About 9 years ago, my sister and her husband bought a beautiful home in Horicon, Wisconsin and turned it into a more beautiful Bed and Breakfast. They call it the Honeybee Inn. You can check out the website here and see many wonderful features. Quite often over the years, the Inn has occupied the No. 1 ranking of all 533 Wisconsin Bed & Breakfasts listed by Trip Advisor. Last year, the Honeybee Inn was voted one of the top ten Romantic Inns in America by iloveinns.com. As the past president of the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association, Barb sure knows what she's doing and has no shortage of guests keeping her cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing. (Yeah, let's not glam up the life of an innkeeper too much. It's very hard and constant work.)
There are many wonderful amenities at the Inn, but the two things that I love most are the details and the details: the architectural details of the home and my sister's attention to detail for her guests. I've wanted to write about the B&B for a long time, so here are some of those details that I love.
Finished in 1905 for Ida Van Brunt Campbell, it appears no expense was spared for the home of this member of the wealthy Van Brunt farm implement manufacturing family (later to merge with John Deere). Considered lavish at the time, the $38,000 cost of building the home in today's dollars would be almost a million smackers.
Here's a picture of the house taken sometime between 1945 and 1963 when it was an American Legion post. You can see the balustraded veranda had been removed and a direct entry to the Legion's lower level bar installed. That part of the basement is still interesting to me with it's alternating green and tan linoleum floor tiles, long serving bar, dingy bits of old wallpaper, and adjacent restroom with decrepit stalls. Barb considers that area the creepy part of the basement, but I can just imagine the music, the vets sitting around telling war stories and perhaps some dancing now and then on that checkerboard floor.
Oh well, I digress. There's so much more to tell about the house. I want to highlight some of the architectural details that have caught my eye since my sister and her husband, Fred, moved in.
The character of this stately home starts at the front door
with this spectacular romantic door knocker!
And check out that hexagonal floor tile in the background.
Of course the Honeybee Inn is required to have bee embossed goblets...
...and gourmet coffee, tea, and hot chocolate with all the trimmings.
Here's the dining room (with beautiful built-in sideboard)
decked out for Christmas.
Original stained glass windows flank the fireplace in the
gift shop/massage room - probably originally the library.
Speaking of stained glass...
this stunning bank of windows is exterior lighted at night
to showcase their full beauty from within the inn.
Those windows are located on the landing of the grand staircase.
Can't you just see Jack Dawson waiting for you at the top?
I digress again - sorry.
Actually what's really waiting for you on the second floor...
...are four luxurious guest rooms.
Even the door knobs are dripping with character...
...and ya gotta love the massive newel post finials.
I am grateful that Fred resurfaced this spectacular pedestal sink
and saved it for the most finely appointed guest room.
I had conniptions about it when they first moved in.
I love this sink!
Speaking of love, here's another feature I begged Barb and Fred to save...
this gorgeous original tile. Fred painstakingly removed each tile,
cleaned the old adhesive and reused it in one of the new guest bathrooms.
Thank goodness Fred can do anything. He also worked miracles
with the incredible woodwork throughout the house.
You would never suspect he moved or changed a thing!
Speaking of ceramic (could be porcelain) tile...
this is original Art Nouveau style tile surrounding the fireplace in a bedroom.
Said fireplace mantel.
This carving on another mantel shows more of the Art Nouveau
details found in the house. The house is a mixture of Victorian,
Art Nouveau and Craftsman style.
Two winged griffins with scrolled tails can be found
guarding the mantel in the formal living area.
This picture shows some of the massive woodwork throughout the house...
and the custom upholstered cornice board valance I helped my sister
make for one of the guest rooms. If you look closely, you can see the
white bees woven into the cream fabric.
You gotta love these curved muntins in this little accent window
visible on the second story in original house pictures!
It now sits on the wall above a beautiful two-seater whirlpool hot tub.
Ida May Van Brunt would not have believed it with her claw foot tub and water closet.
So, come to the Honeybee Inn for the comfy beds,
delicious breakfasts, ironed pillowcases, romantic details...
plush spa robes...
and totally decadent Wisconsin Seroogy's chocolate...
but also enjoy the architectural details
and the character of the house like I do!
Creativity and I have traveled a long road together. I attended BYU for four+ years studying Interior Design. Over the years, I've worked at a wallpaper studio, paint store, art gallery, and fabric store. I've sewn all my life and have assembled a ridiculous amount of vintage fabric. I'm married to my high school sweetheart and have four remarkable children. I spent thirteen years on my local school board and my husband is an outstanding public middle school teacher, so education is a familiar topic at our house. And now I work a few hours a day as a teacher's aide and love it. Welcome to my on again off again blog about these things.