Corrie Sid has a bold vision for the historic Guest House in Tallassee, and she’s making extensive progress toward the reality.
The Tallassee native purchased the property about a year ago and has begun complete renovations. Her future plans include incorporating an upscale restaurant and an inclusive site appropriate for all events from small meetings up to 300-plus weddings.
By the end of 2019, all 10 of the property’s bathrooms, along with the kitchen, were demolished, and the downstairs ceilings were torn out.
“This was a critical step toward understanding exactly what we are working with,” said Sid. “Old homes and buildings can give you major surprises. I know, I’ve gutted and rebuilt two historic properties – a 1908 California Bungalow and an 1888 Victorian. Understanding what is behind the walls really helps in planning for what you can and can’t do from a design perspective.”
Fortunately, like many old buildings in Tallassee, the structure has good bones.
“Turns out, The Guest House was built very well,” Sid said. “There are large steel beams running in between the upstairs and downstairs, and the stone walls look like they were built yesterday.”
Outside, crews have been busy transitioning the property’s landscape and plotting the land’s topography.
“We needed to really see the land to understand what we have to work with outside,” Sid said. “We were looking for areas for parking and naturally pretty areas that can be cultivated into gardens and groves.”
While working on the landscape at The Guest House, Sid and her crew stumbled upon a few pleasant surprises, which will help bring the grand concept to life.
“We are happy to report that there are about four natural springs producing multiple creeks in the woods; an awesome sun-filled hill that was hiding under decades of kudzu; and some flat areas that would be ideal for parking,” Sid said.
She said while the planning has been long, it has been worth the wait because The Guest House could be an exceptional asset to Tallassee.
“The building will contain about seven separate spaces that can be rented out for events,” she said. “We will be able to accommodate a meeting for 10 people or a wedding for close to 300 guests. There will be four public restrooms, two upstairs and two downstairs. And we will have a private restroom for our employees.”
The venue will offer eight guest rooms with upscale modern amenities, each with its own private bathroom.
“One of our rooms will be ADA compliant with parking very close to the room. The versatility of The Guest House continues to excite me and our team,” she said.
As a large venue suited for many guests, an important spaces Sid is designing is the laundry room.
“I know that most people don’t think much of the layout of a laundry room, but running a property like the one we are planning requires a very industrial and well planned out laundry room,” she said.
Sid is planning to build a commercial kitchen, which she plans to use to support a restaurant and catering.
The plan is to create a casually, sophisticated dining experience for dinner Thursdays through Saturdays, with a brunch and lunch menu on Sundays. There also will be two bar areas, one upstairs and another downstairs.
Sid has been working with Chef Eric Rivera of the Vintage Year, a restaurant in Montgomery, from the beginning of this project. He teamed up with Sid’s design team, SteenHaus, to conceive the kitchen and bars. She is hoping Rivera and Vintage Hospitality Group will include The Guest House as a fourth restaurant in their portfolio.
“The Guest House would be considered a destination restaurant, which is the latest trend in fine dining,” Sid said. “Chef Rivera just won his first James Beard Award for the blended burger at Vintage Year, and I am excited for the potential of partnering with him. I think having a Vintage Hospitality Group restaurant and Chef Rivera at the helm of the kitchen of The Guest House would be an amazing win for this project and for Tallassee.”
According to Sid, this could all come to fruition in a little over two short years.
“If all goes to plan – and that is a big if – we will open the doors winter 2021,” she said.
The Guest House will have three outdoor spaces: a large open-air deck off the main dining room; a screened-in porch off the lower meeting spaces; and a patio on the front of the building, Sid added.
While The Guest House’s design team has been key to the renovation process, Sid said many others also have put a lot of hard work into the process.
Tyler Jones of 1504 Co. and Syndey Newsom of Sydney Newsom Creative, both out of Birmingham, are helping to create the cultural direction for The Guest House.
“Tyler visited Tallassee last summer, toured our sites and interviewed many residents to truly understand the past, present and future of our town. He has been able to help me use the best of Tallassee to create the tone and tell the story of The Guest House and its hometown,” she said. “Sydney constantly sends our team property comparisons from across the U.S. and the world. We have all been able to formulate a shared vision of exactly what The Guest House will look like and how it will function.”
And the plan is to mix that functionality with personal touches.
“We have determined that every room will be distinct and room names will have meaning,” Sid said. “Every detail is being touched with purpose and crafted with deep thought about the history of Tallassee, Alabama. Our desire is for everyone who enters The Guest House to feel special. This is the most exciting part of the process for me, and I can’t wait for folks to have the awestruck feeling when they walk in for the first time.”