Welcome back to the last regular weekly feature of businesses in our little area of Southwest Iowa!
I visited a GORGEOUS Bed and Breakfast in Lenox, Iowa. I have a true love for anything antique, old and restored, history ect. I spent a lot of my childhood going to auctions and estate sales with may dad. I loved looking through all of the treasures he would buy and bring home. He owned a shop on main street for years that had many of these treasures.
This Bed and Breakfast has quite a history. I visited the house a few times growing up. However, it looked quite a bit different inside at that time. It was used as a funeral home for around 85 years and was just recently resotored to it's glory by it's current owners, Tim and Barb Gerber.
I tell you though, when I walked in the other day I barely recognized it. The hallway was pretty much the same, but after that I was floored at how different it was!
Barb began with a little history of the home.
" The Heritage Inn is a graceful, elegant Queen Anne Victorian home that was erected in 1904 by Sam and Anna Wainwright for their family. On Saturday nights at the turn on the century, the Wainwrights invited homesteaders for an evening of socialization. Anna sold the home after Sam’s death in 1922 to O.P. Arnold, who opened the first funeral home in Lenox. Later in 1952, my grandparents continued the funeral business and moved their family into this magnificent home. As a child, many of my favorite memories were formed within these walls. It remained a funeral home until 2008, when we returned it to a full-time family residency."
In 2009 they found out that this former home of Barb’s family was up for sale. Tim had once mentioned that he wanted to buy the house so they made the journey from their home in Cedar Rapids to take a look. Once they started looked the house over, Barb found many different items that had been left from her and her family.
“Plasters Paris mold of fruits had remained in the basement kitchen cupboard, where my Mom and Grandmother prepared for the Cuban Missile Crisis. And a handwritten message from my Grandmother, “Spring Clothing”. This card had been stuck into the woodwork for 34 years and I knew it was a message from heaven that indeed we were standing in OUR new home.”
Restoration began in the fall of 2008. The walls had been covered over with wood paneling and modern trim had replaces the original trim. We all know the look! Underneath was the original plaster from 1904. Surprisingly the walls only needed a little touching up. The only original woodwork they found was on three window and the turret area with the round glass window. I think the new windows and trim are just wonderful. They found similar woodwork from old abandoned homes in the area. They look like they were meant to be there.
Barb told me how much work it took to restore the floors. 4 layers of carpet (yes I said 4) covered some of the most detailed hardwood I have seen. Look at the patterns and how the old wood just shines now J
Many of the doors they have reused are from the carriage house that once stood above their north garage. They even found some original hardware like cooper doorknobs and plates they reinstalled.
I asked Barb what part of the renovation she is most proud of.
"To be honest, I’m proud of everything from the flower gardens to the second floor where we do most of our living. We created an entertainment room in the basement, where as a child we used to call it our bowling alley. Today we have a 12’ screen with surround sound to watch movies or the Hawkeyes on Game Day. The upstairs kitchen where I learned how to make mash potatoes on Sunday’s now serves, as a sunroom. Each room seems to have it’s own story, a uniqueness that states love, family and history."
This material was from curtains that her grandmother had saved from the time they lived there. Barb's mother fashioned them to fit the new windows.
Loved these floors!
Oh my gosh, this room! This bar! I was so in love when I saw this.
The lighting in the house adds so much to the ambiance. I asked her about the chandeliers and the cool sconces above the bar.
"The bar area features the (1922 Art Deco chandeliers and sconces), which were originally located in the larger two room. In the bedroom, we purchased a chandelier that matches the two in the main hallway off of Craigslist, as we wanted to keep the main floor looking elegant and welcoming."
Barb mentioned that the best part of owning The Heritage Inn is seeing the faces as they enter their home. And because of this they want every person or family to feel welcomed and comfortable during their stay. They take great pride in providing a hot breakfast daily. Did I mention Barb is a Home Ec teacher? I think you are in good hands in the food department!
They have had many visitors from all over. Such a variety of reasons there were in the area as well.
"We have really enjoyed our first year of ownership of The Inn. Our visitors range from people here looking for ancestry research, funerals, family reunions, class reunions, RABRAI riders, people seeking out Victorian Bed and Breakfasts and individuals who are in the area on business. They have traveled from Canada, California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and The Hamptons."
Is was very evident to me how much Tim and Barb love their home and take much pride in owning it. I’m not surprised though, it is just gorgeous! They are most glad they are able to have taken this journey of restoration together. One last quote from Barb, and one we can all live by.
“Our journey and future has been focused on what we can do together. As long as we are healthy, share the love we have and find laughter in every day, what more can a person ask for?”
Booking a stay at The Heritage is very simple. You can either find them on Bookings.com or call them directly at 319-360-2163