GEORGIA — At the Yellow Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast on July 7, Leanne Doré Lessely walked a group of visitors around the property and the house on a tour.
Most of the visitors were from a Plattsburgh garden club and Leanne graciously answered questions about the flowers and plants, the arrangement of the rooms and the paintings. She had an answer for everything.
Leanne and David Lessley have opened up their Georgia home as a bed and breakfast, an idea which the couple had in mind even before they had seen this specific house.
Leanne and David said each choice they made for the house was meticulously decided, the culmination of over 10 years of work on the bright yellow structure on Stone Bridge Road, which was neither bright nor yellow when they first moved in.
“This was an overgrown jungle,” David said as he pointed to the backyard, now open and green, two solar panels tastefully placed to the left side of the yard. In the middle sat new gardens sprouting flowers.
Leanne said running a bed and breakfast has been her dream since she was 15 years-old, and the couple has always loved to host friends and family. Going from owning a home to running a bed and breakfast felt like a natural progression, they said.
Walking through the house now, Leanne said it is a dream come true.
“I can’t believe I live in a place like this,” she said. “Every time I go up the hallway, I am just so thankful and David’s a big part of making this dream come true for me.”
Although Leanne has a background in graphic design and David works as an engineer, so many pieces of the house reflect their other interests.
At the back of the yard is a collection of bees which Leanne harvests and makes into award-winning honey. Climbing up the back of the house are vines of beer hops, which the couple cut down at the end of each season and watch climb back up to the roof at the end of the next.
The work Leanne and David have put into the house since they bought it in 2010 almost makes the house a piece of art itself. They said the house is a reflection of their relationship which began in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A painting of a downtown street in Charlottesville hangs over the table in the dining room, where lunch for guests was served: tiny thazeki sandwiches with the crust cut off, egg salad in a lettuce boat and bitesize strawberry shortcakes.
At lunch, the garden club sat on patio furniture in the shadow cast by the house and chatted. Two music students played violin, live music to entertain while the group ate.
The house itself was built around the 1880s, the Lessley’s believe, by a family who made their fortune during the Gold Rush in California.
The house’s decorations were curated from travels the two have taken together or things the two have kept for years. For overnight stays there are three rooms, the winter en suite, the summer room and the spring room, decorated with various pieces of furniture and art from around the world.
In the mornings, guests can expect a breakfast cooked by Leanne herself, which is a key part of the vision for the bed and breakfast. She said that food has been an integral part of her life since when she was young when her family and friends would gather once a week, each bringing a different dish.
Leanne said, like the house, like the rooms, like her photos and graphic design work, she sees making and plating a dish as art.
David said Leanne’s attention to detail shows up in the food as well as the rooms of the house.
“So much of food, it’s the care and the love that goes into the preparation, really makes the food what it is,” he said.
Towards the end of the event, the garden club lingered in the house, thanking David and Leanne for the lunch and the tour. Everyone was elated and didn’t want to leave.
Leanne told them to stop by anytime they were in town.
She recounted the first time she stood by the urn at the outer edge of the backyard with David and turned around to look at the house, realizing it had all come together.
The two now take that small stroll almost every morning.