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Renovation advise needed...

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Laura

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Hello! Longtime lurker finally checked in...
THANK YOU all for the great information I have picked up!
I am considering opening up my home as a B&B. I don't want a huge operation, no more than 3 - 5 rooms. I live in a small town with 1 really crappy hotel that everybody hates. The guy running it is unfriendly and actually turns down a lot of people for no good reason. Honestly, I'm not actually sure how he remains in business.
I would be busy most weekends in the summer and autumn would also be big here. Otherwise, winter and early spring would be mostly down time which is fine with me. My husband would continue his current job and so money would not be an issue in the off season.
The problem that I am needing advise on is renovations. We live in an old 1800s, 2 story, brick hotel building that is currently a very large single family residence. It is in definite need of renovations and right now I am going back and forth on how much room I want to dedicate to private quarters for my family and the size I wish to make the guest rooms.So here are my current questions: (I know that there will be many more to come!)
1. What size would an "ideal" guest bedroom be? And what should the minimum be? I have stayed in some very nice rooms that have had just enough room for the bed/nightstand and others that were huge, maybe too big even.
2. Since we are going to be going through some pretty extensive remodeling anyway, I am hoping to include a private bath with each room. If space prohibits this, I read somewhere (although I can't find it now,) that there should be no more than 2 bedrooms assigned to 1 bathroom. I don't mind sharing a bathroom when I am staying somewhere, (sometimes it can be a bit dicey at times if the other room's guests went out for beans the evening before) ;-) but otherwise I have not had a problem. However, I have heard others whine. (My own mother included.) Do you find that sharing bathrooms is a problem for people or do most not mind it.
 

Morticia

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Best advice is- if you are starting from scratch anyway, build in everything a guest could want from the start. Then you don't have to do any kind of remodeling later on when you find out guests want x, y & z. I don't even like sharing a bathroom with my husband, much less a complete set of strangers. It's always awkward- listening if anyone is moving around, worried you're taking too long, having to be extra neat and tidy (and hoping the other people do the same). Sorry, but finding someone else's hair on the soap in the shower is ewwwwwww!
Make sure permits are in place, don't start out without the town's stamp of approval, signed, sealed and delivered. Too many horror stories of aspirings in for $100k in renos only to find out their neighbors changed their minds or the town charter changed the day before they went for the permit.
 

Banana

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Hi Laura, welcome to the forum!
If you have the ability to add a bath for every guest room, do it. YOU may not mind sharing a bath, but I sure do. Sure, some people may not mind, but if given a choice, they would obviously choose to have their own. It is expensive to add a bathroom, but will be well worth it. Ask anyone here if they had the ability to have a private bath for every room if they would - there's your answer.
I don't think there is an "ideal" room size. Obviously, you need a bed (kings sell quicker than queens), two nightstands, a sitting area, and a dresser. I have all of these things in a 14X10 room that is very comfortable and is my most popular room. It's a small room, but has a lot of light, and not a lot of "stuff" sitting around on the nightstands or dresser, so they have room for their stuff. Unless you are in an area where they will spend all day in their room or on the property, you just don't need that much room.
As far as space for your living quarters, take as much as you can!
 

Country Girl

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Ditto all the above. I would not stay in a place where I had to share a bath. I have some rooms that have a private bath right outside their rooms and guests much prefer the room with the private bath attached. If you are doing major renovations anyway I would definitely add private baths. My husband and I have a saying "let it hurt you once" and that has been a great motto for us. We hate going back later to fix something we should have done from the beginning. Room size is not really a big issue. Good luck.
 

wendydk

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My rooms are not large, and they don't need to be. I have two PB and our smallest guestroom shares a bath with us. After seven years, I am tired of that....especially in the summer months with 90+% occupancy. If you can do all PB, do it. If not, and your area is very busy during high season, the room will still rent, if it's clean and offers all the same amenities as your other rooms....it just won't rent as often or for as much money.
 

Morticia

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Think about cleaning all of this space as well. Large rooms are nice, but they take longer! The 'perfect' room would allow you to move easily around the bed. It would have 2 comfy chairs with lighting, a king bed with lighting over the headboard, decent-sized nightstands (I have some that are 12" square- not good enough, but they do in a pinch), a desk & chair, a closet, luggage racks, dresser & full length mirror, windows that open. The doors shouldn't bump into any of the furniture and the guest shouldn't have to climb over anything to open the windows. (All of which happens in my place and is why I mention it!) Wall-mount flat panel TV's and then you don't need to take up any of the guests' 'horizontal' space.
Depending on where the doors are, you can make all of that fit into a fairly small room. Things like radiators or other heating/cooling ducts need to be thought of.
Designing the layout, none of the beds should share a wall. (You don't want to hear my last vacation story and the drunken walk-in couple who got the room next to mine and proceeded to break the bed, which slowed them down a mere moment or two. Front row seats to the whole drunken debauch.)
This is also the time to add any additional wall insulation to cut down on ALL noise transmission. Note- do not 'share' bathroom ventilation ducts- voices and other noises carry...
Insulate the bathroom pipes so everyone doesn't know how often the room next to them flushed or showered. Ditto the kitchen- you want to be able to clatter plates & silverware all you want, whenever you want.
 

Innkeep

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Welcome. Your post sounds much like the one I made on the previous forum 5 years ago, especially about the question of shared bathrooms. I have never regretted being persuaded by these folks here to include a bath with each bedroom. Sorry to be long-winded, but I'm excited for you to be sticking your toe in the water. I agree with Mortie, she gives very practical advice.
I converted the house I grew up in, which my parents had lived in for almost 50 years. For a variety of reasons it ended up taking a year to wade through the paperwork before any remodelling could begin. In the long run, this turned out to be fortunate, because I picked up several suggestions from other innmates about what to include in each room. Fortunately, as well as a bathroom, each room also has a full closet plus iron and ironing board. I was also able to keep the old walk-in cedar closet to use for linens and cleaning supplies. I installed built-in escape ladders for each room, and managed to find room for an electric fireplace and a table or desk large enough for a laptop and at least one chair, occasionally I deliver b'fast to the room, so space for a table that big is helpful.
My city is not a tourist destination, so my guests end up coming here for a variety of reasons... business, college traffic, conferences, places for adult children to stay when Mom and Dad have downsized their house, and sometimes locals who come here to celebrate a b'day or anniversary. Regardless of the purpose of the visit, the room with the double size whirlpool bath always books first, so I would think that the more elaborate the bathroom the better. Be sure that any whirlpools you put in have adequate sound insulation, and consider the amount of time and effort it takes to clean out the whirlpool. Personally, I chose Sani-Jet pipeless tubs which aren't too difficult to clean and don't pose sanitation issues for me. I know Riki has steam showers which also have been very popular for her.
If your guests will be mostly weekend tourists who have lots of nature to explore, they won't need to bring their laptops so less desk space and probably wouldn't think about using an iron. If they are getting away from work for that weekend, I bet the elaborate private bathrooms, (think romance) would be popular. I frequently am asked about having 2 beds in one room. Given the constraints of my old house, that just isn't possible. If your guests happen to be families, you might want to decide about one room large enough for 2 queens or a queen and a decent sofa sleeper, and decide if you want children at the inn. It's difficult to market romance and family friendly, but certainly girlfriends getaways might be something to think about out of season and two beds might help out there.
Also, think about how upscale your market might be... If your potential guests think Hot el 6 would be a great improvement over the choice now, you could end up spending lots of money on renovations and have 3 spectacular rooms well worth a rate of $$$$ per night and booked infrequently or 5 rooms that showcase your historic building, have private bathrooms, perhaps a few less bells and whistles but can rent for $$$ per night and are booked all season.
From what I have picked up here, the ideal innkeepers quarters has enough room for your own living area as well as sleeping area. This allows for you to have visitors to your house without encroaching the guest common areas. If you anticipate lots of family and friends visiting, even a guest bedroom in your quarters might help, and might enhance the resale value years down the road. The laundry area should be isolated from guest vision and sound as much as possible.
Also check on your state disability access laws. Federal ADA law kicks in for accommodations of more than 5 rooms, but some states have more stringent laws. Also check with fire marshall about sprinkler/fire escape type stuff.
 

Copperhead

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I would recommend to first contact your state & local permit & fire departments. Find out what the regs are in your area. Do this 1st before getting too involved in your planning, you may find that want you planned is out of the question. Save time! With the age of your building there also could be historical codes that need to be followed as well. In the big city near me they have some strict building codes for historical areas. An on this matter, you may find you could qualify for grants to help restore a historical building...there are usually strict guidelines for this, but you may want to at least explore that issue. Check with your local or state historical society.
I agree with everyone about the private baths... they are a must! Depending on the type of business you are going to pull, design your baths accordingly - that is if space allows. While whirlpools do attract romantic getaways, they also take up more room, use more water, more electricity and cleaning time so if that is not your ideal market, you may think about puting it in 1 room, and regular tubs with showers in the others.
Size - make sure there is enough walking space around the bed and other furnature, room for suitcases, a closet etc. As mentioned in another thread as well has here, the request for 2 beds is increasing. Having at least one room with 2 beds would be ideal, the 2nd bed could be a daybed or sofabed both which could serve as seating during the day. Most of our romantic getaways book one of our larger rooms with daybeds, so they can lounge together while watching a movie, etc.
Good luck! i look forward to seeing your progress.... and oh, I forgot...
 

EmptyNest

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Sorry but if you are going to do this. GO PRIVATE Baths all the way. NO SHARED. Even if you have to have less guest rooms. If not, you will regret it.
And..before you do anything, you better check your zoning rules and regs to see if you can even do it in your neighborhood. Also check with your insurance as you cannot use your homeowners if you have a B & B in your home.
 

Joey Camb

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what I am replacing some of my double or twin beds with is what is called Zip and Link Beds they are Two three foot wide beds which zip together to form a 6 foot double or you can have ones that are 2 foot 6 and zip into a 5 foot double that way we have the best of both worlds. we have 4 sets of these beds and one is in a room with another single day bed which therefore can be for 3 people or a ground floor twin or a double. I totally agree ensuite bathrooms all the way people do not want to share. my other advice is try and make things as idiot proof as possible choose the simplest and easyest to operate option (and or repair) ie shower with big dial marked on/off etc also sounds daft but ensuite bathrooms are easier to clean for you as everything is together. Think about all the laundry and storage and hauling vacume cleaners up and down and more closet space than you would ever think you would ever need. I would watch Hotel Rescue with |Ruth watson on demand 4 as she goes through planning bedrooms with people aspiring to open hotels and is a good sourse of common sence advice.
 

EmptyNest

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what I am replacing some of my double or twin beds with is what is called Zip and Link Beds they are Two three foot wide beds which zip together to form a 6 foot double or you can have ones that are 2 foot 6 and zip into a 5 foot double that way we have the best of both worlds. we have 4 sets of these beds and one is in a room with another single day bed which therefore can be for 3 people or a ground floor twin or a double. I totally agree ensuite bathrooms all the way people do not want to share. my other advice is try and make things as idiot proof as possible choose the simplest and easyest to operate option (and or repair) ie shower with big dial marked on/off etc also sounds daft but ensuite bathrooms are easier to clean for you as everything is together. Think about all the laundry and storage and hauling vacume cleaners up and down and more closet space than you would ever think you would ever need. I would watch Hotel Rescue with |Ruth watson on demand 4 as she goes through planning bedrooms with people aspiring to open hotels and is a good sourse of common sence advice..
Zip and Link Beds
Obviously something found in UK. Don't know of anything like this in the US. We have "systems" we can buy which will join beds together for form a larger one. Too bad no US. Manufacturer offers these.
 

Morticia

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what I am replacing some of my double or twin beds with is what is called Zip and Link Beds they are Two three foot wide beds which zip together to form a 6 foot double or you can have ones that are 2 foot 6 and zip into a 5 foot double that way we have the best of both worlds. we have 4 sets of these beds and one is in a room with another single day bed which therefore can be for 3 people or a ground floor twin or a double. I totally agree ensuite bathrooms all the way people do not want to share. my other advice is try and make things as idiot proof as possible choose the simplest and easyest to operate option (and or repair) ie shower with big dial marked on/off etc also sounds daft but ensuite bathrooms are easier to clean for you as everything is together. Think about all the laundry and storage and hauling vacume cleaners up and down and more closet space than you would ever think you would ever need. I would watch Hotel Rescue with |Ruth watson on demand 4 as she goes through planning bedrooms with people aspiring to open hotels and is a good sourse of common sence advice..
Totally agree about 'idiot-proofing'! We are on our THIRD set of shower heads because guests could NOT figure out that if you turn the little handle on the shower head to adjust the spray it eventually shuts off the water altogether! They would then tell us they had no water in the shower. By the time everyone got done fiddling with them, the showerheads didn't work at all. So, we replaced them with these great, new showerheads with a brilliant water flow and everyone has been happy. No adjustments, they just shoot water out at you.
Had one woman tell us we should LABEL the knobs in the shower as the hot and cold were reversed. Uh, no, they weren't, it just takes a little bit for the hot water to get upstairs.
 

Samster

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Laura! You've found the right place for plenty of good info and advice about opening a start-up B&B.
First, check your city's zoning, building, and use codes/permits to be sure that you don't get into a renovation and then won't be able to rent rooms or get into a building project that won't be permitted. Secondly, make sure that you're willing to invest a lot of money into renovating your home that you might not get back. Seriously. You may make enough money to support your B&B operation once you open, but you may never make the money back that you invested in the reno project, unless you are able to make it back when you sell.
I disagree about room size. Small rooms may be hard to sell. Rooms do have to be large enough for the required furnishings without being cramped. It's important to have rooms that are large enough at least for 2 traveling adults and all their stuff. Also, King size beds are the most requested these days so take that into consideration along with the excellent previous advice about what you need to have in the room for the comfort of your guests.
Absolutely have private en suite bathrooms if you are able to do this while renovating. For the majority of travelers, the days of being willing to share a bath are long gone.
All the advice previously posted is excellent. Be sure to have enough money after your renovations to furnish and decorate your rooms.
Good luck!
 

Joey Camb

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what I am replacing some of my double or twin beds with is what is called Zip and Link Beds they are Two three foot wide beds which zip together to form a 6 foot double or you can have ones that are 2 foot 6 and zip into a 5 foot double that way we have the best of both worlds. we have 4 sets of these beds and one is in a room with another single day bed which therefore can be for 3 people or a ground floor twin or a double. I totally agree ensuite bathrooms all the way people do not want to share. my other advice is try and make things as idiot proof as possible choose the simplest and easyest to operate option (and or repair) ie shower with big dial marked on/off etc also sounds daft but ensuite bathrooms are easier to clean for you as everything is together. Think about all the laundry and storage and hauling vacume cleaners up and down and more closet space than you would ever think you would ever need. I would watch Hotel Rescue with |Ruth watson on demand 4 as she goes through planning bedrooms with people aspiring to open hotels and is a good sourse of common sence advice..
Zip and Link Beds
Obviously something found in UK. Don't know of anything like this in the US. We have "systems" we can buy which will join beds together for form a larger one. Too bad no US. Manufacturer offers these.
.
are you sure? not meaning to be rude but they are really popular here in hotels (ie all the big places do it because it means whatever you want you can have) but they are also popular in domestic houses ie he likes a hard matress she likes a soft one you have two mattresses and you choose. Sealy make them as two of ours are sealy and I know you can get them in the US (sealy beds that is) we had to special order our new ones (bought 2 weeks ago) but they came super quick. We have the joining systems here to but they pop off and don't seem as sturdy as the beds that are designed to do it. They also sell them on Ebay.
 

Morticia

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what I am replacing some of my double or twin beds with is what is called Zip and Link Beds they are Two three foot wide beds which zip together to form a 6 foot double or you can have ones that are 2 foot 6 and zip into a 5 foot double that way we have the best of both worlds. we have 4 sets of these beds and one is in a room with another single day bed which therefore can be for 3 people or a ground floor twin or a double. I totally agree ensuite bathrooms all the way people do not want to share. my other advice is try and make things as idiot proof as possible choose the simplest and easyest to operate option (and or repair) ie shower with big dial marked on/off etc also sounds daft but ensuite bathrooms are easier to clean for you as everything is together. Think about all the laundry and storage and hauling vacume cleaners up and down and more closet space than you would ever think you would ever need. I would watch Hotel Rescue with |Ruth watson on demand 4 as she goes through planning bedrooms with people aspiring to open hotels and is a good sourse of common sence advice..
Zip and Link Beds
Obviously something found in UK. Don't know of anything like this in the US. We have "systems" we can buy which will join beds together for form a larger one. Too bad no US. Manufacturer offers these.
.
are you sure? not meaning to be rude but they are really popular here in hotels (ie all the big places do it because it means whatever you want you can have) but they are also popular in domestic houses ie he likes a hard matress she likes a soft one you have two mattresses and you choose. Sealy make them as two of ours are sealy and I know you can get them in the US (sealy beds that is) we had to special order our new ones (bought 2 weeks ago) but they came super quick. We have the joining systems here to but they pop off and don't seem as sturdy as the beds that are designed to do it. They also sell them on Ebay.
.
Nope, never heard of them here unless it's a completely different name. We have something called the sl eep Nu mber bed that allows you to control the firmness of each side of the mattress, but it's one mattress that adjusts.
 

JBloggs

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Welcome to the forum!

Think of a B&B you have stayed in and what you liked about it. Retrace those steps or go now and stay in some B&B's...search online and see what goodies you come up with. As we always say, sleep in your own beds, ie sleep in the guest rooms and see how you like it. If you are on a romantic getaway for instance, would you like to go out of the room to use the restroom or to bathe?
What does your area have to offer? You might be surprised by the demographic you end up with, some who may not seem romantic end up with a more romantic/recreation B&B, so I would built to suit that, in a nutshell, build what you think your guests will enjoy. Small bedrooms are not what any guest is after, unless budget traveling, then that small bedroom might have a detached or shared bath. Whatever you do, keep it simple and it is easier to clean and manage, fix stuff, replace items, etc.
Zoning and all of that needs to be thoroughly checked out first, get whatever from whomever in writing. :)
All the best in your journey.
 

wendydk

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If you can, make sure your private areas (living, sleeping, bathing areas) are all inter-connected, and connected to the kitchen, so you can move around freely anytime of day without having to go through guest areas.
 

seashanty

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after you get the permitting etc. please please please whatever you do ... all private baths 'en suite' ... not across the hall or beside the room. many of us have tried to hard to get bookings in 'plague rooms' ... rooms with baths situated this way. such problems from other guests with their own private bath using that designated bathroom 'in the hall' as their spare bath you don't want!
shared baths are no fun in my opinion. sure, if i paid less for a room with shared bath, i could say 'i'll just wait my turn' to take my shower. but realistically, going in to shower right after someone else who is unrelated can be downright nasty. sometimes i've had to wait for two persons (a couple) to each take their shower. going right in after because i've got places to go, all is moist and damp and grubby. one couple left all their dirty towels on the floor, all their toiletries around, hair in tub, shaved hair in sink. very dirty toilet. ... i went looking for innkeeper as there was a sign that i could ask for the shared bathroom to be freshened but could not find innkeeper. so i wiped it up some with the dirty towels before using and it was not a pleasant experience. the couple before me had a nice, clean bathroom to use, but not me. and waiting to use the toilet ... and waiting ... not fun either.
many guests said to me 'it's a lovely place, but you don't have any rooms left with private bath. just shared bath. i wake in the nite to use the bathroom and i want to just go in and use it right away, not go across the hall, not wait for someone to come out.' i totally understand.
we made medium sized guestrooms into much smaller guestrooms when we added in private showers to their exisiting half baths. cramped quarters but occupancy jumped because they now had a private bath.
i know what i'd put in my 'ideal guestrooms'. speaking just for me .... a working fireplace. a jetted tub in a private bath with shower, a king size bed (americans want BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER beds - this is not new - back in 2005, i was advised by the owner of an old hotel in my area to buy NOTHING SMALLER than a queen bed because guests want big beds), two wing chairs with a small table that can accomodate eating, a writing desk and chair with its own lighting, plug-in strip for devices with surge protector. lighting on either side of the bed, end tables on either side of the bed, a closet, a thermostat and a/c, window(s) with a view. tv that is in an armoire so can be tucked away out of site that either gets cable or satellite, wifi access. sound proofing.
guests love common areas outside of their rooms ... so (ideally) dining space and a guest parlor with enough space for all guests where they can make themselves coffee or tea and have a snack, read a book. a large porch or deck with chairs, lawn chairs (i had adirondack with umbrellas), flowers and a view to something. parking.
for YOU ... you MUST have living space that is all your own. (ideally) your own kitchen or kitchen that can be made inaccessible to guests. a commercial kitchen so you can do meals if you want to. even if you have a guest pantry for guests, you do not want guests coming in to your kitchen, trying to cook or help themselves to things in your fridge that are for breakfast the next day or are your own foods. YOUR OWN living space, bathroom ... living room etc that is away from guest areas so you can decompress, watch tv, just relax, and guests can do the same in their area.
my place was 'rustic' ... no way could it have the jetted tubs ..... and private innkeeper quarters? maybe at 2 am except for my little bedroom or when we were empty. i'm telling you my ideal place ... and i've stayed in such places.
i would go to area b&b's if you can or think back to my favorites, i think jb said this, and imitate that. anything you especially did NOT like? make a strong note of that as well.
ps ... a married sister and her husband just came back from staying someplace with the dual sle ep num ber sys tem and hated it. why?? i asked ... didn't you each find your 'num ber' and settle in? no ... hated it ... because there was something hard in the middle of the bed so they couldn't snuggle. oh ....
good luck.
 

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:welcome:
I typed up a beautiful response then hit the wrong button. Argh!!
For starters, I agree with everything everyone else has written. We renovated ours and took all the advice we could get and I'm so glad I did!
You. Must. Have. Private. En Suite. Bathrooms. You've got the room... just do it!!
Big, messy, expensive projects first. (Roof, siding, gutters, insulation, windows, furnace, flooring, bathrooms.)
Spend extra on stuff that's set... you can always swap out a faucet, but flooring tile is forever!
And spend the money on the invisible stuff... like sufficient hot water. High efficiency heat, insulation and good windows don't add to room rates but they sure help your overhead!
Biggest beds possible... no doubles! Having room for a fold-out bed (and a place to store it) will add a lot of flexibility to your reservations. Avoid having beds that share a wall, or even better, guest rooms that share a wall.
Flat screen TV's, wall-mounted on arms... take very little room. Don't forget to run the cable.
You can't have too many electrical outlets. It's impossible to have too many. I have an odd one in the middle of a wall that raises eyebrows... and I use it all the time for vacuuming.
Ideal innkeeper quarters are completely separate and private (ours aren't, but we make do), big enough to be comfortable (not cramped), small enough that you don't mind cleaning them when you're already tired of cleaning the rest of the place.
I absolutely love my laundry chute. Laundry up and down stairs is a big issue. Speaking of laundry, you'll be spending a LOT of time dealing with it, so plan accordingly. I have the largest residential w/d available and they were worth every penny. I have a custom built shelf with a 2' x 4' retractable ironing board (there's a picture somewhere here on the forum) that's large enough to iron a king sized pillow case without having to move it around. But even still, when I wash comforters I start running out of space quickly!
Build in storage in any nook or cranny. Each room needs one (or two) spare comforters, 2-3 spare sheet sets, cleaning supplies, spare glasses, extra towels... you can have a central storage with your laundry, but I prefer mine to be in the same area as the rooms. It's nice to have a vacuum cleaner on each floor... if you have a place to put it!
One of the best pieces of advice I got was to "have something fun in each room." Now, this innkeeper actually was referring to "toys" that could be made use of by couples... like a feather boa, or a fan... (How do you clean a boa??) But I liked that advice a lot. If you want cookie cutter, go to a hotel. The best features of my B&B are the fun things we incorporated while we were renovating... rope lights under the baseboards going up the stairs in the third floor guest room, as well as the amazing mozaic tile in the shower of that room (necessitated by the many angled drywall!). The banjo in the corner of the Music Department guest room. This is not your house, or a box motel... have fun with it! Make it fun and unique and they'll blog about you when they get home!
Finally, if you can swing five guest rooms, do it! I have four and wish it were five. I know an innkeeper who has six but only rents four as it's too much work for just her and her daughter to do more. BUT... the rooms are there if she wants to rent them, and someday she'll be able to sell it more easily.
Again, welcome to the forum! I've been pretty busy and haven't been on much lately but feel free to email me if you have further questions... I'd love to know where you're located!
=)
Kk.
 

Samster

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:welcome:
I typed up a beautiful response then hit the wrong button. Argh!!
For starters, I agree with everything everyone else has written. We renovated ours and took all the advice we could get and I'm so glad I did!
You. Must. Have. Private. En Suite. Bathrooms. You've got the room... just do it!!
Big, messy, expensive projects first. (Roof, siding, gutters, insulation, windows, furnace, flooring, bathrooms.)
Spend extra on stuff that's set... you can always swap out a faucet, but flooring tile is forever!
And spend the money on the invisible stuff... like sufficient hot water. High efficiency heat, insulation and good windows don't add to room rates but they sure help your overhead!
Biggest beds possible... no doubles! Having room for a fold-out bed (and a place to store it) will add a lot of flexibility to your reservations. Avoid having beds that share a wall, or even better, guest rooms that share a wall.
Flat screen TV's, wall-mounted on arms... take very little room. Don't forget to run the cable.
You can't have too many electrical outlets. It's impossible to have too many. I have an odd one in the middle of a wall that raises eyebrows... and I use it all the time for vacuuming.
Ideal innkeeper quarters are completely separate and private (ours aren't, but we make do), big enough to be comfortable (not cramped), small enough that you don't mind cleaning them when you're already tired of cleaning the rest of the place.
I absolutely love my laundry chute. Laundry up and down stairs is a big issue. Speaking of laundry, you'll be spending a LOT of time dealing with it, so plan accordingly. I have the largest residential w/d available and they were worth every penny. I have a custom built shelf with a 2' x 4' retractable ironing board (there's a picture somewhere here on the forum) that's large enough to iron a king sized pillow case without having to move it around. But even still, when I wash comforters I start running out of space quickly!
Build in storage in any nook or cranny. Each room needs one (or two) spare comforters, 2-3 spare sheet sets, cleaning supplies, spare glasses, extra towels... you can have a central storage with your laundry, but I prefer mine to be in the same area as the rooms. It's nice to have a vacuum cleaner on each floor... if you have a place to put it!
One of the best pieces of advice I got was to "have something fun in each room." Now, this innkeeper actually was referring to "toys" that could be made use of by couples... like a feather boa, or a fan... (How do you clean a boa??) But I liked that advice a lot. If you want cookie cutter, go to a hotel. The best features of my B&B are the fun things we incorporated while we were renovating... rope lights under the baseboards going up the stairs in the third floor guest room, as well as the amazing mozaic tile in the shower of that room (necessitated by the many angled drywall!). The banjo in the corner of the Music Department guest room. This is not your house, or a box motel... have fun with it! Make it fun and unique and they'll blog about you when they get home!
Finally, if you can swing five guest rooms, do it! I have four and wish it were five. I know an innkeeper who has six but only rents four as it's too much work for just her and her daughter to do more. BUT... the rooms are there if she wants to rent them, and someday she'll be able to sell it more easily.
Again, welcome to the forum! I've been pretty busy and haven't been on much lately but feel free to email me if you have further questions... I'd love to know where you're located!
=)
Kk..
We stayed at a B&B recently and they had the laundry room on the 2nd floor where most of the guest rooms are located. Very smart!! (They have a guest room in a carriage house at the back and a second laundry room in the main house basement.) The laundry room didn't adjoin any guest rooms, just storage closets. No dragging stuff up & down the stairs.
Having something fun in each room is a great idea. Too much clutter is not a good thing though.
 
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