The Laurel Manor House Bed & Breakfast, Laurel, MD.

Best of Maryland: The Laurel Manor House Bed & Breakfast

04/24/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Lisa and Dave Everett purchased and restored the ca. 1889 Phelps House into Laurel’s only historic Bed and Breakfast, the Laurel Manor House. For their investment and impact in their historic community, Preservation Maryland will recognize the Everetts with a Community Choice Award at the Best of Maryland Awards in May.

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SUBMITTED BY City of Laurel Department of Economic and Community Development

In 1888, Edward Phelps, a young successful businessman built his home on the outskirts of downtown Laurel at 1110 Montgomery Street. In their home now known as the Phelps House, Mr. Phelps and his wife Savilla raised their nine children. Mr. Phelps was elected mayor of Laurel in 1897, then reelected for an additional six terms. During his time as mayor, many changes happened in Laurel including the installation of electric lights, waterworks, an electric railroad between Laurel and Washington, DC, and the construction of the first public high school in Prince George’s County. Phelps House’s original grounds was more than six acres of land. Over the years the property was subdivided and now Laurel Manor House sits on just under 1 acre of original land.

Dave and Lisa Everett purchased the Phelps House in April 2011 with the plans to open the City of Laurel’s first bed and breakfast. The 1888 historic Victorian home is listed in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Places. The property is also within the City of Laurel’s Historic District as well as a local historic landmark, featured on the Laurel Historical Society’s Walking Tour of Historic Laurel and interactive online story map.

The Everett’s spent 7 years and over $200,000 completing a comprehensive rehabilitation and restoration on the historic home. Maintenance of the house and grounds had clearly been neglected for many years before the Everetts purchased the property. On the exterior, the soffit boards were repaired and the built-in gutters were restored. A new roof with copper flashing and architectural-grade 50-year shingles earned a roofing industry award for Certified Roofers.

Internally, the 70-year old knob-and-tube wiring and clay sewer line were replaced. Doors, hardware, and trim boards were carefully removed during rehab to ensure they were able to preserve as much of the original trim and hardware as possible. The original pine floors that were found under wall-to-wall carpeting (and layers of vinyl flooring in some of the rooms) were refinished. Paint was stripped off all of the original cast brass and cast iron door hinges and window hardware. Any unwanted materials, such as bathroom fixtures and cabinetry were donated to a non-profit reuse and salvage center. The couple also purchased salvaged building materials to the greatest extent practical.

Outside, several dead trees were removed and new trees and flowering perennials were planted. The property now includes dogwood, sycamore, crape myrtle, red bud, azaleas, peonies, mountain laurel, rhododendron, lilacs, and more. Old brick paths and crumbling concrete steps were also repaired and renewed into a patio area and curved steps leading to the home’s porch. Additionally, the Everetts made extensive repairs to the termite-infested carriage house which sits in the back corner of the property. This structure has been modified for various uses over the years; it currently houses horseless carriages.

The Phelps House is now the home of Laurel’s first and only bed and breakfast called Laurel Manor House Bed and Breakfast. Laurel Manor House has not only saved a historic home from deterioration, it also provides a unique, historic, and authentically Laurel experience for visitors to our town. In their first year as innkeepers, Dave and Lisa have hosted nearly 100 guests who traveled to Laurel from 16 different states, and one couple from Great Britain.

The City of Laurel’s Main Street just received designation in October 2018 from the Main Street Maryland Program, making it the first designated Main Street in Prince George’s County. As the City moves forward with Main Street revitalization, Laurel Manor House becomes an invaluable asset to the community to promote tourism to our  Main Street area and Historic District. The renovation project and subsequent successful bed and breakfast business has acted as a catalyst for additional investment in the historic properties of our Main Street downtown area.

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Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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