120-year-old, Argenta Queen Anne home given new life as a boutique inn
Nathan and Stacy Hamilton’s dream started with a vision, and, subsequently, a lot of questions. They found an excellent property in an amazing neighborhood and wondered how they could turn into business into it that would benefit their North Little Rock community.
The 120-year-old Baker House, one of only a few surviving Queen Anne Victorian properties in North Little Rock, sat on the market for nearly three years before the Hamiltons bought the historic property at 501 Main Street, in the heart of the Argenta Arts District, in 2018 and set about restoring and renovating the four-story home for use as a boutique inn.
This evening, the Hamiltons will host the grand opening of the re-envisioned Baker. Tours of the home and grounds, refreshments and entertainment will be provided from 5 – 7 p.m.
Their concept was a unique local lodging experience for the modern, savvy traveler that boasts the self-sufficiency of an Airbnb with the service and amenities of a hotel. The home has been masterfully refurbished with special care given to restore and maintain its unique beauty. The result is an elegant, yet comfortable and contemporary style, wrapped in historic architecture.
“I think people who had purchased commercial property where overlooking it because it was an old house, and people who would buy an old house for residential, were overlooking it because it’s in a commercial district,” says Stacy Hamilton, who sells real estate and specializes in historic property. “I love this community, and I just saw a need for this house to be brought back to life and felt like that we had an idea of how we could care for it and save it and make sure it stays here.”
The Hamiltons kept the Victorian décor throughout the home and matched it with a clean and comfortable interior. The Curly Heart Pine trim on the doors, casings and trim work, as well as the stained glass doors and windows are instantly notable. The pattern, naturally caused by the wood being submerged for years in water, gives a 3D effect and is a very cool, visually-stimulating feature. Richly stained heart pine flooring runs throughout the home, except for the stone-tiled bathrooms. The first floor features three living rooms with vintage fireplaces and mantels, a large dining area and self-service kitchen. A hardwood staircase leads to suites are on the second and third floors, and a wooden boat ladder rises to a fourth-floor, full-circle lookout reminiscent of a closed-in captain’s or widow’s walk.
Originally a 10-bedroom home, the Hamiltons converted half of them to bathrooms – some bigger than the bedroom they’re attached to – to accommodate guests’ privacy. While the bathrooms have a modern feel, the claw-footed tubs retain the home’s 19th century charm.
The couple renovated the home’s old caretaker’s unit and garage into a cottage and opened it for business in January. It’s been at near occupancy since, Hamilton says.
Part of their success in landing booking is due to The Baker’s amazing location.
“You’re able to walk to just about everything on this side of the river in Argenta,” she says. “Walkability is our big focus. I mean this, you can walk to Verizon. You can walk to the Travs, to Diamond Bear and Flyway. You can hop on the trolley and go over to Little Rock. I mean, it’s just incredible. People can park their car here and not get back in it for the rest of the weekend while they stay with us.”