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A Byrnesville couple is looking to bring back a little of the spirit of their historic town by opening a bed-and-breakfast.

Diane and Chris Lamprecht have asked the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission to approve a number of variances to allow them to open the Twisted Mulberry Inn at 4979 Old Byrnesville Road.

The variances, which were unanimously approved in February and on July 23, dealt mainly with county requirements for natural screening, lighting, driveways for the 1.06-acre property and safe stopping sight distances.

Planning staff noted that the existing trees around the property exceed the county’s requirements for screening, the lighting on the building is sufficient for a bed-and-breakfast and it would not be possible to move the driveway, which has been serviceable for decades, to conform to county standards.

Diane Lamprecht said she and her husband have lived in the house for 35 years and decided to open two of its bedrooms up to the public.

“Our kids have grown up, and people have always been interested in the house,” she said.

“We’ll be a little different from your standard B and B,” Lamprecht added. “We are a DB and B (dinner, bed and breakfast). This venue is all about relaxation, whether that means laying in hammocks, swimming or just enjoying sitting on one of the decks listening to the Big River rolling over the dam. It is also about good food.”

Because of ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, however, only one couple at a time will be allowed to stay for the time being.

“We have a plan in place concerning COVID-19,” Lamprecht said. “We’ve hosted a couple of couples recently as a test run, and we plan to open officially soon.”

She said a website for the venue will be online soon.

Lamprecht said the house has an interesting history.

She said the original structure and a nearby home were built in the 1800s and housed Crean’s Mercantile, a general store. The store and home both were destroyed by fire in 1910, and the store was rebuilt either later that year or the next. It later was expanded.

Lamprecht said her mother, Pattie Welch, worked at Crean’s for a few years before it closed in the mid-1960s.

“We lived across Byrnesville Road (now Old Byrnesville Road) from the store,” Lamprecht said. “Byrnesville was once a thriving little community.”

Once the store closed, a pair of owners started restoring it as a home.

“Because it was a store, it looked like a store rather than a home,” Lamprecht said.

The first owners put in a living room and a kitchen, and the second owners put in a bedroom, she said.

After the Lamprechts bought it, they put in a lot of work on floors, scalloped ceilings, a sunroom and a sunken living room.

They’ve done a good enough job restoring the building, the Lamprecht said, that it has been included on tours sponsored by the Northwest Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

“People are interested in seeing the house,” Diane Lamprecht said. “Our kids’ friends would always tell us, ‘My mom would really like to see this house.’ We decided that if there was that much interest, we would open it up and allow people to see it.”

The dinner and breakfast inn is a natural extension of that idea, Lamprecht said.

“I think this would be an attractive place to stay,” she said. “We’re antique collectors, and we’ve decorated the house with our collection.”

Chris Lamprecht said he has installed an in-ground pool that will be available to guests.

“We’ve got a nice view of the Big River from the pool area,” he said.

The Lamprechts said they will continue to live in the house while operating the inn.

“We’ve lived here all these years, and I still think this is a great place,” she said.

Diane Lamprecht said she chose Twisted Mulberry as a name for the business.

“I really like mulberries, and I guess all this is kind of twisted,” she joked.

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