Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome to the New Year - 2018 has arrived!

Looking back on 2017 and our first year here as the owners and hosts of The Grand Kerr House, I have to say, it's been an amazing year.

We spent our first year investing a lot of time, money, energy and sweat into this beautiful home.  When I listen to Bob telling people about the improvements and changes we have made, I am constantly amazed at his vision and his ability to make his dreams a reality.

Day of the Auction -                                                                                     And Today -

In the past year we have probably doubled our initial investment in this old house - and thanks to the wonderful craftsman that helped us with the work, the house is grand again.  We started with the rebuilding of the four chimneys and repairing of the mortar (Eagle Masonry), patching and painting of the soffits and exterior surfaces (Black Swamp Exterior Painting), replacing the roof with a steel roof that will long outlast us (Erie Construction), putting on custom gutters and downspouts (Crawford Eaves), replacing the exterior drainage system, and restoring the beautiful porch (OK, that's still a work in process but at least it is in process).  And all that just on the exterior!

Inside we replaced two of the three HVAC's (Kendall Plumbing & Heating), leak proofed the basement, removed the forty-year-old carpet, refinishing the original floors where possible (CJ's Hardwood Floors), and putting in new carpet (Taylor Perz Flooring) in the areas that required it.  We had new wallpaper hung in the first floor bedroom (it needed to be replaced due to water damage), added a walk-in shower on the second floor, and are working on putting the first floor kitchen back in it's original space.

And with all that going on, we still opened our doors to House Guests on Memorial Day Weekend, less than a year after buying the house.  We have had such wonderful guests come through our doors this past year.  As we wrote in our annual Christmas Poem -

Opened up the Bed and Breakfast, lots of work and also, fun
So many guests have stayed with us - we liked them every one!

And that's the truth!

So here it is, the start of 2018 and I am making my New Year's Resolutions -
1.  To Blog at least once a week 
2.  To keep up with the bookkeeping and the paperwork (OK, I admit, I am already behind)
3.  To work on marketing and increase our occupancy rate 50% this year (we were blessed with 15% occupancy our first year - better than expected!)

Who knows, maybe you will stumble across this Blog Site and decide to follow us during this year's adventures.  It's been a crazy ride so far...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Opening Memorial Day Weekend 2017!  Or Not?

Today begins the countdown to our opening day - 56 days till we welcome our first guests.  Bob and I are putting together what seems like an impossible list of things to do and we realize we need HELP! To be honest, in my opinion, the list would not be so long if Bob could just corral his enthusiasm and complete one job before jumping to the next.

I have a friend at work, Austin, who asks me almost every day "Do you have one room done yet?".  I dream of the day I can say "Yes!  Yes! Yes!" but I wonder if that day will ever come.  I have to admit, I sometimes hide from Austin, the list of things to do is so long.

Let me give you an example of Bob getting carried away with what often starts as a simple fix but quickly turns into a major investment of time and money the moment I turn my back.

The carpeting, which is over 40 years old, was torn at a seam in the upstairs hallway.  We agreed to remove the carpet in just that small section and decide whether to replace or refinish the underlying floor.  Bob removed the carpeting and we were disappointed to find the floor was in poor condition and could not be restored.  We agreed to install new carpeting in the second floor hall and the second floor hall only

The next day, when Bob was home alone, his curiosity got the best of him - he wondered "what condition are the stairs in under the carpet?"

 Bob was very happy with the condition of the stairs and promptly moved into the foyer, the parlor and the sitting room where he found original floors full of potential!

So now we are committed to replacing the carpet throughout the second floor (bedrooms, hall and staircase) and refinishing the first floor rooms.  In the big picture, I know Bob did the right thing and I am very excited about those floors (as I am sure our future guests will be).  But in the short-term (as in 56 days), I wonder if we haven't bitten off more than we can chew.  Only time will tell.  

Be sure to follow us on our blog for updates on the progress we make working towards The Grand Opening of The Grand House!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover - Or Can You?

Today someone called and asked if the house has had any renovations since she stayed there several years ago.  Where to begin?  On the exterior-

We had the four chimney stacks rebuilt ....

Then we had the exterior painted...

Put on a new roof...

And the porch is still a work process...

That's a lot to get done in just six months - especially when it was six winter months!  But we are so happy with how everything has come together.  Now to start working on the inside...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Grand Kerr House - What's In A Name

When we first bought the House on the Hill in Grand Rapids, OH,  we struggled with what to call her.      After all, she has always been known as "The Kerr House" and, as any newly married woman will tell you, it's hard to change your name mid-life.  It can result in an identity crisis and a lot of paperwork.

We ran a few names past friends and family, everything from Kermit's Pad to the BobCat Estate (we never claimed to be clever) but nothing seemed to fit.  We wanted to change the name if only to let people know that's there's a new gal in town - and, believer it or not, there is a Kerr House B&B in Statesville, NC, so it seemed like a change was most definitely needed.   Eventually we settled on "The Grand Kerr House" - the "Grand" is because of the location in Grand Rapids, OH and because we can see her potential.  Not because we were having grandiose delusions of grandeur, and besides, like I said, we just weren't clever enough to think of anything else.

The problem with keeping the name so similar to it's original, is that we somehow got linked up to two one-star google ratings that are haunting us from her past life (of course, we did not get linked up to the many five stars out there for either of The Kerr House locations - go figure).  One reviewer gives a single star saying "out of business since 2016" - OK, that's kinda true, but come on, Michael, give us a chance here!  What we need are people to go on google and say what a beautiful place The Grand Kerr House is - and how simply marvelous the hosts are!

So The Grand Kerr House it is - we have a Facebook Page, a Website, and an email address, and now Bob is working on a logo.  He has been playing with it for several days now and I honestly think its quite good!

Bob is fascinated with the chimneys (the house has four of them!) so he wants to feature them in the logo.  The tops of the chimneys are what he calls "corbeled" and they are beautiful now that they have been restored at great expense.  But that's another story we will share with you in another post.

So now you know how we ended up with the name "the Grand Kerr House" - please check out our website, like us on Facebook, and follow our Blog.  It's all great fun!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Welcome to Kerrent Knews!

Welcome to Kerrent Knews - The blog site for The Grand Kerr House, a Queen Anne Victorian (soon to be a B&B) located in Grand Rapids, OH.  My husband, Bob, and I purchased her last Autumn at an auction.  We did not go to the auction with the intent of bidding, let alone buying, this 8,000 square foot lady in distress. We went to see who would be crazy enough to want this home built in the 1880's that is in need of so much TLC.  Much to my surprise, it turned out to be us!

The Kerr House was owned by the same family for almost 100 years until, 40 years ago, it was purchased by Lauri and turned into a Spa and Wellness Center visited by guests from around the world.  Visitors could spend a day, a weekend, a week, or even longer at The Kerr House relaxing and rejuvenating with breakfast in bed, massages, herbal wraps, reflexology, yoga classes and more.  With the declining economy, Lauri was forced to close her doors and the home fell into the hands of a couple who purchased it (also at auction) not knowing what they wanted to do with the building but recognizing her good bones and great potential.  Unfortunately, the new owners were not able to develop a viable plan or adequate funding for the The Kerr House and it went up for auction again in 2016.  That's when Bob and I fell in love with the dream (did I mention the word "crazy" earlier?).

So here we are, six months later, with a website, a Facebook page, a blog, and a story to share.  I hope you will check in with us often to see how we are doing and what the Kerrent Knews is.  I promise to share the good, the bad and the ugly and hope that through your comments and feedback, we can return The Grand Kerr House back into the beautiful lady that she deserves to be.