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Historical barn house goes B&B

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Marine View Drive in Sequim is populated with bed and breakfasts and each inn has an interesting history and distinct appeal.

The Dungeness Barn House - built in 1942 by Arthur and Minnie Rogers from Ireland - started as a working dairy farm and was transformed into a bed and breakfast through a lifetime of love and people. The beautifully renovated barn house is surrounded by abundant gardens with daffodils, tulips, lavender, lilacs, perennials, roses and more.

What started as a retirement project for Berta and Barrie Warden seven years ago quickly turned into a healing adventure.

The Wardens bought the barn house in the fall of 2003. Together, the couple finished the conversion from barn to house. Not long after the remodel was complete, Barrie was diagnosed with cancer. Less than four years later, he died.

After Barrie's death, Warden was wracked with grief and listed the house and property for sale. Then, she changed her mind and decided to keep it and open the carefully decorated home as a bed and breakfast - the first step of moving forward with her life after the loss of her "other half."

The Dungeness view suite offers a king-size bed and water view. It has a large, private bathroom with a jetted tub and separate walk-in shower, a fireplace, wireless Internet and a large flat screen television. The room is on the ground floor and ADA accessible.

The Victorian garden suite offers a slightly smaller queen-size bed with a view of the Dungeness Spit and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Located on the second floor, the suite has a private bath with a clawfoot tub and shower, fireplace, Internet access and television.

Since opening, the Dungeness Barn House has hosted a variety of guests.

One couple traveled from Germany with their teenage daughter to visit Forks and see the town where "Twilight" was born before continuing on to San Francisco, Calif., and New York.

Another set of guests was an oncology nurse from Seattle and her friend who were unable to find a place to camp so they called to see if they could set up a tent in the yard.

"I served them oatmeal in the morning and sent them on their way," Warden said.

Unlike most bed and breakfasts, the Dungeness Barn House allows dogs as long as the canines spend the night with Warden's two King Cavaliers in the sitting room - which long ago was where the cows used to come into the barn at night - and stay out of the suites. After all, Figaro and Moonlight Holly - Warden's two dogs - must approve each and every guest, she joked, pointing to a sign near the entrance that reads "All guests must be approved by the dog."

A 'people person'

Warden describes herself as a "people person" who loves pleasing guests. She worked as a human resource manager at Boeing for 32 years before taking an early retirement at 55.

In addition to taking care of people, Warden enjoys caring for plants. When the Wardens relocated from a small farm near Auburn to Sequim, she transplanted 110 rosebushes and only two died. An avid gardener for as long as she can remember, friends and colleagues used to call Warden the "Martha of Kent."

Warden spends hours on end in the garden watering, weeding and digging up and replanting flowers.

"I move flowers around like most people move furniture," she joked. "To me, it's fun."

Donating her time to the community has helped Warden fill the void in her life since Barrie died. She "adopted" the Fifth Avenue Retirement Center and invites the residents to tea for Mother's Day, again in June, and for a vintage fashion show in December.

"It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the gardens, walk on the beach and frequently see deer, hummingbirds and eagles while you enjoy breakfast," Warden said.

Having watched her husband and best friend die from cancer, Warden said she'd like to offer the bed and breakfast as "an island in the storm," so-to-speak, for people fighting cancer.

"When you are going through something like that, it's so relaxing to just sit in the rose garden or to watch the ships through the telescope."

But more than that, the inn has a healing essence, Warden said.

"It has so many characteristics of the old barn - like the beams and the floors - but it also has warmth to it," she said.

"The first time I walked into the house, even when it was in shambles, I felt love."


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