Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas with the Gypsy Sisters

It would be hard to figure out anything the Gypsy Sisters --- siblings Roberta Chambers and Janet Peterie --- could have done to make it seem more like Christmas last weekend before opening their new bed and breakfast to those of us participating in the WayCo Arts Council's Christmas tour.

The house itself, two blocks west of the southwest corner of the Corydon square --- a lovely old Italianate that I'd say has presided over this part of town since the 1880s --- just looks like a Christmas card.

And frosting on that cake was provided by horses and a gleaming white carriage brought over from Promise City to offer those interested rides around town.

The sisters began work on the building, home for more than half a century to the late Ella and Elmer Grismore, early this year and opened is rooms to bed and breakfast guests during May. You knew you were in for something special as soon as you stepped inside the front door.

The entry was intensively decorated, of course, featuring among other things a soaring tree decorated in shimmering gold alongside the original walnut stair.

And this extravagant floral display.

But the architectural features are stunning here, too, including the keyhole stained glass window at the foot of the stairs that I've admired since I was a kid.

Beautiful etched glass panels in the front door.

And a ceiling fixture entirely in keeping with the area.

The front hall now opens into the living room through a broad arch. Chances are, when the house was built more than a century ago, there was more wall and a door of some sort here, but their removal many years ago has created a generous and gracious area in which to welcome guests and entertain. The fireplace has been remodeled, too, but that doesn't make it any less welcoming.

Another large arch, most likely once the location of doubled doors, allows the living room and dining room to flow together.

Note the gleaming wooden floors. These were covered by carpet when the sisters began work on the house.

Bed and breakfast guests gather around the dining room table beneath a glittering chandelier, set here for a meal and decorated with a crystal nativity set.

The dining room is the heart of the home and several other rooms open off of it --- there are more than a dozen rooms in this rambling old house.

To the north is a bedroom generally reserved for whoever is tending to guests but occasionally rented to a guest who would have trouble climbing to the second floor, a spa room where a related although independent business operates, the kitchen, a seating area beyond the kitchen to the west and a large sunroom.

Another focus of attention in the dining room was this huge tree, decorated in traditional holiday colors and hundreds of ornaments. There were more than 25 Christmas trees of various sizes scattered around the house and, the sisters said, between them there were sufficient decorations to add a few more.

Upstairs, there are three guest rooms with baths and a two-room suite with bath than can sleep a family. The guest room at the front of the house is the most traditionally decorated and it was here that we caught Frosty enjoying a bubble bath.

Two of the guest rooms have new bath areas incorporated into them, an interesting solution to privacy when there really isn't space to install separate rooms for the purpose. Santa was showering in one of these rooms.

If you'd like to keep track of what's going on at the Gypsy Sisters, there's Facebook page here that you can "Like." And you'll find contact information there, too, in case you'd like to stay a while.

1 comment:

Cindy Salsberry said...

Wonderful writeup! I am the owner of the Belgian horses and carriage-Salsberry Farms Belgian Hitch and we are located in Corydon. Our frond and trainer/teamster-Doug Fetters is from Promise City. We loved seeing the picture on your blot. Feel free to have a virtual ride with us on facebook at