By Shayna Mace
I have two hotel restaurant degrees and a background in hospitality. I worked in country clubs, then got into commercial real estate representing hotel developers and owners.
I came back to the Midwest when my son was born 16 years ago. I have family in Woodstock, and opened my first hotel myself in Woodstock called The Town Square Inn and I successfully ran that for 10 years.
While I was doing that, I was recruited for HGTV [and] I was cast as their real estate expert for eight seasons on “Designed to Sell,” which at the time was their first staging show.
While I was in Chicago, I had the hotel and the staging business, and then we saw the Baker House [was] for sale. So that’s what brought me to Lake Geneva unexpectedly in 2010. For the Baker House, I wanted to create a historic experience that transported guests back in time to a world of Gilded Age glamour, complete with costumed staff and authentic interiors.
The Golden Oaks B&B was for sale shortly after Baker House was opened and I had a vision to combine it with the contiguous Plaza Motel. By reconcepting the motel to look like a carriage house and horse stables, we were able to build a multi-unit compound that recreated the original Maxwell Estate. The Speakeasy [bar] however was complete creative liberty!
Hitting estate sales, auctions and flea markets—those are my main areas. The things I get have a patina of history or love on them. I like the heirloom factor that you don’t get with brand new. I love the Elkhorn Flea Market. And I’m a huge fan of auctions—one of my favorites is Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
I’m extremely excited about my new project that incorporates the concept of “flow.” It’s an adaptive reuse of a large vintage building just off of Geneva Lake that is really going to wow the community!
This article was featured in the Lake Geneva: Winter 2017 issue.
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