This couldn’t have happened without help from so many family members, friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers. Many thanks to those who donated to our Go Fund Me campaign, to those who fetched and carried, and worked hard, and those who cleaned, and painted, and those who encouraged, and prayed, and who supported this endeavor. We are excited to share results with you. We love and appreciate your well wishes, physical, and financial help, and the fact you have wished us success.
So if you happen to be in the Spanish Fork, UT area today between 5:00 and 8:00 you are invited to come to our open house. Come visit, have a bite to eat, share your favorite book title, and see what we’ve done in person, because as fun as pictures are they don’t capture all of it. See you in a few hours.
Okay, so it’s not your typical fruit-bowl still life. But it’s the reality at my house these days. In fact, gathering up all of the tools and getting them organized is on my short list for projects to do this week. Because in addition to my fruit-bowl caddy, we also have a dual-purpose couch/workbench with its own girl-in-a-swing guardian. Its location in my futility room is fitting. (It’s called the futility room in homage to my mother-in-law’s coining the phrase for her laundry/storage/utility room, which she was never able to get completely organized. This room has been like that for me, it’s rather like a room-sized junk drawer. Every home should have one. But I digress; back to matters at hand.)
Along with the caddy and futility room, there is the ever changing mystery of what’s behind the door of the “book nook” currently it is a mixture of building and cleaning supplies, and other random, “stuff” which tends to migrate to this location.
There is also an art gallery of sorts there, which we are revealing for the first time in a public gallery (this blog). This collection has rarely seen the light of day. If you recognize any of the work of any of these artists, please let me know, and if you know who Patty or Joyce are, knowing that would appease the curiosity I’ve felt ever since I moved into this house in 1994. As noted, we have no plans to paint over this particular wall, although some of the artwork was covered with the advent of the door framing.
My plan, once I get all of the above areas of my home organized (again), is to work toward getting the ceiling replaced in The Three Musketeers Room. I made a good start on that yesterday evening, as I participated in a demolition of pulling the old, stained, missing pieces, ceiling tile down. Granted, it was only Captain and me, but with him supervising (and chewing things up a bit) we got the first part done.
Now I just need to figure out how much wall board (for the ceiling) we will need, and get it and the screws to put it up, and the tape and texture supplies to finish it up. Once that is finished, we will be very close to having this room ready and functional too. (We have actually already used it with an air mattress a couple of times for guests who didn’t care that the ceiling was ugly. This is what the temporary set up looked like:
Captain of course is supervising/guarding the whole room. He has been surprisingly well behaved toward guests, and has managed to get several of them to take him for a walk.
While the back yard still needs some work to reclaim it from the invasion of the summer weed horde, the front is looking okay-ish. The addition of hanging flower baskets are a nice touch, I think. And the replenishment of the bark made a marked difference. I actually want to do some sort of low maintenance ground cover in the front (suggestions are welcome, Jaimie suggested clover.) I also have plans for a new mailbox post, my current mailbox has seen better days (which may have something to do with the fact that someone — not certain who, set off firecrackers inside of it), and the little I-have-a- letter-the-carrier-needs-to-pick-up flag is broken off, and the pole itself is a bit wobbly. So, pardon my concept art (or lack thereof) skills, I want to go with something like this:
I have to remind myself, that from chaos comes beauty. At least that has been the case so far. So in the spirit of hope, we will end this post with a picture of something beautiful. (It’s beautiful to me, anyway, it’s one of my favorite pictures of my six children.)
We have had guests at The Book Nook Inn! It is pretty exciting to see the fruition of so much hard work netting the desired result. While we are not completely finished yet (we still have work to do to finish the Three Musketeers Room, finish the titles on the book wall, eventually add a kitchen, move the fence, more landscaping, repair the deck, and oh yeah, replace the roof), we are functional with two rooms ready-to-go though, so that’s a good start, as Kelly would have said — and it will just get better.
I have to admit, even though I already am acquainted with my first guests, CeNedra and Josh, I was rather nervous about the whole thing. I wanted everything to be perfect. (It wasn’t, but it was pretty close.) They came for their first wedding anniversary, and I believe, based on their review, that they had a lovely get-away. My favorite part of the review was, “It was like going to an adorable little library and being able to spend the night! . . . It was like leaving the world behind and just enjoying reading like I used to when I was younger. I loved every single minute of it and would definitely go back in a heartbeat. Her thoughtful details and the hidden memories and stories simply surround the whole place. In a way, it’s magical.”
Thank you CeNedra! I do hope you come back again, and you can choose another book from the shelf to read. (She read an entire book while she was here!)
We will be implementing some suggestions they made, including adding some color to the front, I’m thinking hanging flower baskets. And working on the yard, ever my nemesis. I am looking for some sort of ground cover that takes minimal upkeep, because let’s face it, I would rather be reading a book than doing yard work.
After they left, I spent the next few days working to get the rooms ready for my next set of guests, a family visiting from Sweden; parents and five daughters. They were delightful, and quickly made friends with Captain Underfoot.
The other thing I loved was that they were readers, and were delighted with the titles on the stairs and the books on the shelf. The girls reminded me of myself when I was younger, with how voraciously they read. We even went to the library to borrow copies of the next books in the series they were reading, and they finished them while they were here (impressive!). It was wonderful to have them, and they too left a nice review.
My third guest came, stayed, and left — a very quiet person, and I didn’t have a lot of interaction with her; but that’s okay, the whole point is providing what guests want. She did sign my guest book and share her favorite book. Now I just need to find a copy of Alice in Wonderland to add to my shelf in the book nook.
The other thing that happened in the midst of everything going on was an ongoing interaction with a reporter from The Daily Herald, who was working on a story about Airbnb in Utah County. We corresponded, and she sent a photographer to take pictures of my first guests, and the story just ran in the paper this last Sunday. You can read the article here.
And when I had a spare minute, I created a Facebook Page for The Book Nook Inn and when I have a spare minute or two, I will get an actual webpage up and going, too. This has certainly become an adventure, and one of these years, I am actually going to sleep.
Thanks go out to my family, friends, and even complete strangers who have caught the vision of what I am trying to accomplish and who have supported this endeavor. May God bless you all! We will be hosting an open house on July 24th for local friends and family to come see what we’ve done so far. I will most likely be serving crepes. Look for the event announcement on our Facebook Page. Until next time. . . Cheerio!
Have you ever used Airbnb? Please feel free to leave a comment or share this blog post. *Pictures of guests used with permission.
Finishing Touches or “The Stucco on Your Baronial Castle is Scarcely Dry”
Welcome to the Book Nook Inn — Now open! (Well, pretty much open, two rooms are open, and the bathroom, which is pretty important; and an extra room if you don’t mind sleeping on an air mattress and a closet full of stuff.)
Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of activity for the last couple of weeks as we worked to get the rooms ready for our first guests, who arrived on June 28th to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary. We made it, too — the Secret Garden Room looked fabulous, and smelled good too.
But, (don’t tell anyone) I still don’t have the new back door completely installed. It’s close, but not quite there. In fact, the whole door debacle has become a thorn in Cameron’s side, I do believe. But see, the thing is we were being thrifty and I got both doors from the Restore, one five five bucks; the doorknob and hinges cost more! And the other door cost $45, and it’s a good, solid exterior door, and did I mention heavy. No one will be breaking it down anytime soon.
But the thing about the doors was that they didn’t quite fit. Both of them were close, but the bottom had to be cut off the one, and they both needed to be subjected to a plane in order to make them fit, and true to form, I had a small hand plane, which was labor intensive so the whole thing took quite a lot of time, but between the plane and the sander, the boys got the door in at the bottom of the stairs, and the other is fitted, and just needs to have the hinges adjusted in order to work. By the end of the week though, all of the doors should be functional with working knobs and locks.
We also put the finishing touches on the murals (thank you to Maria who added detail to the cliffs), added a key, a clock, and a mirror to The Secret Garden Room, and included, you guessed it, a door. We also added a few more items to the Treasure Island Room including a picture of an old-fashioned map, complete with sea monsters and Latin lettering, a net hanging from the ceiling, an aquarium, and yet another door. This door covers the access to under the stairs from the closet, which is also the access to the water for the house. It’s been an open hole in the closet for the twenty-some years I’ve lived here, so I guess it’s about time it got its own door.
The other project that I poured sweat and a few frustrated tears into was the bathroom. Specifically, finishing up the trim work, the caulking/waterproofing; my nemesis proved to be removing the old caulk from around the edge of the tub. It took me approximately three hours! Three hours of scraping, cutting with a razor knife, and gripping with pliers to remove half inch bits and pieces; a tedious process indeed. But I prevailed, and now it has clean white silicone sealant all around. And bless his heart, Jason replaced the innards of the toilet, which now flushes (almost) like a regular toilet. Then as a final touch, we added butterflies. I rather like the butterflies.
The other thing that happened during the three days preceding the 28th was that Jaimie finished shading the books on the wall, lettering the book titles on the bottom set of stairs – of course Captain was “supervising” the project, and when Xander came to visit, in his haste, Captain stepped INTO the can of yellow paint Jaimie was using, and made deposits all the way up the stairs, across the front room floor, and onto the couch (which is the reason I was left waiting at the train station for a ride which never came); shall we just say Jaimie was not a happy camper. Jaimie and Dillan were able to get most of the paint off, before it dried, but I do believe Captain Underfoot still has some bits of yellow left on his tail.
Even with that delay, and working under a dose of self inflicted sleep deprivation, she finished all of the titles with the exception of “and the Half Blood Prince” next to the Harry Potter lettering; she will finish that when she comes for Cameron’s wedding in August — did I mention I have another wedding coming up? My youngest is getting married in about six weeks! In any case, I love how the titles turned out. It makes the perfect entryway into The Secret Garden Room. I was very pleased with how it looked when we had it all ready for our very first guests at The Book Nook Inn
Two days before my guests were to arrive, Troy came to put new tile in the entryway. I had some I had gotten from the Restore, but he decided I needed something better and gifted me brand new porcelain tile. What a generous thing to do. He finished the grouting the morning of the day my guests were to arrive, but it was finished in time. Thank you Troy! It looks marvelous as he is a very meticulous artisan, and I am thrilled with the result. It creates a very nice first impression.
So the details came together, and nearly everything was finished by the 28th when we welcomed our first guests! I guess you could call this endeavor the modern-day version of the widow’s boarding house. More about our first guest experiences in my next update.
PS: I also want to extend a huge thank you go everyone who believes in me and has helped to make this transformation possible. We are getting closer to being able to do the Three Musketeers Room, and eventually a kitchen. Please find and like us on Facebook.
PPS: Bonus points if you can name the source of the alternate title: “The Stucco on Your Baronial Castle is Scarcely Dry”