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July and the Maintenance Adds Up

One of the things that owning a 116-year-old house requires is constant maintenance. The Simmons-Bond Inn Bed & Breakfast has gone through numerous owners and iterations over her long lifetime, with varying degrees of successful maintenance and repairs.

This summer is starting out heavy in that regard. A strong storm blew out one of the original leaded glass oval windows over the staircase landing, spraying glass and debris several stairs down. I didn’t even know this occurred. One of our regular guests called in the morning to inform us that he wasn’t eating breakfast, and that “one of your chandeliers fell upstairs.” Since I don’t have chandeliers in that part of the house, I went to investigate and found the window blown out. Since the Simmons-Bond Inn is listed on the National Historic Register, any repairs and improvements to the façade must be made in keeping with the original look and construction. A leaded and stained-glass artisan is now constructing the replacement window and should have it installed by the beginning of August.

Painting and wood maintenance are other tasks on which I am embarking. The front porch is surrounded by a low, spindle railing set between the Greek columns on three sides of the house. The porch faces south and gets very strong sunlight and heat throughout the day, causing paint to peel and deteriorate faster than usual. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be working on deck and railing painting, one section of the porch at a time. This may be challenging with guests coming and going through the front door; wish me luck.

One way to look at these two tasks is like your child needing new glasses (the upstairs window) and new summer clothes (the fresh paint job). Painting has never been a favorite job of mine. I procrastinate as much as possible, but I can’t put it off any longer. And of course, you must add in the lawn and garden maintenance, tree trimming, and inside projects as well. I’m now a master of toilet and sink replacements.

Owning a bed and breakfast such as the Simmons-Bond Inn is a constant labor of love, inside and out. And it goes far beyond beautiful, historic guest rooms and a fabulous breakfast. I still highly recommend it, even though I stress a bit now and then. Have fun with the great guests and meet the challenges of the house.

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