B&B nearing completion
Published 9:19 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A bed-and-breakfast on Bank Street that has been in the works for nearly four years is finally within sight of completion.
“I am so close to finished, and I didn’t think I ever would get here,” said Ruth Baker, owner of the six-columned home a block from North Main Street.
Baker bought the home at auction in September 2012 for $400,000. A native of Virginia, she moved to Suffolk from Bay Harbor, Maine, after winning the auction.
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Baker and her late husband had always talked about opening a bed-and-breakfast. But after he died suddenly, Baker, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, decided to fulfill their dream. She stumbled across the listing of the Bank Street home while looking at homes in Lynchburg, and it kept popping back up.
The home was built in 1909 by lumber magnate George Truitt. It went through a handful of other owners before landing in the hands of Janice and William Mahone Crumpler Jr. They left the home to their daughter, Viola “Billie” Annas. The home went to auction after she died in early 2012 of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and part of the proceeds of the home’s contents were donated to the ALS Association, which fights Lou Gehrig’s disease. Part of the proceeds of the auction of the home itself were donated to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.
Baker has always planned a bed-and-breakfast and special events venue for the home. But work has been slow going. She now anticipates being done before the end of the year, if everything works as planned.
The home has new plumbing, electrical and heating systems. The roof has been repaired in some places and replaced in others. Decor is stacked in rooms ready for the final coats of paint and other work to be completed.
“I wanted to stay true to what the original architecture was,” Baker said, noting she has tried to maintain the home’s historic feel as much as possible.
Once it’s done, the bed-and-breakfast will have five rooms available for rent, Baker said. One room has a door that leads to a sitting room, so there will be one suite available.
Baker said a lot of people in the community have thrown themselves behind the project.
“The right people dropped into my life at the very moments I needed them,” she said. “So many people have stepped forward to help me in ways that they’re able. The people that I needed the most fell into place.”
Baker said she feels like she was meant to take care of the home.
“I don’t believe in so much coincidence,” she said of the many things that have happened along the way. “I don’t think of it as my home. I feel like I’m the steward of this house.”
Baker believes the home will be perfect to host special events as well as to house overnight guests.
“The acoustics are amazing,” she said. “It’s such a happy home, and it’s so perfect for special events.”
Even with the bumps in the road, Baker said, she is happy to be able to see the end of the project in sight.
“I just feel so fortunate that I’m still standing,” she said “This experience has been amazing. This is a thing worth doing.”