Body Elegance Day Spa makes its home at the historic Stewart House, 500 W. Main St., and Saturday, Nov. 10, owner Shelley Wayland is inviting the public to visit at an open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

She will be sharing refreshments, stories and photos of the restoration of the home.

The Stewart House was built in 1910 by an elderly ranching couple. Constructed of locally quarried red sandstone, the hand-chiseled stone blocks are 18 inches thick and mortared with mud.

“Looking at the exterior of the building and how perfectly symmetrically the stones are placed, you can’t help but be amazed the work was all done by hand,” Wayland said.

She said while she wouldn’t call the 10 months of restoration work in 2003 a labor of love, it was an exciting treasure hunt. When she pulled up old carpet and linoleum from the floors she found issues of The Arizona Republic from 1939 to 1942. The old papers have stories about Hitler, World War II and Babe Ruth. Wayland said they think the papers were put down as insulation under the floor coverings.

Original hardwood floors in the living room and dining room were salvaged and restored in the work to remodel the home.

The roof leaked and the ceilings were warped so they had to come down. When they pulled down the ceiling they discovered more treasures — the original ceilings were about two feet higher and tacked up just below them was original wallpaper. “(The wallpaper) had linen backing, but it was just nailed up there, so all I had to do was pull it down,” she said.

Those pieces of historic wallpaper are now displayed in protective frames.

The kitchen was a bit odd — the cabinets were made of rough lumber from the local sawmill, but the countertops had imported English tiles.

“It took me weeks to sand down the cabinets, I’ve never seen so many splinters. I tried to order reproductions of the tiles, but they don’t export them anymore,” Wayland said.

Among the other treasures saved or reproduced: the original glass doorknobs throughout the house; the skeleton key used for the interior doors; the front door with its multiple window panes; the windows; and the stone pillars and posts of the front porch.

Wayland and her former husband came to own the house mostly by happenstance, she said. Her former husband did engine repair and needed a place to work. The owner of the house let him work in the large garage next to the home. When the owner was ready to sell, the Waylands made an offer and bought the place.

She said they took great measures to remodel the house in order to display its original craftsmanship. The work paid off, their efforts won the Arizona State Governor’s Award for Best Rehabilitation of Significance on a Main Street Project in 2004.

Wayland said the town was helpful and even helped secure a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant to rebuild the front porch. The Waylands paid for the rest of the monumental project.

Once most of the restoration was done, Wayland opened her Body Elegance Day Spa on the premises. She had worked as a nail tech at an area salon and found herself doing more spa pedicures than nails. She wanted a place where her clients could relax. Opening her business in the Stewart House made that possible.

“My fondest memories are how the clients enjoy the ambiance and calm the surroundings create. They are able to relax and rest and achieve a sense of well-being,” Wayland said.

Being on Main Street was important to her. “I always felt Main Street was going to take off and it is starting to seem like it’s getting ready for new life. I feel I have paved the way for that in more ways than one.”

But if things go as she hopes, she will not be taking part in the long-hoped-for Main Street renaissance.

Running the business has become too much for her to handle, she said, so she has put the beautiful historic building on the market.

“It’s the perfect place for the right person and the right business. It can be a business or a home or both,” she said.

The building is 1,100 square feet, has central heat and more than 20 parking spaces. The property is a half-acre and includes the large garage and two out buildings that have electricity and metal roofing.

She said if someone wanted to turn the building back into a home they would need to put a shower in the bathroom and a stove in the kitchen. If a buyer wanted it for a business, the building is turnkey.

But until the property sells, the business will continue to operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. A massage therapist who also provides aesthetician services, a nail tech who also does hair, and Wayland, serve clients. Call 928-474-2440 for an appointment.

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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