This romantic Inn is on a romantic street, in a romantic town. 10 Clarke Place is an extraordinary, five-bedroom, three-level Victorian home with a generous wrap-around porch that sits on Clarke Place in Frederick. The Victorian houses here are situated on wide lots well back from the generous street, lined with mature trees that, in the fall, burst with color. Monique Pasquale saw the house 30 years ago, and it has been a love story ever since.
Lovingly restored to the period, F. Scott Fitzgerald would feel right at home at 10 Clarke. Within the casually elegant house, decorative details abound while soft music plays from hidden speakers. The heat from the fireplace rises, and a soft, tinkling sound of glass floats through the air from the vintage, Parisienne, hand-blown, spaghetti glass chandelier. Monique used her design sense and researched the era to create a home that is truly a feast for the eyes. There is wallpaper throughout, but not just any wallpaper. She chose the hand-colored, hand-screened, and hand-cut wallpaper that is true to the period. The art deco design includes gold within the paper, which, as the sun hits, is elegantly reflective. Monique says, "I studied design while in New York, did tons of research on the period and the designs and, because I had worked for a textile company, I knew where to find the exact style. When I design things, things that are historical and accurate, it's timeless. When you are a caretaker of a historic building, it transcends time If you do it properly. I feel very fortunate that I can stay here."
Updating the house with new electrical work and central air and heating, Monique sought to add modern touches like the hidden speakers and searched for light fixtures from all over the world. She found a unique chandelier from Merida, Mexico, that is in the dining room and, Monique adds, "I found a lot of local things too." The dining room has a whimsical theme of Peacocks and is painted a gorgeous, peacock blue. Monique designed the large peacock stencils and continued the use of gold to create a stunning visual. She says friends give her peacock associated gifts, and she often uses them in the dining room.
"This is anything but a part-time, casual job," Monique says. "I started the B&B seven years ago as a way to be available to take care of my Grandmother. I feel really fortunate. I've had lovely guests that have recommended us. The business has grown very organically, and suddenly we were written up in major publications as a destination. Our guests come to us from all over the world, from Europe, Australia, Canada. They've seen the big cities and are curious about small American towns. When the guests arrive, we greet them with wine and cookies and then introduce them to our town. We show maps of the town and make suggestions for restaurants. It's kind of like they're coming to visit a family that knows all the ins and outs of the town. We feel as if we are mini ambassadors to Frederick. We are only successful if people tell their friends to come to town or they return to town. Staying here provides an opportunity to experience what it may be like to live in a historic district where everything is within walking distance."
Their success is not serendipitous. It's the result of the details that make this place so special. Details such as all linens are laundered and air-dried, followed by hand pressing. The five bedrooms are full of luxurious linens, fluffy pillows and over-sized bath towels. Here at 10 Clarke, no one skips the chef's breakfast in the morning. The signature dishes include decadent, chocolate malted waffles made with 80 percent cocoa that must rise overnight. It's topped off with fresh, real vanilla whipped cream and syrup from Monique's Grandmother's summer home in upstate New York. Again, the details; it's all served on elegant fine china, sterling and crystal. On the weekends, the chef prepares a three-course breakfast that returning guests admit is one of the reasons they come again. "We use super fresh ingredients for breakfast. We patronize all the farmer's markets and local organic sellers where we get our vegetables and eggs. We get a lot of foodies that come to town, so we want to utilize the freshest, organic products we can find," adds Monique.
"Owning 10 Clarke is a real treat for me. Ninety-nine percent of people that walk through my door are happy. My job is to keep them happy. You work super hard and yet, have to make it look effortless. We enjoy educating people about vintage homes and our sweet, little town," adds Monique. She truly is an ambassador to Frederick. 10Clarke.com Photography by Susan Kalergis Photography