Home Design

From B&B To Multi-Generational Home: The Life Of The Historic Lewis Residence

Lewis Historic House

Built by R.C. Lewis for his wife in 1899, the Historic Lewis Home subsequently belonged to the Red Cross and later became the Chez Suzanne bed and breakfast.

Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Historic photos provided by ReNae Simmons

Very rarely do houses in North Dakota make their way onto popular websites like Old House Dreams. However, the Historic Lewis Home has gained recognition on this site. Built by R.C. Lewis for his wife in 1899, it subsequently belonged to the Red Cross and later became the Chez Suzanne bed and breakfast.

 

Lewis Historic House

Now, three generations live under its roof. They took us on a tour through nearly 5,000 neoclassical square feet of magnificent woodwork, frescos and stained-glass windows.

Lewis Historic House

The Culp family

Lewis Historic House

 

The first floor belongs to the Culps, who are the oldest generation currently residing in the house. It has a living room, music room, library, smoking room, dining room, pantry and kitchen, as well as a breakfast nook.

First Floor: Entrance

Lewis Historic House

In addition to rounded, stained-glass windows and woodwork, the entrance also features individually cut tile. “It was a true mosaic,” ReNae Simmons, one of the current homeowners, said.

Lewis Historic House

 

The mosaic had a large crack in it because the original foundation did not extend under the porch. Simmons and her family actually had to hire someone to build a foundation underneath the front porch, which had been held up with bricks and disintegrating mortar. This is where Ben Anderson came across the bricks that he and his wife ended up using in their dining room.

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House
Original fireplace
Lewis Historic House
This fresco can be seen in the library.

Dining Room

Lewis Historic House

This historic photo reveals that the dining room once had tile floors. When they started to show excessive wear, the bed and breakfast had them carefully replaced with a wood floor to match the rest of the house.

Lewis Historic House

The dining room has four large frescos that were meant to represent the four seasons.

Music Room

Lewis Historic House
This was originally a smoking room.
Lewis Historic House
Butler’s Pantry.

Main Kitchen

Lewis Historic House
This historic photo shows the original kitchen.

Lewis Historic House

This dumbwaiter in the kitchen goes all the way from the basement up to the third floor.

Lewis Historic House

The kitchen still retains some of its original woodwork and tile today.

Lewis Historic House

Main Stairwell

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

Simmons repainted the stairwell by leaning over the railing with a paint roller fixed to a pole.

second floor

The Simmons Family

Lewis Historic House

The Culps share the second floor with the family of their daughter, ReNae Simmons. Together, she and her husband have four daughters aged 16, 14, 10 and 2. While the east rooms are occupied by the Culps, the Simmons family have the west bedrooms.

Lewis Historic House

The second-floor sewing room has balcony access.

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

The Culps and Simmons remodeled this second-floor bathroom using finishes and fixtures that blend in with the period of the house.

Lewis Historic House

In another bathroom, Simmons uncovered this gold accent tile.

Lewis Historic House

This steep staircase was utilized by servants.

third floor

The third-floor former ballroom and servants’ quarters are the Simmons family’s domain. Today, the ballroom is used as a living and dining area, while the servants’ quarters serve as an office, schoolroom, playroom, bedroom and kitchen.

Lewis Historic House

In her bedroom, Simmons has integrated a vintage dress that once belonged to a relative into the décor.

Lewis Historic House

Lewis Historic House

 

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