Permanently removing a guest room

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IronGate

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A property I am seriously considering currently has six guest rooms. Five are on the second floor, and one is on the first floor. Twenty years ago, the property was remodeled from a private residence into a B&B. Every guest room has a private bath en suite.
The room on the first floor is the original parlor at the front of the house. It opens directly into the foyer and stair hall through the original, ornate pocket doors. I'm not sure what kind of locking arrangement there is. The only way to get to dining room is through the foyer, past those pocket doors. Another set of pocket doors has been walled over, separating the guest room from the small library. The dining room and the library are the only common areas. The other two sides of the guest room are adjacent to the wrap-around porch. To me, it all seems very awkward. I try to imagine being in the room, and it just feels more like public space than private space. It feels odd being in the foyer as well. My thoughts have been to restore the room to its original use, and even remove the little bath that was put in, so the symmetry and scale of the room are also restored. It just makes the whole house feel "right."
Here's the kicker: it's the only room that is handicap accessible. Based on the floorplans I have, though, I cannot see how the bathroom is accessible, but maybe the new photos I've asked for will shed some light. I have read an old review of the place that indicated a handicapped guest was in fact in the house (presumably in that room, but I'm not certain), and no mention was made of inadequate facilities. From what I've been able to gather, there is no legal necessity that mandates keeping the room.
So there's my dilemma. Remove a handicap room that makes the whole house "feel" funny, or keep an awkward room that in all likelihood will not generate much revenue, but is the only thing that works when needed. Thoughts? What would you do?
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Personally, I would not remove the 1 handicapped room. Those big doors may very well serve a functional purpose so the whole situation may not be as awkward as it seems.
But rather than try to imagine what it would feel like to be in that room as a guest, why don't you try it out yourself? Then you'll know what, if anything, needs to be changed.
Same is true for all the rooms, BTW.
 

seashanty

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you have asked for new pictures ... does this mean you have not been physically IN the space?
what is the occupancy rate for that first floor room?
i would not change anything until trying it out.
it's not just a matter of being 'handicap accessible' as in wheelchair access or sight impaired. some guests have trouble with stairs. aging guests, a guest who's had recent surgery, or someone with arthritis for example. i had one large, first floor room. it was extremely popular. it was not as private or quiet as the upper floor rooms (although i tried my best to make it so), but easy access to the front door, the guest library and the breakfast room made it very appealing.
 

Copperhead

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Well by they comments in your post, so far you are still in the preliminary stages as it appears you have not even gone to see this place yet. While this may still be in your final plans, it would be best to test this room out as To Go stated. And you may want to ask the current owners for details on the rental of that room, you may be suprised by the findings. You may also want to ask for info on how often they were completely booked - lets say for the last year. These 2 requests would provide you the info on the value this room provides to the B&B.
Regarding ADA regulations you are correct in the fact that and ADA room is not required unless you go over the 5 guest room mark.
As for the flow of the downstairs, I can understand the desire to have this as a public room. As well I would wonder just how private it would feel staying in that room. Again, something to test out, I think.
Good luck.
 

white pine

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From an old house lover's point of view my initial reaction would be to restore the space. I would feel like I booked a bedroom and they put me in the parlor. I hate it when beautiful old places get rudely cobbled into something they weren't meant to be. One place we stayed had a once beautiful parlor with an ugly commons bar w/ refrig. and micro for the guests. Outside a beautiful place, nice hosts, we won't go back because of the remuddled interior.
. However, I think it would be best to live with it a bit, and explore the options. Is there a possibility of adding a downstairs bedroom & bath? How many bookings would you lose to not have a first floor room? Could the library become a small bedroom instead? Could the tiny bath be used as a common space restroom if the parlor is restored?
 

JBloggs

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You nearly described our place to a T.
When we bought the room I am in now which is our family room/office/library was used as an additional public room. We already have the parlor which is rarely used, the dining room, large foyer, large porch and stair hall upstairs with sofa. I call this my habitrail as there are doors and more doors and I can go behind the scenes like a hamster.
We reclaimed areas as our own as we needed more privacy and more space as the owners.
Over the years it has all changed so often there is no clue what has happened really, we can only guess. Having said all that, we have often thought when we sell the new owners could turn this area into a ground floor guest room (since there is a second bedroom and bath we installed for our family).
There is a SERIOUS NEED for ground floor lodging and although we have a cottage on the property, we turn away many bookings without a ground floor lodging. Just yesterday we had to haul a guest's luggage down (she can make the stairs, altho has had hip replacements and soon a knee replacement) but her luggage is heavy. I guarantee she would have chosen a ground floor room if possible.
All that to say, if there is any way possible to keep the ground floor room, as awkward as it may seem, KEEP IT! Don't tout it as handicap, that is a whole other ball of wax right there. I would try to make it as easy to maneuver as possible, but never use that dreaded word in this business, historic homes being OLD are not required to have all of that.
 

JBloggs

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Irongate wrote:
I'm concerned because houses always photograph better than they appear in real life. This I know, having spent years photographing foreclosed, abandoned properties.
JB asks "Can you show me the trick to this? Our rooms are much nicer than they photograph"
PS you know we are for sale correct? If not email me from my user id and I will shoot you over the information. I may have already done this, and apologize if I am losing my mind.
 

JBloggs

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From an old house lover's point of view my initial reaction would be to restore the space. I would feel like I booked a bedroom and they put me in the parlor. I hate it when beautiful old places get rudely cobbled into something they weren't meant to be. One place we stayed had a once beautiful parlor with an ugly commons bar w/ refrig. and micro for the guests. Outside a beautiful place, nice hosts, we won't go back because of the remuddled interior.
. However, I think it would be best to live with it a bit, and explore the options. Is there a possibility of adding a downstairs bedroom & bath? How many bookings would you lose to not have a first floor room? Could the library become a small bedroom instead? Could the tiny bath be used as a common space restroom if the parlor is restored?.
white pine said:
From an old house lover's point of view my initial reaction would be to restore the space. I would feel like I booked a bedroom and they put me in the parlor. I hate it when beautiful old places get rudely cobbled into something they weren't meant to be. One place we stayed had a once beautiful parlor with an ugly commons bar w/ refrig. and micro for the guests. Outside a beautiful place, nice hosts, we won't go back because of the remuddled interior.
People who have done a walk through here to possibly purchase have asked those similar questions "How hard would it be to take down THAT wall" and I just cringe!!!!! Take our the parlor? Make it just one big dining room? What the!
Ya know in the old days they just added rooms. I get that, they didn't install hallways, they just added rooms, that was the way it was done in most old homes way back when. But we are not way back when, we should try to keep the structural integrity and style of the home.
THE INNSANITY!
 

Morticia

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I'd say return the room to its former use but keep the bathroom. You can always use an extra bathroom. Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap rooms.
 

gillumhouse

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IF I could have a first floor room i would. When booking - even without DH - I would prefer a first floor room because my stupid knees HURT and they hate stairs. My knees tell me this (scream it actually) every time I hav e to go up to clean, put clean linens away, take anything up to the storage (Junk) room or guiest rooms, etc.
As has been suggested, try iit before you make any decisions. If you are looking at it from a revenue aspect, keep it a guestroom. There are some people you will be happy to NOT have on your stairs (back when he could do stairs, DH was still noisy on those stairs and had to have a very sturdy railing).
 

IronGate

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I'd say return the room to its former use but keep the bathroom. You can always use an extra bathroom. Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap rooms..
That's the cool thing. The extra bathroom really isn't needed if the room is gone -- especially a full bath with shower. When the house was converted to a B&B, a half-bath was added under the grand staircase in the foyer for guest use, and another bathroom was added off the kitchen in the "non-guest" area. So far, I have not been able to find any regs that require keeping the room as a guest room.
 

IronGate

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you have asked for new pictures ... does this mean you have not been physically IN the space?
what is the occupancy rate for that first floor room?
i would not change anything until trying it out.
it's not just a matter of being 'handicap accessible' as in wheelchair access or sight impaired. some guests have trouble with stairs. aging guests, a guest who's had recent surgery, or someone with arthritis for example. i had one large, first floor room. it was extremely popular. it was not as private or quiet as the upper floor rooms (although i tried my best to make it so), but easy access to the front door, the guest library and the breakfast room made it very appealing..
seashanty said:
you have asked for new pictures ... does this mean you have not been physically IN the space?
Not yet. I've only seen photos. Frankly, the room looks "tired" at best, and borderline run-down. I'm concerned because houses always photograph better than they appear in real life. This I know, having spent years photographing foreclosed, abandoned properties.
seashanty said:
what is the occupancy rate for that first floor room?
Don't have those figures completely yet. The realtor is a little slow answering questions, but as far as I can figure out, the overall occupancy is probably about what you'd expect. From what I've seen, it appears to be about 25-30%. This room does have some advantages (first floor convenience, etc.) and is definitely the largest room. It has, unfortunately, far and away the smallest bathroom, and I believe the only non-tub bath. It might make a good "double" room, if the furniture can be arranged properly.
seashanty said:
i had one large, first floor room. it was extremely popular. it was not as private or quiet as the upper floor rooms (although i tried my best to make it so
What did you do to increase the quiet and privacy?
 

Morticia

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I'd say return the room to its former use but keep the bathroom. You can always use an extra bathroom. Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap rooms..
That's the cool thing. The extra bathroom really isn't needed if the room is gone -- especially a full bath with shower. When the house was converted to a B&B, a half-bath was added under the grand staircase in the foyer for guest use, and another bathroom was added off the kitchen in the "non-guest" area. So far, I have not been able to find any regs that require keeping the room as a guest room.
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Why I would keep the bath, even if closed off...you may want it in the future if you decide to reconvert the space. OR, if you are in an area that is big into 'sports' you can have a bathroom available for guests who need to shower after an activity but who you need to get out of their rooms.
I say this based on a ski lodge we looked at. They had a bathroom in the hallway that guests could use after they checked out so they could shower after skiing and before driving home. It got a lot of use and was a great asset.
I know I could book more rooms here if I could let guests shower after bike and running events. They all want to come back at 1 or 2 PM and we say they have to book the second night to do that and they won't. So they get a late checkout at a hotel. We just don't have the rooms to allow someone to 'maybe' not be out of the room by 2 PM so we can get it cleaned by 3.
 

JBloggs

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I'd say return the room to its former use but keep the bathroom. You can always use an extra bathroom. Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap rooms..
That's the cool thing. The extra bathroom really isn't needed if the room is gone -- especially a full bath with shower. When the house was converted to a B&B, a half-bath was added under the grand staircase in the foyer for guest use, and another bathroom was added off the kitchen in the "non-guest" area. So far, I have not been able to find any regs that require keeping the room as a guest room.
.
IronGate said:
That's the cool thing. The extra bathroom really isn't needed if the room is gone -- especially a full bath with shower. When the house was converted to a B&B, a half-bath was added under the grand staircase in the foyer for guest use, and another bathroom was added off the kitchen in the "non-guest" area. So far, I have not been able to find any regs that require keeping the room as a guest room.
Bathroom off the kitchen may have been a reg for a commercial kitchen (separate bath and hand washing station...) it is a requirement in certain locales.
Extra half bath for functions?
You can always downsize a B&B, going bigger (more guest rooms) is what causes council meetings and such. If you buy it you can do whatever you want with it!
 

IronGate

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I'd say return the room to its former use but keep the bathroom. You can always use an extra bathroom. Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap rooms..
That's the cool thing. The extra bathroom really isn't needed if the room is gone -- especially a full bath with shower. When the house was converted to a B&B, a half-bath was added under the grand staircase in the foyer for guest use, and another bathroom was added off the kitchen in the "non-guest" area. So far, I have not been able to find any regs that require keeping the room as a guest room.
.
Why I would keep the bath, even if closed off...you may want it in the future if you decide to reconvert the space. OR, if you are in an area that is big into 'sports' you can have a bathroom available for guests who need to shower after an activity but who you need to get out of their rooms.
I say this based on a ski lodge we looked at. They had a bathroom in the hallway that guests could use after they checked out so they could shower after skiing and before driving home. It got a lot of use and was a great asset.
I know I could book more rooms here if I could let guests shower after bike and running events. They all want to come back at 1 or 2 PM and we say they have to book the second night to do that and they won't. So they get a late checkout at a hotel. We just don't have the rooms to allow someone to 'maybe' not be out of the room by 2 PM so we can get it cleaned by 3.
.
That's a really good idea. In this property the "non-guest" bath could be pressed into service for such a thing. It appears it is the old butler's pantry, and is accessible through the back door and hall, which is right off the parking area. The rest of the house -- including the kitchen -- could be closed off, allowing someone to run in the back door, shower and head out without disturbing anything else going on. Interesting idea.
 

Copperhead

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Check your local regs to be sure it's ok to remove that room now that it is in place. Regs can be funny when it comes to handicap roomsThat is true. If there is reference to ADA compliance in the business license, making a change undoing the compliance could be a sticky point. Make sure you talk to the local zoning people and get copies of any variance or exception they give you - in other words have proof!!!
And I agree, keep the bath! If you decide to hold meetings, gatherings etc. at the B&B the extra bath is a very big plus!!! I also can relate to Mort's example for keeping the extra bath. Last fall when we were in Hawaii, we stayed at a beach front property which had an interesting idea on a late check out. Instead of having Your room, they had a couple of 'hourly' rate (so to speak) rooms for $25 to use for bathing after being at the beach after offical check out. These rooms did not have a bed, just a couple of chairs, TV and luggage racks. They kept our luggage in storage & when we came back from the beach, we got our luggage and went in for a nice shower before heading to the airport. So in other words, if you keep the bath and there is any need for after checkout bath facilities you are equiped to handle the need - and may be able to charge for the service as well.
 

wendydk

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As the only Inn in our area with a first floor guestroom, I say KEEP it a guest room! Amaxing how many people want or need to be on the first floor.
Our first floor room is not our largest, but is the most rented.
 

Emily Spiers

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As the only Inn in our area with a first floor guestroom, I say KEEP it a guest room! Amaxing how many people want or need to be on the first floor.
Our first floor room is not our largest, but is the most rented..
Hey, LB! Welcome back! :)
 

Joey Camb

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Welcome to Yorkshire (they are a government body in charge of trying to get more tourists into Yorkshire) they do all sorts of surveys some useful some less so but according to their findings disabled people tend to stay longer and spend more money when they do go away so it is worth making a bit more effort to accomodate them. For example we have a ground floor room which has access straight off the car park and I am thinking of having a ramp a wodden one that I can put out when needed to make that room wheelchair accessable. But we all have to remember disabled is not just movement. We have a conference here that is all people with disabilities for example this covers visual imparements, diabetes, hearing imparements and all sorts. Most people just need a bit of extra help. We have two ground floor rooms and we do a lot of extra business because of them. We are also the first place the local tourist info calls to place people with special requirements because we do our best to help. Trouble is quite a few places have ground floor rooms but have a ton of steps to the front door. The disabled dollar is big money.
 
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