Wrights, Blankenship Restore Beach House

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A piece of Hillsboro’s history will once again see new life. After more than a decade of idleness the former Beach House, located on Old Lake Hillsboro, has been renovated. No longer a concession and amenities area, the newly named Lakehouse has been transformed into a quaint getaway as The Lakehouse by Historic Red Rooster Inn.

John and Kendra Wright, who purchased and began restoring The Red Rooster Inn (former Hillsboro Hotel) in October 2017 (renovations began in January 2018), undertook yet another large-scale project leasing and converting the Beach House into a vacation rental.

“It took around a year to finish and has definitely been an undertaking but there were elements of working on The Lakehouse that were a little more relaxing than the Red Rooster restoration,” explained owner Kendra Wright. “The Lakehouse was more of a start from scratch project, where the Rooster renovations are based around historical accuracy. We were both hesitant about taking on another project but we also knew that someone needed to tackle it. We thought it would be a nice compliment to the hotel.”

What was once a restroom and snack bar facility has been beautifully renovated into a tranquil two bedroom unit and a studio unit, available for overnight accomodation. While the rental location is close to Fourth of July Point, Sherwood Forest Campground, Glenn Shoals Lake South Marina, Hillsboro Country Club Golf Course and is only a few miles from downtown Hillsboro, it feels as if you are secluded in a private lakeside getaway.

The larger unit includes two bedrooms, each with queen beds, as well as a full kitchen, a four piece restroom, a dining table for six, an ample living room seating area, and a twin roll away. Intended for families and gatherings, the large unit comfortably sleeps five people. The studio unit comfortably sleeps two people and features a full size bed, a small seating area, a small dining area, and a kitchenette with a stovetop, oven, refrigerator and microwave. 

The studio’s three piece washroom features a zero entry shower as well as grab bars surrounding shower and toilet area. Each of the units contains elements of the Red Rooster, including doors from the historic hotel and mirrors made from its old windows. 

Outdoors is a relaxing patio area with tables and chairs and charcoal grills. The beach has been covered with grass creating a picturesque lakeside view.

Wright paid attention to every detail, with the goal of strengthening the city’s tourism and economy never far from her mind. The paintings in the rooms were procured from a local artist, Taylor Meyers, and each room will contain amenity offerings with items from local shops such as Sage on Sage and Black Rabbit Coffee.

As fate would have it, Sid Blankenship, the same man who rebuilt the Beach House alongside (former) City Commissioner Connie Hill, worked with the Wrights to renovate the concession into a vacation rental. 

Blankenship has a long history of working to restore Hillsboro, both through his long time tenure with the city and as a real estate broker renovating area houses for more than 25 years. While he has long since retired, Blankenship continues to take on both residential and commercial renovation projects.

“People still liked to go to the beach but there was no longer a concession stand at that point, just an old beach house, consisting of two cubicles on each side, a concession stand and a flat roof. Connie (Hill) and I decided to build a new beach house. It was really nice and utilized for about six years before becoming idle and sitting unused for around 14 years,” said a reminiscent Blankenship. 

Prior to his employment with the City of Hillsboro, Blankenship was a professional drywaller and painter with (what was then) the painter and allied trades union. 

He developed his love for renovation working alongside his father-in-law, Robert Broaddus, who was a carpenter in Raymond. 

Blankenship developed his carpentry skills working for Broaddus after marrying his daughter, Annette, and the two men spent countless hours together renovating the young couple’s first home in Irving.

“I cringed watching the Beach House sit idle for all those years, said Blankenship. “I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to rehabilitate the Beach House (now The Lakehouse) after 20 plus years of it being built. I really feel like God had a hand in the whole thing, bringing the Wrights to Hillsboro, enabling them to undertake the biggest thing in Hillsboro probably since the Red Rooster was built and then inspiring them to take on the Beach House as well. It really feels like a full circle to me, and the best part was that my own son-in-law, Ben Cunningham, was by my side renovating the new Lakehouse. In some ways it was just like all those years ago when I was working alongside Robert. Hillsboro got blessed when John and Kendra Wright decided to move back to the area. My hope is that the Lakehouse is utilized beyond our comprehension.”

While the Red Rooster Inn is still undergoing renovations, The Lakehouse is currently available for rentals. Reservations may be made online at https://www.historicredrooster.com/.

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