enjoying her new home or working, she is likely at one of her homes away from home, like the amazing chalet rental in Singhampton, or the 15-acre island in Georgian Bay.