B & B Style

Transforming a Historic Inn

By Meredith Ericksen of Tuscan Blue Design | Photography by Mary Kate McKenna Photography | Posted on 07.21.15 – Lifestyles

Pat and Kirk Horstman have always loved staying at bed-and-breakfasts, spending a weekend in a house with character and meeting interesting innkeepers and guests. After retiring from busy corporate jobs in eastern Pennsylvania—but not wanting to get bored—they hit on the idea of opening their own B&B, and quickly began searching the mid-Atlantic region for exactly the right property.

“We approached the hunt as a geographical puzzle,” says Kirk Horstman. “After all, everybody knows investing in real estate is all about location, location, location. We hoped to find an existing B&B that was both viable and available, so we planned vacation trips around central Maryland and the Eastern Shore. We saw a lot of gorgeous scenery and stayed at a number of beautiful inns over the course of a few years.”

During their travels, one of the places that impressed the Horstmans the most was Frederick. “I absolutely love Downtown Frederick,” says Pat Horstman. “Love the people, love the area.” Her husband agrees: “It was the first place I had ever been that actually lived up to the glossy brochures distributed by the tourism council. Downtown was bustling, and the shops and restaurants were great. We met lots of friendly folks.”

The couple was looking for a large B&B, not only with many bedrooms and baths, but also with space for guests to host parties and events. They found what they were looking for in Buckeystown. “We stumbled across the perfect inn on a lark, and I was almost instantly smitten,” says Kirk Horstman. “Not only was the 1897 Colonial Revival home an architectural wonder, but the setting was magnificent. Although it needed a lot of work, we knew this was the place for us.”

That was the beginning of The Frederick Inn. Before opening their doors to guests, however, the Horstmans realized that the B&B needed a top-to-bottom renovation. Kirk Horstman remembers his initial thoughts about interior design in fall of last year: “I just assumed we would spend a few weekends shopping at used furniture stores and flea markets, and then cobble together the rooms using a combination of old and new pieces. It took only one trip to the antique mall to realize that we could shop forever without finding items that suited our wants and needs, not to mention our budget.”

Pat Horstman had other ideas. She wanted the inn to be fresh and up to date, while still maintaining an authentic feel. She wanted new color schemes and textures. She wanted the rooms to be functional and to flow properly. She knew she needed professional guidance. “I had a vision for the inn,” she explains, “and I knew I did not have the skill set to accomplish what I wanted. I knew I needed expert professional help, and I was extremely lucky to find Tuscan Blue Design.”

Designing a Plan

Fast forward a few months. Tuscan Blue Design was easing the couple’s concerns by providing a complete design plan for the inn’s five guest suites, seven bathrooms and public spaces. We collaborated with the Horstmans on everything from the initial design concept to all interior selections, from working side-by side with the general contractor during months of construction to the installation of all furnishings, window treatments, art and accessories.

Our initial design concept grew out of many conversations with the Horstmans about their vision for the inn. Pat Horstman used words such as “comfy, welcoming and tidy” and was drawn to all the beautiful Victorian details in the historic home. In the end we decided on a fresh and modern approach for the spaces paired with the authentic Victorian interior architectural elements.

The Details

After settling on an overall design concept for the inn, we began where we begin every project—with detailed scale drawings and layouts. The design drawings helped the Horstmans move to the next step—how they were actually going to use spaces in the inn. The Frederick Inn has a center hall floor plan with four spacious parlors on the first floor and five guest suites on the second floor. We designed the layout for each space based on specific input from the couple—including truly comfortable chairs, ottomans to put your feet up on, nice-looking but sturdy fabrics and good lighting for reading.

With the finalized layouts in hand, we began selecting furnishing and fabrics for all the rooms. Working with an old home always proves to be a bit of a challenge. Every room has its own unique configuration and dimensions—including working around vintage radiators. The furniture needed to be precisely the size we specified on the plans. There was not much wiggle room.

The initial color palette set the tone for selecting fabrics for furnishings and window treatments. The budget and availability of the pieces were always on our mind as we worked our way through the design phase. It was an intensive process, but in the end Pat Horstman appreciated how we presented the information and made it easier to make decisions by narrowing down the choices.

Phasing In

Our plan divided the design-renovation of the inn’s interior into phases. During the winter, the building was a buzz of activity. First, we focused on the design of spaces that needed the most construction: renovating seven bathrooms and the main public rooms. The bathroom design proved to be a challenge—updating odd-shaped spaces with a clean and tidy look, while staying within the budget. We met the challenge, and in the end settled on a crisp, white color palette for the baths. We selected budget-friendly ceramic subway tiles, splurged a bit with frameless glass shower doors and added lovely vintage details with pedestal sinks, chrome faucets and lighting.

It was exciting to see the original interior architectural elements brought back to life: lovely millwork, large dentil molding in the foyer, tall baseboards and an impressive chestnut staircase.

While painters began removing layers of wallpaper and repairing old plaster, we were busy creating a color palette for the rest of the inn’s spaces: delicate blues, greens and grays, paired with a soft linen white for the trim. With the new color palette integrated into the spaces, Pat Horstman recalls the day she had an “ah-ha moment” regarding the design. “I clearly remember a day when all the rooms were painted, and we went to a design meeting. That was the moment I thought, ‘I get it and I love it.’ As all the elements came together, I thought back to our first design discussion, where I said I wanted a warm welcoming, comfy feel to the place, where the rooms flowed from one to another. That’s exactly what was achieved.”

As the renovation progressed, it was exciting to see the original interior architectural elements brought back to life: lovely millwork, large dentil molding in the foyer, tall baseboards and an impressive chestnut staircase. Warm pine floors glowed again after years of being hidden by carpeting. Magnificent original pocket doors in the parlors are back to working order and the vintage keys still lock them. Original sash windows now open and close with ease. It was a true delight to watch the transformation of this grand beauty into a comfortable, modern space that still retains its authentic charm.

Open House

“In the end, The Frederick Inn turned out to be a collaborative effort between Tuscan Blue Design and ourselves,” says Kirk Horstman. “We are very pleased with the results. We think our guests will agree.”

The Frederick Inn is just about ready to welcome guests, and the Horstmans are having an open house on July 25 to show off its newly polished splendor to their new neighbors throughout the region. “I am very excited as opening approaches. I feel very comfortable and happy to show this beautiful place to our guests,” Pat Horstman raves. “I look forward to having people come and enjoy this beautiful home and explore the entire community—from Downtown Frederick to beautiful, rural Buckeystown.”

Frederick Inn
3521 Buckeystown Pike

Tuscan Blue Design
147 W. Patrick St.