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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of September 11 - 17, 2002


Vision leads to 
home in valley

Old Hailey inn makes a comeback

"The house is starting to come alive. I have a hundred different projects. I start in one room and end up in another. It’ll never stop."

MICHELLE FACTOR, Hailey resident

Express Staff Writer

"Everything I asked for I got," Michelle Factor said. Not many can make such a claim, and not many have a story like Factor’s to relate. A spiritual healer and artist, Factor lived until recently in Los Angeles. She had never been to Idaho and had never heard of Hailey,

But she had faith and that faith led her to have a vision. In her vision she saw a large home, built early in the last century. It had many bedrooms. She had no idea where it was other than near the mountains.

Michelle Factor admires the cherries on one of the old trees at her new home. Express photo by Dana DuGan

So in May, along with her friend and business partner Jeffrey Browne, she rented a car in Colorado. They spent eight hours driving around Boulder before Factor realized it was not the right place. They then flew to Idaho Falls, where they rented another car and based on information supplied by the clerk at the rental company counter they made their way toward Sun Valley.

They went directly to Windemere Real Estate where Rae DeVito was only too happy to show them photos of large old homes. Browne happened to see the specs for a place once known as the Ellsworth Inn. "We want this one," he said, despite the fact there was no photo.

Intrigued by their certainty, DeVito showed them the large home in old Hailey, which they instantly fell in love with. Factor also realized the front of the house matched the home in her vision. To add to the coincidence, DeVito had looked at the house in 1977 to purchase.

By July, Browne, Factor and her son, who is a masseuse, had moved to the house in Hailey. They began working on the house and even entertained family members who showed up just 20 minutes after they arrived.

The sale nearly fell through and after two weeks in July, they, two cats and a dog moved into a motel, while legal issues were ironed out. They returned two weeks later and simply took up where they’d left off.

"Michelle was the calmest one. She knew where she was going," DeVito said.

The house came with furniture and dishes in the cupboards, spices in racks, towels in closets and papers. In barely a month they removed all the furniture, cleaned the three-story house and have transformed it back into an elegant home.

The 5,029 square foot home, built between 1915 and 1918, has nine bedrooms and nine and half baths. At one point a church owned the house and services were preformed there. According to Tim Ellsworth of Boise, who grew up in the house, his family bought it from the church for $11,000. They in turn sold the house in the mid-1970s.

It was completely remodeled in 1983 in cooperation with the Idaho State Historical Society, and became known as The Ellsworth Inn. It closed in 1987, when it reverted to a private residence. The home sits on a little over two acres of landscaped grounds that surround the property. It also has two unattached one-bedroom cottages, a fully fenced regulation tennis court with an observation deck, and an outdoor hot tub. Browne lives in one of the cottages and the other is being converted into the healing center where Factor’s son will give massages and she will do spiritual healing sessions.

Her business has even picked up steam in this short span of time, by word of mouth. Spiritual healing uses techniques that employ various energies for healing.

Factor clearly loves the house; "I am in such joy. I feel so happy here." People drop by all the time and tell her stories. One man told her he had been there as a boy for a scouting event, others came as children for tea with relatives, and for "musical soirees with a pianist known Mr. Sun Valley, Louis Stuer," Devito said.

Ultimately Factor wants the place to be an inn again. Each room is being redone in the colors of the chakra. These colors correspond to the colors of the rainbow and are used to heal parts of the body.

For instance, Embracing Lilac—a color representing the seventh chakra, and inner power—is the color in the large living room and dining room. One room is root color with red overtones, another sage, another painted a Swiss coffee color.

"The house is starting to come alive. I have a hundred different projects. I start in one room and end up in another. It’ll never stop," Factor said.

Antiques—some quite valuable—fill the home, a mix of pieces left by the past owners and items Factor bought specifically for the house before the ink was even on the deal. Matching sleigh beds occupy one room, canopy beds are in another and in Factor’s master bedroom. Other objects left in the home will be sold off at an auction in the house on Oct. 19.

Among these items are 15 handmade quilts made by one of the home’s past owners, Sonja Carlsrud Tarnay, who bought the house from the Ellsworths. Larry Flynn will be the auctioneer.



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