When people heard that I was planning on opening my bed and breakfast, , they thought it was hilarious. Ex-boyfriends would take me to B&Bs on romantic getaways, but I always wanted to get away from the weird, polyester linens and ruffles and doilies. And strangers.
Although to be fair, my place is more like staying at your family's weekend home on a goose farm — with a quirky aunt who lives in the barn loft and stocks the kitchen with scrumptious foods and local wine and then leaves you alone. Unless you need something.
When this site published all of , I read it, chuckling and nodding "yes!" all the way through.
I thought, I knew there were other people like me: Guests looking for a place that feels authentic, with handmade furniture, old carpets, real paintings on the walls, live plants, and shelves stocked with natural history books. And bedding that's cotton and linen, topped with quilts made by local women. Those are the kinds of things I grew up with vacationing in the Ozark Mountains.
When my family wanted to get away, we eschewed campgrounds and hotels in favor of the old, familiar log cabin my great grandfather had built. Antique books and games lined the shelves, and sturdy wicker chairs adorned with handmade quilts overlooked a valley from the back porch. The kitchen cabinets housed stacks of my grandmother's ancient china; the living room's braided rugs were just as old. There was this magical feeling of being home that all my friends would reminisce about years later when we were living in Chicago.
When my siblings and I became teenagers, my mom would drop us off for a weekend without a cell phone or car. I thought everybody grew up like that: with a place to go. As an adult, I wanted to recreate that experience.
Eleven years ago, I moved to Morrison, Missouri, 100 miles west of St. Louis, after selling my landscaping business in Chicago, where I lived for 30 years. It's more pastoral than the Ozarks here, mostly grazing cattle and rolling hills. I moved onto the farm my mom started and rehabbed her 1800s house, which took me about a year and a half. I opened it as a rental cottage four years ago.
Gosherd is a whole house rental, with three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a large outdoor deck, but it's different from what you would find on Airbnb because I keep the kitchen ready with a variety of breakfast foods. I also live on the same property. I'm available if guests need me, but I try to give them as much privacy as possible. Guests are welcome to buy any of the books or a painting off the wall if they want to. Everything is for sale. Plus, you're on a farm. It's quiet and peaceful.
I've noticed that my male guests in particular like the idea that they don't have to get up and get dressed to go to breakfast. I have enough blueberry muffins, bacon, eggs, English muffins, milk, orange juice, and local jam to last three mornings. The kitchen is completely stocked with dishes and cookware. It's fun because all of the drawers are full of my ancestors' cooking utensils. The kraut slicer is the one items people are most interested in.
My experimental B&B — this little homestead on a farm in mid-Missouri — has won two back-to-back international interior design awards from . I designed it myself. In the winter, while in Chicago, I did color consulting. Chicago is dreary in the winter. That's when I looked into Swedish colors. I fell in love with Swedish painter Carl Larsson's interiors. I modeled the kitchen after his kitchen.
At the traditional American B&B, at least from what I've experienced, you must be social. You're told what you can eat and when you can eat. If you're someone who loves to be taken care of and have a lot of attention, B&Bs are great for that. If you want to be alone and have your own adventure, there are places like mine. I just want people to relax and enjoy their temporary vacation home.