Chesterton Tribune
Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Furness House Set to Open as Vacation Inn
Posted: June 30, 2010 | Chesterton Tribune

One of Porter County’s oldest residences, the E.L. Furness Mansion on U.S. 20 in Furnessville, is undergoing a makeover and is set to open as a vacation rental in July.

The inn is the project of third generation Beverly Shores and Chicago resident Ari Killian, a construction engineer who closed on the property last year. His company, Consortian Construction, is rehabbing the building into a new business to be called “DunesWalk Inn at the Furness Mansion.”

Killian describes the new inn as an upscale vacation rental that’s still affordable for families. The five rooms [and suites have private baths, all but one room with kitchenettes], and some with sitting rooms and fireplaces.

“Most importantly, the location is perfect to enjoy the beach and the National Lakeshore with hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and the countless all-season activities in Porter County and nearby Lake and LaPorte Counties,” Killian said in a statement.

Killian’s company has building experience in the Chicago Metro area, but DunesWalk Inn is his company’s first major project in the dunes. Consortian is a commercial and residential developer, which has won recognition from the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.

The inn is about three miles away from Killian’s family house in Beverly Shores. His family history goes back nearly 60 years in the dunes.

Killian, who is on site most days as the construction winds down, said the neighbors have been very supportive of the project. “I also credit Jim Ruge at the First State Bank of Porter for his belief in my vision for this property. The Dunes has much to offer visitors and residents alike, and Jim is a great advocate for sustainable development in the area,” he said.

Meet the Owners

Ari Killian and his wife Stephanie are the sole proprietors of the DunesWalk Inn which is still known to many as the Furness Mansion.

A third-generation Beverly Shores resident, Ari decided to purchase the property last December after finding the house was quickly falling into disrepair.

Ari used his own construction firm to renovate the house into an upscale vacation rental spot. The main renovation took place over six months, starting in January and on July 23, the Killians welcomed their first guests.

Ari told the Chesterton Tribune the history of the property was one of the driving forces behind the project. Ari even added on brick chimneys to the house that would mimic the ones seen around 1881 when the house was built. The powered windows in the library mimic the appearance of the original windows.

“You have to get that feel,” he said.

During the ribbon ceremony, Ari thanked the neighboring residents and businesses like the Schoolhouse Shop for their help during the rehab of the property. He said the experience was different for him because he is used to “placating” upset neighbors in his other developments while here people were more than willing to lend a hand.

Ari and Stephanie wed in Rhode Island in May while renovation was underway. They have residences in Beverly Shores and Chicago where Ari works as a commercial and residential developer and has received recognition from the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.

Ari said his family has lived in the area since his grandfather bought property in Beverly Shores in 1944.

Taking Reservations and Donations

The Dunes Walk Inn is located at 1491 N. Furnleigh Lane off of U.S. 20 near the intersection of Kemil Rd. and Furnessville Rd.

The E. L. Furness Mansion sat on Furness’ prosperous 700 acres of farmland. A few original buildings still stand on the property including a partially dismantled water tower. Furness was the first agent of the Michigan Central Railroad and owned his own lumber business.

The new owners have asked that anyone willing to donate photos or books on the Indiana Dunes for the library contact the inn.

The Dunes Walk Inn is officially open for business. For reservations, call (219)728-6393. Rates range from $125 to $175 per night and are subject to change without notice.

Additional News Articles

The News Dispatch

Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2010
Room At the Inn

Chesterton Tribune

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Newly Opened DunesWalk Inn Blends History with
Modern Amenities

NWI Times

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Indian Dunes Tourism,DunesWalk Inn Team Up

NWI Times

Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010
Historic Mansion Restored as Boutique Hotel

Chesterton Tribune

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Furness House Set to open as Vacation Inn

DunesWalk Inn Press Release

Posted: May 12, 2010
Furness Mansion Gets a total Makeover as
DunesWalk Inn

The Chronicle

Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
A Living Piece of History


Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010
Landmark Gets News Look

  • “I can’t exaggerate the marvelous time we enjoyed at DunesWalk Inn…the perfect place in the perfect location for total relaxation.”

    Margaret — Madison, Wisconsin

  • “My extended family members and I liked DunesWalk Inn so much that we have decided to make it our annual retreat!”

    Leslie — Valparaiso, Indiana

  • “Our whole party was totally impressed with how beautiful the place is. Doug and I absolutely loved it!”

    Doug & Sherrie — Grayling, Michigan

  • “The historic mansion has been lovingly transformed into a gorgeous boutique hotel. It has a serene, spa-like interior…”

    Patricia — Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • “DunesWalk Inn is the place to stay if you want to be spoiled by luxury and have fun in the Dunes.”

    Viktoria — Vernon Hills, Illinois