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Follow the white pebble-lined walkway into the Little Purple House bed and breakfast and you've entered a private getaway full of folk art, Mexican tin mirrors, hand-ironed white linens, and Navajo caricatures.
The year-old B&B was formerly a one-car garage behind the home of Christine "Tina" Mather-Bothe in Perrysburg.
The creative do-it-yourselfer decided to convert the structure into a B&B to earn extra income. (At a rate of $75 per night, during a busy month Ms. Mather-Bothe says she can make about $600.) And Ms. Mather-Bothe's efforts are gaining national attention: Money magazine is scheduled to have coverage of the B&B at 220 West Indiana Ave. in its September issue.
With dark-rimmed glasses, salt-and-pepper hair, capri pants, and a breezy blouse, Ms. Mather-Bothe could easily be mistaken for a laid-back West Coaster. Step inside her purple bungalow-style home, a 1913 kit from Sears & Roebuck, and Ms. Mather-Bothe's appreciation for the American Southwest and folk art is apparent: Walls painted warm rust tones, yellows, and oranges contain shelves filled with dolls and books. Folk-art figures of pigs, chickens, snakes, and crows are thoughtfully placed throughout the home.
Ms. Mather-Bothe's passion for folk art is also evident in her primary business, Sante Fe Way, a 17-year-old retail boutique along Louisiana Avenue in downtown Perrysburg that sells clothing, art, furniture, and jewelry.
"I'm a house painter by trade, but my brother has an art gallery in Santa Fe [The Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery], which he opened in the 1970s, and at one time he sent me some art. I displayed it in [the former] Syd & Diane's restaurant and within a week, I sold it all," said Ms. Mather-Bothe, explaining what led to her retail business and her appreciation for folk art.
But it's her B&B project that has the new innkeeper bubbling with tales of guests and getting attention from Money magazine.A relative at the magazine showed off Ms. Mather-Bothe's scrapbook of the B&B renovation, which piqued the interest of Money editors in a story on ways people earn extra income. A reporter and photographer for the magazine visited Ms. Mather-Bothe in June for a story.
"It's a way to make extra money, but it's a place to just come and read and relax and get away from phone calls," Ms. Mather-Bothe said. "Sometimes, I never see the guests. We just communicate through stick 'em notes on the refrigerator."
Before designating the property as a B&B, she had to obtain a conditional-use permit from the city of Perrysburg. Now, the B&B is listed with the Toledo Visitors Bureau and on the Web site www.bedandbreakfast.com.
Although the B&B has a television (without cable), it has no telephone. Guests may take in the sights and smells of Ms. Mather-Bothe's lush, landscaped garden through the room's windows.
Reared in Princeton, N.J., and Perrysburg, Ms. Mather-Bothe is the divorced mother of three adult sons. She said a sluggish economy and stiffer retail competition led her to open the B&B.
"Another B&B right down the street, Syd and Diane Rogers' The Guest House, sends their overflow to me, so it works out well," says Ms. Mather-Bothe, who built a garage behind the B&B for her vehicle.
Guests entering the Little Purple House B&B step into the room on brick laid in a Mexican technique by Ms. Mather-Bothe. A white-and-gold antique bed sits in the middle of the room, with stark white hand-ironed linens. Decorative soaps, linens, towels, and Mexican blankets are housed in a distressed armoire. The celadon-colored walls are decorated with works of artists such as Craig Carey, Deborah Banyas, and Navajo artist Delbert Buck. Artworks carry pricetags and are for sale at her retail business.
Her home's exterior color, which later inspired the color of the B&B and her garage, was chosen by the former owner, who based it on Professor Plum from the Clue board game.
As Ms. Mather-Bothe walks outside her B&B as if taking all of it in for the first time, she says: "It is a magical place, isn't it?"
Contact Rhonda B. Sewell at: email@example.com