Mitch and I moved from Littleton, Colorado in late 2002, two years into the renovation work of the Halsey House. After many years in the construction industry as Paint and Wallcovering Contractors we looked forward to the challenge of restoring an historic home. For me, this is a return to my home state. Mitch’s childhood was spent in Connecticut, California and Colorado. For both of us, a love of the water, natural wooded countryside and a desire to live a more simple life made Trumansburg the perfect choice.
We did most of the work ourselves. The house was structurally sound but the kitchen was so tiny it wouldn’t even fit the refrigerator. We gutted and enlarged the kitchen in a complete renovation. People now drool over our kitchen, take pictures, and go home to begin their own remodeling job. We have been told it should appear in a magazine.
We built five and a half bathrooms, did all the custom tile work and set the fixtures for most baths. We hired an electrician to rewire the house and hard-wire smoke detectors and a plumber to rough-in the plumbing for the baths, kitchen and update the heating. We built a two story addition for our living quarters and for the birds. On the first floor is the aviary (18 x 20) and my sewing room, and the second story is our bedroom. We had a contractor do the shell of the building, then we installed radiant heat, insulation, drywall, siding, paint, floor finish, etc.
We have also done all the plaster repair, wallcovering installation and painting. We replaced windows where needed. We worked for two and a half years getting ready to open the B&B. The first 2 years we were still living in Colorado and flying out here every 4 to 6 weeks to work for a week to 10 days, then going back to earn more money to come and do more. The final 6 months we worked on the house full time. We drove six truckloads of furniture out from Colorado to furnish the house, all of it bought specifically for the B&B.
From the start we knew we were going to open the bed and breakfast, so every step of the way was with guests’ comfort in mind. We wanted every room to have its own en suite bathroom. There had to be warm and inviting common areas so when people traveled together they had a place to gather to talk or whatever without sitting in their bedroom. And these rooms had to be “their” spaces, not sharing it with Mitch and I. We have our own private quarters. The addition for the aviary was built so that guests would not have to hear or see or interact with the parrots if they didn’t want to. Of course it was also for the birds’ safety and comfort.
What we like most about running a bed and breakfast is certainly the people we meet. I think we are fortunate to get the nicest guests! As Mitch puts it, for years we ran a construction business where there was constant pressure of deadlines, uptight architects, general contractors, etc. Now we are dealing with people who are relaxed, happy and on vacation. And they are fascinating! Every one has a story. We become friends with many of our guests but we never forget that they are paying customers who deserve every bit of comfort and pleasure we can provide for their experience at the Halsey House.
KC & Mitch Clarke