Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

The B&B Team
Idyllic Inn Setting

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A Before and After B&B Story


a before and after B&B story

A Before and After B&B Story

“Trends come and go, but in the hospitality industry, understand how much your interior design components can affect your guests’ experiences.” Courtney Martin iQ design.

Hotels have been changing their décor styles over the past number of years to become more guest user friendly. As an example, making the transition from cookie cutter guest rooms to a more natural and home-like feel. They are also transforming the interior design in their lobbies to make them more comfortable and welcoming. Phrases like ‘social hub’ and ‘gathering place’ are used to describe this transformational trend. From budget to luxury, hoteliers see it as the future.

The small lodging industry, B&Bs, country inns and boutique hotels have been offering comfort and a home-like feel in public rooms and guest rooms for decades. But are B&Bs updating their ‘interior design components’ to keep up with the changing trends? Do they see the future?

Some B&Bs have been resistant to address the ‘grandma’s attic’ cliché that some travelers still connect to B&Bs.

The ‘grandma’s attic story’ is a story that needs to be changed.

The B&B Team recently sold an inn that was steeped in that cliché. The new owner has transformed this property into an inn that reflects her style, while keeping the distinctive historic integrity of the Inn. A property that tells a unique and engaging story with design as well as offering an experience that is genuine and personal.

Yes, you can keep historic integrity and be hip at the same time!

A before and after B&B story…

a before and after B&B story

Before-Waldo Emerson Inn Parlor


A before and after B&B story

After-Waldo Emerson Inn Parlor


A before and after B&B story

Before-Waldo Emerson Inn Guest Room


a before and after B&B story

After-Waldo Emerson Inn Guest Room (yes it is the same room!)

Besides the change in décor and her extensive (and much needed) decluttering, the innkeeper has updated her marketing, including professional photography by Christian Giannelli Photography plus website design by White Stone Marketing. As a result, her guests have become updated as well. The Waldo Emerson Inn stands out. Her story targets travel shoppers that want to find a property that can provide them with a unique and authentic experience in the Historic District of Kennebunk. And it delivers!

From recent reviews:

“The Inn has been refurbished with modern amenities yet the décor remains consistent with period pieces that maintain its 18th century charm.”

“This historic house has a unique story to tell. It has a legacy, famous past owner’s and spirits!”

Thank you, Hana, for providing these compelling before and after photos. Plus, showing us what can be accomplished when light, life and love are brought back to a well deserved historic Inn.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf


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8 Responses to “A Before and After B&B Story”

  1. Yes, needed some upgrades, but now it looks like an AirBnB with Wayfair/Overstock furniture. Just sayin’.

    • Rick Wolf says:

      Thanks for your comments……..guess that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and clearly the guests love the juxtaposition of the classic New England building with a more ‘today’ feel than the Grandma’s attic business that it was. Super new website, services and amenities have really grown the business.


      • Mike DiNello says:

        Hi Dave and Rick, it is a challenging task to decorate a 165 year old historic Inn to appeal to ages from 20-94 (our oldest guest thus far) We have found that the “most important” goal is to declutter while not making it into a sterile environment as guests and visitors from around the world WANT to experience “historic”. Eye catching items, historic pieces, colorful accents, bright rooms and common areas and many décor changes through the seasons for those guests who return for multiple stays, this is what seems to create great comments and reviews. Most importantly it so much easier to CLEAN and keep things DUST FREE which so many guests appreciate. In Dave’s defense, budgetary restrictions can prevent the purchasing of expensive furniture and miscellaneous pieces, AND guests DO see through cheap items in places to just take up space. It’s a fine line albiet a very important one. It is great to see multiple ideas on this topic. INN ON, Michael Anthony

        • Janet Wolf says:

          Thanks for the comments Mike. I agree with everything you have said. As far as furniture goes…I believe that purchasing ‘middle of the road’ furniture is OK. Since Inn furniture gets a lot of use,replacing with comfortable yet not too expensive furniture, when it is needed, is a good plan. BEFORE frayed, worn and sinking cushions happen! I know this sounds like common sense but we see this way to often.

  2. Dawn Brackrog says:

    Having stayed at tbe Waldo Emerson before it was purchased by the new owner I will say it looks a thousand timex better now. We stayed in the green room, it had enough stuff in there i felt like we were visiting grandma and was afraid to touch anything. I like a streamlined room without much stuff, it’s easier to see how clean it is.

    • Janet Wolf says:

      Thank you for your comment Dawn. I hope you get a chance to stay at the ‘new and improved’ Waldo Emerson and partake in Hana’s hospitality and great breakfasts.

  3. Christopher Boettcher says:

    We are aspiring innkeepers and I loved this article. As we have been staying at some potential competitors we have noted the grandma’s feel and some even have great-grandma going on! I love the use of the house and some pieces as “history and feel” but the declutter Mike mentioned is the biggest improvement. I like the cantaloupe rule for decor – no “chatkeys” smaller than a melon. That and the removal of wall-to-wall carpet, a haven for dust and allergens, plus I love the real old wood floors, etc.. This cleaner look is definitely the trend of upcoming generations of guests and I commend the B&B team for addressing it.

    INN TBD 🙂
    Christopher & Deanna

    • Rick Wolf says:

      Thanks Chris & Deanna! Appreciate your comments and look forward to the day when you two are newly ‘minted’ Innkeepers.

      All the best,


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