CANTON — St. Lawrence University graduate Charles F. Rouse has turned a run-down East Main Street house into a model of renovation that welcomes guests to Canton.
Mr. Rouse didn't think any price he could get for restoring 24 E. Main St. would cover his expenses, so he turned it into a bed and breakfast.
"I just went for it. This was the worst house on the block. It was being used, but I don't know if it was in useable condition," Mr. Rouse said. "I wanted a decent-looking place on Main Street. I didn't just want to be a nuisance like Canton has seen. The best way of doing that was doing the outside first."
Mr. Rouse's parents, R. Daniel and Durane J. "Dodie" Rouse, Glen Rock, N.J., helped their son buy 24 E. Main St. for $38,500 in 2004 when he was a college sophomore, and 26-28 E. Main St., an apartment house next door, for $87,500 the following year. Instead of moving on after he graduated, Mr. Rouse kept fixing up the first house. He hopes to renovate the apartment house as well.
While the exterior of 24 E. Main St. looked good with new siding and porches, it served as a shell for what was going on inside. Mr. Rouse wanted to salvage what was right about the house but ended up throwing a lot away.
"I managed to keep the original wood floors and part of the staircase," he said.
"I kept getting hung up on little details. I had a hard time putting the tools down and saying it's open."
Mr. Rouse, who rented his first room in August, hasn't put a sign on 24 East Main Street Bed & Breakfast so he can better control the kind of traffic he gets through the door.
"Right now, it's word of mouth and Internet," he said.
The home has two single rooms and a suite with queen and twin beds, three baths upstairs and one downstairs. He's working on turning the third floor into another room and bath.
"I'm running the business, so it'll probably take about six months," he said. "I live right here. I'm in one of the rooms that's rentable."
The colors are subtle. He's incorporated Gouverneur and Turkish marble, Cambrian black granite, slate, and Potsdam sandstone as floors, bathroom tiles, countertops and backsplashes. Cherry is the predominant wood for furniture.
Pancakes are a breakfast staple.
Guest Mitchell L. Owen, Salt Lake City, had never stayed in a bed and breakfast before he missed his bus and found Mr. Rouse with the help of a full-up Best Western.
"This is pretty cool. It's like you're staying with a family," Mr. Owen said. "You feel comfortable. I'll definitely choose this again."