Saturday, January 2, 2010
Adding Value For Our Guests
How I love this old house! All of it's nooks and crannies, the amazing woodwork, cabinetry and built-ins throughout, French doors flanking the entire back of the house offering spectacular views of the back yard and it's wild life year round, the huge hand painted mirror in the sun room, the chandeliers and original sconces and the fireplaces.
Originally the house had 5 wood burning fireplaces. On the first floor there was one in the dining room, living room and in the library. Sometime between 1968 and 2004, when Pat & Alice Buttarazzi owned the house and lived here with their 14 children, a gas insert was installed in the fireplace in the library. Alice came for a visit not long after we bought 10 Fitch and along with many other stories told me that one Christmas they had a chimney fire after burning some of the wrappings from the gifts in the library fireplace which the fire department had to put out. And even though it made for a very exciting Christmas no one wanted a repeat of that particular event so they decided to convert the library fireplace to gas.
When we bought 10 Fitch in 2007 the dining room, living room, and Equestrian Suite and English Suite all still had wood burning fireplaces. That first year we had the chimneys inspected and were told that the chimney which the living room and Equestrian Suite shared was not safe for the burning of wood. Now, I can't say that I was broken hearted about that since I found that hauling wood up and down the stairs, although great exercise, was messy, tiring and simply a pain in the butt! It also wasn't much fun being summoned when a suite had filled with smoke because the damper had been accidentally bumped when a guests had put another log on their fire. Oh! And then there was the clean up! Wood fireplaces are so dirty!
Our options were gas inserts, which is what the library fireplace is, or gas logs. We went with gas logs. They look amazing and nothing had to be added to the fireplaces except the gas line and the log sets. No ugly metal surround, glass doors, we use our existing fireplace screens, or metal lining. The look of our beautiful antique fireplaces remained in tact!
Converting to gas was also something that added tremendous value for our guests. Now they can have a romantic, cozy, fire whenever they want. When we were burning wood guests had to rely on us to start the fires for them and we would only do that once they were at the inn for the evening and weren't going back out, so basically after dinner. Now with a touch of a button on the remote their fireplace is blazing in seconds! If they want to leave the inn another button turns it instantly off. Now in Equestrian, they can sit in front of their fireplace and eat breakfast!
Equestrian was converted first, then the living room. In the fall of 2009 English Suite was converted to gas log. Unfortunately, because the gas line for English Suite had to be run up through the same chimney shared by the dining room fireplace we have been told that we can't have gas logs in the dining room. I'm so bummed out about that. But we are working on an alternative.
Right around Thanksgiving I was in BJ's shopping and went down the seasonal isle and saw a gorgeous electric fireplace. Yes, electric! Now, I am not a fan of electric fireplaces but this one was the most realistic I had ever seen, as you can see from these pictures, with and beautiful wood mantle which was like a piece of hand crafted furniture, and the effect of the flames and glowing logs was pretty convincing. Now, our only guest suite without an original wood burning fireplace was Garden View. We had talked about putting a gas log fireplace in there but it was going to be very expensive - $5000-$6000 because a custom mantle would have to be built and a gas line run with no chimney to hide it in. We hadn't even considered electric because I just didn't think they created the same feel as real flame fireplaces do.
So, I was very excited to see this electric fireplace in BJ's. There were several boxes piled up under the display and the price was $599. I figured they would get marked down after Christmas and I'd get one then. A few weeks later I was in BJ's and saw that they were all gone! I went home and told Rodney that all they had was the display. We decided to go buy it!
Well, it was no easy thing to get that fireplace up the stairs to the second floor but it looks incredible and unlike the other suites, can be enjoyed from both the sitting room and bedroom! It can be run with or without heat and the brightness of the flame effect can be adjusted. So now Garden View joins the other two guests suites in offering a cozy, romantic fireplace to enjoy during the long, cold Finger lakes winters.
And I have just obtained information from the manufacturer of the fireplace and am hoping to purchase an insert to put in the dining room fireplace. These newer models even have cool features that you can control like chimney sounds, rolling, pulsating visual effects & crackling log sounds with simultaneous sparking effects!
Another improvement that was recently made, we replaced the queen size bed in Equestrian with a wonderful king size sleigh bed!