Take the stress out of planning your Bayfield getaway. On the blog, you'll get the inside scoop of where to go, what to see, and what to do.
Before the motel, we were a family of 3 living in Hudson, WI, outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Isaac was a firefighter and paramedic in Burnsville, MN. I owned Mollie Kae Hair & Makeup Artistry. We were newly married, and our son Axel was about to make his appearance.
Isaac worked 24-hour shifts with interrupted and sleepless nights, answering calls and assisting people needing emergency services. I worked weekends helping brides wow the socks off their grooms with hair and makeup.
With a baby on the way, we could see the wheels of the rat race starting to turn – sleepless nights both on and off the job. Tag team parenting, passing the baby off, and trading turns going to work.
Finally, Axel was born, and as any parent knows, it’s much more challenging than we ever thought or expected. The battle with food allergies is REAL. Then three months later, we learned our second child was en route to making his debut. Something needed to change if we wanted the family life we desired.
What did we do?
We bought a 1940s motel in Bayfield, WI. in 2017.
Seagull Bay Motel included 22 traditional-style motel rooms. A cottage, a guesthouse, and a renovated ranch-style home called Bay West.
Over the last five years, we have been working to raise our family of 3 boys. Banks, our youngest, joined us this past February. We’ve also been renovating Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel to be a place where you can rest, play, and experience a Bayfield vacation unlike any other.
Since purchasing Seagull Bay, we have been working on restoring and refreshing the primary motel property. So far we’ve:
– Painted the siding a classic white with black accents – replacing the robin’s egg blue
– Added fresh linens and decor
– Made modern touches
– Updated plumbing
– Installed cooling air conditioning
When we moved from the big city to Bayfield, we thought, “what an adventure.” Family, business owners, and makeovers. And what an adventure it has been.
This past winter, we moved our attention from the primary property to Bay West.
Bay West was built in 1964 and 1965 by Wayne Barningham as a single-family home. He and his wife Joanne raised their six children while owning and operating a dairy distribution business. He was Bayfield’s last door-to-door milkman.
The Barningham children have shared stories of how they were the most popular kids in the neighborhood because their garage contained a giant cooler of dairy products, including whip cream from a can and ice cream.
After more than 20 years, the Barninghams’ sold their home to Gerald and Sue DePerry, who added the second story and five rooms for nightly rentals called Dream Catcher Lodging.
Later, Jeanne and Mike Goodier purchased this home from the Deperry’s and turned it into what we know now as Bay West. A part of the Seagull Bay Motel.
Like Seagull Bay itself, Bay West has been in dire need of a makeover. It had sad beige siding, 1960s gray paneling, dark oak trim, and painted countertops. The beds were even dressed with 1980s-style bedspreads, and apple wallpaper borders lined the tops of the walls.
Despite this, Isaac and I could see its potential.
Bay West is a fantastic place for families offering many bedrooms within a unit and a full-size kitchen.
Other units are ideal and cozy for couples. Most units feature a view of Lake Superior while you doze off to sleep or sip your coffee in the morning.
Decks and balconies also sit lakeside. They make the perfect gathering place to retell tales of kayaking or biking.
From Bay West, you can follow the trail through the yard and across a bridge to access the Brownstone Trail into Bayfield. You’ll also notice the custom murals painted by local artist Rita Vanderventer depicting scenes of the Anishinaabe or Ojibwe people, who have lived here for centuries.
This winter was it. It was Bay West’s turn to get a makeover.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you drive up to Bay West is its siding has been painted a sleek modern black. This contrasts the classic white of the main Seagull Bay property.
The most significant transformation in our Bay West Makeover is the new family unit remodel in what used to be the dairy cooler and the garage. You’re greeted with a clear oak paneling and ceiling feature that breathes a minimalistic design.
Immediately to your left are custom-made day beds that look out a large window onto Lake Superior. Envision your children in their pajamas snuggled under fluffy white duvets as you tuck them in after a day sailing on the big lake.
On the opposite side is a kitchenette with black appliances that whispers a vintage but modern feel. The spa-inspired bathroom echos the minimalistic design of this makeover.
Mid-century modern furniture adorns the living and sitting areas. The queen-size bed in the main bedroom points east, with views of the sherbert skies at dawn waiting for you.
On the second floor, we made sure to keep the hand-painted murals that pay homage to our area’s rich history. These rustic scenes provide color and personality to each of the second-story rooms.
Each room has been updated to include the same vintage style black refrigerators and microwaves found in a standard hotel room – but trust us, these are not standard, and neither was their price. Issac still doesn’t get it.
Every room has custom-made headboards and bed frames. Unit 30 has a half-log ruff cut breakfast bar perfect for sipping your morning coffee while looking out onto Lake Superior. Statement light fixtures polish off the modern and light feel of each space.
Each bathroom has had a complete makeover: light neutral tones, timeless bath fixtures, and fresh tile breath comfort.
We are in LOVE with how these rooms came out! And for those that love makeovers and seeing dramatic before and after pictures, there’s more to come.
The primary residence and walkout have been refreshed with bed linens, fresh paint, and new countertops, but there’s more to come. Picture the same custom headboards and bed frames, eye-catching light fixtures, and simple, clean lines. New flooring and updated layouts will make these units light, airy, and modern. We can’t wait to show you what’s next!
To be honest, owning a business and being a parent is a lot more work than we ever imagined. Our days are long. We work harder now than we did as a firefighter and hairdresser. But our days are also filled with the laughter of our boys playing and baby giggles.
The motel has brought people we would have never met otherwise into our lives. We’re happy to share this part of ourselves with you while offering clean and simple lodging accommodations with modern touches to be a part of your Bayfield experience.
We love hearing your stories of big lake adventures, epic bike rides, and delicious ice cream cones. We want to be a part of your Bayfield story. We want to serve you in a way that helps build memories by offering comfortable lodging.
Come and see for yourself the makeover of Bay West, part 1. And stay tuned for part 2. CLICK HERE to book your room at Bay West or any of our rooms at Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel.
We can’t wait to meet you!
Mollie, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks
June 18, 2022
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