Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Holiday of Romantic Lights!

[Published by Sally in our old blog 12/03/11]
Winter Wedding in the Chapel of our newly renovated 1873 Carriage House

As couples ask and answer "will you marry me?" during this magical season, we are ready for all of the lovely weddings that will follow.

The Great Room in our newly restored 1873 Carriage House is softly lit with crystal chandeliers that shimmer in many colors. Couples might want an indoor wedding site for cooler months or in case of a surprise rain. We lovingly call the Great Room our “wet weather insurance policy.” It joins the Waterfall Garden and the Woodland Garden to complete our choices for wedding sites.

When a couple books a wedding here, they may choose one of our ceremony sites right away, but the choice of location always remains open until the morning of the wedding. The bride may awake, walk the gardens and peek into the Great Room, then choose the place that her heart tells her is right.
We smile when couples request a day with snow, but Colorado weather may surprise you with sunshine in mid-winter. Whatever the weather may be, we are ready!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Dozen Twinkling Chandeliers

A fabulous new place to celebrate weddings has been completed at Blue Skies Inn after two years of careful renovation and painstaking construction. It is the Great Room, located in the Historic 1873 Carriage House. Featuring exquisite finishes, it is a lovely space for use during inclement weather or when seasons make a garden wedding challenging.
Walls are hand painted with many soft shades of palest rosy peach, overlaid with brushstrokes of pearlescent paint that shimmers in the light. Behind the altar area, there is a large painting of a Celtic knot done in watercolor shades. The interlocked butterflies symbolize Transformation, the very meaning of a wedding day.
And, oh!!, the magical light! - a dozen twinkling chandeliers are whimsically strung with lead crystal baubles in varying hues. There is a color to suit any wedding theme and delight any viewer. Set the chandeliers at full brightness or dim them down to romantic candlelight.
While the double Carriage House walls were open for construction, we added many feet of hidden wiring for multiple speakers. They will set the mood by enveloping a wedding in music.
Special decorative wrought iron components came from Texas for the stairway which was custom built and assembled locally. Very wide cherry planks from a tree grown in Pennsylvania were selected for the handsome stair treads.
In winter, warmth softly rises from the in-floor heat, keeping bride's toes warm and cozy. Over 2,000 pieces of carefully cut tile is intricately set in a decorative border to frame the Great Room. In summer, air conditioning provides a comfortable space in which to wed. Imagine what the horses who stabled here in 1873 might have thought of that!
The very tall sliding doors used for the passage of carriages were preserved. They now roll open to reveal a stunningly large window with Rocky Mountain views that star Pikes Peak. Other doors open to a courtyard garden for cake receptions in pleasant weather.
There is another delightful name for the new Great Room. We also call it the Blue Skies Chapel, a name inspired by the presence of two stained glass windows in the west side of the ancient structure. Due to the casual way in which the windows were inserted long ago into existing carriage house walls (evidenced by structural framing that had been cut by an ax), we guess that the windows might have come from an adjacent house after it burned in 1886. The selective exterior framing of just the deep red cross shape within the stained glass windows might have been an attempt to introduce a chapel theme. Although only red glass shows outside, hiding the amber and green glass panes, we have revealed all of the glass to the inside now. It's fun to watch the sun as it dances through the brightly colored windows and traces its way across the floor.
Early during our time on this property, one of our wedding officiants began calling the structure "the chapel" due to the presence of those stained glass windows, an very unusual feature for a carriage house. Somehow, the ultimate use of the pretty building was in his mind even then.
Please come visit so that Sally and Mike can tour you through our lovingly restored Historic structure.

Our 1873 Carriage House, Good for Another 150 Years!

[This is a post Sally made on our old blogsite 12/03/11]

For those of you who watched our 1873 Carriage House being restored over the last two years, we *finally* finished it. Yahoo!

What originally started as a $500 interior paint job quickly grew to a complete rebuild. After popping off the old den panelling that had been used in an "improvement" in the late 1970's, we were surprised to find hay in the wall cavities. Mucking out the barn was a funny way to start the construction project. ... and no, we didn't find any ponies. We didn't find the walls' bottom plates, either, so we lifted the structure on posts and car jacks, and built a new foundation for the ancient structure.
However, we found lots of messages that had been left in those old walls. Someone celebrating a holiday in years gone by had written, "HAPPY NEW YEAR 1900!" The main carriage house was built in 1873 at the same time as the original Briarhurst, the home of the founder of Manitou, Dr. William Bell. The date of the lean-to additon was always a mystery, but it was solved when we had to repair a wall. Workers had written the 1917 date of their work on a board as well as their names and daily rate of pay. Several other interior boards had been used to test ancient paint colors. We are quite relieved that pale pink, the color on an old board, was *not* used to paint the carriage house.  We found that the most satisfactory color for our new exterior paint job was a lovely reddish sandstone color that we call Garden of the Gods Camo.
Tomorrow, Dec. 4th, our inn will be on the Old Colorado City Historical Society's B & B Tour, a fund raiser for their History Center. We are proud to have the oldest structure on the tour. Come visit!