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The Blessings wanted a small addition on the back for a mudroom, but they had to make do without one because it would have altered the exterior. So the designers incorporated mudroom-type built-ins and coat hooks into one end of the family breakfast room instead. “We weren’t able to take it as far as we wanted, so the designers had to step up to the plate,” Andy said.
So did he.
Andy quickly discovered that he wasn’t just renovating his own home, he was serving 39 interior designers on a tight schedule. “When I’m the general contractor, they are the client,” he said. “I had to make the designers happy with their spaces.”
“You had me to please, too,” his wife added, with a smile.
The couple gave the designers a lot of leeway in the front of the house, where the B&B will operate out of the original grand rooms built for the Shepard family.
The Blessing family, on the other hand, will live brownstone-style, on three levels at the back of the house, their residence separated from the four B&B suites — “so guests don’t feel uncomfortable,” Andy said.
After the showcase ends June 9, the family will finally move into their new home. They’re looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving and other gatherings with Andy’s large extended family.
“We love to entertain,” Whitney said. “We’ve been without a place to do that for a couple of years.”
And they can’t wait to relax and recharge in their new owner’s suite, where every detail has been tailored just for them. “[Herrick] knows us so well, she knows which side of the bed we sleep on,” Whitney said. She’s looking forward to luxuriating in their master bathroom, which boasts a walk-in marble shower with recessed niches for shampoo and other bath products.
“We’ve never had a master suite with a walk-in closet,” Andy said. Having a personal retreat will give them “the kind of refreshing we need to get up in the morning and keep running our businesses and raising our family.”
The house is ready for its new chapter, too. “It had such an institutional feel,” said Andy, who was amazed at how many original architectural details survived the house’s many remodelings and incarnations.
When they started removing layers of “improvements,” they heard unfamiliar sounds, Whitney noted. “It sounded like the house was breathing. The house literally sighed.”
Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784