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Toronto Real Estate Home of the Week: This Edwardian B&B is the biggest house in a small Ontario town

Kendell MacLeod

The listing: 241 Broad St., Dunville, Ont.

Asking Price: $799,900

Taxes: $6,371.73 (2018)

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Lot Size: 198- by 210-feet

Agents: Michael St. Jean and Sarah A. Khan, St. Jean Realty Inc. Brokerage

The back story

The hallway walls are adorned with a gold-plated brocade pattern.

Kendell MacLeod

When Judy and Glen Brough first viewed the home that would become Lalor Estate Inn 18 years ago, they knew it would be perfect for realizing their decade-long dream of opening a bed and breakfast.

“People would come here because we lead hectic, busy lives,” Ms. Brough said. “And we wanted a place where people could experience peace and restoration.”

The Edwardian home was built in 1905, with architectural flourishes such as two-foot baseboard woodwork and porch columns tapered so their perspective looks proper from the street. Inside, the hallway walls are adorned with a gold-plated brocade pattern, and each bedroom had its own fireplace and sink.

“It was an absolutely amazing home,” Mr. Brough said. “We wanted something upscale and very nice for the town.”

The home was converted from a seniors' residence into a bed and breakfast.

Kendell MacLeod

Built by Francis Ramsey Lalor, a local entrepreneur who became member of Parliament for Haldimand County from 1904 to 1921, the estate remains the biggest house in the town of Dunnville, Ont., Mr. Brough said.

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When it was built, a crane lowered a grand piano into the upstairs ballroom before the roof was attached, according to archival photos Mr. Brough saw.

Mr. Brough used to work in electronics design and assembly, and Ms. Brough was a teacher. She still teaches occasionally at the local schools. The couple travelled all over New England, taking notes on what they liked about the bed and breakfasts there while dreaming of opening their own.

When the Broughs bought the former Lalor residence, it was a retirement home for seniors. It lent itself easily to being converted to a B&B, with the Broughs making their home on the top floor in what was once the servants’ quarters.

The house today

The owners have worked to restore the home one room at a time.

Kendell MacLeod

Guests at Lalor Estate Inn enjoy kayaking on the Grand River, which is about two blocks south of the bed and breakfast. The inn is a popular choice for athletes, too, who come for Dunnville’s annual marathon and cycling race.

The couple has worked to restore the home over the years, usually picking one room to upgrade every winter. Mr. Brough recently put the finishing touches on a ground-floor accessible suite complete with a porcelain walk-in shower.

Creating the grand atmosphere in the stately home involved many hours spent antique shopping and visiting auctions for furniture that would fit with the historic residence. Designated a heritage home, the Broughs were careful to pick paint colours that would have existed at the time it was built.

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The owners picked paint colours that would have existed when the home was built.

Kendell MacLeod

The grand room, for example, has walls in Wythe blue, which Ms. Brough says looks different throughout the day depending on how the light hits it.

Today, the house is enjoyed by inn guests and Dunnville locals who often book the space for events such as weddings, birthdays, bridal showers and celebrations of life.

“The house comes alive when it’s full of people," Mr. Brough said. “It’s really a joyful place.”

The Broughs say they’re moving on because they’re getting “old,” and that 18 years is a long time to operate a bed and breakfast. They’ve enjoyed the ride along the way – and their guests apparently did, too, if their five-star rating on TripAdvisor is anything to go by.

Should the potential buyer want to continue operating the home as an inn, the Broughs say they’d be thrilled.

“That would be the cherry on top of the sundae for us,” Ms. Brough said.

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Kendell MacLeod

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