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New owners for 'Big Red Barn'

Big Red Barn

Lila and David Chapman have big plans for the red barn behind them.
Photo by Deborah Stone.

Big Red Barn by Deborah Stone
The big, white trimmed red barn located off 140th Avenue NE has long been a colorful landmark in Woodinville. And it has an interesting history as well, beginning in 1939, when it was built for a dairy farm.
   In 1964, the Laiti family bought the 3 1/4-acre property and created a unique home out of the barn, also installing a sign painting business. The unusual dwelling drew numerous comments and requests from newspapers and national home magazines to photograph it.
   Ten years later, it was sold and became a school for boys. The school operated until late 1979, when Leon McClearey bought it to use as a counseling center. He owned it until just recently, when entrepreneurs David and Lila Chapman purchased it.
   The Chapmans, who are long-time Seattle residents, plan to renovate the three original structures on the property and have already begun the process. In the large 8,000-square-foot dairy barn will be a bed and breakfast, due to open in late spring, a banquet facility, a conference area, and The Emperor's New Clothes, a rental costume and formal wear store. The latter will open in the beginning of November and is an Eastside expansion of the Chapmans' business on Queen Anne Hill.
   The other two buildings on the property include a 3,500-square-foot horse barn which will be turned into meeting rooms and a teaching facility. The smallest structure, a two-story milking parlor, has the potential of becoming a rental cottage or suite-type accommodation. The Chapmans' future plans also include the possible creation of a dinner theatre.
   The Chapmans have been in the B&B business for the past seven years, owning operating the Green Gables Guest House in Seattle. Both have a history of renovating houses, and the combination of Lila's background in design and David's skill in woodworking and carpentry is advantageous for such projects.
   Their vision for the complete renovation is based on an ambitious five-year plan. They will do most of the work themselves with the help of their sons who they say are equally committed and enthusiastic about the project.
   Many original fixtures will be kept to maintain the charm and color of the place. Unusual light fixtures made from wheels and suspended from the 17-foot ceiling with black wrought-iron chains, a 24-foot wooden table and benches, a balcony that overlooks the Great Room, and cow rings still intact will help to preserve the character of the building, the Chapmans said.
   "Landscaping will be a large project," David said, "with a formal garden, a patio, a vegetable garden, and a croquet area. This place has such breathtaking views of Mount Rainier. We want people to be able to sit outside when the weather permits and enjoy the scenery."
   The property also has many kinds of trees that bear fruit, which Lila looks forward to using in meals for the guests.
   "This is a dream come true for us," said Lila, "and we are thrilled to be here in Woodinville. We look forward to being a part of this community."