Couple?s view to share

By TOBY WALKER

'HANDYMAN'S dream' was probably the best way to describe Margaret McKenna's Bent Street home when she bought it 10 years ago.

A beautiful vista stretching up river over the South Grafton Bowling Club to Susan Island was the most appealing feature of the 1920s home, although Mrs McKenna knew it had the potential for much more.

Now, after a decade of gradual restoration, she and husband Steve Dobbs plan to turn their home into a bed and breakfast so the unique location can be enjoyed by visitors to Grafton.

"When we bought it, it was just disgusting," she said.

"It's a lovely old home and now that my two children have left home, my husband and I thought it was such a big home and was being wasted so it would be nice to show it off," she said.

With 12 foot ceilings, cedar fittings, collections of Australiana and an old clawfoot bath tub, the home will provide an impression of another era for guests.

A decision to approve the home's conversion into bed and breakfast accommodation is currently in the hands of Clarence Valley Council.

Despite an ongoing commitment to her own accountancy firm in Grafton, Mrs McKenna said it was the enjoyment she and Steve had found staying in bed and breakfasts around the world that had spurred their decision to start something similar in Grafton.

"Both of us enjoy travelling and loved the bed and breakfasts because you just appreciate how much nicer it is to stay in a home, and we've made some great friends through doing it that way," she said.

It would seem, barring a few fire regulation compliance issues, all is in place for the home to open its doors to guests in the coming months ? but not before the couple can decide on a name for the property.

Mrs McKenna said Steve was keen to choose a name that incorporated his Welsh heritage, but so far nothing has been decided.

Maybe they can discuss it as they enjoy the picturesque views of the Clarence from their balcony.



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