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How to Build a Bed and Breakfast

By Edited Jun 14, 2014 0 0

I spent 9 months in 2009-2010 building this B&B. My own bed and breakfast is the same labour of love that yours will no doubt be. We will start with the blank slate that my wife and I were presented with when we bought our rural house near Wiarton, Canada.

Hotel-style Bed and Breakfast (37086)

Things You Will Need

A project like this is for an advanced handyman/woman. This is an overview of the entire process; you will need a full set of carpentry, tiling, drywalling and painting tools to proceed with a similar job.

Step 1

The horseshoe layout of the building footprint is nice; it provides a central courtyard for guest parking (especially wheelchair). However, winter snow removal is a little tricky. This is the plan diagram that I submitted to my municipality for a zoning by-law change. I had at my disposal lots of square footage to work with; the existing greenhouse was given a light renovation and used as our entertainment/eating area. The existing shop was retained, but I doubled the west wall of the shop for soundproofing. Often in the winter months it is necessary for me to rise early and start up our snow blowing tractor, which is stored in the shop. We did not want our guests to experience this alarm clock! The garage, greenhouse, shop and proposal area are all slab-on-grade, with a perimeter foundation. We therefore found it necessary to create a raised subfloor to contain the utilities for the rooms.

Initial Layout (37022)

Step 2

We applied for our Zoning By-Law change in July, and were finally able to start building in November. We figured that using the winter months to build was best; we planned to be finished around May 1, just in time for the busy tourist season. Fortunately there was very little outdoor work to do, as the outer shell of the building was already in place. Here's a close-up of the area to be transformed; for clarity, my diagrams do not include windows or bedroom exterior doors. The bedrooms are raised about 14" and the foyer is on the slab. You can see the two-step stair on each side of the foyer. The residence, the eastern extension of the greenhouse and the shop are not visible in this view.
Rooms and Foyer

Step 3

Let's look at the Utilities first, to see how the new use is serviced. This is a close-up of the bedroom area, showing our water supply and waste route. We designed the bathroom layout so they would all lie along the shortest exit route possible. This was important because we used under floor plumbing. The waste lines must be pitched to conform to code; a short trunk means less elevation of the subfloor. Our septic system is at the top in this view.
Supply and Waste

Step 4

The electrical plan is somewhat the same; it proved much cheaper to set up a sub-panel to serve the B&B use, and feed it from our existing panel. We had a choice between running the conduit under the floor or through the attic… the attic route used a little more wire and conduit, but proved to be easier. It was particularly important for us to use a sub-panel because Bedrooms 1, 2 and 3 are heated with electric baseboards. The sub-panel allows for much shorter 12-2 branch circuits that cost so much.

Step 5

Now let's conduct an overview of the final layout and see how this floor plan functions as a bed and breakfast. The purple arrows indicate primary host travel paths; the yellow arrows are primary guest travel paths. We are able to prepare meals in our kitchen and bring them out to our guests in the sunroom, if they wish. This caters to those of our guests who want a more hotel-like experience during their stay with us. Of course, many of our guests elect to come into our residence kitchen and sit with us for breakfast.
We are generally pleased with the form and function of our B&B. We are able to carry out most of our daily duties without constantly bumping into our guests. One regret is the lack of a proper Utility Room for servicing the bedrooms. Most of our bedroom supplies are carried back and forth from the residence.

Tips & Warnings

A project of this magnitude requires detailed planning and submission of layouts to your local municipality. Do your homework before proceeding!


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