The Story, Old and New, of Hill House Bed & Breakfast
A once-grand private home on the northern edge of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, Hill House Bed & Breakfast opened its doors in 1996. Furniture manufacturer and wholesaler James Hill built it as his family residence in 1885. The home is a pastiche of Victorian and Queen Anne and design elements common to the late 19th century and has a classic wraparound front porch.
The home had three more long-term owners, one who operated it as a boarding house during World War II. Around 1970, a new buyer subdivided the building into apartment units, the guest kitchen off the parlor the most visible reminder today of those years. After a couple of decades, the building had deteriorated badly. Mattresses could be rented for 25 cents for an evening on the porch.
In 1994, Carol Ann Winter and Albert Ganzenhuber bought the property and opened it as Hill House Bed & Breakfast, following a lengthy renovation. Californians Bill and Terry Erickson took over in 2003, and in February 2012, David Raphael Smith became the inn’s third (and current) owner.
The former home’s downstairs today has three guest rooms, a parlor with a small guest kitchen, a formal dining room, kitchen, the staff office/bodega, and the incomparable front porch. Upstairs are five guest rooms.
At the rear of the property’s one-acre lot in a townhome that Terry and Bill built as their personal residence, now are two additional guestrooms — a downstairs apartment and upstairs loft-style suite. The gardens, thanks to Bill’s green thumb, have been awarded the highest honors of the Asheville Men’s Garden Club.
Meet the People Behind Hill House Bed & Breakfast
Hill House Bed & Breakfast’s owner David Smith had previous careers as a banking/real estate journalist in Washington, D.C., a commercial real estate appraiser in Tampa Bay and Orlando, and a restaurant waiter in New Orleans. He has an MBA from Rice University and a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia. David grew up in Pensacola, Fla., and has family roots in Louisiana.
Day Manager Eva Kalos worked a number of similar positions, including at a yoga retreat on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, before coming to Hill House Bed & Breakfast in September 2013. Resident manager Carey Jackson held a similar position at the historic Kenilworth Apartments in Asheville before coming to Hill House (October 2014), and also is active in a women’s herbal collective. Amanda Slivak, weekend shift supervisor (January 2016) transplanted to Asheville from her native Pittsburgh where she had managed food stations at a local college dining hall and Rivers Casino. Back-up cook and housekeeper Jessica Fink has a farming background and now, in addition to her job at Hill House, also works as a silversmith. Housekeeper Helen Evans (August 2014) has a lifetime of experience ensuring clean and comfortable places, both in the hospitality industry and for her extended Asheville family.
If you’re a guest at our B&B in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, rest assured that the innkeepers will talk endlessly among ourselves about you and what they need to do to have you leave feeling warm and satisfied. And know that each of us are always coming up with small ideas about what they might do to build on the awesome foundation that Carol Ann, Albert, Terry, and Bill have delivered to them at Hill House Bed & Breakfast.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Economic Justice
We especially like to emphasize that with 10 rooms and a single owner/general manager and professional staff, we’re something more of an inn than a B&B. Yet we strive to be very personal and make Hill House Bed & Breakfast feel like the home it once was. We also do our best to think “worldly” and to be welcoming to guests who are diverse as our entire planet. And all Hill House staff are paid a certified “Living Wage,” so that you, our guests, can be their concern while on the job.