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The Michi-an Dailv - Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK
just saw that stick "There is an inherent feeling
going through her neck among many in this country
and I knew I needed to that an African-American
get help quick." should not be president."
Looming on Washtenaw Ave-
nue, surrounded by quaint
homes, is a cavernous, Swiss
chalet-style mansion that might, on
a dark night, fill a passerby with a
sense of dread.
If you were to guess the build-
ing's purpose, you might think
it was the headquarters of some
clandestine, powerful society-- or
Ann Arbor's own haunted man-
sion. But the story behind the thick
fieldstone and menagerie of shrub-
bery is really nothing so lurid. The
mansion is the Vitosha Guest Haus
Inn, the city's most interesting
This imposing stone fortress is
home to the Vitosha Guest Haus,
as well as owner Kei Constantinov
and family. Located just west of
fraternity row, Vitosha is named
for Constantinov's ancestral con-
nections to Bulgaria.
Greeted by Constantinov - and,
most likely, her gigantic, snaggle-
toothed Mastiff-mix named
George - a visitor to the bed and.
breakfast is immediately dazzled
by the strange, elaborate interior.
Exposed ceiling beams combine
with dark slate flooring to invoke
a rustic but sophisticated lodge in
the European countryside.
From a close examination of the
decor, it is clear that Constantinov
.. - has thought about every detail: the
Victorian literature 'lghe, book-
case, the Holtkamp pipe organ in
the hall and the period furniture
in every room. Even Constantinov
herself adds to the ambience -
with her rich dark red hair pulled
into two braided buns, she com-
poses herself like the grand dame
of a manor frozen in time.
Constantinov's fantasy time
warp was years in the making.
A former art teacher from Indi-
ana, Constantinov purchased the
manor 11 years ago after her hus-
band was transferred from a New
York art firm.
The 32-room inn has a rich his-
tory dating back to 1917, when it
was the home of Dean Meyer, a
professor at the University's medi-
cal school and Ann Arbor City
Council member. Before the Con-
stantinovs, a Unitarian church
had used the property for services
and office space, adding a chapel,
parsonage and a few outhouses.
George Brigham, a modernist
architect who taught at the Uni-
versity, designed the Unitarian
sanctuary in 1956. And according
to the Ann Arbor Historical Dis-
trict Commission, famed archi-
tect Frank Lloyd Wright praised
But despite prestigious acclaim,
Constantinov said the manor was
a far cry from the living dollhouse
it is today when she bought it. The
Unitarians had left many of the
interior rooms as plain as hospital
"When we purchased the place,
the big house had been used as
an office by the Unitarians and it
seemed like the entire interior had
been spray-painted white," Con-
stantinov said. "And there were
absolutely no gardens around the
place. It looked very stark."
Constantinov renovated anTl
landscaped the property for years
before opening for business. After
her English roses had flourished
and each room had been exquisite-
ly furnished, Constantinov set her-
self to creating an unforgettable
experience for her guests. Visitors
are treated to a china-laden break-
fast and, if they come at the right
time, a variety of entertainment.
"When guests come, I see they
are immediately able to relax and
sink it to their surroundings here,"
Constantinov said. "It's really
about details and finding the time
to establish these details that
makes this place unique."
Norbert Klusen, a visiting pro-
fessor from the University of
Hanover in Germany, sat with his,
13-year-old daughter in the con--l
cert hall listening to the 1930s
jazz stylings of Stolen Sweets. As
is commonly the case with visitors
to Vitosha Guest Haus, Klusen had
chosen to stay there on the recom-
mendation of his University con-
tact. He was very happy that he
had done so.
"I've been about 30 different
states and this place definitely has
a more European feel than many
places we've stayed," Klusen said.
"Immediately when I walked in, it
reminded me of a Scottish or Eng-
Constantinovs concert hall will
be busy this year, with a new con-
cert series hitting the stage featur-
ing acts from the former Firefly
"Much of the music featured is
along the lines of jazz, classical,
and indie folk music," she said.
Tickets are sold prior to each per-
But Constantinov's vision for
Vitosha Guest Haus doesn't stop
at a bed and breakfast with occa-
sional entertainment. She wants
to expand into the art world, mak-
ing Vitosha a "cultural center with
Right now, she is currently
accepting residency applications
from artists who would live at the
inn for extended period, teaching
workshops, exhibiting work and
participating in panel discussions.
Constantinov's plan to make
Vitosha Guest Haus the creative
hub of Ann Arbor is right in line
with the character of the magnifi-
cent house, which has been a piece
of art at every point in its long,
Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Mary Sue Coleman and the NCAA
2. Banks bailing out banks
3. Wolf Blitzer's "Jeopardy" fail
And three things you can't:
1. Linda McMahon's Senate bid
2. Prostitutes at ACORN offices
3. Obama on "Letterman"
BY THE NUMBERS
Number of miles an Australian cat strayed from its owner before
they were reunited
Number of miles the cat somehow journeyed by sea across the Bass
Strait, which separates Tasmania and southern Australia
Number of years the cat was missing. It was able to be identified
and returned because of a microchip embedded in its skin
Since YouTube launched in Febru-
ary 2005, there have been hundreds
of epic videos that have attracted
millions of viewers on the web. This
video does a great service forYou-
Tube fanatics by compiling all those
hits into one hilarious video.
Titled "100 Greatest Hits of You-
tube in 4 Minutes," this video serves
as a concise and entertaining sum-
mary of some of Youtube's highlights,
many of which have individually
received more than a million views.
The video is set to a song that's a
heady mix of rap and techno, with
the bass thumping in the background
and the clips quickly cycling through
one after another.
This reel of clips combines incred-
ible feats with catastrophic (and pain-
ful) failures. Itincludesseveralpeople
wiping out on treadmills, dirt bikes,
and diving boards, while one man
does a backflip and lands into a pair
of pants being held up by his friends.
A significant portion of this video is
devoted to the baby clips that have
been wildly popular, including the
one about Charlie biting his brother's
thumb, the one with the baby who
laughs nonstop, and the one with the
child who repeatedly says, "blood." In
addition, the video features the hilar-
ious clip of Leroy Jenkins, the crazed
videogamer, screaming his own name
as he engages in virtual combat.
- BRIAN TENGEL
See this and other
YouTube videos ofthe week at
- DANIEL CHILDERS, a 22-year-old man
from Idaho, describing the inch-thick tree
branch that sliced through his wife's neck.
She survived the incident because the
branch missed her jugular and windpipe
- JIMMY CARTER, former president of the United
States, describing the motivations behind Rep. Joe
Wilson's outburst during President Obama's national
address on health care earlier this month. Wilson
shouted "You lie!" when Obama said Democratic
health plans wouldn't cover illegal aliens
"God chose me for that moment."
- CARRIE PREJEAN, former Miss California, expressing her belief that she was divinely inspired to
voice opposition to gay marriage during the 2009 Miss USA contest. Prejean was speaking to a
conservative audience at the Values Voters Summit last Friday in Washington, D.C.
THEME PARTY SUGGESTION
CiderFest - It's official: autumn has finally arrived.
To celebrate the start of the season, you should host
a hard apple-cider party with all your friends. You
can either buy your beverages or, if you're feeling
ambitious, you can make your own with fresh apples
from one of the nearby orchards. Either way, there
are three critical components to this party: lots of
cider, some argyle sweaters and a bonfire. Playing
the board game Apples to Apples is optional.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu
STUDY OF THE WEEK
Frugal people are more likely to marry spendthrifts
People who are frugal with their money often tend to marry those
who spend more liberally, a difference that often creates marital ten-
sion, according to a study published by Scott Rick, an assistant profes-
sor of marketing at the Ross School of Business.
In the study, Rick and researchers from the University of Pennsyl-
vania and Northwestern University conducted three different stud-
ies in which they surveyed more than 1,000 married and unmarried
adults. The researchers were looking at whether sentiments about
spending can indicate people's marital preferences, as well as wheth-
er differences in views on spending affect the health of a marriage.
The researchers concluded that both tightwads and spendthrifts
are dissatisfied with their own feelings about spending money, and
this discontent often motivates them to seek out people with opposite
spending habits. In addition, the researchers noted that this diver-
gence in fiscal views tends to produce tension in a marriage.
- BRIAN TENGEL
Sam Wolson I Photographer