The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

March 20, 2013

Commerce cottages provides home away from home

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — Traveling to an exotic destination might be what you envision when thinking of a getaway, but quietly nestled in the heart of Commerce is a quaint bed and breakfast whose charm just might keep you closer to home.

Horse Apple Hill Inn, which will officially open its doors on March 1, is a converted two-story barn that sits on the historical property for which it was named.

Originally built in 1924 by the famous Knight family, the barn was transformed into a warm and spectacularly-decorated living space by Rick and Kelley Nowlin to serve as their temporary home while they were renovating the 1914 plantation house.

“Once we started work on the house, we moved into the barn and set to work on making it our own,” Kelley said. “Once we started bringing friends and family over and hosting church gatherings here, we had so many people tell us that it would be a great place to stay for a night or two.

After we moved into the main house some time later, this place was really just sitting here, so we thought why not turn it into a cash flow?”

Boasting more than 2,700 total square feet of space, the downstairs portion of the inn includes a private bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a 42” flat screen TV, a bathroom and laundry room, and fully-equipped kitchen and dining area for hosting large get togethers or family dinners.

The upstairs loft provides two additional full-sized beds, a work desk, and a large living-area complete with a 55” flat screen of its own. The barn also comes fully equipped with satellite TV and wi-fi, in case guests want to stay plugged in, and it is pet friendly.

“It’s so unique and intimate,” Kelley said. “It’s literally like you’re renting someone’s home.”

While the inn is currently only serving as a bed and breakfast, the Nowlins are already planning to extend the barn’s versatility in the future.

“Right now we’re starting slow, but we’d eventually like to make the place available to lease for birthday and graduation parties, church functions, family reunions, and even weddings,” said Rick. “This place could easily fit 60-70 people, and would be perfect for people who’d like to host a party in their home but don’t have the adequate space.”

According to the Nowlins, the barn has served as much more than a convenient business opportunity.

“Renovating this house and the barn is a dream come true for us,” said Kelley. “The whole process has been so fun for us.

We just want to be able to share that with our community, and provide a little home away from home.”

For more information or to book a room, visit