Visit the Louisville Bourbon Inn on the Old Louisville Mansions Tour

Ellen Stauffer’s son Kenny Stauffer lived in Minneapolis and was looking to move somewhere with milder winters.

“I lived in Atlanta and he was talking about southern cities,” Ellen told the Courier Journal. “And I said, you know, every time I drive around Louisville it’s so intriguing to me… We ended up meeting in November for a weekend – like kind of an early birthday celebration for me. him – and we fell in love with the city. “

A house to call home

Ellen Stauffer, owner of the Louisville Bourbon Inn, with her son Ken.  June 21, 2021

The two returned to their respective homes, studying real estate options online when Kenny learned that the Louisville Bourbon Inn at 1332 South Fourth St. in Old Louisville was for sale and sent the list to his mother.

“I started to laugh,” recalls Ellen. “I said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s funny. I’ll just write a check. We were joking about it and (I asked him if he) realized it was a bed and breakfast. But I think because of COVID and the inconvenience that goes with it, the idea has just taken hold. “

She saw potential in the old Victorian house, but the ability to be left alone in the house was what ultimately sealed the deal.

“They were kind enough to let me stay here on my own,” she said. “I wanted to see (if) I would be afraid; it’s a big house – (wanted to know) how it was going to feel. And so, I did it; and it was great, and it snowed. It snowed and it was cold, and I don’t know, it kind of set in.

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It was last winter. Ellen closed the 9,000-square-foot Victorian property on March 9 and quickly began renovating to make the space ready to welcome guests during the Kentucky Derby.

“The electricians came on the 10th, then the painters came on the 11th, and we went,” she said.

The Louisville Bourbon Inn.  June 21, 2021

Contemporary and relaxed

Although she chose to keep the name of the Old Louisville bed and breakfast, Ellen wanted to refresh the look of the house.

“I just felt like we could have a more relaxed aesthetic,” she explained. “A kind of relaxed elegance (to) greet people in a different way.”

Taking into account her own stay when planning the remodel, Ellen redone the bathrooms with new vanities and updated showers, added USB ports throughout the house, painted walls to brighten up the room. space and added new artwork and accessories.

The bathroom of the Kentucky Sunrise Suite at the Louisville Bourbon Inn.  June 21, 2021

“I bought things (from the previous owners),” she added. “For example, I bought them the dining room chairs and found tables that were a bit more modern and fun.”

Ellen describes her style as eclectic, explaining that she likes interior spaces that are a bit fanciful and more natural.

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“Our dishes are all mixed and matched,” she said. “There is old and new … I wanted the tables to look stylish, but also that you … didn’t have to worry about breaking something or chipping something.”

A horse racing figurine is the centerpiece of the dining room table at the Louisville Bourbon Inn.  June 21, 2021

Personal parts

Ellen has kept themed rooms, including the Old Fashioned Suite, Hot Toddy Suite, and Bourbon Fizz Suite, to name a few. But she also added personal accessories throughout, creating a cozy atmosphere in a home that functions like a business. One of these pieces is a large quilt hanging from a wall at the top of the stairs.

“The woman who (did) was my great, great Aunt Ruth,” she explained. “She was single and her father was a pastor. Lots of fabrics are her ties… She was also an artist, so some of it is painted, but a lot of it is embroidered.

A lounge area near the stairs of the Louisville Bourbon Inn.  June 21, 2021

The bourbon room / library – which is a space that has been maintained as a common area for guest enjoyment – is also dotted with personal artifacts that hold special significance to Ellen. The shelves are dotted with items from her box collection, old items that belonged to her grandparents, and a pair of her mother’s baby shoes.

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“The best compliment,” she said, “is when someone says ‘thank you for sharing your house.’ I love it because it means they feel right at home here and that’s what we want.

The Louisville Bourbon Inn is one of the homes on the 2021 Old Louisville Mansions Tour, which showcases some of the city’s finest Victorian architecture. Several first-rate mansions, townhouses and historic buildings will be on display from July 24 to 25 along with collections of supreme art and antiques.

Do you know a house that would make a great house for the week? Email Writer Lennie Omalza at [email protected] or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at [email protected]

Louisville old mansions tour

WHAT: Presented by the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, the Old Louisville Mansions Tour showcases some of the city’s finest Victorian architecture. Several first-rate mansions, townhouses and historic buildings will be on display along with collections of supreme art and antiques.

WHEN: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., July 24-25

OR: Pick up or purchase tickets at Conrad-Caldwell House, 1402 St James Court, from 11:45 am on both days.

TICKETS: Tickets are $ 30 and can be purchased online at, at the Visitors Center in Central Park, 1340 S. 4th St., or by calling 502-635-5244. Daily tickets can only be purchased at the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. Children 12 and under are free.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit or call 502-635-5244 for more information.

nuts and bolts

Owner: Ellen Stauffer, who is the innkeeper. Also at the house is Kenny Stauffer, the hostel chef.

Home: This is a 9,187 square foot, 9 bedroom, 10 bathroom Victorian home located in Old Louisville that was built in the 1870s.

Distinctive elements: Original three-story floating staircase; oversized windows, most of which are 55 inches by 106 inches; seven different types of wood everywhere; original hardware in brass and iron; fireplace in the dining room with a slit flue and a large window in the middle; 12 homes; retractable doors inside and outside the front entrance; staircase window seat with stained glass background; front turret; sprawling patio and backyard.

Applause! Applause! The Stauffers would like to thank Ralph Brown, entrepreneur / handyman turned friend and his wife Lynelle; Eric Miller for his tireless work in installing the tile; Vicki with the CertaPro painters for her rigor and her keen eye; Stephan McDonnal for wired home and the buzz of the Internet; sisters Mary, Martha, and Meg Dodd, plus the fun Atlanta ladies for cleaning, planting, shopping, decorating and whatever else was asked of them; friend Christopher Porter who keeps things on track in the hospitality world and never fails to make them laugh.

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