Pianists, university professors and a brain radiologist are just a few of the patrons Barbara Loomis has housed at her bed and breakfast. But it’s people such as these that keep Loomis intrigued as she cooks her signature almond cake on weekend mornings at the only bed and breakfast in Kirkland.
“You can have just these wonderful conversations with people when I’m feeding them breakfast, ” said Loomis, who is a representative for the Kirkland/King County Landmarks Commission. “Sometimes they like to come to the bar and sit here while I’m cooking and that’s fine. I thoroughly enjoy it, I really like the people.”
Now, after nearly five years of operating the Loomis House Bed and Breakfast as a weekend venture, Loomis is keen on opening up her one-bedroom suite seven days a week.
The suite includes a sitting area and bedroom, which are divided by French doors, and a full bathroom that is connected to the bedroom. Accents of red, black and white are incorporated throughout the suite with a window that overlooks the front yard.
The remodel of the 1889 Victorian home near Market street was spread out throughout the years as money became available but Loomis said the idea to own a bed and breakfast has stuck for 20 years.
“I love to stay in bed and breakfasts. You get an insight you wouldn’t necessarily get if you went to a hotel or a motel because they’re a lot more impersonal, ” she said. “I thought ‘OK, this would be something that I would be able to do, it would be a supplement to my income and I would be home. I love being home, I love being out in my garden.’”
However, before Loomis could make her dream a reality, she had to go through the city.
For two-and-a-half years Loomis worked to sway city officials to change the ordinance so that her bed and breakfast would be allowed in the area she lived in.
“That was a long and arduous thing to go through because I had to do a lot of research into bed and breakfasts and find out about running them, what it costs to run one …” said Loomis, who has served many years on the Kirkland Planning Commission and the Design Review Board. “It’s really good to have people work from home because you’ve got eyes on the neighborhood and you know what’s going on - who’s supposed to be in the neighborhood and who’s not.”
Her “bugging” finally persuaded council members to let her bed and breakfast into a single family residential neighborhood, specifically a historic one, to say the least.
Loomis’s home is in a lake view neighborhood with houses that were initially constructed to be homes for workers of Peter Kirk’s “Pittsburgh of the West” steel mill. Brick houses were for the executives.
In 1893, however, Loomis said there was a worldwide financial crash, which left Kirk penniless and the steel mill steel-less.
The house fell into disrepair for many years, the story goes, but was owned by predominant Kirkland families, such as the Brooks and the Tillmans, throughout its early history before Loomis moved into the house in 1973.
When Loomis is not reading her cookbook, cooking eggs benedict, baked apples, almond cake or other breakfast delicacies, she’s most likely tending to her organic vegetable garden on a sunny day.
“The location of my house is perfect and it’s quiet, ” she said. “I’m within walking distance to downtown Kirkland and about four or five different parks. The location is just perfect.”
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