Situated midway between Chicago and Detroit, less than an hour from the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to the West, Kalamazoo is an ideal location for your next getaway.
Our 3 Locations:
837 W. Main St.
Birch Bark ~ Driftwood ~ Pine Cone
926 W. Kalamazoo Ave.
Redwood ~ Acorn
509 N. Clarendon St.
Kara is a Michigan native with an appreciation for nature, a passion for good design and a love for historic homes. She moved to Kalamazoo from the shores of Lake Michigan in 1990 to attend college. She remained in Kalamazoo because of it's youthful energy, amazing people and an up and coming direction which has since been realized. When she's not combing the earth for treasures to use in her kottages and working on DIY projects, she's often found running, cross country skiing, biking, kayaking and traveling.
In 1996, Kara's decision to purchase her first multi-family home was originally driven by a fantasy of renting a beautiful and well maintained home to appreciative tenants seeking a peaceful quality of life in a carefully restored and renovated home.
Fast forward 15 years.. In 2011, after fulfilling her obligations to the house, her tenants and her mortgage company, a decision was made to seek out another demographic and Kara’s Kottages was born. Good bye tenants, hello guests!
As an idealist that a better quality of life can derive from time spent in beautiful surroundings with good energy, opening her first home to the public was a natural progression for this, now retired landlord and paint contractor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer discounts for extended stays?
I do offer a discount for extended stays: $10/nt discount for 5-29 nights and $20/nt discount for 30 or more nights.
Are your rates competitive with other lodging alternatives?
Yes, our rates are extremely competitive with other, local lodging alternatives which include hotels offering extended stay suites, vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts.
We offer 1-2 bedroom kottages that sleep up to 5 people for a rate of only $179/night and no fees for additional guests, no cleaning fees and no security deposits.
Does the property offer space for dogs to enjoy?
My property has very little grassy areas ideal for animals. However, all of my 3 locations are centrally located to a large green space that is used in large part for dogs and their owners to enjoy. This space is mostly fenced in, 1 block long and located on the K-College campus.
How/when will a guest receive entry instructions?
1-3 days prior to check-in, I will email guests entry instructions and directions unless otherwise specified.
Each entry point is key-less and opens with a 4 digit key code. Each guest receives this code in their email with other entry instructions including additional directions and my contact information.
Will you hold a room with a deposit?
My cancellation policy is such that I must require a credit card to hold a reservation. Deposits are not required.
Do you require guests to clean up after themselves?
I do not expect guests to turn over a kottage making it ready for the next guest. However, I do require that they leave it in good condition and follow the check-out check list instructions posted inside of the each kottage.
Is there nearby grocery shopping?
Yes, there are several nearby stores to choose from for grocery shopping.
Are there nearby places to dine for late night arrivals?
The closest place for dining out is just across the street and only 1 block west; Comensoli’s Italian Bistro
Is each kottage separate or in the same building?
3 Kottages, Birch Bark, Driftwood & Pine Cone are located in the same building, located at 837 W. Main St..
1 Kottage, Douglas Fir is located at 509 N. Clarendon St. within Kara's residence. The entire second floor is dedicated to this kottage.
1 Kottage, Redwood is located at 926. W. Kalamazoo Ave. within a 4 unit property. This is the only kottage open to the public at this time.
Do you rent to students?
No, I do not rent to students and I do not rent for periods beyond 90 days.
The only time a student would be present is if they are renting as a short term guest, which does happen during the school year when parents of students rent for visits and quality time with their child.
You're near the train tracks, is that disruptive to guests?
Surprisingly, the train hasn’t been an issue at all. In fact it’s drawn guests in. When the train goes by, you just have to watch it because it’s so charming and surreal how close and unique the perspective is.
The train does not run through the night. The latest train is around 10pm.
This house, 837 W. Main St. has high end replacement windows that are very sound proof. When the windows are closed, the sound of a passing train is minimized, dramatically.
Are your kottages located in the student ghetto?
No, none of my locations are in the student ghetto. Although there are student residents peppered throughout the downtown area, these are not places of high student concentration.
The W. Main St. location is very private and indeed, can honestly boast that it doesn’t have any immediate neighbors making it feel like it’s on an island within a thriving city.
Does the patio accommodate small gatherings?
The enclosed patio at W. Main St. is spacious and does accommodate small gatherings. It has patio furnishings and lots of seating.
This space also has a stainless steel propane, gas grill, a fire pit and great outdoor lighting.
Douglas Fir has access to a deck with furnishings, a grill & a fire pit.
Redwood has it's own, private covered porch along with comfortable furnishings.
Is the patio lit at night for gathering after dark?
The patio is nicely lit at night and is set on a timer that goes on automatically from dusk until midnight.
Are your kottages walking distance to Downtown Kalamazoo?
Our W. Main St. & Kalamazoo Ave. location are 1/2 mile from the heart of downtown (the walking mall).
My kottages are located on the same street that leads through the center of downtown and just one street over from the Amtrak Train Station.
The Clarendon St. location is located 1,1/2 mile from the downtown district.
Do you allow guests to host small parties?
I do allow for guests to host small parties. However, I do require that guests rent the entire house for larger groups. This is decided on a case by case basis.
If the group is small and/or during daytime hours, it is not necessary that they rent the entire house, but that they comply with my policy in regards to my quiet zone/times.
Prior permission is required.
Is there a secure parking lot and is street parking allowed?
There is a large, secure and fenced in parking lot on the property at W. Main St. that parks 5 cars comfortably and room for additional guest parking if they park behind those in their party.There is also a 2 stall garage that is open to guest for parking.Street parking is allowed on the courtyard to the west of the house. Overnight parking is okay too. As it happens, I own the street as well.
At Kalamazoo Ave., there is a secure parking lot behind the house with 1 assigned parking spot per kottage. Stree parking is available.
At the Clarendon St., street parking is available, plentiful and safe.
How is Kara's Kottages different than a traditional B&B?
Traditional B&B’s offer rooms for rent, mostly designed to sleep 2-4 guests in a home with shared spaces such as a living room and dining room with meals prepared fresh daily and an on-site innkeeper.
Kara’s Kottages are separate spaces within a home that allow travelers total privacy and all of the comforts of home; a kitchen, living room, dining room, etc. in a quaint historic neighborhood without the need for shared indoor spaces.
Breakfast items are not prepared fresh daily, but instead, provided in each kottage for guests to help themselves to each morning.
An innkeeper does not live on site, but close by for convenience.
This B&B feels a bit more like a vacation rental, but with additional touches to say welcome and enjoy your stay!
We am able to rent to 1-5 guests for short or extended stays and offer them every comfort of home; a safe and quiet neighborhood, a clean and stylish kottage and peace of mind to know that all comforts are provided.
What time is check in/check out?
Check-in is anytime after 3pm
Check-out is anytime prior to 11am
What is your maximum stay?
Ideally, maximum stays are 90 days, but I’m flexible.
What kitchen staples are provided in each kottage?
Each kottage stocks essential items that include:
Dry goods - sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, cooking spray, vinegar, honey, an assortment of herbs and spices and many more.
Refrigerated items – ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, syrup, butter, dressing, peanut butter and many more.
Other useful items include tin foil, wax paper, zip lock bags, garbage bags, hand towels, paper towels, pot holders, sponges, dish soap, dish washing soap, hand soap and cleaning supplies.
All dishes and cooking utensils provided.
Are there laundry facilities on site?
There is a shared laundry facility on site at W. Main St. with one washer and one dryer. The entrance is located on the west side of the house and the code to open that door is the same as the main entrance.
The front loading washer & dryer are coin operated; $1/wash & $1/dry.
Laundry soap (Eco-friendly & unscented) is also provided for guests.
No laundry at Clarendon St..
1 free to use laundry at Kalamazoo Ave..
Are there bike racks to safely store bikes?
There are bike racks in the common area inside of the front door that can store up to 2 bikes at a time. All others should be stored inside of the garage and securely locked.
Is there an outdoor space and is it private or open for all?
A very inviting, fenced in patio is available for all guest to share. There are 2 picnic tables along with a large gas grill for outdoor meals and plenty of seating too.
This patio is located on the east side of the house, with a canopy of mature trees, so it is well shaded on hot summer nights.
The patio is well lit after dark with pleasant outdoor lights that automatically come on and off each night to give just enough light for visiting and ambiance too.
There is also a fire pit with several chairs surrounding it. Fire wood, starters, and a poker are provided for safe and easy use.
Is breakfast provided?
Yes, breakfast items are provided, but not prepared fresh daily.
Each kottage is designed so that guests can help yourselves to breakfast each morning in their private, well stocked kitchen.
See "breakfast" on my website for an itemized menu of pre-stocked breakfast choices.
Do you live on the grounds?
No, I do not live on the property, but I live only 1 mile away.
Will the closets in the bedrooms accommodate extended stays?
Yes. Each closet is spacious and very well designed to accommodate the needs of modern travelers. Each closet is equipped with shelves, hangers, lots of room to hang clothes, a luggage rack and baskets. They are also very well lit with interior lighting.
Are the kottages stocked with linens?
Yes. Each kottage is well stocked with an assortment of linens. Each bedroom has 3 sets of sheets that are stored inside of each closet. The linen closet in the bathroom is well stocked with towels and washcloths.
Is there an ironing board and iron in the kottage?
Yes, there are both provided in each kottage for guest use. They are located inside of one closet in each kottage.
Is each kottage able to control its own temperature?
Each kottage has it’s own furnace and thermostat. Guests are able to adjust the temperature to a setting that is comfortable.
Are blenders provided?
Yes, 1 blender is provided in each kottage.
What to Expect
All information is instantly updated in real-time, so all the room and availability information you will see is current. The site is secure (128-bit SSL encryption), so all of your private information is safe. We take privacy seriously.
After you have selected your room and provided us with your contact information and credit card details, your reservation automatically enters our system with a status of “Reserved”. This holds the room and prevents anyone else from booking the same room on the same dates. You will then receive an email giving you written confirmation of your reservation. This email will include the total price and information about our policies.
If you do not receive a confirmation email within a few hours, please contact us so that we may verify your email address and send to you a prompt confirmation.
The credit cards that is on file is not processed until 1-3 days prior to the date of the reservation. This detail provides guests with the option of alternate payment options should they decide to pay by another means. This detail also allows for flexibility within the original reservation should details of the reservation change.
Check in/Check out
Check-in is anytime after 3pm
Check-out is anytime prior to 11am
A few days prior to your scheduled check-in, you will receive detailed check-in instruction via email. All door locks are electronic and key-less and open with a numbered keypad. The 4 digit entry codes for each door and keypad will be provided for you along with additional directions such as the address and where to park. This will allow you to find the house, easily and let yourself in whenever you arrive, much like a vacation rental.
Minimum Stay Requirements
Some dates throughout the year may have a minimum stay requirement. Our reservation system will not allow you to book only one night on a date with a minimum stay requirement.
Kara’s Kottages are designed to be a user friendly and ﬂexible lodging choice for today’s modern traveler. This means that we will hold a room for our guests from the point of their reservation until their check-in. In return, we ask that our guests contact us at least 10 days prior to their arrival date if their travel plans have changed or if they need to cancel a reservation to assure that they will not be responsible for any costs associated with that reservation.
If a guest cancels or makes alterations to their reservation less than 10 days prior to their arrival date, we must hold them responsible for the entire reservation. In this case, we will make every effort to advertise that Kottage and refund any nights that we are able to re-book.
Check-in is anytime after 3pm.
Check-out is anytime prior to 11am.
Both times are flexible with advanced notice.
For guest coming from Illinois or Central Time Zones, please remember that Michigan is Easter Time; one hour later.
Smoking is prohibited indoors. If it is determined that smoking has occurred indoors during
your stay, a $200 charge will apply to cover damages as a result.
Smoking is allowed outdoors only. We ask that smokers please be courteous of other guests and be sure that smoke isn’t able to pass through open windows, that it isn’t in a the
presence of other guests who may be offended by the smell and is disposed of properly in
receptacles, not thrown on the ground.
1. Dogs known for barking indoors, aggressive tendencies and anxieties are not allowed. Only well behaved and well traveled dogs are welcome.
2. Only dogs under 50 pounds are allowed. No cats.
3. Only 1-2 pets allowed per kottage.
4. In consideration of other guests, barking is prohibited.
5. Pets must be leashed when out of the guest room.
6. Pets must be washed & on ﬂea medication prior to arrival.
7. Extra charges apply; $15 per night, per pet, Up to 2 pets allowed.
8. Owners should bring their own pet bedding, dishes and food.
9. Pets are NOT permitted on the beds or furniture. Protective covers advisable, “just in case”.
Many attempts have been made to make all of Kara’s Kottages child-friendly and safe for all of our guests, both inside and out. However, if we know that a small child will be present, we will happily go the extra mile prior to their arrival to implement additional safety features such as baby gates.
We ask that you exercise extreme caution while burning candles
• Do not bring your own candles to burn
• Candles provided are all soy based and healthy to burn
• Do not move provided candles from their original location
• Keep wicks trimmed so that the candle burns properly and safely
• Do not burn candles that are placed inside of a book shelf
• Do not burn candles while asleep
• Do not tip over candles while burning when wax has liquiﬁed
• Guest will be charged for any damages associated with candles; scorching, wax or the like
Out of consideration for other guests, we ask that the use of kottages is limited to outside guests and parties are strictly prohibited!
• A maximum of 15 people is allowed in the two bedroom kottages at any given time.
• A maximum of 8 people is allowed in the studio kottage at any given time.
• Parking lots, front and back entrances, outdoor patio and exterior lawn areas will be considered to be part of a quiet zone determined by Kara’s Kottages. Quiet, mindful and respectful behavior, especially before 8:00am and after 11pm is expected of all guests.
• Gatherings shall not take place outside on the porches that could disturb the neighbors or other guests after 11:00pm and before 8:00am.
• Music and audio levels shall be respectful and mindful of other guests. Music should not be heard outside of any kottage or through open windows.
A charming and inviting outdoor space is provided for all guest to share. Please be courteous of the shared part and invite other guests to enjoy along with you. The fire pit is just outside of the window of the Birch Bark Kottage.. Please be sure to respect the guests in that kottage by keeping voices low enough so that it isn’t disruptive.
A parking lot along with a garage is provided for all guests to share. There is no reserved parking, so feel free to park anywhere. Please be sure not to block in other vehicles, drive onto landscaped areas and take up more than one parking space. There are 5 spaces available and plenty of room to park addition cars behind one another.
As die hard stewards of the planet, we take great pride in our efforts to minimize our ecological footprint whenever possible. This includes such things as biodegradable cleaners, soy candles, compact florescent light bulbs (where we can), high efficiency appliances, aerated faucets, motion activated lighting, in-excessive laundering and recycling everything possible. In turn we ask that our guest recycle all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum in the baskets provided in the kitchens. We’ll make sure that all recyclable trash doesn’t end up in landfills! We also request that guests be conscious of waste on the part of heating, cooling and electricity.
• Guests are asked to adjust the thermostat when they are away for long periods, to not use excessive temperatures and be sure that windows are closed at all times while running the heat or air conditioning.
• Please do not leave lights on when you’re away.
Safety against theft
Due to the fact that there isn’t a 24/7 innkeeper at the house at all times and that it’s located in a neighborhood with marginally high foot traffic, we ask our guests to be mindful of their (and our) possessions and the protection of the home. Theft has never been an issue here and we would like to keep it that way. Your efforts include:
• Not leaving valuable items in plain sight inside of your vehicle and keeping vehicles locked.
• Closing doors behind you so that the house is locked at all times. Doors lock automatically.
• If you’re in a 1st floor kottage, be sure that the windows are locked at all times. This includes when they are opened as there are locks in place for slightly opened window.
• Not leaving valuable items out on the patio.
DURING THE WARMER MONTHS, GUESTS USE AIR CONDITIONING FOR CLIMATE CONTROL. THIS IS FINE, HOWEVER MANY GUESTS DO SO WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN AT THE SAME TIME (RIDICULOUS, I KNOW). THIS HAPPENS A LOT AND HAS FOR MANY YEARS. THEREFORE, IN THE FUTURE, ANY GUESTS FOUND DOING THIS WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE PROMPTLY WITHOUT REFUND.