A 2nd floor is transformed into a downtown weekend getaway

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

There are hotels in Washington. There are lovely bed-and-breakfast accommodations for those who like a more personalized stay. Now there’s a new experience available to overflow guests during the holidays or those in the mood for a weekend getaway in the historic charm of downtown Washington: Apartments on Main.

The plan for Apartments on Main is two furnished two-bedroom apartments, completely outfitted for an extended stay or a couple of nights. It’s a work in progress — so far, one apartment has been completed and will be available for rent through Airbnb starting the first of November.

It’s a labor of love for owner Felicia Huggin. Huggin owns Salon 208 on the ground floor of the building and has leased the space since 2001. She and husband Wayne decided to take the plunge last year and bought the circa-1900 building, flaws and all.

And there were plenty of flaws.

“It was in bad disarray. (Previous owners) had not done anything to for the past 25 years. … We were literally catching water in buckets on our second floor,” Huggin said. “When I say this building was in bad shape: this was the ugliest building on Main Street. They were talking about condemning it.”

The roof had leaked for many years; upstairs damage from a fire in the 1960s had never been repaired; stucco over exterior brick was falling off the building; and there were many other problems with the building. But Huggin loves downtown and she didn’t want to move her salon — and Wayne Huggin works in construction and knows renovation projects well.

Over the past year, the progress has been steady. The building got a new roof and work is being done to correct the settling of exterior brick wall. The couple gutted the second floor where they had to — floor joists rotted by the leaking rain, sheetrock that had seen its own share of damage — but saved what they could.

“We wanted to do it as historically correct as we could,” Huggin said.

Some of the features saved include interior plaster over brick walls, bead board ceilings and walls, crown moulding and glass-knobbed doors from another era. Unsalvageable were the floors.

“First, we had to level them out because it looked like a roller coaster in here,” Huggin laughed.

Hardwood replaced the uneven floors, and to make them fit with the historic feel, they were sanded down to give them an antique look.

DETAILS: Partially exposed brick walls and bead board ceilings are nods to the buildings original structure. The Huggins tried to keep as many original features as possible during renovation.

Apartments on Main also got all new systems.

“Wayne did the plumbing, the wiring — he did it all. It was a one man show,” Huggin said.

Meanwhile, Felicia Huggin was combing yard sales and other venues for furnishings that she could spruce up.

“Every piece of furniture I put in here, I literally got from yard sales — cleaned it up, painted it,” Huggins said.

In the open layout kitchen and living area and two bedrooms — one queen, one with two twin beds — the color schemes are coastal, with rich blues, grays and white, as is the art adorning the walls.

“I wanted it to have that real historic-cottage feel of comfy, but nostalgic,” Huggin said.

Initially, the Huggins didn’t quite know what they wanted to do with the upstairs of the building, other than fix it, but their own out-of-town stays prompted them to look into temporary lodgings for those visiting Washington.

“In the beginning, (we thought) ‘We’ll just put apartments upstairs,’ but then, when we travel we do a lot of Airbnbs, and there’s really nothing like that on Main Street,” she said. “I really thought there was a need.”

It also helped that Huggin had plenty of feedback about possible Airbnb apartments from her clientele, once they found out the salon owner had bought the building.

“The suggestion came up over and over again,” Huggin said. “After it came up 15 times, I thought, ‘Maybe we should just do that.’”

Right now, the rate is set at $150 per night, with a two-night minimum stay, but Huggin said that could change based on feedback from the Airbnb site.

What she really hopes to offer is the complete Washington package: “(They can) go out to eat, stroll the waterfront, just be downtown,” Huggin said. “I love the history and our downtown area.”

Apartments on Main will host an open house on Oct. 20 after 4 p.m., in which people are invited to drop by and see the first apartment.