His house was perfect,
whether you liked food, or sleep, or work,
or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking,
best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.
- J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973), The Hobbit.
I’ve been mulling over the whole thing about "bed and breakfasts" since the start of our holidays. (As per my previous post, we enjoyed a really good time at Huskisson B&B in South Coast NSW.) It was one of those chance encounters that have left us friends.
Image from Huskisson B&B
Since my last post, Kate’s put up before and after shots of the room we were gifted for our stay. You just have to pop over to her blog for the wow shots.
Every now and then (especially after being to a B&Bs in Australia), I’ve played with the idea of my own bed & breakfast. I've known for a long time what I don't want: just mere 8 years ago, a B&B set in the country Victorian era would have charmed the socks off. But I’ve grown less and less enamoured of cluttered spaces filled with decade-old dried flowers, stuffed teddies, heart shaped frilly cushions… you know the sort.
This is a B&B I went to in 2004 on our honeymoon. Incidentally I checked out the same B&B and my photos are still current! Even down to the dried floral arrangement over the bedhead!
I’ve also eschewed B&Bs who are so overly sumptious that one feels like one has stepped into a mansion where nothing should be touched or used.
In the B&B of my daydreams, I’d have a cross between Shaker and Shabby Chic. In a light, white, airy home. Nothing overly staged, nothing overly done.
Kinda like what Kate and Stephen have done in their lovely B&B.
Another of Kate's vintage mirrors!
Anyhow. I have been thinking about intrusive a B&B business is (or can be). I mean, this is about opening up your own home to strangers.
I have been to a few B&Bs in my life and being at Huskisson B&B is a rather different experience for me.
As you will see from Kate’s coming blogposts, a lot of love, elbow grease and ruminations has gone (and will keep going) into setting up the “guest quarters”. What struck and inspired me was that Kate and Stephen have chosen to inject quite a few personal items into these shared areas. Essentially, sharing with strangers their hearts.
I LOVE this. I WANT.
There is an heirloom rockinghorse. Stephen’s grandmother’s chandelier graces the dining area (incidentally, it matches perfectly to Kate’s Pareek Johnson Bros tea set). Some treasured local artwork graces the living room. Kate’s enviable collection of vintage mirrors dot the halls and bedrooms. An old salvaged piano cradles a selection of photos of the hosts. The kitchen showcases Kate’s collection of vintage glasses – use with care!
I felt so priveledged to be amongst these personal items. And because it’s not overstuffed with things that “make an era” but “chosen to reflect personality”… what you do get is a sense of what the hosts are like. What makes them tick.
In my mullings I decided that if ever husband and I started a B&B and coffee roasting endeavour, I’d do the same. I’d share my personal items with my guests. I already know I will steer clear of “make an era” decorating…
Note: sometimes the “make an era” feel for a B&B works wonders, but it behoves the host to change things around now and then, to freshen the feel, to update tired decorations. Imagine after the clutter of city living to be able to escape to a Shaker-style guest room!