YouTube audio podcast, and Photos by Rain San Martin
I vividly remember the impact of staying at a Bed and Breakfast for the first time in 2007. Wikiup B & B, in Emigrant, Montana was a 45 min. drive from our apartment in Bozeman. With a view of the Emigrant Peak snow capped mountains. Horses roamed the country side. Yet it was the old-fashioned home of yesteryear which provided the greatest respite. Within a grove of aspen trees and cottonwoods stood the 1904 historic farmhouse. The room in which we stayed was furnished in antiques. Though there was a television, we never turned it on. There stood a full length Victorian style mirror, dresser, and most importantly a sturdy chair in which to journal my reflections.
Breakfast was the highlight of my stay. The pleasant owner prepared fresh coffee to go with the buffet style morning meal, held in the dinning room. There was a view of the vintage kitchen with hanging pots and an old-time gas stove. This was just before the area of mobile devices, so this distraction was mercifully not present.
Wikiup Bed and Breakfast - 2007 - photos by Rain San Martin
When the stay was complete, I was forever changed. Why couldn't one live like this always, my husband and thought, after celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary? A couple of years later we bought our home in NorthEast Indiana. One tiny step at a time we've worked toward transforming our 1926 home into a simply furnished Enchanted Cottage, as our style is Rustic Gothic meets Autumn Country Cottage. Now let's look at the key ways to make your home or place "feel" like a Bed and Breakfast. Please keep in mind, you can choose any theme you wish!
Declutter to Create a Clean Slate
Spend a disciplined amount of time each week on decluttering. Time allotted will-depend on your availability. Note, if it appears you have little time, you can still make tremendous headway if intentional with time-management. See what activities and commitments you can omit to allot more focus in this area of your life. Clear and clean spaces will make 90% of the restful impact of your Bed & Breakfast inspired abode. Clutter adds visual stress. It may remind you of unfinished projects or detract from your oasis. This is one reason why a freshly opened hotel room feels great.
Quaint Decor - Old-World Style
Bed and Breakfasts are often characterized as being quaint. Let's take a look at the definition of quaint used in this context, "Pleasantly or strikingly old-fashioned." When looking through a Mackinac Island, Michigan travel guide we can see a couple of common themes when describing various Bed and Breakfasts.
"Enjoy the true quaintness at Small Point Bed and Breakfast. Relax in the breeze overlooking the straits while you finish your book in a comfy chair. With a hot cup of coffee in hand, marvel at the sunrise on the wrap-around porch"-.SmallPointMackinac.com
"One of the oldest Victorian homes on the island built 1884 and carefully preserved by her descendants. Guest rooms individually decorated with authentic antiques creating a tranquil and romantic departure from everyday life!" -ClogHaun.com (Clog Haun B & B, pronounced CLAW-han)
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You certainly don't need to buy antiques in order to create old-world charm. Today there are vast options of vintage inspired decor. For those in an apartment focus on elements you can change such as furniture, lamps, and picture frames. If you own a home, you have the liberty to customize lighting and faucet fixtures. Door and cabinet handles can be bought in antique bronze, gold, or iron. Edison light bulbs are not only long lasting, they are beautiful to look at. Opt for lower wattage lights and avoid florescent bulbs. The most practical way to do this is to wait until an item breaks. Next, spend a bit more money on a higher quality retro-style replacement. These include fans, lamps, radios, curtains, cookware, and so forth.
It's difficult to fully enjoy a vacation getaway if it were dirty. This is yet another reason we may subconsciously feel more at ease when lodging at a Hotel or B & B. Many full-time or part-time homemakers do spring cleaning all through-out the year rather than spring-time alone. Though some may follow spring cleaning lists on a rotational basis, I myself greatly prefer to focus on the areas of the home that need it most. Daily I have a set period of focused de-cluttering or deep cleaning for about hour. This time also includes a few daily cleaning rituals. Note, my time spent tidying the kitchen and straightening the home throughout the day are in addition to this work.
Relaxing or Romantic Bedroom
The bedroom should be the last room you would pick for a home office, television, or storage. This space should aid in restful sleep. It can also be a romantic environment for a husband and wife. Our bedroom has a Romantic Gothic theme. A cheerful Vintage Gothic Banner hangs behind our bed with strung lights and a flowing black bohemian scarf. A mini-wall gallery features our photo adventures taken at historic Fort Wayne cemeteries in Victorian guilt frames.
Home Repairs / Maintenance
A Bed and Breakfast is more likely to stay on top of key repairs. Roofing is replaced as needed every 15-20 years. Painting retouched. Electricians are brought in to repair wiring. Bathtubs re-caulked as needed. A plumber may need to replace your leaky faucet. If these are put-off for someday when you plan to sell your home, it is known as deferred maintenance. It's wise to do a few repairs each year so you may enjoy your living-space now. You keep costs more palatable by handling a few each year. This may reduce stress and worry. Who knows you may even be content to enjoy your home throughout your golden years!
Breakfast Relaxation and Recreation:
Now for the "Breakfast" part of making your home feel like a B & B. I shop in bulk, once every two weeks, keeping my pantry full. There is no wasting time spent on extra trips. If I'm out of an item, I write the request on my list. Create a spot to enjoy a lovely morning meal. Have physical magazines or large coffee-table books from which to peruse, as you linger over your ideal breakfast. A few meal selections to consider are: coffee, tea, fruit, eggs, toast, frittatas, yogurt parfaits, or homemade granola. One of my personal favorite dishes for breakfast are open-faced breakfast tacos with homemade salsa.
Now is the time to make your place feel like a Bed and Breakfast.
You don't have to wait for a vacation to experience a peaceful respite. Have working bikes ready for outdoor excursions. This is a common amenity offered at many locations. Be a tourist in your own town! Most importantly, enjoy the journey of creating your ideal home retreat.
You may also listen to this article as an audio podcast on my YouTube channel here.