The building first came to life in 1941, during the Second World War, when cars with rounded fenders and swooping hoods drove up and down Main Street, and people still came into town on their horses. The bottom floor houses a couple of shops that front the street, their full windows looking out on the tree-edged sidewalk. Pumpkin-orange in color and black-trimmed, the building’s rectangular form stands a full head above the market to its left and Smiling Dogs Winery to its right.
There, in the left-hand corner, a small, black door stands, unobtrusively and easily missed. On the eave above it, a section of an old pear box hangs, “Suite On Main” stenciled in its worn, weathered wood. Open the door, and a steep set of stairs immediately rises, forcing the head to look upwards. Then down the hall, and it’s the first door on the right. Welcome to The Loft at Suite on Main.
Evening light slants obliquely through the large windows, turning the space a rosy-purple hue. The Loft has something special. First of all, it’s spacious; the room runs the full length of the building. On top of that, it’s immaculately clean, bright, and welcoming. The contemporary style stops far short of sterile, leaving it with a pleasant, home-like atmosphere. It’s got a full kitchen, a king-sized bed, and a comfortable living room.
But what makes The Loft truly special is how it feels. As the rosy sunlight turns slowly to purple-grey, the evening unfolds on Main Street below. Dinner traffic has slowed, but a few cars pull in and out of the market. The sounds of conversations as people walk home slowly dwindles until it’s nearly silent. The streetlight clicks on, giving the room a soft glow. After an hour, the market shuts down and the last cars head home. Then, as the evening moves towards darkness, it becomes quiet, with downtown Kelseyville fast asleep. It could just as easily be a summer night in 1941 instead of 2020. The cool air seems timeless, as though the moment has existed forever.
It’s the next day, mid-afternoon. Out back in the garden/patio, Brian Fisher, co-owner of Suite on Main, sits at the large, bar-height table, his long hair pulled back into a ponytail. His short, stubbled beard hides his bright smile. Sunglasses stick halfway out of his aqua blue striped Levis shirt while a straw farmer’s hat sits on the table next to him, its large brim partially hanging over the edge.
“It’s serendipitous,” Brian says, his bright, blue eyes shining. “It started when the water main broke. The whole building needed a remodel. But we had these spaces like The Loft, where you’re staying. So I got a crazy idea, and one day I took some of our old furniture and hauled it up there. Then I brought my husband JB up and said, ‘What do you think?’ So we did a complete remodel and opened up with six suites.”
The afternoon sun filters through the triangular yellow sun shaded stretched across the table. A circular concrete pathway swoops around it, then back towards the building, where a table and two chairs nestle. To the right stands a barbecue, partially sheltered beneath the trees.
Brian continues: “JB and I wanted to create the kind of experience that we like to have when we travel. We don’t like having to hang around in the kitchen with all the other guests like at a Bed and Breakfast. We want to be able to check-in, maybe have a barbecue, and relax a little bit.” He smiles. “That works well at Suite on Main. Since COVID, people don’t want to have to go through a lobby and interact with so many people. It’s really a win-win for them.”
“And, we have an amazing housekeeper,” he laughs, his clear, beaded bracelet swinging with his gestures. “She loves cleaning, so the rooms are spotless.”
At the edge of the garden stands a gate, shaded and nearly hidden in vines and grapes. A guest walks in, punching in the code on the keypad, then heads towards a room. The summer sun flickers through the leaves of the trees in the courtyard. We’ve been chatting for a while, and it’s time to go. Brian stands up.
You know,” he says, grabbing his cell phone and hat. “I remember Marilyn Holdenried telling me, ‘Brian, I think Kelseyville needs a hotel.’”
He pauses for a moment, thinking. “And, you know what? I think I own it.”
Main Street in Kelseyville starts to wake up around six, when the first few pickup trucks make their way through. It’s still early dawn, and the morning sunlight hasn’t yet begun to bend down towards the town. Slowly the day lightens, brightening the slopes of Mt. Konocti at the edge of town.
Then, as Studebaker’s opens up, a few cars begin to pull in and park, and people head in to collect some consciousness in a cup, leaving with a foil-wrapped breakfast in one hand and coffee in the other, hopefully enough caffeine to start their day.
The morning sun barely cracks in through the edges of the shades, giving just enough light to see the angles and lines of the Loft. The sounds of Main Street work upward, muffled and muted through the windows. It’s morning, that’s for sure. But with the comfortable king bed beneath and the wide, spacious living room stretching to the right, it’s hard to decide what to do. Get up, or just hang out a little longer? It’s easy to spend an entire weekend in Kelseyville and never get in the car. Within a few blocks reside three wineries, a craft brewery, several restaurants, and multiple shops. Everything’s right here; there’s no need to rush.
But Kelseyville’s awake, and coffee sounds good.
Suite on Main is located at: 3965 Main St #4, Kelseyville, CA
You can book online at their website, or you can call or text the Guest Manager, Kathy Windrem at 707-349-5682. And if you ever have any questions, be sure to ask her. She’s a wealth of knowledge about Lake County.