The Shafer Baillie Mansion
Lion Hearted 14 Jul 2016, 8:44 pm
For over 10,000 years, majesty, nobility and protection have emanated from lion statues, greeting visitors to homes and cities since the beginning of civilization. We like the idea of welcoming our guests and keeping them safe with the aid of ancient, mythological symbols. When we bought Shafer Baillie Mansion in 2004 we were delighted to inherit from the previous owners two beautiful, stone lions.
We took to these brave creatures so well that we decided to increase their numbers. First we purchased a new set of lions, the type that holds paws up. However, these were promptly stolen, much to our chagrin.
Not to be dissuaded, we determined to find more valiant lions, some that would not be so easily stolen, and that sat vertically to contrast with the original lions, so we found a set with a shield and brought them home to the mansion-however we continue to look for some that would have a more appropriate scale to the mansion.
After 8 years of faithfully greeting our guests the shielded loins have been moved to the terrace and a new impressive pair has taken their place. These new kids on the block are no Foo Dogs, but they have some Asian features and are not lying down… And they weighed two tons each!
Through uncanny coincidence, some guests recognized these particular guardians, sharing with our manager Brenda over breakfast that they had seen these lions before. Curiosity led us through research and a trail of emails until we learned that indeed our lions had previously adorned a beach house on Fox Island near where our guests had lived.
As the story goes, the lions we had come to call our own were purchased in Vietnam as a gift from a loving wife to her husband, the two young lions at the base represent their two sons.
It was quite an effort to bring the big cats home. Fortunately the folks we purchased the new lions from had a towing business. Their equipment came in handy for hoisting the majestic statues onto the back of a friend’s trailer for the ride to Shafer Baillie.
Once at the mansion, though, it was another story. It took many hours and three strong men to unload these marble kings of the jungle onto the sidewalk. Since the lion’s share of the day was gone, we had no choice but to leave them there overnight, tied to the fence. The next day we hired safe movers — people who move safes — to place them on either side of the stairs.
We love our lions and hope you will enjoy these noble guardians as much as we do. Feel free to roar in their presence.
New Year! New Website! and MORE! 29 Dec 2015, 2:53 pm
Celebrating 10 years since the reboot of the Shafer Baillie Mansion, we are beginning 2016 with the launch of a new website. Our 10-year-old website is like that dress you hate to get rid of because you still like it and maybe it even still fits and you get compliments on it, BUT it’s becoming a little worn and dated!
Our new responsive website will more easily adapt to the size of the screen you’re using, from a widescreen desktop to a mobile phone. Our friends at Acorn Internet Services, developers of our first website back in 2006, have also been our collaborators on the new site. Some design elements such as colors and fonts will be familiar, but with lots more and bigger photos, and our first-ever logo designed by Andrea Leksen of Leksen Design.
We are very excited about choosing photos for the new website to show off the interior of the Mansion, even though many of you still say pictures don’t do it justice!
We continue to care for our 101-year-old building. We’re very conscious of being custodians even more than owners. The latest improvements include a new high-efficiency heat pump for the third floor that keeps it cool in the summer and warm in the winter!
In late January we will close for the first time in 10 years to refinish the main level Siberian oak floors with a water-based finish, install new carpet on the front stairs and landing, and touch up some paint and tile. New quartz counters for the kitchen are also on tap.
When we bought the Mansion more than 11 years ago, we refinished some of the floors but ran out of steam when we got to the dining room and entrance hall. By doing all the floors at the same time, we will provide a continuity that is now lacking and will ensure that the floors are good to go for another century.
We wish you all the very best in 2016. Let us know in the comments what plans YOU have for the new year! And we hope your journeys will bring you to see us in Seattle!
Volunteer Park Water Tower 29 Jul 2009, 12:26 am
Brenda’s first post! 26 Jun 2009, 12:00 am
I opened my eyes and before me were four large beautiful banners hanging from the tall ceiling. They read WELCOME… INSPIRE… SERVE…TRANSFORM. I started to really read those words over and over to myself. Focusing on what those words truly mean. My role and purpose in Seattle and particularly at the Shafer Baillie Mansion became very clear to me. This is exactly what I want to do at the Mansion. Glenn and I have discussed this job and the changes we are making in our personal lives to move here. So when I returned from the church, I told him what had become clear to me and he said it made good sense to him.
So what do we see ourselves doing here? We want to welcome each and every visitor into this splendid restored home, We want each guest to be inspired from their time at the Mansion and in Seattle. We want to serve our guests a scrumptious and healthy breakfast and then hopefully we all will be transformed into stronger and better people. My wish is for the guests to use this beautiful Mansion as a restorative and relaxing place. A time for reassessing and making plans for their futures, whatever they may be!
Glenn Freshour, newest member of the Mansion team! 12 Jun 2009, 12:34 am
We are so fortunate to have Glenn joining Brenda on our innkeeping team at the Shafer Baillie Mansion! Glenn did his undergrad and graduate work in Biology at the University of Georgia and had a long career as a research microscopist. He comes to us from Athens GA, after a year-long side trip to Tempe AZ. He is an avid biker, although still adjusting to the fact that biking in hilly Seattle is not quite like Athens or Tempe! He loves hiking and the outdoors, which should make the Northwest a great place for him to explore and discover. He was the person who inspired Brenda’s love of gardening, and you’ll likely see him out in our garden every day, watering, checking the health of the plants, and enjoying some fresh air.
Glenn enjoys guitar and piano and I hope he’ll decide to share his talents in our salon from time to time! Brenda is thankful for his attention to detail and organization that complements her more, uh, freeform approach to life. We’re also relying on him to help our guests navigate around town and to develop neighborhood and area maps showing places of interest, although of course his own familiarity with the city and region is still developing.
Glenn’s about the most helpful person you’ll ever meet. He’s happy working quietly behind the scenes, but is equally likely to greet you at the door or take your reservation over the phone. In fact my only worry is that, as he gets the hang of my idiosyncratic ways of running things around here, I’ll be left with nothing to do!
Did I mention he’s a little camera-shy?
Meet Brenda! 26 Apr 2009, 2:04 pm
Remember last time when I said the biggest news around the Mansion these days is our 3 new guest rooms on the third floor, opening in mid-May? So maybe I lied, a little. The really, truly, honestly biggest news is the latest addition to the Mansion team, our new fulltime innkeeper, Brenda Mallonee!
Brenda hails most recently from Athens, Georgia, and brings a heaping helping of Southern hospitality with her to Seattle. She’s been in love with the Pacific Northwest for about a decade now, and for years has been threatening to take early retirement from her career with the Georgia juvenile justice system to come work with us. So finally we called her bluff, and here she is! In fact, since among her many other talents she holds a degree in journalism and communications, I fully intend to rope her into being a frequent contributor to Mansion Musings.
If you see more fresh-baked items appearing in our breakfast spread, thank Brenda’s passion for cooking. And if the Mansion grounds seem to be coming to life in a whole new way, that would be her gardening passion! From time to time you may see the table graced with the products of her pottery passion. This blog will likely highlight her photography passion. But most of all there is her people passion, which you will recognize immediately when she greets you at the door or on the telephone. We’re already hearing rave reviews from our guests and I know you’ll agree.
In addition to her primary responsibilities in day-to-day care for our guests, Brenda is also already having an impact in improving our wedding and event operations, and she is excited to be the point person for concerts and shows in our downstairs perfomance space, the Speakeasy. She brings many years of contacts in the music industry with her, so you may be surprised at some of the faces appearing in our humble little venue in the months ahead!
I could go on to tell you all about Brenda’s teammate, Glenn, who will join us in May just in time for the opening of our new rooms. But I’ll save that for closer to the date.
You may be wondering what is becoming of Ana Lena and Mark. Not to worry! We remain as intimately involved as ever with all facets of the Mansion operation on a daily basis. So when you come visit us you won’t be missing out on old friends, just making a new one!