Monday, December 6, 1999
Couple spends four years restoring Victorian home.  By Marc Sheforgen - The Salina Journal.
Lindsborg - After four years of intensive labor, a mammoth investment and sometimes crowds of curious onlookers, the Spellmans opened their Lindsborg home to the public on Sunday.
The three-story, 1885 Victorian home has been completely restored (literally everything short of the main framing has been replaced) since David and Sabrina Spellman bought the property just off of the Main and State streets intersection in Lindsborg.  Since June of this year, the Spellmans, who live in the home's new basement, have operated the house as a bed and breakfast.
But Sunday marked a grand opening of sorts as the Rosberg House Bed and Breakfast, named after its original owners, was one of four stops on a Christmas tour of Lindsborg bed and breakfasts.  A continuous line of people shuffled, without shoes so as to protect the brand new carpet, through the house from 3 to 7 p.m.  The review, at least judging from popular response, was overwhelmingly positive.  Several visitors gazed almost awe-struck as they toured each of the home's two suites and three bedrooms.  They ran their hands over the intricately carved woodwork on the staircase and fireplace mantels, stared at much of the antique furniture and commented on the decorating taste.
Many of the visitors understand just how much the Spellmans have poured into the house.  A lot of them remember when the home was used as a fraternity house, a pizza restaurant, a bar, a craft store and a residence by previous owners.  Some of them said, as David Spellman did, that before this massive renovation, "the place was just an eyesore."
When the Spellmans bought the house in 1996, it had fallen into major disrepair.  But David Spellman said that his wife, Sabrina, has a knack for seeing the potential of old homes, and this one, she could not pass up.  So when it became available, they purchased it and began what they thought would be a six-month renovation.
Some four years later, David and Sabrina laugh at their naivete at the time, but they also beam with pride over what they've made of the project.  David Spellman was hesitant to talk about what the renovation effort cost the couple, saying only that the price tag was somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million.
"We gutted it all the way down to the two-by-fours," Sabrina Spellman said.
And before that they actually moved the home off the foundation to build a new basement.  Sabrina's father, Jerry Gillgannon, did all the woodwork, and  much of the renovation work.
Their project drew the attention of the community, as pedestrians stopped and passing cars slowed, all wondering, "what are they going to do next," David Spellman said.
On Sunday, several of those curious onlookers showed up to take a look at the nearly finished project (the Spellmans still are working on the main kitchen).
"We used to drink beer in here," said Jerry Leaf, Lindsborg, who lived in the house in the mid-'50s when it was the Pi Sigma Chi fraternity house for Bethany College.
"It's really exciting to see what they've done," Leaf said.
Leaf's old room is now the Lincoln Room, named for the former president of whom David Spellman is a great admirer.  The room is decorated with Civil War relics David has collected.
There is also a bridal suite, a master suite and two other bedrooms.  Prices to stay at the bed and breakfast range from $74 to $169 a night.  David Spellman said business has been good since opening in June, with the house filled to capacity some weekends.  The Spellmans cook breakfast themselves and when the main kitchen is complete in January, they will serve dinner.
Sunday was a very fulfilling day, David and Sabrina said.
"This, to me, is enough," Sabrina Spellman said, referring to the crowd of people, many of who complimented the couple on their work.  "We're just putting a bit into Lindsborg.  We love it."
Reporter Marc Sheforgen can be reached at 785-823-6464, Ext. 129, or by e-mail at [email protected] .
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