WILLIAMS BAY — Bailey House may be one of the oldest homes in the village, but those who pass by the colonial farmhouse across from Yerkes Observatory know it for a different reason.
“The yellow doors,” laughed Kristin Stone, of Melges Real Estate, Lake Geneva.
After seeing brightly-painted doors on numerous buildings during a trip to Ireland, previous Bailey House owners changed the front doors of what was then a bed-and-breakfast to its current eye-catching color.
The current owner kept the doors yellow, but after implementing substantial renovations, is now selling the place, 372 W. Geneva St., Williams Bay, for $674,900.
Stone — one of the listing agents for the property, — knew the Bailey House was special the moment she laid eyes on it, and not just because of its door color.
“When you look at a house like this, you know it wasn’t built just yesterday,” she said. “This is one of — if not the oldest — house that’s still here in the Bay area.”
Aside from being a B&B until around 2015, the Bailey House also was reportedly the area’s post office in the 1800s.
Stone specializes in listings that are architecturally significant and of historical note.
After some extensive research at local libraries and speaking to local historians, she discovered the house was built in the mid 1800s by Kiah Bailey.
He is believed to be the second postmaster of the area, after Capt. Israel Williams.
The book “A Brief History of Williams Bay,” by Frank M. Van Epps, states Bailey was postmaster of Bay Hill Post Office, which was located in the Bailey House.
Back then, the area was known as Geneva Bay, not Williams Bay, and the Bailey House was smaller than it is now.
But the current size of the property — 2.75 acres — is much smaller than it was then.
According to an 1857 plat map, Bailey owned 150 acres from the corner of Theatre Road and Geneva Street, said Stone.
Circa 1919, the Bailey family sold the house to the Smyth family, which owned the Geneva Lake estate Tyrawley.
During its ownership of the Bailey House, the Smyth family built onto the home, making it the size it is today.
Bailey House was listed for sale Jan. 24, after a substantial renovation by Clausen Builders, of Lake Geneva.
Stone said Clausen left virtually no trace of the five-bedroom, 5-1/2-bath home untouched during the reno, keeping its rustic charm while making the home brighter and more modern.
Bead board in the ceiling and wide, rough-hewn planks adorn the rooms, keeping its history as a farmhouse in mind, while additions such as a compass mural on the foyer floor remind guests of the Bay itself, which is within walking distance.
Although the current owner used the house as a single-family residence, Stone said there is a chance the new owner can bring it back to its former life as a business.
“Because the house has multiple bedrooms — all renovated, with bathrooms attached — this makes it really appealing for either large families, with large family gatherings, or (as) a bed-and-breakfast,” she said.
The property is listed as turnkey, and Stone said its furnishings are negotiable with the sales price of the home.
For more information, visit MelgesRealEstate.com or call (262) 215-6875.
Erika Hillier is also a listing agent for the Bailey House.