DunesWalk Inn Press Release
Furness Mansion Gets a Total Makeover As DunesWalk Inn
Beverly Shores and Chicago resident Ari Killian’s Consortian Construction Rehabs Furness Mansion on Route 20 as Destination Vacation Rental
Posted: May 12, 2010
Chesterton, Indiana, May 12, 2010 – Third generation Beverly Shores and Chicago resident Ari Killian has an eye for development. The rehabilitation of one of Porter County’s oldest residences, the E.L. Furness Mansion on Route 20, into Duneswalk Inn at the Furness Mansion, a vacation rental property opening in July, is the latest project for Mr. Killian’s Consortian Construction.
This construction engineer has had building on the brain since he was a child. Ask his family, and they will tell you how he was fascinated by Frederick and Robert Bartlett’s plan for Beverly Shores since he could ride his bicycle around and up and down the lakefront community’s winding roads. Ask his fiancé, and she will tell you that the bicycle was replaced by his truck, and Mr. Killian’s exploration now encompasses Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties.
But, it was a mere three miles from his family home in Beverly Shores that Mr. Killian’s love for the dunes, history, and development converged. The Furness Mansion on Route 20 near Kemil Beach Road, caught his eye last summer and now, he never has to let go. Work started almost immediately after the closing, and the neighbors will tell you, this time, this project is different.
The Furness Mansion has seen many attempts at development as a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, and condominiums, but those projects were missing a key ingredient – a drive and passion for the Indiana Dunes like Mr. Killian’s. Now, he wants everyone to visit and stay awhile at the new Duneswalk Inn.
“I always have known and admired this building and when I discovered that the Furness Mansion was available for sale, I immediately knew I wanted to create a ‘boutique’ property – an upscale vacation rental, but affordable for families,” states Mr. Killian. “Duneswalk Inn will have five suites – each with a kitchenette and bath, 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.”
For Mr. Killian’s company, Consortian Construction, an experienced builder in the Chicago Metro area, this is the first major project in the Dunes. Both a commercial and residential developer, Consortian has won recognition from the Chicago Commission on Landmarks. Consortian’s expansion into Indiana is a natural fit given Mr. Killian’s almost 60-year family history in the Dunes.
Construction is buzzing on-site with the total renovation of the building, and Mr. Killian targets July for the opening. “The neighbors and community have been very supportive, and the feedback has all been positive. Everyone is really excited for the opening,” shares Mr. Killian. “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.”
Mr. Killian is on-site most days; if you stop by and catch him, the proprietor of Duneswalk Inn at the Furness Mansion will be happy to show you around.
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.
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.
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“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