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January Acts of Kindness– Bob and Traudi Thomason

Auction Donee– Overnight Stay @ The Wayne Bed & Breakfast


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.”

In the family room/great room, the owners refinished the extensive cherry woodwork and added beautiful floral William Morris reproduction wallpaper authentic to the home’s era. “I have an eclectic style,” says Traudi, as she points to the abstract paintings hanging in the room. “I like to mix antiques with modern pieces.” The roomy kitchen’s modern amenities are now necessities, and an adjoining sunroom doubles as an office. “I like to spend a lot of time there because it’s almost like being outside,” says Traudi.

Traudi serves breakfast to her guests in the dining room, with its striking china cabinet and a three-paneled mirror on the opposite wall. Also original is the oval crystal chandelier hanging above the antique dining set. “I wasn’t sure how people would feel sitting at the same table having breakfast together, but they seem to love it,” she says.

Elsewhere, bedrooms once claimed by their daughters are now comfortable accommodations for visitors. But perhaps the biggest transition for the Thomasons was moving their personal living quarters to what is essentially an in-law suite. “We truly lived in every room,” says Traudi. “We had to reorganize everything. We were downsizing, but staying in the same home.”

Running a B&B is a major lifestyle change for the couple—one they’ve had no choice but to fully embrace. In the first six months, and they’ve already hosted visitors from 22 states and around the world. Among the highlights — a WWF female wrestler and a Canadian artist turned paleontologist after being asked to reconstruct missing dinosaur bones early in his career.

If you are visiting Villanova University and want a lovely experience, then you must stay here. Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn • 211 Strafford Ave., Wayne; (610) 715-2224

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