The Yellow House brightens my rainy day

Published 9:30 pm Monday, November 9, 2015

It’s a dreary, rainy day and I’m climbing the stairs of the inviting yellow house on the corner of Rutherford and Bomar in Landrum. The sign announcing “The Yellow House, Group Lodging” arouses my curiosity every time I pass by. I’m excited to meet the owner, Elaine Hobbs, and have an opportunity to tour the rooms and discover the history.

Elaine greets me at the welcoming, original wood door.  The house required a great deal of restoration, and, as much as possible, was kept intact.  We settle in the cozy living room in front of a cheerful fire, perfect for diminishing the rainy day blahs.

She relates her story that led to Landrum and refurbishing the house for group lodging. Elaine is from Maryland and studied as a nurse. After graduation, she wanted to see the world and joined the Navy. But she had always owned horses, so she selected Jacksonville as an assignment, since it was a base where you could board your horse. Throughout her Navy career, Elaine’s horse was always with her.

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She met her husband, Hugh, while in the Navy. When they both retired, they located in South Carolina, first in Charleston, then in Union, where her husband accepted a position. They lived on a farm and, of course, had horses. Starting in 2001, they discovered Landrum and the equestrian lifestyle here. In 2006 they purchased the yellow house, in sad need of repair, with hopes of opening a medical spa.

Restoration began, but as often happens with best laid plans, external forces intervened. The economy slumped and timing didn’t seem right for that type of luxury business. During the construction, features had been added to adapt the house for use as a medical spa, such as sinks in each bedroom, and cupboards to hold towels and linens, amenities that could also work for catering to guests. Elaine knew that overnight lodging in the Landrum area was very limited. She decided on offering tourist accommodations, but not a complete bed and breakfast.

“I really didn’t want to be cooking for everyone,” she laughs. “But I thought people would enjoy the home away from home atmosphere.”

Elaine and her husband relocated full time in 2012 to a home in Lake Lanier.

“At first I was concerned about having strangers stay at the house. I wondered if there would be damage or theft. I really love this house and wanted it treated with the same love that I have,” she says wistfully. “And I haven’t been disappointed. We have had wonderful guests.”

She tells me, “Some of my very first guests were the grandchildren of the original owners. They loved revisiting and pointed out changes that had been done over the years. Then some of the Landrum family stayed here.  Their grandparents used to live next door and they were also familiar with the original house.”

She adds, “We’ve had weddings. One woman remembered being married long ago in front of the fireplace. Of course it’s wonderful for reunions. Some guests have had family members in hospice care. They needed a comfortable atmosphere to call home while they were here, under less than happy circumstances.”

It’s time for a tour.  The house was built in 1910. The kitchen is well equipped and has been designed to reflect the era when the house was constructed. A candle lit fireplace, originally coal burning, enhances the ambiance of the front bedroom.

As we climb the stairs, Elaine relates the difficult task of sanding and painting the treads and banister.

Accommodating up to nine guests, the upstairs bedrooms are cheerful and the sinks in each room provide convenience. A colorful, floral design in one adds a decorative touch.  A drink refrigerator in the hall makes it handy to enjoy drinks.

Entering the bath is like entering a rainforest. “I wanted a tropical feel,” explains Elaine. “People love this room.” It sports a shiny, red claw foot tub for soaking. She shows off the spa-style shower lined with water jets. On this cold, damp day, it looks especially inviting.

As I prepare to leave, we chat about the gardens that Elaine planted in the spring. The adjacent lot to the house, an old cow pasture, was in bloom all summer with jaunty wildflowers. The plantings along the fence always catch my attention as I round the corner.

With horses to care for and as social coordinator for Green Creek Hounds, Elaine is a very busy lady.  I thank her for her time and conversation as I open my umbrella and head out into the drizzling rain. Check the website for more information.

– Submitted by Linda List