WICHITA — It’s no coincidence that when a visitor enters the home at 1847 N. Wellington Place in Midtown, one of the first noticeable things is an enticing aroma of freshly baked cookies wafting from the kitchen.
Wayne Chambliss and Gary Ivy planned it that way, as they intend to do for each of their guests when they open Wellington Place Inn in December.
The two have been wanting to open a bed and breakfast for some time. From their home base in Austin, Texas, they flew all over the country to look at possible cities and inns.
“Either the town was beautiful and the house was a wreck, or the house was beautiful and the town didn’t seem to have anything going on,” Chambliss says.
They were close on a deal in Ohio, but they took it as a sign when it didn’t work out.
The 6,500-square-foot Wellington Place house “was just gorgeous and was in very good shape,” Chambliss says, and he says Wichitans immediately welcomed him and Ivy.
“The business climate is phenomenal,” he says. “Everybody just seemed very positive, and so we thought this was the place to be. … Wichita just seemed to have everything.”
They’re still doing research on the house, but Chambliss says it was built in 1887 by former Wichita Mayor L.W. Clapp and is on local and national historic registries.
“It’s a beautiful old home,” he says.
The city used to own the house and used it as an event center.
There are five bedrooms that will be used for guests. Chambliss and Ivy are keeping the third floor private for their own use.
“There are so many cool features about this house,” Chambliss says. “The thing I’m most proud of is one of the front doors (Clapp) actually hand carved, and it’s still here.”
Ivy says small details, such as unique knobs on doors, caught his eye when he saw the house.
“I was like, this is fantastic,” he says.
Most of the floors are original.
“It had everything already,” Ivy says.
The house has a pool, a game room with a pool table and will have an exercise room.
Chambliss is a pre-sales engineer for a software company. He’s keeping his job and working from home.
Ivy retired from Sam’s Club after 25 years, most recently in human relations.
“He is going to be primarily responsible for running the bed and breakfast,” Chambliss says.
Ivy says he’s always wanted to own his own business.
“I just always wanted to be my own boss,” he says.
“I just know how you’re supposed to treat people. I love meeting new people.”
As much as they’re looking forward to having guests in their home, Ivy says it’s been fun getting out and meeting Wichitans at businesses they’ve frequented so far.
“Everybody in Wichita seems to be so nice,” he says. “It’s just amazing. I eat that up.”