When June and Paul knew that they would be taking the reigns of the Featherbed Railroad they envisioned some new ideas for the landmark including a fresh concept for one of the rooms. Today you can make your reservation in that vision as Midnight in Paris is now a reality.
Where the former Lovers Caboose once stood, Midnight in Paris takes its place and offers a fresh, clean and stylish way to spend a wonderful vacation in Lake County. But Midnight in Paris isn't simply a paint job, it's a whole new vision from floor to ceiling for this former caboose from the Southern Pacific.
This was no small project. It started with Paul and his cousin Grayson completely stripping the entire caboose from floor to ceiling. Gone was the ancient carpet, the tacky wall paneling and the furnishings. The bathroom was completely demolished with the odd yellow and light blue tile finding their way to the local dump along with the blue toilet.
Sometimes it's pretty incredible to think about what used to be in style.
Step one of the process was all new plumbing including completely professionally resurfacing the two-person Jacuzzi tub with a neutral color. The resurfacing makes the tub look and feel brand new and it's just beautiful.
Next up all new plumbing and fixtures surrounded by beautiful Carrara marble tile.
Once the bathroom was completed the next step was the walls in the main room. A caboose is a unique structure to be sure and is made of two layers of heavy steel sheet. But this doesn't work for using traditional building materials so you first have to build a wooden "cage" inside the caboose to which you can affix new traditional wall boards.
"One of the things I discovered is that there isn't a proper right angle anywhere in this thing," said Paul about his experience building out the project. So plans to create a new interior were made more difficult by the fact that this 70-year-old vehicle has probably derailed more than once and that it was likely hand-built in Southern Pacific's yards. Yes, the bullet marks on it prove it was well made but that doesn't mean it was made with an eye towards being a fancy room.
Among the challenges were the beams in the original ceiling and Paul and Grayson had to notch out the crown molding specifically to accommodate these. Not that they're equidistant or even perfectly straight - measure once. Twice. Three times. Then cross your fingers and work carefully.
The new flooring was another challenge with the caboose floor being comprised of relatively rough-hewn boards that had had all sorts of railroad stuff dragged over them. Laying a beautiful new wooden floor so that it looks straight was more than a challenge and several flooring specialists took one look and ran the other way, so it was Paul and Grayson who did the work themselves.
While Paul and Grayson and June were working on the bones of the room and adding decorative touches, the team was also combing local shops and the World Wide Web for just the perfect decorative touches.
Who knew that they would find things like a grand bicyclette table or a beautiful black Chaise Longue (lounge) or even that fer forgé mirror? Some of the other touches were more the handiwork of June as she turned vintage items into fitting pieces of the puzzle with decorative painting and resurfacing.
Of course everything you touch is new in the room as well - the linens, the curtains, and even the bed.
We hope you love Midnight in Paris as much as we have loved making this new experience for you. While we've certainly learned a lot about cabooses and how they were built. And now we have more stories and experiences that we'd love to share with you on your next visit to the Featherbed Railroad.
Written by Anthony Barthel
A blog about happenings in Lake County.