A Year’s Worth of Progress

It’s amazing much can happen in a year! On June 12, 2017, our first official Airbnb guest checked in for a night in our third-story guest suite, Inez’s Sweet Retreat. Jason was bicycling the C&O Canal Towpath, and as he left the next morning he promised to bring his wife back here for a visit (which he did in January).

Hosting guests upstairs was a test for us to see how we felt about letting strangers stay in our home – and how Harpers Ferry visitors felt about staying with us. As I wrote in our March post “Surprised by Joy,” it turns out that we love the hospitality business, and the visitors seem to like both the upstairs suite and the newer garden-level space just fine.

As we look back over the past year since Jason’s visit, we are also surprised by how many improvements have been completed around the property. We loved the place when we bought it, but Christian, especially,  is always dreaming up new ways to make it better — better for us and for our guests.   Fortunately, we have had the resources and the access to skilled local tradesmen to bring his plans to life. Sometimes we felt like contractors were slow to respond, renovations were taking forever and weather was holding up outdoor projects beyond reason, but ultimately a lot has changed in the span of 12 months.

We thought you would enjoy seeing some before-and-after photos of the transformations that have taken place since that first visitor last June.

The red pavers were faded and dangerously loose, so local stonemason Carl Stohl came in and did a marvelous job with a stone sidewalk. He actually had proposed this work to the prior owners and already had the perfect plan in mind for us!
When first planted decades ago, the Leyland cypresses provided privacy in front of the property. At this point, they were growing into the overhead power lines and just didn’t look good anymore. The power company cut them down for us, and the front garden is happily growing into all the new sunlight.
In the fall we were finally connected with a wonderful contractor, Ron Stevens. He got our vision for the new guest unit, and transformed part of our basement into the Studebaker Suite!
Didn’t they create a beautiful bathroom! This suite has been popular since the first weekend we posted it on Airbnb.
Between rainy weekends, Christian finally transformed the mulched paths with leftover stones from the sidewalk, repurposed pavers and gravel. The garden looks complete now!

These are all spaces open to our guests, so I haven’t included redecorating in our private rooms. The last space I’ll show you is our sunroom, which will soon be available as a small event venue (I don’t have a before photo for this one.)

Our sunroom, which overlooks the garden and is adjacent to the back deck, makes a great small event space. It can be configured for a small tea party, dinner party, shower, or elopement / microwedding.

Thinking about all we’ve done in 12 months actually makes me feel exhausted. I’m trying to get Christian to slow down a little and relax — save some projects for retirement!

Like that’s going to happen.

Next up is the front parking area. Come visit us sometime!!

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