There are a lot of beautiful things about living in Bellville, Ohio, from the picturesque farms, tree-lined Main Street, to the old buildings. The Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast is right there on the top of my list of favorites.
Local residents Brad and Karen Smith are the owners of the B&B. They also own our local True Value Hardware Store on Main Street. A number of years ago, they had a dream of opening a bed & breakfast in Bellville.
Photos: Julie Coy, Pleasant Hill Photography
After a lot of sweat-equity, that dream became reality when they opened Wishmaker House B&B on Main Street.
The house was built in 1890 and the Smiths believe it was originally the home of two physicians. The imposing house was best known as Meyer’s Wishmaker House furniture store for years.
The Smiths looked at the old house approximately six times and decided they didn’t want to see the house empty. They started looking at the house for three or four weeks in 2010 and made the decision to go ahead with their dream of owning a bed & breakfast. They followed their instincts and had the house inspected thoroughly and made an offer that was accepted. They felt the layout was perfect for the planned B&B with its space and ample parking.
The beautiful old house has three stories and originally had eight bedrooms plus four fireplaces and oak hardwood floors. The house has more than 10,000 square feet, and the Smiths and their family painted all the walls twice!
The Smiths have added luxurious bathrooms for each bedroom and all rooms in the B&B include Internet access and a flat screen TV. During the renovation, the house went from one and a half baths to 10 bathrooms.
One bedroom with a bath is on the first floor and meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
One of the most spectacular rooms is the 1,200-square-foot third-floor Tree Top Suite that includes a kitchenette and luxurious bath. The windows in the suite provide beautiful views of downtown Bellville. The ceiling in the suite was raised and areas of beautiful old brick were exposed to complement the woodwork in the large room.
The Smiths originally planned to live in the house with five guest rooms. But their vision of a B&B took over. The house was in good condition and the Smiths got started on the long journey to their dream. They hired all local labor for the work and repurposed any materials they could, including old wormy chestnut and a cherry ceiling. Flooring was made from trees on the family farm and sidewalk slabs were used for the fireplaces.
Some of the wooden staircases and railings were in need of replacement pieces, including balusters. With the expert help of local craftsman Tim Whatman, replacement balusters, along with other pieces for the stairways, were crafted.
It’s impossible to detect which pieces are original and which were created by Whatman, who did all the woodwork in the massive old house. His work includes a half mile of crown molding!
Welcoming all guests to the B&B is a unique new front door made by local craftsman Ralph Mitchell and decorated by artist Joyce Fenton.
The custom iron work for outdoor railings and fencing around the patio area was done by local artisan Mike Morris.
Part of the attraction to the Wishmaker House is the addition of Wishmaker House Wines.
Their son-in-law Vic Swisher learned about winemaking and the legal aspects of acquiring a wine manufacturing license. They currently produce approximately 1,000 gallons of wine a year. They also serve wines from around the world and serve meals with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
The Wishmaker House was recently voted the Best B&B in Ohio by readers of Ohio Magazine. The Smiths won an economic excellence award for economic impact from our Richland County Development Group and have received excellent reviews on tripadvisor on-line.
Bellville is a community with a lot of pride and our local bank, First Knox, has a huge billboard as you enter Bellville congratulating the Smiths on the award as best B&B in Ohio!
If you come to Bellville, be sure to check in at the Wishmaker House on Main Street. You can’t miss the beautiful building!
Check the website for Wishmaker House.