How to Bed and Breakfast: Rules of Optimization
This article should help you decide what kinds of renovation are necessary for an optimized B&B.
Let's assume that your rezoning is in the bag; its time to put pencil to paper and come up with some plans. Your municipality will need a set of diagrams which clearly state what your project entails. Do this yourself if at all possible; most municipalities are accepting of owner-supplied plans. Now, here are some basic rules to live by.
· Keep your Sanity Part 1
Remember that you're messing around with your home life here. Bed and breakfast operators must necessarily lose a part of the privacy that their home normally affords; the idea here is to keep this loss to a minimum. This business is no different than many others, in that there is a burnout rate too. I would recommend that a significant part of your home be kept out of the travel path of your guests. At the very least, you should have a bathroom and bedroom forming a privately-accessed pair, that is for you only. This is the minimum. You really should have a private office/sitting room where you can retreat to. That way you can do your banking, pay some bills, or just read a good book in privacy if you want to. Resist the temptation of converting your bedroom into a home office.
· Keep your Sanity Part 2
Any man will tell you that the shop is the most vital part of the home. Women know better. Of course its the kitchen, that all-important hub, from which all other uses radiate. It is often what makes or breaks a deal when its time to sell your home. There is an amazing variety of kitchen vs. home configurations out there, but some of them don't work so well for a bed and breakfast. Avoid using your kitchen as a guest travel path. When you're in bed for the night, the last thing you want is strangers fumbling through your dark kitchen on their way to the bathroom. It is not unheard of that these guests will stop on the way and prepare a little snack for themselves too. At the very least, you should keep them out just for the extra hazards that are in the kitchen. Your kitchen is required by the business, but only to make breakfast; you should strive to keep it that way.
· Keep your Sanity Part 3
Remember the imposition of curfews on your children? You did it because... well because you were the boss! This comfortable relationship will not work out betwwen you and your guests. Afer some late-night carousing, they will return to your house, and may well be courteous and quiet, but if your home’s private area is too close to their travel path, your sleep will suffer. That's not a good thing when you're supposed to be bright and chipper in the morning, serving coffee and dispensing pleasantries. So map the travel path of your guests, from the time they get out of the car until they hit the hay. Look for problem areas, where their use of your home could conflict with yours. If something looks wrong at this stage, it probably will cause grief later. These are the kinds of renovations that are worth every penny.
· Implementing the Rules
Now we need to start discussing the specific style of your home. Multi-storey homes have more options in terms of guest accommodation, but tend to be a little trickier to format for travel path. Bungalow and ranch-style single storey homes have the opposite problem; fewer privacy options for the host bet better travel path layouts, especially for entrance and egress. For both styles, we need to pay particular attention to the bathroom. I have some sample floorplan layouts that we'll discuss in the coming articles.
The next article in this series, How to Bed and Breakfast: Optimizing a Rancher will explore the details of optimization.