I laughed out loud when I read that Abilene’s Sayles Landmark aims to be a sophisticated corrective for those times when “the doily-clad museum house just won’t cut it any longer.” But I came closer to crying tears of gratitude when I stepped inside the grandest B&B I’d ever seen, nary a doily in sight. Built by Judge Henry Sayles in 1889, the 3,500-square-foot Queen Anne Victorian home has been reimagined top to toe by its current owners, Terry and Laura Browder.
They clearly have an uncanny knack for repurposing antiques in clever ways: a church pew fashioned into a bed, a section of a hundred-year-old iron cemetery fence that’s now a staircase banister. Each room—there are two downstairs, four upstairs—has its own theme, a decorating scheme that usually makes me shudder but is done here to masterful effect: the bathroom in the Judge’s Chambers has walls “papered” with the bindings of leather law books, and the spacious Luxe boasts a claw-foot tub and a Victorian bed with a fourteen-foot-tall headboard. I was in awe. I was also well fed: there was a homemade “welcome” pound cake waiting for me in the kitchen and an elaborate hot breakfast, served either in the Gentleman’s Parlor or on the terrace by the pool. It all added up to the type of subtle splendor that made me feel simultaneously spoiled and right at home. Opened November 2014; 6 rooms; starting at $195; sayleslandmark.com