SILOAM — After years of service to their community and country, Dee Sims and Kelleigh Tapia have embarked on a new project to follow their passions. The mother-daughter team will open FarmHouse Siloam as a wedding and event venue in April, adding the title of business partners to their relationship.
While Sims moved frequently, growing up in a military family, she felt roots in Surry County. “All my kin folk lived in Pilot Mountain,” she said, explaining that her family settled in Dobson upon her father’s retirement from the Navy.
While Sims works as a detective with the Surry County Sheriff’s Department, she has a passion for decorating and crafts. “She’s done weddings for years for people, and loves it,” Tapia said of her mother.
Tapia graduated from Surry Central and went directly into the Navy where she attended culinary school. After leaving the Navy, she joined the Army. “I’ve been with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg for the last four years as a para trooper,” said Tapia.
“I’m obsessed with hospitality,” she said, noting that she has driven as far as Vermont to stay at a bed and breakfast. Deciding it was time to live her dream, Tapia resigned from the Army to form a business partnership with her mother.
“We started looking for property around here, because this is where we wanted to be,” said Tapia. The pair purchased an 1893 farm house on Siloam Road. Built by the Moore family, the house and barns sit on four acres.
“We just bought this house for the barn, and we weren’t even going to touch the house” said Tapia. Those plans changed, and the restoration began. Amateurs in restoration, the pair learned a lot to complete the majority of the work on their own. They removed paneling in the dining room and parlor to reveal original bead-board walls, refinished the wood floors, and tiled what was a bedroom to create the bridal bathroom.
One of the final projects in the house is the kitchen. Keeping a residential feel to the space, the kitchen features a six foot island for catering. “All of my appliances will be a professional grade,” said Tapia.
The rustic country home now contains a bridal suite with large bathroom and dressing area, reception area, four bedrooms, and a catering quality kitchen. “The style of house, the roof line and chimney, is unique to this area,” said Tapia.
Outside the tobacco barn has been wired to provide outdoor lighting. With a large extended roof around the barn, a raised floor is being installed on one side for musicians and space for a catering line on the other. Three fire pits have been installed in the outdoor reception area.
An outdoor venue, the FarmHouse Siloam can accommodate up to 150 guests and has space for eight overnight. In addition to weddings, the space is available for private and corporate events.
“We are a dynamic pair, and when it comes down to the event, it goes off like clockwork,” said Tapia, explaining that they provide full event planning, not just the space. Packages are available with different levels of service including planning, set up, decorating, staffing, and a full weekend stay.
“This business is the first female veteran owned business,” said Tapia, noting that she is reaching out to the veteran community to see how they can contribute. Partnering with a local veteran to provide fresh flowers is one example of how the business is supporting veterans.
“Sustainable, green business practices are important to me,” said Tapia, noting that they strive to use local vendors for all products and services.
“We’ve had a lot of friends that came and helped us,” said Sims with gratitude. Tapia also expressed gratitude to other venues in the area for paving the way and providing inspiration.
After moving away, Tapia gained a greater appreciation for her home town community. “What’s important now is giving back,” said Tapia, adding, “I want to make a difference.”
A grand opening is planned for mid-April, weather permitting. For details on the space visit: www.thefarmhousesiloam.com.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.