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Queen of the Hill: Piety Hill Cottages owner renovating longtime inn

Piety Hill Cottages owner Kimi Milo and partner Travis Parsley want to let people know that they are still open through renovation. They have taken ownership of the motor inn and are gradually upgrading the units.
Photo: Elias Funez

The nine-cottage Piety Hill Inn has a history dating back to 1931.

However, nearly 100 years later, the inn’s owners have decided it is time to renovate without losing the appeal that has kept people visiting for decades.

Kimi Milo, the owner of Piety Hill Cottages, is taking on the project of renovating the inn on Sacramento Street in Nevada City, one cottage at a time.



“It’s gonna be a work in progress for a long time,” Milo explained. “We initially were planning on doing just cosmetic upgrades, but as we got into operating we realized the electrical is even older than we thought.

Piety Hill Cottages partner Travis Parsley checks on one of the cottages at the 523 Sacramento St. location in Nevada City. The motor inn is still open for business during construction, offering both remodeled units as well as the ones awaiting renovation.
Photo: Elias Funez

“There was no insulation in some of the buildings, so we decided to go a lot deeper and update a lot of the infrastructure. We are replacing and adding insulation, replacing all plumbing and electrical and just making sure we have a really good foundation.”



Two of the cottages are currently under construction; at this point, some of the rooms have been updated while others maintain a more shabby-chic, bed-and-breakfast feel.

“There’s no end date to renovation; it’s ongoing,” said Milo. “We are doing one to two rooms at a time, then in fall we’ll tackle the others, but we’ll do exterior updates, re do our fence, do some landscaping. We have lots of plans.”

Piety Hill Cottages groundskeeper Nahome Asfaha puts the finishing touches to one of the units currently being remodeled at the historic Nevada City motor inn.
Photo: Elias Funez

Milo noted that there exists about a quarter-acre of undeveloped land behind the inn.

“It’s not a done deal of what we’ll do (with the land), but we’ve got a lot of room.”

LEAP OF FAITH

Milo grew up in Seattle, then moved to the Bay Area. She started coming to Nevada City on weekends and fell in love with the town.

“I kind of pin-pointed this as my target for finding a property,” she said. “Then after years of looking I found this place, spent a couple summers here, trying it out and making sure I loved living here and then finally made it here in 2020.”

Milo’s move came at a time when the world was in the middle of a pandemic. Business, however, continued.

A remodeled bathroom interior features a restored claw foot bathtub.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We closed on the property in the middle of COVID and then last summer, I think, it was the best summer on record at the property.

“It was a great way to start out. We only closed for two weeks last September, but then reopened in October and just carried on.”

Milo surmises that many of the inn’s guests were people who would typically hop a plane and travel somewhere more distant. Nevada City, though, is a close drive for many of them.

Further, the cottages are separate with no lobby to walk through, which she said made many guests feel safer, and limited exposure to other travelers.

“It felt safe for people to come stay here,” said Milo. “I think a lot of people were home from work or working from home, so a lot of people were here and using the rooms as their offices. So it was booming. “

Piety Hill Cottages partner Travis Parsley checks on one of the cottages that has had its renovations completed. The motor inn is still open for business during construction, offering both remodeled units as well as the ones awaiting renovation.
Photo: Elias Funez

Milo wants people to know that though they may drive by and see construction crews at work, the inn is very much open and active. Its motor court appeal will remain the same, but the cottages are being brought into the 21st century.

She loves hosting people, so this is basically a dream job for her.

“I would love people to know that we are here, and we are open, and to keep an eye on the development we’ve got going on. We are slowly making progress and it’s exciting. Things are always in flux, here but we are open and ready to host people.”

Piety Hill Cottages owner Kimi Milo shows the exterior of one of the units that is undergoing renovation.
Photo: Elias Funez

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com

 

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