Baker City’s historic Ison House is under new ownership and will soon be open to the public as the Ison House Bed & Brew.
Twila Lavery, 51, and John Coop, 51, bought the house, at the corner of Washington Avenue and Resort Street, from Michelle Dollar in September.
“It came on the market and we thought, ‘what could we do with that house?’ ”Coop said.
Lavery said the house, built in 1887, hadn’t generally been open to the public in the past.
The house had previously been the site of a savings and loan, bank and, most recently, an office for Sunfire Real Estate.
Coop and Lavery have turned the structure into a bed-and-breakfast and pub that will serve a variety of beers, including varieties they plan to brew in their nano brewery.
“We’ve always wanted to have a little pub and this is perfect,” Lavery said.
Coop has been brewing beer for six years, using a 10-gallon brewing system.
Four upstairs rooms are available for rent in the home, which was named for Judge Luther B. Ison, a Baker County district attorney and judge who built the Queen Anne-style home two years before his death in 1889.
According to a walking guide to Baker City’s historic buildings compiled by Historic Baker City Inc., Ison imported brick for the home from Portland because he believed locally made bricks were too soft.
“We just fell in love with the history of the house,” Lavery said.
Other building materials came from Alaska, and the home’s coal fireplaces were made in the Netherlands.
Lavery and Coop plan to leave as much as possible of the historic interior intact, including the fine woodwork.
“To keep with the history part of it, we’re not cutting out any walls or adding on,” Lavery said.
The new owners named the four rental rooms after the judge and his wife — The Judge’s Chambers, the Josephine Parlor, which includes the distinctive conical tower, the Pioneer Room and the Butler’s Quarters.
Lavery is still decorating each room, adding different elements. Original beds and dressers are part of the decor.
Lavery and Coop have already had guests. Each room can accommodate two people, and, according to their website — www.theisonhouse.com — pets are allowed.
They keep finding new aspects of the house, such as the original door hinges with intricate detailing.
“It’s been really fun,” Lavery said.
In the main room, the new owners have retained photos of Judge Ison and his wife, Josephine. Lavery and Coop also have pictures of the judge’s family and old photos of Baker County.
In the adjoining parlor area, Coop made table tops from black locust wood.
Lavery said she and Coop plan to rent the main room for small parties and gatherings.
“We’re doing paint parties the month of December,” Lavery said.
She had a paint and wine studio in Milwaukie for a few years and brought her barrel bar to use in the Ison House.
Two large sliding doors will offer privacy for those wanting to have a birthday party or other celebrations.
The new owners plan to build a pub garden on the Resort Street side of the building and a small brewery shed on the other side behind the ATM.
In the spring, they will begin offering food from an outdoor barbecue kitchen.
Lavery and Coop have scheduled an open house on Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon to 5 p.m. with cookies and hot chocolate.
The pub will be open to adults wanting a beer or cider while kids meet Mrs. Claus.
They will also offer tours of the house.
Coop and Lavery moved to Baker from the Milwaukie area a year and a half ago.