After sitting vacant for many years, the historic Breidablik Chapel has recently been revitalized by two friends into a space that can be rented for weddings and other events.
Shelley Nell and Kristy Whitcher started their new business, Krishell’s Events at Breidablik Chapel, in 2017. They met through a bowling league and instantly became friends.
The chapel was built in 1908 on a 60-acre farm owned by Whitcher’s grandparents. It was built by community members as a place of worship in that area of Poulsbo. There is also a cemetery adjacent to the chapel.
“That was back when the road was not blacktop. In order to get to Poulsbo, you had to use a covered wagon with horses,” Whitcher said about when the chapel was built.
When Whitcher’s grandparents died, her uncle inherited the property. When he died in 1998, she received it. At that time, Whitcher’s father was still alive, and they decided to split the property between her family and sell it. One plot she ended up keeping was the chapel.
The last time the chapel was used as a church was around 2006, Whitcher said, around the time when the nearby Breidablik Baptist Church opened. Since the venue was now vacant, Whitcher used it for storage.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I just know I wanted to keep it in the family,” she said. “It costs a lot to keep this church going, and I felt that if I just let it go, eventually it would probably fall down. Without Shelley getting in there and preserving it, I’m not really sure what would’ve happened to it.”
After Whitcher mentioned to Nell that she used the chapel for storage, Nell insisted they find a better way to use the space. With Nell’s background in planning events and collecting decor, she knew some sort of event space would be possible.
“I’ve always done weddings for my family,” Nell said. “[Kristy] had shown it to me several times, and I kept telling her we got to do something with this. I collect a lot of stuff … and I have all kinds of decor. I am really into old churches and old buildings. Anything old, I love.
“I just asked her if we could use the building to rent out decor that people might want to use for weddings,” she continued. “Then it turned into ‘well, if we’re going to do this work, we might as well have events here.’ It took [Shelley] two seconds to answer yes.”
After nine months of work on the building and property, the historic chapel was ready for a second chance in life. The work, done by Nell and her parents, consisted of replacing some rotten wood, cleaning, painting and yard maintenance.
“The church is in great shape, except for the roof,” she said. “We’re working on that.”
Along with weddings, the venue can also be rented for bridal and baby showers, birthday and graduation parties, and more. Capacity is about 50 people.
“Poulsbo still has a lot of people who have grown up there, and their families have been there for years,” Nell said. “I get people just stopping in to see it. Everybody’s loved it. It’s cute, quaint and reasonably priced. I purposely keep the price down so everyone can have a nice, cute wedding. The venues and places all over are so expensive.”
Nell said she likes to keep things simple. Guests can use her decor in whatever way they like, and catering is also allowed.
“People can just come, set up and leave whenever they’re done,” she said. “It’s very easy for people, a lot easier than having them in their homes. I’m very easy to work with. I don’t have a lot of rules.”