This is NOT Your Great Grandmother’s House!

Sometimes I sit and ponder “my favorite things,” and I think that if I lived alone in a home furnished entirely to my taste, I might be living in an “Old Lady’s House!” My home would be surrounded by cottage-y gardens, overflowing with blooms, with seating areas here and there for reading, breakfasting, or just sitting in the sun enjoying a glass of sweet tea. If left to my own devices, living alone, perhaps I’d spend my days sitting on a big overstuffed chintz sofa, feet up, working from a computer on my lap, drinking hot tea out of an china cup and saucer, with a King Charles Spaniel tucked in around my feet. That’s not the way I live, but it’s certainly something that I could envision myself doing!

Now, keep in mind, that although I am not eligible for Social Security, I do (just barely!) qualify for Senior Discounts in many business. So, to young eyes I might sort of, a little bit, kind of seem to be an old lady, but those who know me know that I’m not! In my heart I do tend toward a more traditional lifestyle and my home is a reflection of that. I live in a 120-year-old mansion in the heart of the Jacksonville historic district, so it’s not a problem that I enjoy antiques and vintage style furnishings – but… maybe it could be!

As an innkeeper, I recognize that to be successful in this business I need to appeal to guests of all ages and interests. My home needs to be welcoming and inviting to people with varied tastes. There’s no age limit to enjoying carved mantels and sparkling chandeliers, and believe me, I see a fair amount of iPads come in with of our guests of all ages. Our vintage home style is a large part of our appeal, and it would be easy to focus only on days gone by, but we offer digital satellite television and wireless internet from the front porch to backyard gazebo. I enjoy antiques, but even I am uncomfortable when surrounded by what I perceive as stiff Victorian furnishings or pieces that I’m afraid to touch. I love vignettes that tell stories, but I would never decorate every surface in my home in so many layers. I work hard to demonstrate a respect for the past while decorating in a French Country style that engenders a casual elegance… an invitation to set aside the cares of the world, put your feet up and relax. And yes, there’s space to put your book and glasses on the bedside table.

I do try hard to reflect the heritage of this home by using furnishings reminiscent of days gone by. However, you won’t find any horsehair here. I’m using reproductions rather than antiques. I seek out style and comfort. Which should be more important? In this case, I’m going with comfort. I love big floral prints and would certainly love the look of a dozen pillows across each bed – some might even have ruffles and lace! However, since I’m decorating for guests, I’m very conservative in colors – avoiding the frilly and the feminine. I don’t stack a pile of pillows on each bed because I don’t know where my guests would put them when it was time to go to sleep. Who wants to move a bunch of pillows just to go to bed? After all, this is a Bed & Breakfast! Each bed needs to be inviting and welcoming – not a 10-minute project to uncover! Now, if it was just me…?!

Though I admit that perhaps I could lean in that direction, given the opportunity, this is not your fluffy floral country cottage, nor it is a stiff and stuffy “don’t touch” Victorian Great Grandmother’s house. Our furnishings are warm and casually elegant, inviting you to come in, relax, and get comfortable. We have a carved Victorian staircase and beautiful pocket doors along with lap desks and power strips and a Keurig coffeemaker on the cherry wood buffet for our guests to enjoy. Come visit us and take a step back into the past while we keep you in touch with the present.

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