In the Beginning
By 1899houseb13771320, Dec 14 2014 12:53AM
It was 12 years ago this month; I took ownership of what is now one of Spokane’s newest and romantic Bed and Breakfasts. The mansion was built for $35,000 in 1899 for a former mayor Edward Louis Powell, his wife Dora, and their five children (no TV back then).
The photograph below was brought over by the late Jack Rigby a surviving grandson and local Spokane lawyer. Jack was born in the house in 1932. Jack and his wife came with a wealth of information; scrapbook, pictures, and stories. If you are wondering about ghosts….yes, we have ghosts. Lynn can tell you about those spirits from first-hand experiences, but we will save that for another entry.
How did we come to take on the challenges of starting a Bed & Breakfast? In another life, I used to fly to work a lot. I would get on a plane, and go to work. Remember George Clooney’s character in the movie Up in the Air? THAT was MY life!
When you do a lot of flying, you tend to sleep in many strange beds. I learned very quickly the hospitality industry from guest’s perspective, such as all the little special things people and companies do to say, “welcome’. One grows tired of hotels! Imagine living at the Gainesville Hilton for a month, or the Dallas Airport Marriot for 3 months. I was moved out my hotel room in Costa Rica after the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) decided to take over the hotel for a convention--I was considered a security risk—no apologies. I had been there for over 6 weeks—you’d think they would have checked me out by then. We will save that for another day too.
At the beginning, I figured turning a 5-unit sliced up mansion/apartment/ money pit into a bed and breakfast would be a piece of cake. The house has got good bones and made of real 2 x 4s; it has original wood trim and floors, and many other “originals”. Natural attrition took care of the tenants living there when I purchased the property, along with raising the rent occasionally, but my eyes slowly began to open: after the $218K full price purchase, the improvements on the infrastructure began, and as in all such dreamy projects, it proved costly. An updated 94% energy efficient furnace added with central AC. Our summer guests really enjoy that unexpected modern luxury, along with wet bars, jetted tubs, shower panels, and heated towel bar…oh my—we are the only licensed B&B in Spokane that has both central air and heat systems.
Lynn joined this Team and effort in 2010 with restoration of the second floor’s wood flooring for all rooms, the hallway and stairs, and she and I are still at it, continuing improvements each year. Winter came early this year and this is where we are: After completing the guest entry and porch last fall, paint and storm window repairs were completed on the West face this year. The south face received the needed repairs and its porch its Victorian colors, thanks to our winning a SPA grant, but the temperatures went below 40 degrees F, in November, and the outside projects crawled into hibernation. We are both grateful for the love we share and the marvelous home we steward.
We started our third year of actual Bed & Breakfast business this month, planning for 2015 with our travel partners VisitSpokane , and Kush Tourism. Did you say “Kush”? Yes, we are a cannabis/marijuana (or “4/20”)-friendly lodging facility. We are accredited with the Better Business Bureau, and have found ourselves full most of the weekends, from April through October…so reservations are needed…in advance, preferably. This is what happens when you only have two huge luxury suites to offer on a short-term basis.
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