An Informal, Opinionated, and Brief History Of The Business Of Bed & Breakfasts

The 1980s

The 80’s saw the rise of Bed and Breakfast’s as home owners who enjoyed entertaining, decided to earn some extra cash by opening up their homes as B&B’s. Hallmarks of the owner’s quirks included staying in a room with pictures of the owners family on the wall – or worse – their dolls on the beds. While some did an excellent and professional job, a huge part of the charm was that it was run by amateurs and “not corporate.” Travelers sacrificed convenience for a unique experience.

The 1990s

As the rise in popularity of B&B’s continued, they became more organized – and corporate. “Homes” were built specifically to be B&B’s and they became more organized as income-generating businesses. In some cases, they were also seen as a tax shelter for upper middle class people who were looking for a write off for whom it didn’t matter if they were a viable business or not.

2000’s and beyond

Corporatization and technology came to B&B’s. Booking became more sophisticated – and online booking became an expected part of even a very “low key” B&B operation. Public ratings from Yelp, TripAdvisor and similar crowd source reviews became extremely important. Google search placement and Google Maps meant the difference between a successful business and failing. It became harder for small B&B’s to compete without having a strong online presence. All of these conveinances come at a high price for a small B&B. The advent of AirBnB.com added a new player to the field.

“Those little soaps that you saw… those are cookies!”

Portlandia: Bed and Breakfast – Inspection

Businesses that facilitate travel, and work as liaisons between hotels/B&B’s and their customers have also consolidated and become much larger

Expedia.com and  Booking.com – own many smaller online travel agents such as  Airbnb .com,  Trivago and Home Away. If a small business wants to compete, they need to work with these huge companies which take a hefty percentage of any room that is booked.

At the same time, savvy travelers also became more wary of “fake positive reviews,” photographs that looked “too professional” and obviously paid for advertisements by large companies to boost their web presence. The internet had transitioned from being a level playing field for all businesses to compete with equal access to an increasingly corporate environment with priority given to the paid advertising and those who could pay to optimize their website to be found by search engines.

Dungeness Barn House’s location on search pages had become buried. It was past time for an update. An update on every level and to make it a more streamlined process for our customers, and let us focus more on offering great experiences for our customers – like gourmet breakfasts. And tend our organic vegetable garden.

The website needed to not look like “Grandma’s B&B” and more modern, yet rustic to reflect what the Dungeness Barn House looked like now.

Clare researched different designers and options… Should we go DIY – “Do it yourself” That was quickly ruled out as a “Do it yourself – DON’T” or what Melissa likes to call a “DIYD.” Should we try and slowly update what we have just by swapping out old pictures for new ones? No. The format isn’t right… and it would have to be redone sooner or later. Sooner much rather than later.

Trina Packard of Packard Design Works was clearly the best fit – she understood that we wanted something clean, but warm – to reflect the “high touch” elements of the Barn House. Modern, but also honored the traditions we value. She and Clare did a deep dive into educating Clare about all of the elements that needed to go into the revamp. Clare’s brother Michael Monnin who is a competitive photographer and avid birder supplied many of the photographs. Terms that were initially unfamiliar but now roll easily off of Clare’s tongue: SEO (search engine optimization), OTA (online travel agent), VBRO (vacation rental by owner). She says: “Acronyms… It’s been painful…”

We also wanted the website to be a resource for both locals and visitors to the Olympic Peninsula. While the beauty of this location is breathtaking – many people are not aware of all of the hidden gems and options for inexpensive – and creative day trips.

Some transitions happen gracefully…

Trees turning color in the fall are a beautiful example of that…

Daisies are not…

But in the end…

totally worth it.
Just make sure that you have plenty of chips, candy AND the right designer!

Cultivating Land, Body & Soul

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” -Alfred Austin
“Sustainability” is a buzz-word these days usually applied to either environmental issues or to managing one’s time and work/life balance so that “it’s sustainable” (when it usually isn’t).
What creates true sustainability?
Supportive communities and individuals who contribute to those communities. As much as it is appealing to follow the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” model, and “do everything yourself,” that’s the path to burnout – and is a fallacy. To realize the dream of being independent entrepreneurs with our own bed and breakfast, took the cooperation and support of many people who have become a part of our tribe.

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade. -Rudyard Kipling

One member of our tribe is Israel – who maintains the gardens and helps with all aspects of the grounds. He brings a wealth of information about the plantings of the property from having worked for the previous owners for the past 20 years. Israel is a legal immigrant who started at 16 years old, knocking on doors in the area and offering to work on people’s yards. From that humble beginning, he now runs a successful business and employs three people. His former instructor for English classes is also a long-term client.
Our gardens are a major feature of Dungeness Barn House – in addition to vegetable plantings, we maintain an ornamental garden with roses inherited from the former owners who transplanted the roses from their parent’s garden. Israel’s favorite feature of the garden is those roses – whose fragrance permeates the air. These traditional plantings are integrated with more modern gardening concepts – including vegetable plantings as ornamental beds.

“Garden as though you will live forever.”-William Kent

Being a part of a community is a long-term commitment – and requires an investment of time and energy over a span of years. Gardening is an art form that evolves over time – and encompasses a wide range of variables from seasonal changes to the maturity of individual plants. The metaphors between communities and gardens are interconnected.

There is a bond that happens between the property and the people who put their love, blood, sweat and tears into it. The land binds us together across generations of owners and caretakers who collaborate to create a beautiful and functional garden. We are joined by a common love of the land. A thriving garden is a reflection of the community and our mutual understanding and respect. In caring for our garden, we also care for ourselves.

“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” -Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Can Do with Su – Raised Garden Bed Instructions

Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with purple cabbage

Su is the mastermind behind all of the building projects at Dungeness Barn House. She applies her talents and skills from working at Habitat for Humanity and her own construction business to create original designs.
When asked “What do you like about building?” Su’s philosophy of designing and building is to create something out of someone’s idea but that they didn’t know how to make – and “…make it happen. It makes me happy to see them happy with the final result.”

Which is a good thing because Clare is always thinking up new challenges for Su!

Clare wanted raised beds to be designed so that she could “… still garden at 80.” Waist high, and made of materials that will weather well over time, with a deep base to allow for the roots to grow. Bales of straw at the bottom provide organic matter that decomposes into a rich mulch and holds moisture. The beds are drip irrigated because as Su puts it: “I didn’t want want to spend all day watering the garden.” Whatever your age – making gardening easier and being able to easily access the plants (and weeds!) can make the difference between a garden that is maintained over time, versus one that gets neglected because it’s not “user friendly.”

 

Dungeness Barn House – raised bed with nasturtium

The raised beds are planted with a wide variety of vegetables – from potatoes to lettuces, spinach and heirloom-variety tomatoes. Guests are fed from the garden and from local farms from whatever is in season. The Dungeness Barn House chickens supply the eggs!

From the gardens of Dungeness Barn House

Late summer and early fall is the height of the growing season in the Dungeness. Hardy crops: potatoes, garlic, spinach and kales can be harvested even into the early winter months.

Peas and cucumbers are trellised from four corners of two of the larger beds.

Dungeness Barn House raised beds in early spring

Sequim is a cool-weather growing climate – and because the Dungeness Barn House is located on a high bluff waterfront, there are additional challenges of wind and salt air. The gardens are sheltered behind the buildings, where it’s warm enough for roses to bloom in a mild winter.

Dungeness Barn House – raised beds, sheltered

This design is flexible; make one, see how it goes and add on.

Happy gardening!

Dungeness Barn House Raised Bed

Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast at Two Crows Farm
Raised Garden Beds

So my beautiful and wonderful partner/wife, Clare, decided she wants to be able to garden when she’s 80…and figures since she won’t be able to get on her hands and knees any longer, (or most likely won’t be able to get up if she did get down there), she asked me to make these raised beds for her. Now, she can garden (and possibly with her walker later in life) standing upright and the boxes make it easy. So I’ve tried to put together what I did and some of the tips I found while making them for her. I love her creative energy. She’s always got something new for me to try and make.

Materials needed for one 3 x 5 box:

8 – pressure treated 2 x 4 x 8 (base structure)
2 – doug fir 1 x 2 x 8 (trim boards)
2 – corrugated metal (patina or rusty if you like) approx. 27” x 16’ long
2 – bales + 2 flakes (straw per box)
3” screws (make sure for use in pressure treated material or they will rust)
1” screws for metal corrugated roofing (small rubber washer attached)
6 p nails 1 1/2” long
Landscape fabric (under the boxes and over the straw)
1 yard (approx.) (Organic) Soil

Cuts:

4 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber
4 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber
8 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber
2 – 1 x 2 x 32 3/4” doug fir
2 – 1 x 2 x 55 1/4” doug fir
2 – 27” x 56 3/4” corrugated metal
2 – 27” x 31 1/4” corrugated metal

Installation:

Take 1 – 2 x 4 x 57” pressure treated lumber and attach to the inside end of 1 – 2 x 4 x 36” pressure treated lumber with the screws. This forms and “L” shape. You will repeat this step 3 more times. Once you have 4 “L” shapes you will connect 2 of them together to form a box ( [] ). Repeat with the remaining 2 “L” shapes. Now you have 2 boxes.

Take 2 – 2 x 4 x 21” pressure treated lumber and screw them together for the side corners (long side to long side of the lumber). Repeat 3 more times. You now have all the side corner pieces ready to install on the boxes.

Toe nail the side corners to the boxes with the 3” screws. (I placed the side corner cuts opposite of the way the cuts were for the boxes so it would be stronger and it helped for screwing on the metal later.) (I also found it was easiest to screw on one side at a time to the bottom all four corners and then flip the entire unit onto the top (which is now laying on the bottom) and then screw it into place.) (It forms a 3 D box). After all the corner sides are screwed on the box, it should be pretty sound and you are ready for the metal.

Install the long metal on the long sides first with the metal screws. Then attach the smaller sides with the metal screws. (again, I found it easiest to place the boxes on their sides so I wasn’t crawling inside to try and attach the metal to the lumber) (learned that the hard way, ha!) Once all sides are attached place the box upright and you are ready to install the trim.

Since the metal sticks out a bit and can be very sharp, I used the 1 x 2 to hold it in place and protect the edge. Using clamps to hold the 1 x 2 and the metal close to the 2 x 4, nail the 1 x 2 to the 2 x 4 holding the metal in-between. (I used my pneumatic nailer for this, you could also use screws if you don’t have a nailer, although you might need to pre-drill so the wood doesn’t split) Either way, once this step is completed all the way around the top of the box you are ready to install the straw.

Take landscape fabric and place where you are going to be putting your boxes. I use 20 p nails 4” long and fender washers to hold down my fabric as we have a lot of rocks and harder soils. Once that is down and you’ve placed your box where you want it take 2 bales of straw and place side by side inside the box. You will find that there is a gap at the end or they look short and they are, that’s where the 2 flakes of another bale will fill in. Then cut some of the landscape fabric to cover the top of the straw to prevent it from sprouting up into your box. You’re now ready for soil.

It will take not quite a yard of soil per box giving you about 8” – 10” of planting depth. As the straw decomposes, you can fill the space with more soil, compost, manure etc. Thus, reviving the soil each year. You are now ready to plant.

Have fun and enjoy!

-Su

On a separate note, I installed a drip watering system on a timer so I’m not spending hours (although I’d like to sometimes) watering the garden. So far, it’s worked out great.

Any questions you can reach me on my cell at 360-821-9294 or leave a message. I’ll get back to you.

Happy Gardening!

F*** it paint it white…with a kiss of pink!

Clare had decided that she wanted to paint her office a perfect barely there, seashell pink.
“Growing up, I have always been against pink and I hated wearing it as a little girl. But I wanted to do something different and fresh. So I decided to take a chance on pink, and this would be a very subtle version of it. Not the bubble gum color of my childhood.”
She showed me a beautiful picture from a paint catalogue of that featured the perfect barely there, seashell pink.
Then we went into her office, and she pointed at wall covered with sploches of colors that varied from a pinkish mud to pink puce. Pink puce is a color that I never want to see again.
“There! THERE!!! Look at it! That’s the exact color from the picture in the paint catalogue!”
It was the pink puce patch. And it looked horrible. It was surrounded by it’s variations like an evil mold that had spawned and mutated on Clare’s wall.
Trying to be optimistic, there was a slight silver lining in that we both agreed that the charcoal color on the trim was perfect. At least that was nailed down.
Clare: “It’s ridiculous! I’m so mad! You think it’s going to take 4 hours and then 4 days later, you are still working on it. I decided to try and experiment and make my own shade that the paint store could then color match, but it’s not working at all!”
We compared the catalogue picture to the puce patch – and no… not a match at all.
Clare: “I WANT ANSWERS!!!”
So… trying to be helpful – I showed her the Shinola watches that had this beautiful shade of champagne pink that I had been admiring earlier that day. Like Clare, I had also fought against wearing or being associated with this color in any way as a child, yet now was strangely attracted to it. Maybe it was some sort of odd virus going around that we had both caught: “The Pink Virus.”
I wished her luck and went on my way for that day. Clare has excellent taste, she’ll figure it out.
The next day I returned and asked her how it was going… She sighed and said: “I decided, fuck it, paint it white.”
She had returned to paint store and had looked at colors that were more in champagne zone, and started to fall down the rabbit hole of multiple paint swatches, but then decided to “Stop the insanity. Fuck it, paint it white.”
The paint consultant had shared with her that the problem with pink is that if you want it to be a more muted pink, like a “dusty rose” then they add black to tone it down. Then if you add more white to the color, it becomes gray looking because of all of the black in it.
Clare: “Pink is now a “four letter word” in my vocabulary. I hate pink. Enough insanity!”
So Clare painted the walls with primer… and I didn’t want to tell her this but the primer had a slight PINK TONE!!!! Unfortunately, she noticed it and asked me if I could see it to and because I can’t lie about art-related things, I had to agree. She decided to carry on. Maybe the pinkish primer is the answer… and maybe we just both have “Pink Eye” from the virus.
To cheer her up, I decided to read her an article from “The Bloggess” called “That’s how you pick your battles.” Ironically the website of The Bloggess featured prominently Clare’s perfect shade of pink… http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/21/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/
This seemed like an especially cruel twist of fate for Clare and pushed her over the edge: “Now where ever I look, I see pink… I’ll show you about pink, you know nothing about Pink – John Snow!!!! I want answers!”
The next day, she texted me to say that she had found the perfect way to get that kiss of pink… She had made her own white glaze with a kiss of pink and applied it with a rag roller over the white wall.
I told her that the blog would now have to be a novel.
Clare: “I’m very pleased NOW. I am inspired to get it done and all together. The dark gray trim will be stunning. Furniture will be functional, rustic, charming and with the yin and yang that I am always talking about. Contrast, layers, texture and light.”
Clare just rocks home decorating.
Fuck it, paint it white…. with a kiss of pink.

Dungeness Barn House Hash

01_Dungeness Barn House Hash

DUNGENESS BARN HOUSE “HASH” RECIPE
The signature breakfast dish served at the Dungeness Barnhouse – use this recipe as a guideline and have fun with varying the ingredients depending upon what’s fresh and seasonal. Serves 4.

Seasonal Starch base:
Fall and winter about 4 cups chopped 
• butternut squash
• yams
• purple potatoes

Summer and spring about 4 cups chopped
• heirloom potatoes grown at the Barnhouse
• yukon gold
• red potatoes

Veggie Layer: 
4 cups chopped
• sprouted broccoli
• zucchini
• red bell pepper
• onion
• 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
• One 15.25oz./432g. can of black beans

Seasoning: 
• Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
• Ground fennel seed

Flavored Olive oil: 
• mushroom & sage (starch layer)
• lemon or lime (veggie layer & greens)

Greens: 
• spinach 6 cups or 2 bunches
• 1-2 cloves garlic using garlic press

Protein: 
• 4 Eggs

Topping: 
• 1 cup sprouts

Carb & fat: 
• 4 slices Bavarian rye bread, cut in half on a diagonal (triangle shaped)
• earth balance butter – spread onto slices

 

There are no rules:

The Barnhouse Hash recipe varies depending upon the seasons and whatever is “fresh and pretty that day.” The recipe always feels fresh because of the rotation of ingredients, and it’s also simple and easy to make. Play with it and have fun!

Don’t be a slave to the ingredients list and swap out elements based on what’s handy for you.

This recipe can be adjusted for more or less depending on the number of people who are being served.

02 Dungeness Barn House Hash

Starch Base:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and if possible, use the convection setting

Dice up all of the “seasonal starch base” elements into bite size pieces – (or better yet, get Su to do it! Your evermost fabulous “Su Chef” to do the prep!).

Spread on cookie sheet with silpat.

Tip: these can be bought from Costco inexpensively – and also used for crafts (keep food spillpaths separate from craft ones).

 

 


03 Dungeness Barn House Hash Silpat

Drizzle flavored olive oil – Clare’s  “go to” is Wild Mushroom and Sage. Clare strongly believes in the benefit of using flavored olive oil to add depth and give food the “X” factor – its better but you don’t know why… this is why… muhahahahahahahah!

Note – there’s no seasoning aside from the olive oil in this layer. It provides a background note to the layered flavors, and to add seasoning, would make it overpower the other elements.

Roast until some edges are a little browned/blackened – but not all, because it means that it’s over cooked. Depending upon the quantity – about 30 minutes.


04 Dungeness Barn House Hash Flavored Oils

Veggie Layer:

Starch layer should go in the oven first, veggies about 10 minutes later

Chop up all of the veggies into bit-sized pieces, using a silpat, spread on a cookie sheet, drizzle with lemon or lime flavored olive oil. There’s no need to cook the onions and/or garlic separately… just mix everything together, raw.

We roast the starch and the veggie layers “separately but equally” because you don’t want the moisture in the veggies to sog up the starch layer which should be a little crispy.

Cook about 20 minutes – until the veggies are softened.

Keep an eye on things, don’t over cook veggies!

 


05 Dungeness Barn House Hash Montreal Steak Seasoning

Sprinkle generously with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning and ground fennel. Clare loves this seasoning because it contains what she calls the “Super Special Secret Ingredient” – fennel. Fennel by itself tastes like licorice, but used with other ingredients, helps to brighten and intensify the flavor, especially for ingredients that have a heavy or earthy tone to them – like broccoli. She uses the metaphor of how two restaurants can both serve spaghetti sauce, but one tastes so much better, yet it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why.

Clare also buys fennel seed, grinds it in a coffee grinder (which she then keeps on hand in a small jar) and adds on top of the seasoning.

 


06 Dungeness Barn House Hash Clare Fennel

Turn off oven and open door slightly

Sprinkle canned black beans (drain can) over the veggies to let them warm up

Leave both the starch and veggie layers in the over to stay warm while working on the next steps…

Spinach Layer:

Lightly sauté a bed of spinach, using flavored lemon or lime olive oil

Keep the stems on – so that the spinach can be a “nest” for a poached egg

While it’s sautéing – use a garlic press to add one clove of garlic

Egg Layer:

Poached or fried eggs.

 


07 Dungeness Barn House Hash Egg

 

Video Play

Assemble:

• Starch base
• Veggies
• Spinach (making a “nest” for the egg”)
• Top with sprouts – (on this I used Sunflower and arugula mix from Itsy Bitsy Greens.

On the side:
Bavarian rye bread made with sunflowers (Toasted)
Earth balance – “butter” made with an olive oil, organic

09 Dungeness Barn House Hash Rye Bread

Bask in the glory of beautiful breakfast that is the start of a beautiful day.

Receive many compliments on your excellent cooking skills. : )