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Home Business Couple writes the next chapter for a historic Division Street property

Couple writes the next chapter for a historic Division Street property

Terri Coughlin, left, and Terry Coughlin. (Emily Thurlow)

HOUSATONIC — Terry Coughlin is a self-proclaimed “super fan” of Jimmy Stewart.
Coughlin was introduced to the down-to-earth persona of the actor as a teenager with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Since then, Stewart has become a hero for Coughlin. And in less than three months, he’ll open the doors to an inn with a special homage to one of his favorite movies in Housatonic.
Located at 98 Division St., Coughlin and his wife, Terri Coughlin, named their inn the “Granville House” after the home owned by George Bailey and Mary Hatch — played by Stewart and Donna Reed, respectively — in It’s A Wonderful Life. At the beginning of the movie, Bailey and Hatch throw rocks at the windows of the abandoned Granville House “for luck” and as the movie progressed, the house becomes their dream home.
“We won’t be throwing any rocks at the windows for luck, but we do feel like our wishes have come true with our own Granville House,” said Terri Coughlin with a beaming smile. “And I get to be Donna Reed!”
The Coughlins first met in 1998 while they were both working at Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Six months later, Terry Coughlin recalls finally working up the nerve to ask out Terri. During their first date, Terry asked what Terri’s dream in life was, to which she responded, “To own a bed-and-breakfast.” Although Terry says he hadn’t given it much thought before that moment, he remembers saying, “That’s my dream as well!”
“As she spoke, I was immediately smitten. I couldn’t help it,” he recalls. “And at that moment, sitting there with her, I knew she was going to be my wife some day.”
In a separate interview with Terri Coughlin, she described feeling immediately charmed by Terry.
“I knew I was going to marry him. In fact, when he spoke, it was strange. I heard his voice, but I’m not sure I could tell you I remember what he said. It was like a movie where they just do a slow pan and mute out the person talking,” she said. “Three months later, he put a ring on it.”
The couple was married in 2000 and honeymooned at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, where they both said their dream became more location-specific to Great Barrington.
Since then, the Coughlins have worked a combined 32 years with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and previously resided in New Jersey. Terri spent over a decade as the lead Maitre D’ at Gramercy Tavern and previously modeled. Terry spent 22 years as a director of operations and managing partner, overseeing restaurants like Union Square Cafe, Maialino and Daily Provisions.
The couple also have two daughters, 13-year-old Rosemary and 11-year-old Grace. Over the past 20 years, they have returned year after year to visit the Berkshires. Initially, the Coughlins had intentions of setting up a B&B once their daughters graduated high school, but after a particularly long week, which included 14 hours of commuting time, Terry Coughlin revisited the dream with his wife.
“I asked her: ‘what are we waiting for?’” he remembered.
And last July, after visiting the very first home they saw, the Coughlins purchased the 5,302 square-foot, single family home on 98 Division St. According to real estate records, the property purchased the property as Granville House LLC from William Scott Harwood, trustee of Diana F. Harwood Revocable Trust, for $740,000.
Through some research and help from Gary Leveille, a member of the Great Barrington Historical Commission as well as the Great Barrington Historical Society, the couple has learned that the Granville House was originally built by “Captain” Isaac Laird Van Deusen VII in 1825. “Captain Isaac, the third generation of Van Deusens in the region, made the first modern improvements to the area, including the erection of wool and cotton mills, as well as a store and tavern, employing many local townspeople. In recognition of his contributions and enterprises in the area, the village of Van Deusenville was named in his honor,” said Terry.
John Henry Coffing, who among other things helped design and funded the “Victory” Civil War memorial that stands in front of City Hall, was the next proprietor of the home. Coffing also ran the iron foundry in Van Deusenville and was the co-owner of Monument Mills.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Harwood family owned the house and operated it as a B&B as “The Coffing-Bostwick House.”
Since purchasing the property, the Coughlins have been transforming the home into a five-guestroom inn that includes separate living quarters for the family. Renovations have included overhauling some of the knob-and-tube wiring, installing a fire-sprinkler system and establishing separate bathrooms for each guest suite. In the past, there were only three bathrooms on the property that had to be shared. Though the couple wanted to make sure the property’s history was preserved — and will showcase the historic portraits of Coffing and his wife, Rebecca Bostwick on the main level — the rooms have some modern touches. In one of the largest rooms, the Coughlins have installed a deep soaking tub and shower.
At this point, the property is still undergoing some renovations, but the Coughlins expect to begin booking stays at Granville House by March and open their doors in April.
Pricing is still being developed, but those that are interested in following the progress of Granville House may visit, granvillehouseinn.com.

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