Moving History

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | April 4, 1999

As reported by Kelly D. Burgess, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 4, 1999:

” Marcy, Dale and Nigel Tudor are putting together a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle the size of a barn.

As a matter of fact, it was a barn.

The Tudors dismantled the old frame building in Washington, and moved it 15 miles to their farm in Independence Township near Avella, where they are putting it together again.

Dubbed the “livery stable” by the Tudors, the building is estimated to be about 100 years old. When it’s complete — in June, Dale Tudor hopes — it will be the latest expansion to Weatherbury Farm, the Tudor’s working farm and bed and breakfasts. When finished, the livery will stable people, not horses, and it will house them in luxurious suites complete with a breathtaking view of the countryside.

The former Ross residents decided country was cool more than a dozen years ago after a vacation to Germany where they became enamored of the bed and breakfast concept. In 1986, they bought the farm and have been working on it since.

They started with the farmhouse, which has to be “un-renovated” before it was acceptable to Marcy Tudor.

‘When I moved in, it had a brand-new kitchen, exactly like the one I had just left behind in Ross,’ said Marcy, 52.’But I didn’t want a new kitchen, I wanted an old-fashioned farmhouse kitchen. I got rid of the new stuff and brought the old stuff back in.’

Once the kitchen was changed to Marcy Tudor’s satisfaction, the family started taking in guests in the two rooms they had dedicated to the bed-and-breakfast idea. Last summer, they expanded their facilities by renovating the kitchen so it, too, has two rooms devoted to guests. The rooms are farmhouse cozy, with high ceilings, country furnishings, claw-foot tubs and tables made from tree stumps.

In 1996, when they were still trying to finish the summer kitchen, Dale Tudor was reading the paper and casually mentioned to Marcy that someone would give away an old barn to anyone willing to haul it off. Marcy persuaded him to go out and take a look. The moment she laid eyes on the dilapidated structure, she started to dream of what it could be. It wasn’t long before Dale, 46, who works at Bayer Corp. in Robinson, and son Nigel, 18, became caught up in her vision.

After about a month, they found a contractor who committed to dismantling the building, but he backed out at the last minute. Stanley Bezant, the owner of the Washington property, wanted the structure removed to make way for new houses, so under the gun the Tudors were forced to do the work themselves. It took six months.

Dale and Nigel took the livery apart with reciprocating saws, brought the piles of lumber to Weatherbury Farm, and stacked the around the yard. Then, using photos and sketches they had made of the barn before it was dismantled, they began reconstruction. This time, though, they had professional help from carpenter Doug Kirschner and mason Jeff Diamond.

Now, two years later, the piles of lumber in the yard have decreased considerably. The exterior of the livery is almost complete and the Tudors have tried to keep as many authentic touches as possible.

The doors leading to each of the suites are the original Dutch doors from the stable, although they no longer open that way. Since they were not air tight, they had to be taken apart and reconstructed using pine and tar paper on the inside. Then, they were faced with the original lumber to give them the authentic look.

The stall doors that once kept horses confined will be similarly refurbished and are expected to add a whimsical touch to the downstairs bathrooms.

Eventually, the livery will have three two-story suites featuring private sitting rooms with gas-burning fireplaces. There will also be on handicapped accessible suite. The second-story bedrooms open onto the deck that spans the length of the barn and offers a gorgeous view of some of the Tudors’ 104-acre property.

The basement will become the common room, where breakfast will be served, and large sliding doors will open under the deck into what will eventually be an arbor and garden area. At the moment they open on the construction zone, where Kirschner and his assistants are busy adding the piles of sawdust.

The Tudors plan to do much of the interior work themselves. An artist and blacksmith, Nigel will create the railings for the staircases leading to the bedrooms.

The Tudors’  love for this project is evident in the way they can make the casual visitor ‘see’ beyond the flaking paint and raw wood, and envision the finished product. In fact, Marcy Tudor jokes that it’s going to be so nice they may just move in themselves. If they do, it won’t be the only thing they share with their guest. Visitors to Weatherbury Farm help out around the farm doing simple chores, including feeding the chickens and cows. They also can swim, visit local attractions, or just spend their days admiring the landscape. ”