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Turn-of-the-Century Home Meets Contemporary Art!

(13 Reviews)

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Living room. Typically a bright room. Showcases the work of JoAn Melchild


Last updated: 04/17/2017
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  • Minimum stay:1-2 nights
  • Sleeps:6
  • Bedrooms:2
  • Bathrooms:1
  • Property type:House
  • Internet:Yes
  • Pets considered:No
  • Wheel chair accessible:No

About the Property

This Is A Treasured Home And An Outstanding Example Of Small Space Living.

PLEASE NOTE: I will be out of town April 9th through April 14th and out of internet range. I will respond to your inquiry when I return.

The GuestHouse is a private art gallery which showcases local artists and is a vacation rental.

Regarding the house: as a local artist and writer, I renovated this 1905 home with high attention to quality interior design. At 1100 ft.², it is an excellent example of small space living. There are two bedrooms and one bath. Enjoy morning or afternoon coffee on the porch with a view of Big Stone Lake. Maple hardwood floors are throughout the living room, dining room, and bedroom. There is air-conditioning, a five-burner stainless steel gas range, microwave, a quality appointed kitchen, reverse osmosis drinking system, a winter humidifier system, a main-floor bedroom with a queen bed, an upstairs bedroom with a full bed, and a pullout living-room couch sleeper. The main floor bathroom includes an old-fashioned cast-iron tub, shower, and a Whirlpool washing machine and dryer. Wireless Internet, a 38” flat screen television with an internet audio and video player (internet access to Netflix, Hulu Plus , You Tube and Pandora), and an ample library of DVDs. The dining room table seats four, but has three extra leaves. The GuestHouse is centrally located in downtown Ortonville, just two houses away from The Ortonville Pier and Lakeside Park, walkable to the library, The Granary Food Co-op, Java Jules, a favorite coffee and lunch spot. During the summer, enjoy the Saturday farmer’s market along the lake.

I try to use natural cleaning products. Towels and sheets are 100% cotton and are of high quality. I strive to buy organic cotton when I can. The GuestHouse has been inspected and licensed by the state of Minnesota, which means it meets safety and cleanliness criteria. Mattresses are encased with a hypo allergic and bed-bug barrier, there are smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, a carbon monoxide alarm, etc.

This summer, 2016, I launch my third summer season of having The GuestHouse. It amazes me where people come from. I’ve had guests from all over the United States including Hawaii. I have people who come here to see family and reconnect with their roots, people attending weddings, honeymooners, girlfriend getaways, people who want to see what our region is like and explore real estate. I have also attracted people specifically because of this house, which makes me incredibly happy!

Because The GuestHouse is also an art gallery, I have the opportunity to be a curator, which means I select the type of show I want to have for the season and specific artists. Because I am an artist myself, I am familiar with artists in our region and with their work. So I begin to think of shows long in advance and imagine who the artists might be.

This year I decided to have a contemporary art exhibit. The showcase artist this year is Lisa Bergh out of New London. I met she and her husband a number of years ago, we were both on an art jury together. Her work is very contemporary and reflects (to me) moving fabric in a breeze or in a bundle. She has a MFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University in California. She is a very well established artist, art instructor, artistic entrepreneur, and the Executive Director for The Hutchinson Center for the Arts. Personally, I was interested in how her work would look in contrast to a 1905 home, I love the twist of old and modern to showcase her work! Her work is deeply bold and original.

I discovered Phyllis Joos’ work at the PRCA gallery in Morris. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I explored woodblock printing. She has taken woodblock printing to a whole new level in creating images of clothing. I immediately fell in love with her work and really appreciate how avant-garde it is. Everyone who has been in the house and sees her work is absolutely nuts about it! She is a perfect addition to this year’s show.

And then there is John George Larson. I am deeply intrigued by his work. I was able to visit his art studio outside of Milan and see his two kilns. He lived in South Korea for a year studying with a ceramic master. It is only a matter of time before he is discovered – with a larger audience – for his truly innovative creativity in ceramics. I’m absolutely delighted to have three-dimensional sculpture as part of this year’s show. Having his work raises the quality of The GuestHouse to a whole new level.

And then there is my wonderful friend Vicky Radel’s work. Ironically, I met Vicky about eight years ago in California, we were both attending a conference on dreams. Years later, we met again HERE, and we are now part of a dream group here in Ortonville. What are the chances of that? I absolutely love her encaustic art. With this specific art form, she incorporates photographs onto a beeswax resin mixture with pigment, the colors are earthy and fantastic. I truly think she has found a unique niche and definitely has a lot to offer this specific form of creativity. I’m always excited to see her latest work.

Last but not least, I am deeply honored to showcase the work of the late, JoAn Melchild. JoAn was a beloved Ortonville artist with a deep and hearty laugh and a twinkle in her eye. I have to be honest, at first, I would look at her work and not quite get it. She would paint pink Pepto-Bismol Lake cabins, farm sites that have almost an elementary, primitive, folk art look. But over time, I really came to love her courageous use of colors and her style of brushstrokes. In regard to this specific show, she gives a nod to our rural region, with a whole new perspective. I am showing her work, on loan, through the generosity of two private collectors.

Returning artists showcased this year at The GuestHouse:
Kathleen Marihart is a lifelong artist. Along with fine arts, she is a master award-winning quilter. I believe that her work with colors through fabrics, have had a strong influence in her paintings. She’s a prolific artist and is constantly taking classes to expand her knowledge and explore different mediums. I am always fascinated by what she is doing and how her work is evolving.

Corina Kells is getting a degree in photography. Although she is quite young, in her mid-20s, she has been exploring different types of art for years. Creating yupo art is something that she is really enjoys doing with her mother, Kathleen Marihart. Kathleen has an art studio on Big Stone Lake, so when the two of them are painting, Corina often will take a break and go for a swim in the lake. Not too shabby.

Becky Stattelman was born and raised in this area. She loves life on the farm and lives it with panache and style. I would have to say that her life itself is a form of artistic expression. The beauty that surrounds her, the horses with their swishing tales, the strutting chickens, and her welcoming farm dog, are all part of her personal expression. It’s no surprise that she is able to communicate her appreciation of farm life and nature through her stunning photography. She and her husband are the proud hosts of The Meander location titled The Red Barn. Their site attracts about 900 people a year!

I am also a returning artist. However, I ran out of wall space this year, so the only pieces I have displayed are the historical painted photographs. They are important to me because they honor history--not only the land that this house is on-- but to Ortonville and our area.

I am deeply honored to have these artists at The GuestHouse. Each of them bring years of creative expression to their work.

Fun idea: a recent client was here for a large family reunion. She hosted an open house at The GuestHouse and invited me to talk about the art. This was something novel for her family to do, and it was certainly fun for me to meet people from various parts the United States and showcase our local artists.

Artists at The GuestHouse are: Lisa Bergh of New London, Phyllis Joos of Hancock, John George Larson of Milan, Vicky Radel of Norcross, the late JoAn Melchild of Ortonville. Returning artists are: Corina Kells, Kathleen Marihart, Becky Stattelman, and myself, Edie Barrett. With some advanced notice, studio tours can be arranged. PLEASE NOTE: an art show runs from May through the end of October. If you rent this house in the "off" season, there will be art on the wall just not the art that is photographed on VRBO. This house will not be re-photographed until May 2017.
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Member since: 2014

Speaks: english
Response time: Within 12 hours
Response Rate: 100%
Calendar last updated: 04/17/2017

Property Type

  • House
  • 1100 sq. ft.

House Rules

  • Max. occupancy 6
  • Minimum Age Limit For Renters:


  • Children Welcome
  • Non Smoking Only
  • Pets Not Allowed:

    I’m a huge dog lover, but that being said, the wood floors have been newly refinished, there are butter-leather chairs, so I’m not particularly keen about having dogs in the house. There is not a fenced yard. No cats....moreless

Accommodation Type

  • Vacation Rental


  • Guests Provide Their Own Meals


  • Long-Term Renters Welcome
  • Wheelchair Inaccessible:

    There are five cement steps heading up to the house, with a very solid rod iron railing. Once you’re in the house, it is very accessible friendly....moreless

Bedrooms: 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6, Beds for 4-6

  • Bedroom 2: 1 double


  • Bedroom 1: 1 queen


  • Pullout sofa couch: 1 double


  • The main floor bedroom has a quality queen size mattress with quality bed linens. The upstairs bedroom his a full bed, a quality mattress, with quality bed linens. The living room has a sleeper, pullout sofa. This is an authentic 1950’s sofa. It has hardly ever been used, but best for children or someone under 30. The mattress could also be put on the floor and be used as a futon, which might be more comfortable than having it on the couch. In addition, I have a full size blow-up mattress with a hand pump....moreless

Bathrooms: 1 Bathroom

  • Bathroom 1: toilet, tub, shower


  • The mainfloor bathroom has a cast-iron tub, a walk-in shower, and a like-new whirlpool washer and dryer....moreless

Other Amenities

  • If you like hunting and/or fishing, I have connections with avid hunters and fishermen with advanced notice, I could arrange guides. Although this home is right next to the lake, there is no lake access on this property. There is a boat launch approximately one mile from the property. ...moreless


  • Stereo:

    Pandora access...moreless

  • Television:

    Wireless Internet, a 38” flat screen television with an internet audio and video player (internet access to Netflix, Hulu Plus , You Tube and Pandora), and an ample library of DVDs. ...moreless


  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Budget
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions


  • Churches
  • Library
  • Museums
  • Playground
  • Restaurants

Local Services & Businesses

  • ATM/Bank
  • Babysitter
  • Fitness Center
  • Groceries
  • Hospital
  • Laundromat
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Services

Leisure Activities

  • Antiquing
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Scenic Drives
  • Sight Seeing
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Location Type

  • Downtown:

    Ortonville is an old historical town that was established in the 1870s. Some of the historical buildings still exist downtown, there are also newer contemporary buildings....moreless

  • Lake View:

    Nice lake view off the back patio, through the dining room window, and the kitchen window....moreless

  • Rural:

    Ortonville is a rural town of about 1,800 people. The community borders Big Stone Lake, which is 26 miles long. We are surrounded by beautiful prairie land....moreless

Sports & Adventure Activities

  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Fly Fishing
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Ice Skating
  • Pier Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing


  • Dining:

    The dining room table seats four, and there are three additional leaves for that table. There are also additional folding chairs....moreless

  • Dining Area
  • Seating for 8 people


  • Air Conditioning
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided:

    Quality linens....moreless

  • Living Room
  • Parking:

    There is off street parking in the back of the house to accommodate one car. The driveway is an easement, and is not available for parking. Street parking in front....moreless

  • Towels Provided:

    Quality towels....moreless

  • Washing Machine


  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils:

    There are quality everyday dishes, and an additional set of nice China....moreless

  • Kitchen:

    There are brand-new Cuisinart pots and pans, a good knife set, baking supplies, a mixer, a blender, a small Cuisinart, a slow cooker, coffee maker. There is very nice china....moreless


  • Boat:

    Only 2 miles from a public boat launch area. If you would like a pontoon boat ride and a tour of the lake, give a call to Let’s Go Fishing, and they will be happy to schedule a boat rid...moreless

  • Deck / Patio
  • Golf:

    Our golf course is a major attraction! To make a reservation for your tee time call 320-839-3606. ...moreless

  • Outdoor Grill


Write a review 5
from 13 traveler reviews
Rental basis: Per property
Dates Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
Off Season 2016 & 2017
Oct 1 - May 31, 2017
1 night min stay
Summer and Fall 2017
Jun 1 - Oct 31, 2017
2 night min stay

Additional information about rental rates


  • Cleaning fee $60
  • Refundable Damage Deposit $300
  • Tax Rate 6.875%


There is $75 cancellation fee.

On two week rentals there is a $110.00 cleaning fee. With linen service after 7 days.

OPTION! FALL SALE! 14 night minimum: $85.00 per night. Oct 1 - 11/31/16.

Owner's cancellation policy:

100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.

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Last updated: 04/17/2017
Check availability
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21 Unavailable
22 Today
23 Selected dates


50 Miles
Nearest Airport
Watertown, SD
3 Miles
Nearest Golf

Car: Not Necessary

The Unique Benefits of This Area: Big Stone Lake is the headwaters to the Minnesota River. The area is lush with vegetation, it’s a major bird watching, fishing, and hunting destination.

Big Stone Lake divides Minnesota from South Dakota and is 26 miles long. It’s a beautiful lake, with wetlands and rolling hills that give way to the prairie. The city of Ortonville was established in the late 1800s. Due to the railroad, it became a mecca not only for growing industry, but for theater, arts and education. Currently, the population of Ortonville is about 1,800 people.

Things to Do: According to Times outdoor writer, Glen Schmidt, “… one could make the argument that Big Stone Lake is now the best perch fishing lake on the map.” We are already known as having one of the best walleye lakes in the western region of Minnesota. People also fish for northern, pike, and bluegills. This is a beautiful lake in the summer, but don’t let the winter blues stop you, Artie’s Bait and Tackle rents ice fishing houses. You’ll need to have a very strong Minnesota accent, have eaten lutefisk and lefsa, and know who Ole’ and Inga are.

You don’t have to be a fisherman to enjoy the lake. In the summer, if you would like a pontoon boat ride and a tour of the lake, give a call to Let’s Go Fishing and they will be happy to schedule a boat ride for you.

One my favorite seasonal places is The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, just 1 mile south of town on Highway 7/75. This is a self-guided driving tour that attracts 20,000 to 30,000 people per year for bird watching and sightseeing. There are approximately 230 different species of birds that have been documented in our area. The refuge is a five-mile wildlife paved loop that also has two hiking paths to explore. Every time I go there, I am stunned by the beauty of the land and the prolific birdlife. Bring your binoculars and a camera! There is a large elevated dock seating area and nice restrooms. The gate opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. This area is open in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, if there is too much snow, the gate will be locked. Note: the highway sign reads, Scenic Auto Driving Tour.

This is also a great area for walking and biking. There is a trail that runs along the Minnesota River called The Minnesota River Headwaters Recreational Trail. It starts at Big Stone Lake and connects to The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. If you’re looking to break a sweat, and be awestruck by the beauty of nature at the same time, this would be a great biking loop. The trail is wheelchair accessible.

Need a little retail therapy? How about visiting our local antique shops! Just south of Ortonville off-highway 12 is Valley View Antiques. In Big Stone City there are two seasonal antique shops: both are located on Highway 12. After all this antiquing, you might need to go have a chocolate shake at Mac Daddy’s. They have the best ice cream in the area. You can’t miss the location, it’s right next to Old House Antiques. They have summer hours only.

Since you’re sporting a sugar high, why stop now? I recommend visiting The Furniture Shoppe in downtown Ortonville. While Jim has a large selection of new furniture upstairs, it’s the basement shop that I enjoy. Jim buys estates, so you can find everything from used furniture, to paintings, to Christmas tree decorations. I found a flawless Limoges (French porcelain) coffee pot there, as well as many other treasures.

Our golf course is a major attraction! The back nine are beautiful holes on the plateau that overlook Big Stone Lake. Having dinner on their outside patio, overlooking the lake, contributed to “sealing the deal” in my desire to move here. You probably already know, but this area is renowned for all kinds of hunting. Once you’ve gotten that big buck, give Dale a call at Pioneer Meat Market. He makes the best homemade deer sausage in the region! Whole deer processing costs $60. While you’re there, you might want to ask about the sliced roast beef that they sell by the pound that is precooked. It’s a real easy crowd-pleasing meal!

There are many things to do in this area, but it’s also just a beautiful place to unwind and be quiet. It’s a great getaway.


Owner info

Year Purchased: 2013

About the owner: I moved to Ortonville in 2010. Once upon a time, I was a NDSU student, and transferred to the University of California Santa Barbara to complete my degree. I remained in Santa Barbara for 26 years. I am a fifth generation Minnesotan and Norwegian. Although my professional background was in business, I am a lifelong artist and writer. The Minneapolis Tribune has published my work; I am also a Meander artist. I have always enjoyed interior design. The GuestHouse is my fifth home renovation project. My family and I have rented five different homes through VRBO, so I know what I want my experience as a renter to be. Living in Santa Barbara I got used to having houseguests. Between being a vacation home renter myself, and having years of guests, I hope to strike a balance of providing beautiful accommodations, being a host if you need assistance, and also providing you with enough information to create your own memorable holiday.

Why the Owner Chose Ortonville, MN, USA:
My family lived in the Ortonville area during the turn of the century. While visiting here five years ago, I fell in love with the beauty of the prairie, Big Stone Lake, and the iconic small-town charm of Ortonville. I find the people here incredibly welcoming and generous. The fact that there is an active arts community is tremendously appealing to me. More and more, I see people from other areas discovering Ortonville as a well-kept secret.

The Unique Benefits at this House:
The moment I walked into this house I loved it and I saw it’s creative potential. I have approached this renovation as an evolving art project. To my knowledge, there’s nothing quite like this rental home in western Minnesota, and perhaps in the state. My friends say to me, “This house is so personal! How can you rent it to strangers!?” It is a personal house. But I also want to give visitors the opportunity to stay in a unique home and get a sense of who we are as an art community. This area of Minnesota is exceptionally beautiful. To host people in a quality way, facilitate an appreciation of art, and help them to enjoy our beautiful region, well... that just really thrills me!

Contact us

Speaks: english
Response time: Within 12 hours
Response Rate: 100%
Calendar last updated: 04/17/2017

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  • Living room. Typically a bright room. Showcases the work of JoAn Melchild

    Living room. Typically a bright room. Showcases the work of JoAn Melchild

  • Master bedroom featuring Phyllis Joos' woodblock images

    Master bedroom featuring Phyllis Joos' woodblock images

  • Kitchen entry from dining room

    Kitchen entry from dining room

  • Bathroom featuring Becky Stattelman's work

    Bathroom featuring Becky Stattelman's work

  • Upstairs bedroom

    Upstairs bedroom

  • Lisa Bergh's work

    Lisa Bergh's work

  • Vicy Radel's encaustic art

    Vicy Radel's encaustic art

  • John George Larson's wood-fired sculptural ceramics

    John George Larson's wood-fired sculptural ceramics

  • Kathleen Marihart's yupo

    Kathleen Marihart's yupo

  • Living room to master bedroom

    Living room to master bedroom

  • Dining room with Lisa Bergh's work

    Dining room with Lisa Bergh's work

  • Kitchen


  • Upstairs bedroom

    Upstairs bedroom

  • Patio off the kitchen, dining room view

    Patio off the kitchen, dining room view

  • Quick walk to lake, pier and park

    Quick walk to lake, pier and park

  • Phyllis Joos' large woodblocks

    Phyllis Joos' large woodblocks

  • JoAn Melchild's

    JoAn Melchild's

  • Becky Stattelman's

    Becky Stattelman's

  • Corina Kells & Kathleen Marihart

    Corina Kells & Kathleen Marihart

VRBO #561123

This listing was first published here in 2014.

Date last modified - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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