Guests ask us frequently if we had to do a lot of work when be bought our Asheville bed and breakfast in March, 1999. The Answer is usually “yes and no”. The inn was in great shape structurally and all mechanical systems, electrical, plumbing, and roof had been replaced by the contractor who purchased the private home in 1995, and turned it into a bed and breakfast.
When frank and Ralph had a contract to purchase the Inn they hired a decorator to design custom bed and window treatments for all the bedrooms and common areas. At that time, the Inn property only had 4 rooms and a cottage. It was a leap of faith that we would indeed close, but we were on a tight time frame to get it all done in six weeks. In addition to all the redecorating, we also renovated the downstairs bathroom, put in new kitchen cabinets, and added a wall to the second floor to create an en-suite bathroom for the Carl Sandburg Suite.
Local Asheville antique stores were secured to purchase antiques for the living room, dining room, and parlor. Friends who visited to check out our new adventure in Asheville were recruited to help paint walls and trim. After a whirlwind six weeks, we reopened for business on May 1st, 1999.
Even after the initial changes, decorating has continued to be a major aspect of what we do at our Asheville B&B. In 2003 we used the same decorator to help with our Walt Whitman Suite, which we created by combining 3 storage rooms on the lower level of the Inn.
More dramatic decorating occurred when Ralph inherited a number of family antiques that were brought to the Inn in 2004, including several corner cabinets and antiques chests, tables, lamps, and chairs.
When we decided to expand in 2007 by adding 3 more luxury suites in our new Carriage House, Frank and Ralph decided we had enough expertise and contacts to do all decorating ourselves. We had discovered Rudy’s Wholesale Warehouse in East Asheville and visited frequently, stock piling designer pieces for our new suites. We also took trips to the Hickory Furniture Mart to fill in the blanks on what we needed.
When we renovated our 1905 Bungalow, which has 2 large suites, we again used our sources to decorate the rooms. As we’ve added more rooms, our dining room seating has expanded from 8 in 1999 to 24 today. We found tables and antique chairs at one of our favorite antique coop’s, The Antique Tobacco Barn.
Our latest and most exciting project has been our Solarium. We had been looking for the right furniture for the last 3 years and were at a stand still. We needed smaller scale furniture and what we were seeing did not work. As it turns out, one of the most talented decorators in the Asheville area, Kathryn Long of Ambiance Interiors is located across the street from our Asheville bed and breakfast. We have been working together on this project since January, and the last of the tables arrived this week. Kathryn found the perfect sofas, upholstered pieces, and torchieres, Frank and Ralph located Maitland-Smith tables and chairs at the Hickory Furniture Mart, and More Space Place designed a custom granite top server.
It has been gratifying to see our guests enjoy this new room during social hour, in the evening, and before breakfast. And a bonus is that all of the wicker furniture that used to be in the room is now outside under the Solarium, and it allows guests to relax in comfortable furniture overlooking the lower gardens and pond.
Frank and Ralph are already planning their next big decorating project, for January in the off-season at our Asheville bed and breakfast. It’s time to meet with the contractor!