Early riser wakes up for Annapolis B&B


Welcoming: A former Crofton couple find their ideal home also allows them to charge guests.

July 31, 2005|By Marie Gullard | Marie Gullard,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For 10 years, Jerry and Sandra Jenkins enjoyed the bustling maritime activity of downtown Annapolis from their rented first-floor apartment in a rambling house on Randall Street near the Naval Academy.

Empty-nesters back in the early 1990s, the couple had sold their large home in Crofton and headed for Annapolis. They quickly made friends and new lives for themselves.

When a two-story, 1879 Victorian-Italianate frame house across the street went on the market, the Jenkinses did not hesitate to buy it. Zoned as a bed and breakfast and operated as such by the previous owners, it seemed logical to Sandra Jenkins to continue the tradition.

"I never really wanted to run a B&B," she confessed, "but I knew I could do it. I'm a baker and an early riser."

The couple settled in September 2001, paying $635,000 for the nine-room, four-bathroom home of just under 3,000 square feet.

Randall House B&B

The sellers had renovated the property, installing new heating and air-conditioning systems. Formerly called "The Corner Cupboard," the bed and breakfast had a country theme. The Jenkinses changed the name to Randall House B&B and set about restoring it to its original Victorian roots.

The Jenkinses spent $75,000 to paint the outside of the house, the front parlor and dining room and to redo the kitchen.

The charming Victorian - with its flat roof and gingerbread trim on a wide front porch - faces east on Randall Street. A wooden porch swing and wrought-iron chairs invite visitors to relax and people watch.

Inside the half-paned front door is a long hallway with walls papered in white florets on a taupe background. A Schonbek crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, its glow reflected in a tall narrow mirror at the foot of the stairs.

In the parlor, walls of warm gold are accented by a white chair rail and 6-inch floor and ceiling molding. The parlor's furniture is a decidedly elegant mix from the Federal and Victorian periods.

Original Duncan Fife

An original Duncan Fife sofa, upholstered in cream tone-on-tone satin with solid cherry legs and rolled arms, sits under a gilt-framed mirror and an impressive 3 1/2 -by 2-foot wall tapestry. The black background of the tapestry accentuates brightly colored flowers and an exotic bird. "I love the contrast of dark and light," said Sandra Jenkins, of one of her favorite pieces.

An intricately carved hutch of burled walnut with a 1902 shipping date from Germany engraved on the inside is along another wall.

A second (and much larger) Schonbek crystal chandelier hangs from a plaster ceiling medallion in the center of the room. A carved and highly polished game table sits between the home's two front windows, which are topped by heavy damask valances.

The Jenkinses chose Nourison rugs to cover the original pine floor. The wool rugs are hand-hooked and feature a gold, green and dark-pink floral border, while the center motif showcases yellow starlike flowers against a navy background.

Clearly the heart of the B&B is the dining room, just west of the parlor. Here, three cherry tables are set with Mikasa china and fresh flowers in Waterford crystal vases. The white fireplace mantle as well as floor and ceiling molding provide contrast to the burgundy faux-leather finish of the walls.

Italian paintings illuminated with small frame lamps and a six-candle brass chandelier provide warmth and ambience.

"My life is in here," said Sandra Jenkins, walking from the dining room to the kitchen in the rear of the home. This is a private area, not open to her guests.

The kitchen has a Mediterranean theme with wooden cabinets painted gunmetal gray and sparsely stenciled in gold. Black granite counters meet back splashes of solid Italian porcelain. The walls have been heavily plastered and then washed with cream and gray colored tones.

Beyond the kitchen, a green marble bath and sitting room allows the couple comfort and privacy. Their bedroom and an office is in the basement, but Sandra Jenkins acknowledges that she's usually there only to sleep.

Three attractive guest suites, each with a bath, occupy the second story. All feature queen-sized beds, a sitting area and television set.

The front suite, papered in pink silk moirM-i, boasts old family portraits hanging from the molding. The center suite is distinguished by wallpaper with bright floral motifs against a dark background. An armoire of cherry houses a television.

The guestroom in the rear boasts a bed with a carved walnut headboard, white eyelet curtains over plantation blinds and tea-stained floral wallpaper.

Antique secretary

A cozy corner features an antique mahogany secretary from New England, its pull-down desk adorned with inlaid leather.

A back door in this suite opens to a rooftop deck. A string of lights hung from weeping willows and a magnolia provides a holiday atmosphere in the shadow of the Naval Academy's chapel dome.

Sandra Jenkins has no intention of giving up her B&B, in spite of friends and family wondering how she manages to do it.

With her engineer husband still working in Washington, she often relies on her nearby parents to help her out. And, she notes, the perks are many in a tourist town.

"I get to meet all kinds of people," she said. "The whole world comes through here."

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