fru fru

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eyevea's picture
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Our brand new bed and breakfast, StoneArchesBnB.com is a house that was originally built in 1694 (not a typo). Downstairs we have original beams and floors and it's got a rustic look.  We completely redone the upstairs and doubled the thickness of the walls between the rooms, the floors up there are from 1900 ish.  I've made the quilts for the beds and took a lot of time choosing window treatments.

The question is how much, if any, fru fru should I add.  What's the experience out there.  Do you find that people like the beds with lots of extra pillows, draping afghans, etc?  We call our look funky eclectic and we're not fru fru people, but we want to do what guests expect.  Thanks in advance for your help.

 

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Morticia's picture
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So, our decor is pretty straightforward and plain. But, I follow this store on FB that sells a lot of frilly camp bedding. So, camp style beds with tons of lacy, frilly toppers. I love it! But, oh so much to clean. Wish people were more careful so I could have fun with this!

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gillumhouse's picture
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I am not a person who does knickknack because they require dusting among other reasons. One of my early guests who became a semi-regular told me on her first visit that she liked all the space I left for her stuff. Any decorative crap is on the shelf above the mantle in the best room and just a few things such as a stocked candy dish and a small reed basket I made that has 2 bananas & 3 or 4 apples in it with snacks if they have an attack of craving munchies on the dresser - on the mantles in the other 2 rooms.

Each bed has 2 pillows and there are 2 extra pillows in the dresser. I have a quilt rack in my smallest room with an extra quilt and extra blankets in each closet. In summer I have quilts (light weight) on the beds and in winter I use flannel sheets and down comforters in duvet covers. My old house (1912 w/little insulation) rarely gets hot except on summer afternoons and then only upstairs of course so upstairs needs A/C. I also have 3 rooms.

seashanty's picture
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 heart With just three rooms, isn't it a more intimate setting? I would think guests would be more respectful of your guilts in a smaller place. I am a quilt COLLECTOR. If you are worried about how the quilts will be treated or how they are holding up, I would mount and hang them on the walls. Just gorgeous! 

Fru fru? No! Little doo-dads on shelves and things? No. And I have to add my warning about the dusting. You have antique pieces that need care. Any fine and interesting pieces like that are perfect. But guests will touch them, handle them, not meaning any harm. But my antique spinning wheel got broken. 

I live in an old house (1620's or so in the oldest parts) too, and the long, stringy COBWEBS that seam to appear out of nowhere in the oldest rooms is like nowhere else. I don't know why! Up on the beams is the worst. Maybe I just don't see them until they get big. *shudder*

But pillows, sleeping pillows? Yes! I sleep with two - just for me. So I like four on the bed. And I don't mean the ones in pillow shams, I mean bed pillows meant to be used for sleeping. I like to make the bed with two pillows lying flat and then two propped up. Decorative throw pillows? Guilty! Especially if they match the quilt or covering. So those have to be durable - I used to make them with scraps (I am sure you know what I mean) and they were machine stitched, not by hand, so they can stand 'tossing' off the bed. 

I would definitely buy a handmade quilt, especially if you sign/label it and give me washing instructions.

 

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eyevea's picture
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My quilts are machine made (if they had machines back in the day, they would have used them..Smiling  So, they are sturdy.  I do have a few throw pillows made from the scaps of the quilts in the room.  I make them with flap backs so they can be removed and washed.  And, you're right about the cobwebs and the old beams.  I'm not sure how that happens.

I put pillows 3 and 4 on the armoire so they can be used, but if they aren't needed or wanted, they don't end up on the floor.  

I believe with our small intimate place, that people will generally be more careful with the stuff, including the quilts.  

Morticia's picture
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I didn't realize your place was 3 rooms. Yes, in that environment, guests will generally be better behaved.

You could make scrappy pillow covers to sell to start with. Not as much effort and you use leftovers. Baby quilts also. Wall art - a single 12" square, framed.

eyevea's picture
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Some great ideas, thanks.  We've only had guests for two nights so far and they were very well behaved.  We'll see how we do moving forward.  Smiling

 

 

InnSemiRetirement's picture
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eyevea wrote:

  And, you're right about the cobwebs and the old beams.  I'm not sure how that happens.

Also, in a brand new house, if you have high ceilings and use old beams. I have living creepy-crawling proof of that!

And sorry, I didn't mean to suggest you need to remodel - just that the mission-style of decor might work well as you dress up your rooms.  Those nice warm colors and clean lines let the stone work come through and feel less cold. As will the quilts.  I love them - have two made from squares quilted by my great-great-grandmother.  They don't wash well, so they are folded at the bottom of my (non-B&B) guest beds where they don't get much use.  Handmade quilts are big sellers in Amish country, even though expensive - you may not sell many but some people will love them and want to take them home.

eyevea's picture
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I didn't think you were suggesting a remodel.  So cool to have quilted squares from your great great grandmother.  We'll see about selling quilts.  Are you in Amish country?  Quilts might sell here as well, but we don't get paid very much to make them.  I like Morticia's idea of selling framed one block squares.  I might try that.

InnSemiRetirement's picture
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PS: your historic building is lovely, and would lend itself to a mission-style of decorating - which is beautiful and spare. Lots of nice warm tones - copper and gold - and clean lines.  I aspire to that although I still have too much stuff to really pull it off in my home.

eyevea's picture
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Maybe in a remodel in a few years.

Arks's picture
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Great advice from all. What we must always remember is that guests, such a nice, respectful word, guests often don't treat our place like we would treat it.

Think of it as creating a space, not where you will be, but where a couple of three-year-olds will be staying. Because that's how some of them treat your stuff. They break stuff you would never break. They mar things you would never mar. They move stuff around, or sometimes it's just gone and you never see it again.

Plus, as was mentioned, the dusting.

I've stayed at some places that were as spare as a hospital room, and that's to bland. But I've been to more places that way overdo it, with every surface covered with knickknacks so there's no room to unpack. In general, "less is more" is a good rule of thumb.

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Your B&B and its decor sounds lovely!!!...and by the way you describe it, it is obvious you take pride in presenting a very beautiful room...but that being said...

After I took photos of our rooms for our website and marketing material, I eliminated throw pillows for the very reason that a) they are expensive, b) because I don't want to launder them, and c) don't want them thrown on the floor.

On each bed I put two firm pillows, two soft (feather pillows) and two faux pillows with shams that match the duvet cover....that is plenty of pillows and looks nice.

I spent less than $50 on a duvet set...and it looks great, but boy was I glad not to have spent hundreds on it when the sweet little old lady spilled nail polish on it last week, and another room had cologne spilled on the duvet cover about a month ago!!! One was salvaged, the other didn't recover from the cleaning methods I tried...

I do have a plush throw or a small quilt available for a reading/lap blanket. They are washable and inexpensive as well, but add a warm touch to the room.

Our state's B&B association also reminds us that horizontal space belongs to the guests, and vertical space is mine to adorn. We keep our prices a bit higher to eliminate the riff-raff that may trash things and not care. Airbnb sends me messages to lower my prices and rent more rooms but I don't think I would want the people who want a $50 room rate staying in my B&B.

When we travel, we don't stay in cheap places, but Fru-Fru is over-rated and I don't care to manuever around it in a room when I just need to set my bags somewhere or just want to sleep.

eyevea's picture
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Thanks for the compliment.  If you're interested, you can see our place at StoneArchesBnB.com

I've had the same experience with AirBnB. We're not going to lower our prices just to get "heads in beds", which is how someone in another thread put it.  Our prices are in keeping with the two other places that happen to be on the same road.  

And thanks for confirming that I don't need all the fru fru...

JimBoone's picture
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eyevea wrote:

We're not going to lower our prices just to get "heads in beds"

The real goal besides enjoyment is profit, with a big hotel low prices may keep staff busy and at least help pay the help, but when you're small, heads in beds, just means more work for me unless I'm getting sufficiently paid.

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Morticia's picture
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I commend you on making the quilts yourself and recommend you take them right back off the beds and get something you don't care about.

Guests will: 

  • Throw their filthy suitcases on the beds
  • Drag the greasy wheels across the beds
  • Put their grubby shoes on the beds
  • Be so enraptured they will not fold the quilt down before they tear each other's clothes off and, well you know what comes next...

You will be washing those quilts at least twice/month.

Don't put out a lot of tchotchkes. Like muirford said - flat surfaces for guests, vertical spaces for decor.

Too many pillows end up on the floor. My guests step on them. One more thing to wash. Flouncy curtains get dusty.

It's tough when you have a vision to run into guests who trash it. Try not to get attached to the decor.

What you really need on the windows are room darkening shades and drapes.

Make sure anything fabric is washable. Afghans, throw pillows, all of it.

I've redone our decor at least twice. It gets less frou frou on each iteration. But, you also have to like it as you have to clean it everyday! The room should make you happy.

eyevea's picture
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Thanks for the advice.  I made the quilts for the rooms and would rather have them used than in a closet.  That being said, if they do get ruined, I'll think of an alternative.  I love sewing quilts and plan to make many more so I can change them out for the seasons.  It's one of the reasons I wanted to run a bed and breakfast...more excuses to make quilts.  We'll see what happens.

 

JimBoone's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I commend you on making the quilts yourself and recommend you take them right back off the beds and get something you don't care about.

Way too much work and love goes into making a quilt to allow one to be damaged by someone that does not care.

 

Generic's picture
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Decide on something to give that splash of colour. Otherwise, muted and simple. Remember, you have to clean it as well as maintain it. You need throw pillows that can be laundered or covers that can be laundered. Same with all the linen. Every rug in this house is either exterior oriented (so they can be hosed down) or they are small enough to go into the washer. Everything needs to be washable.

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eyevea's picture
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We do have area rugs that would need to be steam cleaned, but we have a steam cleaner, so we'll see how that goes. Thanks for the advice.  I'm listening to everyone.  Lots of wisdom out there.

Highlands John's picture
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I'd keep it to a minimum, just enough to give whatever appearance you're aiming for.

One of my rooms (modern house) has light gray carpet, white walls, grey brick effect accent wall behind the bed and white bedding. So it's the extra cushions, throws, plus curtains that add a splash of colour.

And don't forget all the extra stuff needs keeping clean, so more work.

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InnSemiRetirement's picture
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Most experts will tell you now to eliminate the frou-frou and have clean lines and bright linens. Homey is fine, but not much on the frilly stuff. Four pillows to sleep on, one for decoration, maybe a throw across the bottom of the bed (a real one, not one of those silly bed scarves).  For some successful funky eclectic looks, check out the Kimpton brand of hotels. An old building will not lend itself to mid-century modern but you could do rustic modern.

I was reminded of one of Jay Karen's rules when at an airbnb during the eclipse (my first one of those) - vertical surfaces are for decorations and horizontal surfaces are for guests. You can't go wrong with that rule of thumb.

eyevea's picture
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I like that rule of thumb.  Horizontal surfaces are for the guests, vertical ones are for decorating.  Great.  Thanks for that.  May I ask...what do the guests do with the throw that you put at the bottom of the bed?  Is it to use when taking a nap?  I've been tempted to put throws on the beds or extra quilts, but I don't want them to just be in the way.

InnSemiRetirement's picture
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eyevea wrote:

I like that rule of thumb.  Horizontal surfaces are for the guests, vertical ones are for decorating.  Great.  Thanks for that.  May I ask...what do the guests do with the throw that you put at the bottom of the bed?  Is it to use when taking a nap?  I've been tempted to put throws on the beds or extra quilts, but I don't want them to just be in the way.

Throws - nice for extra warmth, whether in bed or to cover your legs when reading in a nice comfy chair (which I also want in a guest room).  My husband sometimes uses ours (a twin bed quilt) as an extra cover when he's freezing and I'm having a hot flash so have the room temp at subarctic.

If I were doing it all from scratch for my own B&B, I would make those lovely quilts as throw size (single bed size) and put them lengthwise across my bed at the bottom on top of my triple-sheets (top sheet white, king-size and maybe monogrammed but definitely washable). I would make extra throw quilts for quick and easy washing and sell them in my gift shop, and make bigger sizes on consignment if guests want to invest in them.

eyevea's picture
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I've been thinking about selling quilts in my gift shop, but I'm not sure people are willing to spend what I would need to charge.  Always a handmade gift problem.

 

But I do like the idea of the smaller quilts in the room.  Thanks.

JimBoone's picture
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My vote is be yourself, do what suits you and cultivate a following of folks that like what you offer, a lot simpler that trying to be something that we're not, but at the same time listen to your guests and learn.

We're an 8 room motel, not quite the same as most here, but similar, more so perhaps after reading the forum for several years. We're at this 26 years now, have changed our "look" at least several times over the years as I and my ideas have changed.

I'm a packrat if you look in our apartment, but in a guest room you don't want too much stuff to move and dust, but I do have some things on the walls and did add some extra pillows since they seemed common at most hotels. I do think the guests like having extra pillows (bed pillows) and we have one colorful pillow that is just decoration, I thought it looked good, but don't know that it rents rooms.

eyevea's picture
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I put extra sleeping pillows on top of the armoires in the room if they feel the need for more pillows.  On the beds, though, there just the ones they they'll use for sleeping.

 

I figure that people want a positive overall experience.  They're not going to come back specifically because of the decorative pillow, but if it makes them smile along with a lot of other things that matter more, they're more likely to come back or recommend them to friends. 

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