Somerbrook Lavender Farm is home away from home
By Coral Garnick
Scott and Nan Meaker started their lavender business, Somerbrook Lavender Farm, three years ago with 1,075 lavender starts from Sequim, but they didn’t want to stop there. In June of 2007 the Meakers finished their “latest ambition” - Somerbrook Guesthouse.
The Brook family in England, ancestors of the Meaker family, used to have an estate in Somerset County, so when Scott and Nan made their lavender farm, they decided to combine those two concepts to create the name Somerbrook Lavender Farm, and when the guesthouse was finished they thought it only appropriate to follow the same trend, naming it Somerbrook Guesthouse.
The two-story guesthouse has three suits, a living room, library, den, laundry room and fully stocked kitchen, and is located on the Meaker’s property on H Street. The guesthouse can be rented by individual suite or entire house throughout the year by night, week or month.
The most popular length of stay at the guesthouse has been a week, although they have had people stay a month, and people who just stay for a night or over a weekend. Scott and Nan have been told that the guesthouse is a great place for people to get away and relax, which is just what they envisioned when they designed it; they wanted a place where people could take a break and have privacy, Nan Meaker said.
The Meakers compare the suites in their guesthouse to high-end suites in a hotel. Each suite has its own bathroom with a jetted tub, a small dining table to eat in privacy, a walk-in closet, an iPod docking station and a large TV with DVD/VCR. The suites were named according to the color of their walls, Misty Harbor, French Sonnet and Lavender, and the entire guesthouse is filled with antiques - some Scott and Nan found at estate sales, and some from Scott’s mother they had stored in their barn. The guesthouse was also constructed with complete sound insulation for comfort and privacy, Nan said.
The Meakers had a website built for the guesthouse in February, which has given them a lot more attention. Because of the proximity to Vancouver, Scott and Nan anticipate even more attention during the 2010 Olympics, but they have been given strong advice not to take reservations yet because they need to make sure they have appropriate rates. Their plan at this time is to create a waiting list, and a year before the Olympics they will call down their list and tell people what rates they plan on having, and then rent it to the first person on their list that accepts them, Nan said.
Scott and Nan came to Blaine in 1999 when they were about to have their fourth child; they grew out of their house in Bellingham and decided it was time for something larger. Scott’s brother was also looking for a new place for him and his family, and found adjoining properties on H Street in Blaine, which the two families purchased. Three years after they moved to Blaine, Scott’s mother moved into a small house on their property as well. “We call it Meakerville,” Nan said.
In 2005 Scott and Nan bought the five-acre lot next to their property, because it came up for sale, but were still in the process of starting their new lavender business, so they left it alone.
Once their lavender was purchased and planted, Nan said that she and Scott realized their next step was to develop the new property, so Scott, a contractor, drafted plans for a new house.
In January 2006 Scott and Nan had a design they were happy with and started construction. Even though they contracted out most of the work, Scott did some of the finishing touches, such as putting in hardwood floors and building the rock wall behind the fireplace.
When the house was finished in June 2007, Scott and Nan had the option to sell, but they decided to invest in it instead, turning it into a family guesthouse and rental.
“I have family in Arizona that come visit, and friends that come up a few times a year,” Nan said. “Now they have a place to stay. We are just hoping to get enough people to rent the house to make the mortgage payments.”
They currently sell their lavender from a cart in front of their house, but Nan said someday farther down the road they may decide to market it, or create a small store to sell lavender products. “We are pretty much satisfied with everything right now,” Nan said. “But the guesthouse will continue to be a place for family and friends as well as a getaway for people on vacation.”
Visit www.somerbrookguesthouse.com for more information.