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A labor of love
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Fern Hollow is a place where people can make memories.
At least, that’s what owners Patti and Bill Kimler envision.
Located up Taylor Cutoff Road on 2.5 acres of private property, Fern Hollow is a venue available to rent for wedding ceremonies, receptions, corporate retreats, family reunions, birthday parties and other special events or milestones.
After four long years, restoration of the house and barn is complete.
“We had no idea how long it would take or how much it would cost to fix everything,” Patti Kimler admitted. “It was a long process and the landscaping alone took two years.”
The story of Fern Hollow
The Kimlers were both born and raised in Sequim. Patti grew up on her grandparents’ 25-acre ranch up Taylor Cutoff Road in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1986, Patti and Bill Kimler bought the property next door to what is now Fern Hollow. They lived there for 12 years, raising two daughters in the rural Sequim area. During this time, they met Fern Hollow’s owners, Ruth and Jack Fechter.
In 2006, after the Kimlers already had left the area to reside in Kitsap County, the Fechters decided to relocate closer to family in Montana and put their beloved farmhouse and acreage on the market. With the economy in a downturn, the house didn’t sell.
A crumbling barn and an old farmhouse heated primarily by multiple wood stoves simply weren’t attracting potential buyers.
Using their accumulated life savings, the Kimlers relieved their friends of the burden and purchased the property in October 2007.
“The Fechters were friends so we told them if the property didn’t sell by the end of the listing agreement that we’d buy it as an investment,” Patti Kimler recalled. “I was raised hiking in these very mountains and had six siblings that I backpacked all over the countryside with. This is home.”
When they first purchased the home and property, the Kimlers didn’t plan to turn it into a business venture. The idea came by accident when Bill Kimler decided to restore the crumbling pole barn.
Surrounded by native maple trees and bordered by a small creek, he envisioned the spot as a place where friends and families could gather and seek shelter from the sometimes unpredictable weather of the Pacific Northwest. He thought maybe a bed and breakfast would be fun. The rest of the family mused that maybe the grounds would serve well for weddings and reunions.
The idea for Fern Hollow stemmed from there and continued to grow.
“It just feels like a great place to be with your loved ones,” Patti Kimler said.
As the stars continued to align just perfectly, the Kimlers purchased a chunk of property across the street from Fern Hollow to be used exclusively for parking.
“It was a lot of serendipity,” Patti Kimler said. “Things just keep working out at the right time.”
The immaculately restor-ed 1943 farmhouse — adjacent to a 4,000-square-foot hand-laid brick patio, outdoor cabana wet bar and private multi-level decks and porches — is just footsteps away from a 2,400-square-foot heated barn. Together, the house and barn offer space for everything from a sit-down dinner to a lively buffet reception.
The gardens include multiple water features and serve as a tranquil and picturesque backdrop.
Additional amenities include eight hours of rental time for up to 200 guests, rehearsal time prior to the day of an event, private suites for wedding parties, on-site management during gatherings, parking, a large lined tent and two smaller canopies, tables and chairs to accommodate guests, patio umbrellas and more.
What the future holds
The Kimlers continue to live in Kitsap County, where they own and operate a plumbing business, serving clients from Clallam to Pierce counties. Someday, the couple intends to cut back to just one business — and they’re hoping Fern Hollow will fit the bill.
Ultimately, they want to retire in Sequim, Patti Kimler said, and there’s even a house on the back of the property to do so.
In the meantime, they’re just enjoying the here and now.
“We are excited to be back in the community that we love so much,” Patti Kimler said. “This is truly a labor of love for us.”
For more information or to schedule a tour of Fern Hollow, call 360-504-2323 or go online to www.fernhollowvenue.com.