"From the moment we approached the stately Housley House,
it was like we were escaping to another time. Now I know an
escape is only a phone call away! I highly recommend The Housley House
with it's English Garden and charming hosts."
-Jen & Brad, NW Ohio
National Registry of Historical PlacesHousley, R.A., House (added 1996 - Building #96000932)
3 YEARS AGO this week I was driving through Grand Rapids, while working and seen that the house that Don has been inlove with for over 33 years was for sale. I then called him and said to him, "You will never believe what house is up for sale!" (You see, on Sundays to get a break from our kids we would come up and sit on the swing behind LaRoe's and just take in the peacefulness that Grand Rapids, Ohio offers. We felt home here and dreamed of a day when we would be blessed to be living here. When all we had to do was just go outside and see this place that was heaven to us. Then at the end of our break from the kids, before we would go home he would say, "lets go see my house!" And we'd drive around the house 2 times and the second time we would always have to get out of the car and peak over the fence and he'd say, "Can you imagine what it would be like to have that garden and house?"
Tid bit - he did this with his ex wife also! This was always his dream. He's been to every applebutter festival. It's the highlight of his year! I hide during applebutter fest. I'm not a crowd person. I like peacefulness and mountains and water and trees.... he loves NOISE!) so back to the story....
When I told him what house was up for sale his exact words (not mine) were... "For Shits and Giggles", lets just go through it so I can see my dream house just once! So I called realitor up and set up a time to view that big beautiful house and we arrived to tour what was Larry Dillin's house of Levis Commons. We got as far as the dining room and Don stopped and just stood looking out the window and I asked him what he was doing and he replied, "I'm making a mental picture - I want to remember this view forever". Wow! We had no idea God's plan for us! No idea. I have always known that I was created to be a servant. I LOVE to serve people, to take care of their desires, details and needs. I ache inside to give to someone in need and/or the hurt. Don's passion is this house. After meeting us and asking questions about my life , the agent went back to Larry and told him about my experience with living in Lake Tahoe area and running a 15 bedroom bed and breakfast and all our dreams of what this house needed to be used for and Larry asked to meet us. We met. Larry saw my passion for giving back to the needy and those feelings of wanting to be a part of an old 1883 historical home by starting a B&B there and letting others hear about it's history and making it so that they could experience all we have to offer. And now it's The Housley House Bed and Breakfast, named after Richard A. Housley who built it for his second wife and step-daughter. So the moral of this story is - when you have a passion and you try to forget it and not let the flame build inside of you - sometimes God doesn't let it blow out! Sometimes He lets it stay hidden until you turn the corner and He ignites the flame of passion within you with a great big phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and all at once the vision is clear and you have a WOW moment where you know that it didn't happen because of you. It was all HIM doing it because it was far better than you could ever have dreamed!
To further this story just a tad...... and sometimes, you know that you are where you are suppose to be , because He shows you that too. I have had a brass candleobra for years. Since I was in my early 20s. And that candleobra was given to me by a friend, it was enjoyed all through a previous marriage, it was taken on a road trip to a new life ... , it should have been stolen when everything else I owned was. I then gave it to a dear friend who I thought could enjoy it more than I because I was a single mom, having alot of trials and learning lessons, and then a week before we moved into Don's dream house, she gave it back to me and said now you enjoy it. You have the beautiful home now and the man who adores you. So it came full circle back to me. But the store doesn't end. Larry Dillin called me and said he left us somethings that he couldn't use anymore that we might want for our B&B and we were so excited. And we arrived to see the things. Some had been gone through by other hands that shouldn't have. but that is ok... life isn't about "things" to me. It is about connection, relationships and love and taking care of others. As we walked into the dining room, sitting on the floor in the center was a matching brass candleobra! Same company. Same everything. And the best part. Larry's never seen or been told about mine! Now..... with all my heart I know I am where I'm suppose to be, loving a home that I'm suppose to be in and being around a beautiful town of people that I adore! God gets you where he wants you to be! That candleobra tells me that :)
The Gift of Life and Love
Don & Audrey Entenman Style
The Housley House & English Garden was built in 1883 by R.A. Housley, who was the first president of the Grand Rapids Banking Company. He built the home that is now listed on the National Registry for his second wife who was a southern belle from Savannah. It is of Italianate design that was very popular during the Victorian period.
After years of wear and tear with owners such as Fred Boulton and Richard Dyke, Don and Audrey Entenman felt the house had significant architectural value and should be restored and have life put back into it, just as they had with 9 other locations in Grand Rapids. So in 1987 Don and Audrey purchased the home and started restoration. The wallpaper of the 1800 era came from Europe. Special pieces and antiques were purchased by Don and Audrey while they traveled. The marble fireplace and mirror that accents it are the original pieces. After considerable research and a hunt for every piece, every fixture and giving loving a touch, in 1990 the beautiful home was finished and the life and spirit were returned to the structure.
In the backyard a Victorian garden, accented with brick paths and a sitting area, was created by the Entenmans. A collection of cast iron urns overflowing with flowers and vines, cast iron tables and benches and a variety of flowering shrubs and annuals are easy on the eyes. The centerpiece of the Victorian garden is the cast iron three-tiered fountain found while the Entenmans were on vacation. The Entenmans touched many lives in the Grand Rapids area and were truly visionary.
After spending years of love and enjoyment in the Housley House, Don and Audrey decided to simplify. They sold the home to Mr. Larry Dillin, CEO of Dillin Development. It was Mr. Dillin who believed in Teresa Marie and Don's vision of the Housley House becoming a Bed and Breakfast so everyone could see the effort and love that the Entenmans put into it.
Larry Dillin shared the same passion for the house as Don and Teresa Marie. Together they made The Housley House Bed and Breakfast, that overlooks the scenic Maumee River and Front Street of historical Grand Rapids Ohio a reality.