Allyson Pate never planned on owning a bed-and-breakfast, much less one that was also one of Hood River’s historic homes.
In fact, little more than a year and a half ago, she and her husband, James, were planning their move from California — to Bend.
James spends three days a week in Portland for work, and the couple figured Bend was the place for them. After a weekend trip there spent scouting for property, they drove back through Hood River ... and the rest is history.
“We took that fork where you can go left (to Portland) or right,” Allyson says, laughing at the whims of fate. They stopped for lunch in Hood River and fell in love with the town. Their purchase of Lakecliff Bed and Breakfast on Westcliff Drive also came about auspiciously. During another scouting mission, Allyson saw the for sale sign at the estate’s entrance. They drove up to the empty house, peered in the windows, gasped at the property’s river view and knew they’d found their home.
“It was one of those things that was meant to be,” Allyson says.
Lakecliff was built on the bluff overlooking the Columbia River in 1908. The house was designed by Albert Doyle, who also designed Multnomah Falls Lodge, and built by a member of the Kreig family, which founded Kreig Millwork.
The home had been turned into a bed-and-breakfast in the early 1980s and had remained one until the late 1990s when it was put on the market. By the time the Pates came along, the house had sat empty for a couple of years.
The negotiations for the house — which involved a protracted sale of the Pates’ home in the San Francisco Bay area — dragged on for nearly a year. When last fall began speeding by and the deal still wasn’t done, Allyson paid a surreptitious visit to the deserted — but not yet hers — property for one express purpose: to plant hundreds of bulbs.
“I figured, what’s the worst that could happen?” Allyson says. “If we don’t get the house, they’ll have daffodils in the spring.”
The house finally became theirs last winter and the Pates moved in in February. They immediately went to work updating the house which, along with an office above the garage, totals 6,000 square feet of living space. They replaced all the old wiring — which meant most of the walls also had to be redone. They brought gas into the kitchen and to fireplaces in all four of the guest rooms. Dark ceiling beams in the living room were painted white, brightening the appearance of the great room which stretches the width of the home and looks out on the river and the Washington shore beyond.
Allyson also commissioned complete make-overs of the four second floor guest rooms. Along with new gas fireplaces, the rooms were stripped of ancient wallpaper and painted in bright colors. Each room is done in a garden theme and named accordingly: the daffodil room is bright yellow; the lilac room is lavender; the forget-me-not room is blue; and the garden room, which overlooks the estate’s grounds, is pale green. Remodeling also was done so that each room has a private bath.
Allyson says the flower themes and colors for the guest rooms evolved over time.
“I started out a year ago with little paint chips I’d carry around,” she says. “Piece by piece, it all came together.” Part of the fun, she says, was getting to know “so many fun people” in the process.