Environs

Four men open their Victorian as a new gay guest house in DC

by Will Doig
Published on June 26, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

TAKE YOUR BEST GUEST! Amazing guesthouse accommodates all of your room and board needs. Stylish design, fireplaces, huge loft, one block from new convention center. Occupants are four live-in GM's who'll take care of the cooking and cleaning so you get out the door on time.

Randy Kuczor, Tom Bell, Mike Mollock and Ron Wilkerson run -- and live at -- the D.C. Guest House, a stylish, gay-owned bed and breakfast located in downtown Washington. Though they've lived there for five years, they've only been open for business since May. So far, the endeavor has been a rollicking success.

RANDY [in room #2]: We got a call from some people in Australia who want to stay here for a year. We're considering it. That's not just a "Sure, give us your American Express number" deal.

TOM: We have to make sure we're all going to get along.

RANDY: That's why we like to handle reservations ourselves rather than go through a service. You can tell if you're going to connect with a guest. It's not like a hotel. We're living here with them. If you're not getting along on the phone, you're not going to get along in the house. We've made arrangements for people to go to another guesthouse before because they were more of the bathhouse mentality.


Base of Operations: The D.C. Guest House
opens its doors for visitors.

TOM [in room #4]: People know that this is not a place where you can do things on the couch downstairs.

RANDY: Yes, it's a gay-owned bed and breakfast, not a gay-owned bathhouse. God forbid people should have sex in a rented room, but it happens. That's why we make it a point to say, these are your bath towels. They're Egyptian cotton. And these are your trick towels. They're 98 cents. I hate when you stay at a hotel where the towel is so thin that you can't dry off, or so thick that it's like a rug. We're out there, feeling the texture of towels.


Mi casa es su casa: Randy, Tom, Mike and Ron have made their home life their livelihood. The guests find more cozy comfort and camaraderie than a hotel offers -- so much so that many guests prefer eating in the kitchen with the boys to being served in the dining room.

We go everywhere from Crate & Barrel to flea markets to find stuff for the rooms. We function more as a family unit than friends. We had always joked that if we ever lost our jobs we could turn this place into a bed and breakfast. Well, lo and behold, 9/11 happened, we were unemployed and we did it. I used to have visions of myself turning into Mrs. Madrigal from Tales of the City, walking around, carrying cats.

TOM [in bathroom]: This used to be an elevator shaft. We left in the original gears and weight stack. When this house was a mortuary in the late 1800s, this was the workshop. The elevator was used for lifting caskets.

RANDY: By the time we bought it, it had been the 10th Street Art Gallery for twenty years. We have artwork from every decade since 1840 represented in the house. You can't see this house at a glance. You can stay here for a week and see something on the last day that you missed the whole time you were here.

TOM [in kitchen]: We perform all the services for the guests together and it goes by just like that. In the wintertime, if one of the guests wants a fire in the fireplace, we'll build it for them. For breakfast, people can have just coffee or a full spread. Randy does all the cooking.

RANDY: Most guests ask if they can eat in the kitchen with us rather than in the dining room, though. We'll use the dining room for brunch on Saturday or Sunday, but most of the time they're in here with us. People help clean up after breakfast. It's a totally different mentality than a hotel. They want to feel like they're part of the family here and we make them feel that way.


Call 202-638-6830 to advertise here in Marketplace