Luxury suites provide unique Grafton lodging option

Couple turn downtown building into high-end, eco-friendly Airbnb units that are attracting guests from around the world

WHAT WAS ONCE Stone Manor Bridal is now the Quarters at Mill Square, four eco-friendly luxury suites managed by (top photo, from left) Addie Prochnow and owned and operated by her parents, Jeff and Julie Prochnow. The suites are light and spacious, sleeping four people, thanks to a primary bedroom and an office with a queen-sized Murphy bed. Although the Airbnb inn is in downtown Grafton, its second-floor location at Mill Square at the intersection of Washington Street and 12th Avenue is announced only by a sign high above the street. Photos by Sam Arendt


Ozaukee Press staff

When Stone Manor Bridal salon in downtown Grafton closed in 2021, Jeff and Julie Prochnow, who own the space it occupied, were left with a decision —should they seek another tenant or create a business of their own?

Julie said that since she owned her first business at age 21 and her husband had always had his own business, it was an easy decision.

“We always thought it would be fun to do something together,” she said. “This aligned with our skills.”

But what to do with the space was a bigger challenge. Ultimately, the couple drew on their love of travel and the good experiences they have had through Airbnb to create The Quarters at Mill Square — four luxury suites created with sustainability in mind.

“There was nothing here like it,” Julie said. “We had no idea if it would work.”

Just in case, the couple created the suites so they could also be rented as apartments or sold as condominiums.

But so far, the eco-conscious luxury suites are doing just fine as Airbnb rental units, she said.

“They’re kind of like the old bed-and-breakfasts,” she said.

“I think people really enjoy the small-town feeling they get here,” the couple’s daughter Addie Prochnow, who manages the units, said. “We’re excited about being a part of the Grafton community and offering a unique lodging opportunity for people while bringing people downtown.”

Weekends have been consistently busy, she said, and while January and February were a little slow March and April were as good as the previous months.

Some people have booked stays for extended periods — the rooms can be rented for as long as six months — while others have stayed for a few days. The Quarters is also available short-term for photo shoots and business meetings.

Visitors so far have come from as far away as Bali, Spain and Germany, Julie said, and for reasons that vary from business meetings and stays to weddings and family reunions.

The Quarters opened last summer after six months of renovations done under a deadline — there was a wedding party booked for July 15, so there was no room for delays

“It was intense,” Julie said.

Addie, who at the time was the digital marketing manager for the Milwaukee Ballet, was tasked with running the inn. She worked both jobs for three months before leaving the ballet.

“I feel like I have the entrepreneurial blood in my body,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot from them (her parents).”

Given their focus on sustainability and being environmentally friendly, the Prochnows kept as much of the “bones” of the facility as possible, reusing everything from the chandeliers to the mirrors and doors, reworking things when needed to match the aesthetic they were after.

They used low and no VOC paints, eco-friendly foam mattresses, bamboo and organic cotton linens — “These aren’t your typical hotel sheets,” Julie said — and natural cleaning products and use paper products made with bamboo rather than trees, and as many of the products they use are made in America.

“I spent a lot of time sourcing the products we wanted to use,” Julie said.

In each suite, they use a mix of new and used furniture to create a homey feeling.

“We curate everything with a mix of old and new,”Addie said.

Sometimes, their visitors have found the suites to be more familiar than expected. Julie recalled one woman who, upon walking into the lobby and seeing a large painting Julie had purchased at a consignment shop hanging there, proclaimed, “That’s my painting. That was in my living room for 20 years.”

The four suites each have a color theme — green, blue, purple and pink — and are spacious, ranging from 1,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Each sleeps four people with a primary bedroom and a Murphy bed in the office/sleep space.

Two of the suites are dog friendly, though your canine companion can’t be larger than 60 pounds and there is an additional cleaning fee if you bring your pet.

The doors are double wide to accommodate wheelchairs, and care has been taken to make the units accessible, Addie said.

There is a laundry facility in one unit, and the others share a communal laundry. Each has large screen televisions, and each unit also features a kitchen with virtually every appliance you might need — “Some people came here at Thanksgiving and made their whole dinner here,” Addie said.

While the suites have many of the same amenities, “They’re all pretty different,” Addie said, noting they have their own personality.

“It’s nice that it’s like a home but no one’s living here full time,” Julie said. “It’s the best of all worlds.”

Those staying at the Quarters have access to a private gym in the adjacent building, and there’s also a private parking lot just for patrons, who enter the building through a locked lobby with a security system. An elevator takes patrons to a shared area upstairs, which includes a cabinet filled with books and games for visitors to use.

Although they weren’t sure initially who their rooms would appeal to, the Prochnows have found that the rooms are ideal for groups celebrating girl’s weekends, wedding parties and family celebrations.

“With two bedrooms, families have come to find us more,” Julie said.

People are also attracted by the plethora of things to do in the area, from riding bikes on the Interurban Trail to fishing in Port Washington and antiquing in Cedarburg, she said, as well as the many activities in larger cities such as Milwaukee and Sheboygan.

In their second year of business, the family hopes to offer experiences with visits — someone could sign up for a massage or a class in making cocktails, all provided through area businesses.

They are also looking to make bikes available to their patrons so they can take advantage of the Interurban.

Rates at the Quarters run from $180 to $310 a night, depending on the season and what’s happening. Reservations are taken through Airbnb, where they are “superhosts,” although the Prochnows plan to begin taking them through their website in the coming year.

The Prochnows are enjoying their inn and the relationships they have forged with their guests.

“It’s been a blast,” Julie said. “It’s fun. Every guest has a different story.”



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login