Article by Sam Dostaler
Candice and Adam Hunsigner seemingly had it all. Married for almost 10 years and with a thriving bakery, lifestyle and electrician shop just seconds from their Grasylake, Illinios home, the couple known as Ivory & Iron was firing on all cylinders.
However, as self proclaimed, “geeks about historic properties,” the duo found themselves breaking away from their roots midway through 2018 and moving everything to the charming town of Essex, Connecticut.
“The property that we found in Essex, we just really feel in love with because it just perfectly incapsulates everything that we need out of a property,” said Candice of their 1790 Federal home. “From home living to B&B to bakery [in the barn on property] the businessmen aspect as well so we just fell in love with the property and then of course Essex itself is super charming.”
Once the couple arrived in Connecticut the work began, first on the house, renovating the space one room at a time, but through the entire process making sure they kept the charm that made the property so special a prominent feature. Late in 2018 with some in home renovations still remaining they opened their doors to guests of the Bed & Breakfast. The B&B offers three rooms and one shared bathroom (a second is in the plans) and with exception of Candice and Adam’s living area, guests have full reign of the house.
When booking guests can choose between the King Room, Queen Room, The Nest Room or the 3-bedroom Eco Suite which allows visitors to rent out the entire B&B. Upon entering their room guests will instantly find the charms of old New England with original wood floors and shifting door hardware. If you feel like enjoying some fresh air during your stay guests are welcome to stroll the field stone lined grounds.
“A big part of who we are as Ivory & Iron is eco-friendly/organic,” Candice said. “So all of the materials and items in the rooms are health conscious – organic bamboo mattresses, organic linen and/or bamboo sheets, natural fill pillows, organic Turkish towels, natural, sulfate free toiletries, etc. And they will be ever evolving as we search for beautiful antiques, which will be easy to do locally!”
The idea behind Ivory & Iron happened almost by accident. Best friends since eighth-grade, Adam and Candice both worked in the traditional job market until about three months before they were set to get married, when they both lost their jobs in the same week. In the lead up to the wedding Candice went in to full Type A wedding planing mode and it wasn’t until after their honeymoon to Greece did she begin to make serious professional moves.
“Adam was like okay you have to do something because your projects are turning into my projects,” explained Candice. “He kind of encouraged me to bake, I have always done it but it had always been my passion in the background and I didn’t want to do it for a job because I didn’t want to ruin it. [Anyway’s] I started baking, I did a craft fair and it exploded from there.”
From there eventually led to the opening of Cacao Sweets & Treats and lifestyle shop Blacksmith & Co. in their town of Grasylake, less than 30 miles south of the Wisconsin. The shop was so popular, as is their Instagram account, that lines spread well down the street with patrons waiting for one last chance to taste Candice’s baked goods before they moved to Connecticut.
Now located just moments from downtown Essex and its shops, restaurants, the Connecticut River Museum and views of the river, Ivory & Iron continues to weave themselves into the fabric of the community. With work nearing completion in the house the focus has turned to what made Candice and Adam so well-known in Illinois, their organic bakery, lifestyle shop and electrical studio.
“We haven’t done a whole lot to the barn where the bakery and shop will be, we just kind of gutted it out and it needs a new roof on it so we have quite a bit of work to go into that,” said Candice.
When talking to Candice about the plans for the barn and what it will add to Ivory & Iron her excitement is infectious. “What is really cool about it is that when you are staying at the B&B you can hop over to the barn and have a baked good or expresso so it kind of all melds into one.”
The melding doesn’t end their, once everything is in place Candice plans on hosting workshops in the B&B house kitchen.
“I really like hospitality and inviting people in and showing them how you can do some amazing things super simple. It doesn’t have to be over the top for people to make something amazing.”
Simple? Were not sure. Amazing? Ivory & Iron is certainly knocking on that door and will be pushing through it one day very soon.