Couple will convert house to country inn Bed and breakfast to open in 1994 NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

September 30, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Beverly and Stephen Kerkam decided several years ago they wanted to run a bed and breakfast. They found the perfect place: a 19th-century brick home on McKinstry Mill Road nestled in a quaint community between two scenic, historic towns.

But it wasn't until they got approval from the county Board of Zoning Appeals last week that the Kerkams started to feel their ideas were finally taking shape.

"The main contingency was the zoning," said Mr. Kerkam, a systems engineer with Bell Atlantic Services. "The purchase of the house was even contingent on us getting approval for the bed and breakfast, but it looks like we're on our way now."

With the first step taken, the Kerkams must sell their Westminster rancher and move into the five-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath Linwood home they plan to renovate in time for a spring 1994 opening.

Another bedroom and four more bathrooms must be added to accommodate guests, the Kerkams and their 10-year-old daughter, Nicki.

"One of the things we were really excited about this house was the significant number of rooms for us," said Mr. Kerkam. "We want the guests to feel at home and comfortable, but still have some privacy for ourselves."

Although the Kerkams want to maintain a life of their own, it was evident from the lilt in Mrs. Kerkam's voice and the smile on her face that operating a bed and breakfast was going to be more than a business venture.

This was going to be home.

"And there's our living room," said Mrs. Kerkam, a part-time vocational evaluator for the county school system, pointing at a photo of a room inside the Linwood home she and her husband will convert into a bed and breakfast. "That's their [the current owner's] furniture, but that's the way we'd like to decorate it."

Their current home's guest room -- called the Grandmother Room because it is filled with items once owned by the couple's ancestors -- is an example of how the bed and breakfast will be designed, Mr. Kerkam said.

In their excitement to describe the plans, the Kerkams speak quickly and complete one another's sentences.

Mr. Kerkam explains that "each room will have its own character . . ."

". . . like a theme of sorts that will carry through the room," Mrs. Kerkam finishes.

"We'd like people to remember their stay by which room they stayed in," Mr. Kerkam said, walking around a four-poster bed complete with wooden steps to reach the high mattress.

The room has an antique wash table with basin, water vase and mirror, as well as a chamber pot housed in a hollow-seated wooden chest.

"Like this one is the Grandmother Room, there could be a Victorian Room, and Oak Room, etc.," Mr. Kerkam said.

Aside from unusual accommodations, the Kerkams will offer country hospitality to their guests, "people who want to enjoy the country and get away from the hustle-bustle of city life for a while."

The family -- with the exception of a part-time cleaning person -- will run everything, so guests may feel as if they were just visiting friends. Families with children may stay in a two-room suite.

And a full breakfast, the only meal served in-house, will be prepared by Mrs. Kerkam.

"This is also a great business to be in to make new friends," Mr. Kerkam said. "Some of our fondest memories are of people we met in B&Bs, and we want others to have the chance to do the same thing."

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