Lisa and I bought Twin Oaks in October 2013. At the time there were already existing reservations and we got a crash course in running a B&B between October and the end of the year. Fortunately, I had spent a couple of weeks with the previous owner (wonderful lady) to see how she did things. (She made it look so easy and trust me, it’s not.) Anyway, during those three seemingly short months, we got a pretty good feel for the changes we wanted to make to the Inn. Twin Oaks had really good bones and had been well cared for over the years, but many of the furnishings had seen better days. Plus, we recognized that there was a lot of space – between the guest rooms, common areas and outdoors – that needed renovations.
So, on January 2 we closed the inn and over the next several months, we went to work. We painted every room in the house. We removed wallpaper. (Not that I have anything against wallpaper, but I really don’t ever want to see any again.) We bought new furniture (yes, mattresses and box springs too). We put in new lighting and plumbing fixtures. We completely re-landscaped the front and back yards. We enlarged the screened-in porch and added bistro tables for dining. We added a coffee/wet bar for our guests. We gave each guest room a new personality.
Old Man Winter was hitting us hard during the off-season and we were scrambling to get everything as close to finished as possible in time for a full house over Memorial Weekend. That particular weekend there were a few guests who had stayed at Twin Oaks previously, and they gave us wonderful comments about all of the work we did. It made us feel so good.
I have to give Lisa the credit for how great everything looks. She’s the designer. She has such good vision and such a good eye for design. I will say that I have become quite the painter. I don’t have to use nearly as much blue tape anymore.
So, what’s next? Well, if you’ve ever owned an old house before – Twin Oaks was built in 1860 – you know that your work is never done. We have more plans – there is a phase two – but we want to focus on our guests through the busy season and really fine tune our “innkeeping” skills.
One thing I will mention about Lisa and me is that we were both born and raised in the south. Although you would never know it to talk to us because after nearly eight years in Michigan, we have completely lost our southern accents. (Not really.) I mention our southern roots because we are used to people dropping by just to say hi. It’s a pretty common practice in the south. (That and waving at anyone who drives by your house while you’re sitting on your front porch whether you know them or not.) So, the next time you’re in the area, feel free to drop by and say hi. We’ll be happy to show you around Twin Oaks and let you have a look.
Talk to you soon.