A Victorian Arts & Crafts Becomes Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn

Running a bed-and-breakfast is no easy feat, but Bob and Traudi Thomason prefer the business to downsizing from their beautiful Wayne estate.

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The dining room. (Photo by John Lewis).
When Bob and Traudi Thomason’s youngest daughter left for college, the empty nesters were faced with a decision: either remain in their Wayne home or
downsize. Then there was the actual size of their nest: a five-bedroom Victorian Arts & Crafts estate from the 1890s.

No doubt, it was too much house for two people—and that gave Traudi an idea. “A B&B seemed like the perfect way to repurpose,” she says.

Once the couple began to seriously consider the prospect, they realized that the odds were in their favor. The home is on Strafford Avenue, a short walk from downtown Wayne’s many restaurants and shops, not to mention the train station. And a pool on the one-acre property would be an nice bonus for guests in the summer months.

Inside, the layout lent itself perfectly to operating an inn, from the spacious formal living areas on the first floor to the five bedrooms—all with en-suite bathrooms—on the second and third floors.

The Thomasons could also bill their venture the first B&B on the proper Main Line—not a bad selling point. “Everyone assumes I had a life-long desire to open a bed and breakfast, which isn’t the case,” Traudi says. “We lived here for 10 years before it even crossed my mind.”

It took three long years to get all the zoning permits and paperwork finalized for the Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn. “When everything was approved, it was a great feeling because it was real,’” says Traudi. “We just needed people to want to stay.”

The innkeepers opened for business on Mother’s Day of last year, and they’re looking forward to celebrating their first Valentine’s Day this month with couples from both near and far.

Before moving to Wayne, the Thomasons lived on a 30-acre farm in New Hampshire. “We had completely renovated a 200-year-old home there,” says Traudi.

The family left New England to be closer to their daughter, who was a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. And since they also had a younger daughter, the Radnor schools were another draw. “We wanted to be close [to Washington], but not too close,” says Traudi. “So the Main Line seemed like a great place

Still, after an initial tour of the Victorian home, the Thomasons were hesitant to take on another large project, especially with just the two of them and one child living there full-time. For a house its age, though, it was in great shape. And yet, as appealing as it was to not have to worry about any major renovations, the Thomasons weren’t easily convinced.

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