Business at Wilmore’s Pleasantview House is growing so fast that the owners said have some dates are booked all the way through 2013.
It’s mostly due to word of mouth, according to owners and operators Ann and George Ezell.
The couple, who celebrated their 50th anniversary together this week, chose to retire in Wilmore in a house not far from Pleasantview Street.
Often they would go for walks together, and this is when they first saw the house that they lovingly described as in “some disrepair.”
But when they looked at the house, they saw more than overgrown foliage and a run-down building. They saw the promise of a “home,” which is what they strived to make the three-bedroom, fully furnished Gunnison-designed building.
George Ezell said the house was set at a “reasonable price” but big cost would come from the repair.
“I’ll say it cost about as much to renovate as it did to buy it,” George Ezell said. “But the repairs ... had an impact on the neighborhood, and I think the neighbors appreciate that.”
The Ezells said it took over a year, but they fixed the house together. They laid in a new cement driveway, cut down over growing bamboo (a battle that continues), put in new wiring, set up central air and re-floored most of the house. While George did a lot of the carpentry, it was his wife who did all the interior design and turned the house into a home.
“Originally, it was just going to be a guest house for our family to stay,” George Ezell said. “Then we thought about making it a rental but eventually we thought about making our money work for us and decided to rent it out on a short-term basis.”
The Ezells said they’ve hosted visitors from all over the country and even some from Canada.
“We had a family here from Alaska that stayed three weeks not long ago,” Ann Ezell said. “That really is the best part for me, meeting all these new and wonderful people.”
Though it’s not a bed and breakfast, the Ezells make it to be as much like a warm cozy home as possible with a fully equipped kitchen and washer and dryer.
“Guests will never come in to a dirty home,” Ann said. “I do all the sheets and towels, but I just don’t do any cooking.”
“We built it as if it was for our family and somewhere we’d want them to stay,” George Ezell said.
“Meeting new people and seeing them get together with their families is really the best part for me too.”
After a year, the business was taking off and saw near 180 guests with the peaks time being around Ichthus, graduation and when Asbury University or Asbury Seminary held a large conference.
But Pleasantview was almost shut down. With business soaring, George Ezell said he was surprised to find out his operation of the house was in violation of the city’s zoning ordinance.
“We were pretty sure we were doing everything we were supposed to do,” George Ezell said. “We got the papers and talked to the right people.”
Though they received a letter, the short-term rental house was never asked to close its doors. Instead, Jessamine County’s planning and zoning director, Chris Woodall, gave them a conditional-use permit while the an amendment to the ordinance was drafted. The Jessamine County-City of Wilmore Joint Planning Commission approved the ordinance’s revisions.
Then in May, the Wilmore City Council approved one of the last steps for the ordinance revisions that permits visitor-accommodation facilities in R-3 (high-density) residential zones.
“The whole thing really has been a pleasant experience for us,” George Ezell said. “Everyone’s been very nice in getting the amendment through, and we were not asked to stop business while we waited.”
The Ezells said they are proud of their investment and are happy to open up their “guest home” to anyone in the world who wants to visit.
For more information, visit www.pleasantviewhouse.com.