A bed-and-breakfast is born
Sunday, July 11, 2004
By Kati Phillips
Staff writer: Daily Southern.com
Photo: BRYNNER VICTORIA
Yvonne Glasch is in a perpetual state of motion.
She’s an interior decorator, garden designer, gourmet cook, beautician, grandmother and avid cyclist.
Farmers market regulars in Tinley Park and Worth probably know her as the perennial dealer in the broad-brimmed straw hat.
Glasch’s latest endeavor with her husband, Jim, is to open Tinley Park’s first bed-and-breakfast in the historic Fulton home in the downtown area.
The white farmhouse on Oak Park Avenue was built in 1859 by northern Irish immigrants John and Jane Fulton and was later home to their grandson, Bert Fulton, a village trustee and longtime school board member at what became Community Consolidated District 146.
An awning still bears the name of a former tenant, New Life holistic ministry, though by this winter a headboard-shaped sign will introduce guests to the Fulton House Bed & Breakfast.
From the moment Yvonne Glasch saw the original wood staircase in the foyer, she knew she had found her dream farmhouse, one she would paint yellow with slate blue trim.
“In my mind, I knew we couldn’t just live here. It had to be a business. It had to be a bed-and-breakfast,” she said.
The Glasches bought the house in September 2001 for $200,000 and lived in a condominium down the street for two years while stripping wood and knocking out plaster.
A recipient of the village’s historical restoration award in 1983, the house had deteriorated. The kitchen, floors, drywall needed to be repaired. the couple are also building a wrap-around porch addition.
“I think what they’re doing is very nice. They are fixing it up. It isn’t being torn down,” said Fern Mager, who was born in the house to Bert and Kathryn Fulton in 1918.
Yvonne Glasch is capturing the house’s transformation in an autobiographical tale she’s writing entitled, “The B&B To-Be and the Tales of One Crazy Lady.” She describes it as a comedy geared toward women entrepreneurs.
“It’s a perfect movie to star Bette Midler,” she said.
The bed-and-breakfast will have three guest bedrooms named for her granddaughters, two with two-person whirlpool tubs and one with an antique soaking tub. The furnishings will be a mix of old and new, and each room will be fit for a different sort of guest — family, gentleman or newlyweds.
“From a historical perspective, I think it’s great the home is being restored and adapted to new uses,” said village treasurer and historian Brad Bettenhausen.
Glasch will serve breakfast and afternoon wine or tea. She envisions weekend packages with garden design classes taught by herself and her sister, horticulture writer Nina Koziol.
They ran Sisters Perennial Ltd., a garden design company, but gave it up after the Glasches bought the tattered farmhouse and Koziol’s writing career blossomed.
“I was pretty surprised, actually pretty astounded,” when her sister told her about the house, Koziol said. “She has a real eye for taking something that’s in a real rundown state and making it something spectacular.”
A good example is the gardens at the house. Debris filled the yard before Glasch transplanted more than 150 plants from her former home in Worth.
The view of the gardens and trellises (built by Jim) from the second floor will be the highlight of the B&B, Koziol said.
Village officials are touting the Fulton House as an alternative to Tinley Park’s seven hotels and have approved a facade improvement grant for the house.
The Glasches plan to advertise the house on the Internet and through trade groups. They hope to draw guests coming to the village’s convention center, Tweeter Center, Gaelic Park, Joliet Speedway and regional bicycle trails and golf courses.
They can also count on “B&B people,” who seek out a bed-and-breakfast whenever they travel on business, said Sandy Timmerman, administrator of the Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association, a networking and marketing group for about 130 B&B operators.
“B&B people are people who’d rather stay in a bed-and-breakfast because of its homey atmosphere. Some feel safer, again, because it’s someone’s home,” she said. “It’s a different way to travel. Once you try it, you never go back.”