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Meet Elaine Britten-Bryant of Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens in North Denver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Britten-Bryant.

Elaine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In early 2016, My husband Joel and I saw hat the Lumber Baron Inn was for sale. Joel had admired the mansion all his life, and he wanted it. I did not~ specifically, I said “heck no. no way…” I had a job that I loved, freedom to travel and design jewelry and had time for my spiritual work of making crystal prescriptions in the form of jewelry. I wanted to support my husband’s desire to have his own business, but I didn’t want to give up the life I had. Ultimately, I reminded myself that the Universe had bigger ideas for us that we currently have in mind, so I wanted to remain open. We made an appointment with our realtor to see the home, and as I reluctantly entered the grounds, I asked for a sign. If this is meant for me – give me a sign. And I mean a clear one.

A few minutes into the tour and we rounded into the parlor. I noticed what appeared to be a secret door. In reality, a functioning door disguised as a bookshelf, covered in book-ends. I walked up to the trick-door and right there, at eye level (and I’m a tall woman), mixed in with popular series like Twilight and classics like Moby Dick, was a book that had been written by none other than….. my own father. A niche book written about estate law in the 1970s and on very few bookshelves anywhere, there it was. There could not be a stronger sign than seeing my father’s name embedded into the walls of this home. It changed the way I looked at it. My father’s opinion means so much to me that I often joke that if God himself had come down and told me to buy the house I would have said – okay, let me just check with my dad.

I’ve always known that my life’s work is about connection, specifically connection to people. I have done that through motherhood, friendships, family and my work for 13 years at a coffee shop (while raising my three sons solo through their teenage years.) Additionally, I’ve studied and felt deeply connected to healing crystals and stones from a young age. On the edge of this endeavor, I had no idea how perfectly woven my past had been to prepare me for the magical journey ahead. Joel’s path also aligned perfectly; an esteemed chef and passionate restaurateur who walked by and admired this historic mansion from his early years… It was all so synchronistic (as it has continued to be in growing and dynamic ways). We knew it was meant to be.

We set out to purchase the mansion with the intent of maintaining it as a bed and breakfast and restaurant, and we were elated to close on April 1, 2016.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We were up against many challenges: Creating a perfect business plan, finding the right loans etc, selling one of our homes, etc. Shortly after we closed on the house & business, our original plan of opening a restaurant inside these walls was unexpectedly thwarted through building and zoning concerns. We had to work diligently with the city to create a new plan that enabled us to run the business we wanted to, whilst also having a low noise impact on the residential areas around us. We switched gears by going more into themed dinners & events, adding more weddings, and of course, running a unique Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Over time we put together the perfect team of unique and talented people who were willing to take a chance with us and just jump in and figure it out as we go. My husband has a unique ability to forge forward with so much integrity. If he hits a block, he gets creative and finds a new way and another new way, then a different new way and so on. If he can’t climb it, he digs. If he can’t dig, he goes around. He just keeps getting more and more creative. That ability and his determination more than anything else is what really got us through.

Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a 130-year-old Queen Anne Victorian mansion with a five-room Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the Potter Highlands. The property also includes a grand ballroom, fine dining parlors, and an oasis of a garden out back. We offer a variety of events and services, some of which include: weddings, themed dinners and events, private dinners, chef dinners, traditional high tea, magical teas, holiday parties, corporate parties, and talent showcases.

We run a full commercial kitchen to facilitate all of these events. My husband Joel is also a chef, with deep roots in Colorado restaurants. He has created a beautiful (and massive) menu of foods that cross the gamut from casual BBQ to 12-course fine dining. We nod our heads to the homes Scottish heritage by including several Scottish dishes to the menu (such as Haggis, seasonally, and Hadrian’s wall, a breakfast staple. We also make a mean cranachan).

One example of a specialty event is our upcoming “Titanic Re-Creation Dinner”. At this dinner, guests are served a near-exact replica of the menu that was served in First class on the night the Titanic sank. It’s a 12-course meal complete with paired wines, first class service, and acoustic harp. The aesthetic of the mansion lends itself well to this era and now in its third year, it has become one of our most successful (and always sold out) events.

What we are most proud of is the heartfelt response of gratitude we get from our clients on a regular basis. We connect with guests who enter for all number of reasons, but perhaps most deeply with the couples who are here to plan their weddings. It is really important to us that we understand each individual person and their vision, and that we bring that to life in a way that feels easy and personal for them. We have an in-house wedding coordinator, Erin Merelli, and she works beautifully with each bride and family. We are the kind of people that value connection and this space has been a powerhouse for connections and meaningful networking. Not just when it comes to selling weddings or parties – but also in spiritual ways. The home is an undercover house of healing, and so many people that come through tell us about the magic they experience here.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define it by the happiness of our guests. When people say things like “This is amazing”, “I love this”, This has been an incredible stay”… that is how I know we are on the right path. You can definitely feel the vibration of the house – it’s happy.

Also, being a venue where people can come and be who they are. Where all truly are welcome, in an upscale environment. Sometimes people who don’t identify as “in” don’t feel accepted in places like this – and thats just the case here.

More than anything what satisfies me is making people happy and connecting to people – and thats what this house does. Its been here a long time! Just think historically of all the gathering that has been done here over the years. All the love. The house feels happy when it’s full.

Pricing:

  • Overnight B&B Stays $169-259/night (includes breakfast)
  • Private Parties: Start at $30/person
  • Brunch & Tea Service: $10-35

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Erin Merelli, Jillian Chambers, Bonnie Photo

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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