The Valicoff’s family room’s windows frame holiday decorations and a view of the family’s orchard. Photos by Chad Bremerman.
Kathleen Carner, 68, loves getting together with her grown daughters — Leslee Mobley, 45, and Cristeen Valicoff, 43 — especially when the conversation turns to antiquing and interior design. And when it comes to the holidays, these creative women all decorate their homes in the spirit of the season, but with very different styles.
A Victorian Christmas
Kathleen admits that when she and her husband, Gene, bought their home in the ’60s, she furnished it just like her mother by purchasing matching furniture from a local store. “That all changed when a girlfriend took me to Seattle and we went shopping at an antique store,” she remembers. “I fell in love with everything.” She had an instant attraction to Victorian oak furniture, ornate silver pieces and Mercury glass. When she got home, she eventually sold her new furniture, replacing it over time with antiques.
Today her living room is the picture of Victoriana, exuding an old-world charm. An elegant tufted sofa and black mirrored cabinet that displays favorite glass and crystal objects d’art set the tone of the gracious room. Kathleen pulls her Victorian theme together with her fascinating collection of vintage photos above an unusual oak dresser that displays an ornate gilt bronze clock along with a decorative parlor oil lamp.
“My mother’s family came to the West Coast from Virginia in about 1915 and worked as farm laborers, mainly in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. My father’s family were displaced Germans from Russia and came to the U.S. in 1908,” Kathleen explains. This interest in her family’s history has played a role in her passion for antiques. Kathleen admits wistfully, “I’d love to live in the Victorian era.”
So it’s no wonder that Kathleen bases her holiday theme on Victorian style as well and incorporates silver and pearls throughout her home. Her tall, narrow artificial Christmas tree, sparkling with long strands of pearls and glistening silver ornaments, stands prominently in the living room during the holidays. Sticking to a “less is more” philosophy for holiday decor, Kathleen sparingly places delightful touches, such as silver candy dishes filled with shiny ornaments and old mercury glass vases and candlesticks, in surprising spots around her lovely home.
American Primitive Christmas
Leslee Mobley inherited her mother’s love of antiquing. Today she lives on Clayson Farm in Gleed with her husband, Mark, and two sons, Clayson, 14 (and whom the property is named after), and Garrett, 6. “Our home was built in 1901 and is still a work in progress,” Leslee says. “My husband is in construction and a very talented craftsman, so every project takes time.”
Although their property is surrounded by orchards, they don’t farm. But they love to rescue farm animals who are then spoiled: The family has three goats named Stanley, This and That, a sheep called Nelly and one pot-bellied pig who goes by Charlie.
Mark’s master carpentry skills and Leslee’s own talent for designing rooms that showcase antiques and Americana have developed a farmhouse with warm homespun appeal, without skimping on modern conveniences.
As a child, Leslee often went with her mother to yard sales and antique shows, and she loved snooping around antique stores. “I just got hooked,” she says. “I have always loved that ‘come in and stay awhile’ feel that old furniture and country-style decorating give a home. I also love flags, and red has always been my favorite color. If only old furniture could talk … what a story it would tell.”
For five years during the ’90s, Leslee owned Granny’s Pantry, a store located in the Scarborough Fair Shopping Center in Yakima. During that time she began to develop her signature country style by using a mix of whimsical handmade decorations, Shaker boxes, antique tools, pillows from vintage fabrics, old pottery crocks and patriotic flags in her interior design.
After she closed her shop, she directed her talents to a yearly antique sale, called American Primitives at Clayson Farm. The family even went to the trouble of moving a gargantuan 17×27-foot barn — in two pieces — to their property, so Leslee could have a “shop” from which to sell her collection of primitive furniture, housewares and decorations during the huge yearly event. She also hosts a smaller fall event, called Garrett’s Gathering.
“As a kid we always did Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family and then spent Christmas morning at home opening gifts,” she says. “My family still does basically the same, going to my husband’s parents for Christmas Eve, spending Christmas morning at home and then getting together with my side of the family for brunch.”
Holding on to old-fashioned holiday traditions, the family relies on lots of live Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands because Mark refuses to buy artificial greenery. Leslee has an affinity for snowmen and displays them alongside small banners with holiday greetings, American flags, homespun ornaments, red berries and twinkle lights for accent. She loves placing fun holiday displays in unexpected spots around the house: a snowman and tiny tree atop an old country store scale, a pickle crock holding a miniature lighted tree and a precious miniature chicken coop decked out with green boughs on the front porch.
During any season, Leslee’s cozy farmhouse reflects a simpler era when the holidays were slower, with the sweet smell of baking in the kitchen, family gatherings, church and friends. She and her family have captured these bygone days.
A Luxe Christmas
Cristeen and Ric Valicoff moved into their hilltop home southeast of Yakima four years ago. Built by Jim Sevigny, the home combines Northwest style with hints of French country. The interior features an open living space with high ceilings and tall windows affording an amazing view of the family’s extensive orchards below.
“We wanted an open concept, so that we could all be together cooking, relaxing, entertaining in a cozy large space,” Cristeen says. The great room’s large picture window, which provides an expansive view of the orchards, is Ric’s “pride and joy.”
“Ric is truly 100 percent farmer,” Cristeen says. “He’s worked really hard to make it possible to have our home built on his ranch.”
When it came to décor, Cristeen enlisted the help of local interior designer Kitty Berg to help her achieve a relaxed yet traditional decorating scheme. Choosing a neutral palate, the calming beige walls and white cabinetry and molding contrast nicely with gleaming wood floors.
“Kitty helped me with the wall color and some of the furniture, especially helping me with the scale and size of chairs, couches and more,” she explains. As a result, the home exudes a comfortable luxury that welcomes family and friends to relax and enjoy themselves.
The understated furnishings provide a perfect backdrop for dramatic focal pieces placed in many of the rooms. Crystal chandeliers in the entry and dining room, oversized white marble fireplaces, the foyer’s iron and glass topped table and a large Leo Adams landscape in the master bedroom all add to an elegant feel throughout the home.
Cristeen also credits her mother and sister for helping her achieve her vision. “My mother and sister really helped me with trusting myself and not to keep second guessing every decorating decision,” she says. “My mom kept saying, ‘A house evolves over time and that’s what makes it unique to you. Just give it time and it will just get better and better as you live in it and add pieces to it.’ ” Cristeen said Ric added helpful input as well.
When the family’s first Christmas in their new home rolled around, Cristeen enlisted her sister’s help in decorating it for the holidays, although the two have different styles. “We went to pick out decorations and ended up buying a very tall, 12-foot artificial tree for the living room and all of the ornaments from Target,” she says, smiling. Using a white and crystal theme with contrasting green garlands, the house sparkles with holiday cheer.
Cristeen’s childhood holidays haven’t been forgotten, however. Her grandmother made several kinds of cookies every Christmas, so Cristeen makes one or two of her recipes each year. She also cherishes some decorations that her sons, Coalby, ???, and Brock, 12, made when they were small. “No one else would think much of the homemade little picture frame and angel they made but me,” she says. “Every year I get them out and it kind ofbrings back a little of their childhood.”
Even the entrance to her home is cleverly decorated, with silver pine cones in potted porch plants, twinkle lights and a large candelabra welcoming holiday guests at her front door.
As the old saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” These three delightful and very talented ladies prove that style can be inherited and nurtured to fit each individual.
A kitchen’s pot-bellied stove fits right in with Kathy’s vintage decor.
Mobley’s inviting kitchen is made of warm woods, with antique pots and pans for decorations.
Kathy’s sideboard dominates one wall in her living room and is the perch for finds in silver and gilt pieces.
A side table in the kitchen shows off sparkly trees and snowmen.
Leslee Mobley, Kathleen Carner & Cristeen Valicoff. Photo by Jill St. George.
A snowman greets visitors in front of a glowing fireplace in the Valicoff home.
The barn at Clayson Farm.
Mobley’s tree shines with American-inspired ornaments and embellishments.
Mobley’s living room features antiques and holiday decor, including children’s toys, old tools and a real tree.
The Valicoff’s master bedroom is awash in creams and browns.
Charlie, the Mobley’s pot-bellied pig eats an apple.
A sign welcomes people to the various antique shows at Leslee’s farmhouse.
Kathy’s Victorian holiday living room features a tall, slender tree, dripping in crystals.
Lesley Mobley’s front porch is decorated for the holidays.
A quaint two-part bathroom in the Valicoff home.
The exterior of the family home is part Victorian and part farmhouse. Photos by Chad Bremerman.
Like a bright sunflower blooming amid a hillside of sagebrush, Laurie and Mariano Morales’ Victorian home can’t help but make you smile.
“I wanted a farmhouse with a porch, and Mariano wanted a Victorian-style house with a turret,” said Laurie, who’s a stay-at-home mom. The couple hired local builder Dennis Kelly to construct their dream house in West Valley in 1997. In spite of differing design ideas, they finally compromised with what today is a 3,400-square-foot Victorian-inspired farmhouse that has both a porch and a turret, with gingerbread detailing.
The creamy yellow exterior with bright white trim is reminiscent of the Gilbert Place historical house on Yakima Avenue, but with all the modern amenities a 21st century family wo
ago the couple visited Murano, Italy, where they spotted the elaborate light fixture. “ … Mariano, who usually doesn’t like modern, liked it,” Laurie said.
It’s no wonder that Laurie has a variety of heirloom objects and furniture popping up all over her house. “My parents had an antique store in Spokane,” she explained.
The adjacent family room has several vintage pieces of furniture including a 1940s chair Laurie bought for $15 and a couch she has owned since college. With the help of local interior designer Tanna Barnecut, these pieces have been refurbished with color coordinating fabric that pulls the room together. Additionally, the white built-in bookshelves, fireplace and hidden television cupboard, along with many windows, make this a cheery place for the family to gather after a long day.
In contrast to the casual style of the open concept kitchen and family area, the dining room with its brilliant crystal chandelier, antique table and glistening wood floor, harkens back to a more formal time when families dressed up for Sunday supper. “I bought the Sheridan dining room set from a huge antique mall in Snohomish,” Laurie said. “The table has three leaves and can be really big.” Old Asian floral prints found on a trip to Boston complement her collection of flowery vintage plates displayed above French doors. The room’s table runner and chair cushions give it an elegant feel without making it fussy or old-fashioned.
Just off the entry way, a door leads to Mariano’s study, which is an urban cowboy’s hideaway. An impressive pair of longhorn steer horns are mounted above an antique spiral-legged oak desk, and his collection of antique silver spurs, cowboy hats, saddle bags and western art is displayed around the masculine room.
“Mariano has ridden horses from the time he was little,” Laurie explained. The family has several horses that are pastured on the lower portion of the property that encompasses 8 1/2 acres. In fact, the Yakima lawyer has been filmed riding his favorite horse in his law firm’s television ads. Their 12-year-old daughter, Vienne, also loves riding and shows her horse through a 4H club.
The home’s four bedrooms are found up a grand staircase to the second floor, as well as in the basement. But when the weather gets hot the couple’s 18-year-old son, Desi, prefers to camp out on a cozy wicker sofa located just underneath the turret on the home’s wonderful wraparound porch.
Laurie and Mariano have worked hard to make the outside of their home as lovely as the inside. Over the years Laurie has become an avid green thumb and will officially earn the title of Master Gardener in the fall. One of her most impressive projects is the large knot garden by the southwest corner of the house. “I bought a book on knot gardens because I got the idea from visiting Disney World,” she said. Eventually her dad helped her create a large butterfly design with brick and 450 boxwoods that has matured into an amazing formal evergreen garden that they enjoy year-round.
Mariano’s main contribution to the backyard is the rippling rock and flagstone waterfall he built several years ago that provides an impressive focal point for their patio, which is surrounded by lawn. Next year, Laurie plans to take on raising chickens as an outdoor project.
With a busy law practice, volunteer responsibilities, school events and more to fill their hectic lives, it’s no wonder that the Morales family has sought to create a country paradise that serves as a restful escape.
The colorful and comfortable living room is lit with windows.
A wildflower garden is adorned with a willow branch arch.
Mariano's masculine office is adorned with horns and cowboy hats.
A colorful chandelier from Murano, Italy, graces the rustic dining room.
The grand staircase in the entryway of the Morales home.
Neutral colors accented with pops of green and pink make the dining room formal without being stuffy.
Bright colors grace furniture in the family room.
Laurie stands in front of her antique cupboard.
The entrance to the Morales house.
A fountain in the garden area.
A darling floral wall-papered bathroom.
A view of Alderbrook from across the water. Photos courtesy of Alderbrook Resort & Spa.
Last fall my husband attended a business retreat at Alderbrook Resort, and fortunately spouses were invited. All I knew about Alderbrook came from a Google and Mapquest search; however, the amazing photos had me eagerly anticipating the drive to western Washington for a weekend getaway. After a three-plus hour ride over the Cascades to our destination, I can honestly say we weren’t disappointed.
Tucked away at the south end of Hood Canal near the tiny town of Union, the Alderbrook Resort and Spa covers 88 acres and offers a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains.
The original resort and yacht club opened in 1913, and could only be reached by boat. The earliest accommodations consisted of orange-and black-striped tents and wood stoves, while the chilly water in the creek served as an early 20th century refrigerator for perishable food. Eventually a lodge and cottages followed, and for decades the resort attracted well-heeled Seattleites seeking a summer escape. Today, fun vintage photos of those halcyon days line the walls of the main lodge, reminding guests that they’re experiencing a little piece of Northwest history.
In 2002, Alderbrook closed for an extensive two-year renovation. When it reopened in 2004, the resort featured 77 guest rooms housed in the grand lodge, 15 cottages and three guest houses. Since then, the resort business has boomed and the property has become a favorite year-round destination for family vacations, conferences, reunions, romantic getaways and weddings.
My husband and I stayed in a guestroom decorated in a luxurious Northwest style. The room included silky linens, a flat-screen TV and a window daybed. It also featured a small balcony with an eye-popping view of Hood Canal.
The resort offers a variety of places to stay, however. A collection of family-friendly one- and two-bedroom cottages cluster around a village common area that offers picnic tables, a fire pit and places where children can play. Three modern rental houses can accommodate large families.
We arrived at the resort at dinner time and discovered the dining room overlooks the water. The restaurant features fresh Puget Sound seafood, local produce and Washington wines. But our first dinner took place aboard the resort’s yacht, The Lady Alderbrook, which had been chartered by the conference. As we sipped ice-cold cocktails on the sun deck, the yacht cruised around the sound. Later, a delicious dinner was served below deck in a dining room with wrap-around windows, as guests watched a fading sunset. It was perfect.
The next morning, after my husband left for his meeting, I made a beeline downstairs to the Alderbrook Spa for a facial. Recently listed as “A Top Ten People’s Choice” for mainland spas by Condé Nast Traveler, Alderbrook spa treatments range from facials, body wraps and massages to manicures and pedicures. After my facial, I practically floated back to my room. The day spa also has a fitness center, an herbal-infused steam room, a couples soaking tub, a relaxation room and a dry sauna.
Every week the resort’s front desk publishes an extensive list of daily activities to keep guests busy. The 1,500-foot dock offers rental services for those who want to boat, kayak or fish. A private swimming area and slips for guest moorage are also available. Across the highway and up the hill is an 18-hole PGA-class golf course, and miles of groomed nature trails. Nearby, the Harmony Hill Retreat Center offers weekday yoga classes. Guests who feel like a swim can visit the resort’s large glass-enclosed indoor pool and hot tub.
When families have exhausted all of the activities to keep the kids happy, they can trot them upstairs to the “Gamers’ Hideaway” Xbox Game Room. Family-friendly movies can also be viewed — with popcorn to make the experience complete.
Rates: Hotel rates are seasonal. Summer rates range from $189 per night for a king bed with a garden view to $509 for a deluxe waterfront cottage. House rentals are available. Special rates are also available at alderbrookresort.com. Some guest rooms are pet-friendly.
Spa: Rates for spa treatments run the gamut and include the Alderbrook “Signature Massage,” with heated basalt stones and aromatherapy, which is $145 for one hour.
Other services: Alderbrook offers a variety of family, spa, dining, golf, sweetheart and adventure packages. Kayak rentals and hydroplane rides are available off the pier on a seasonal basis.
Directions from Yakima: Take I-82 West to I-90, then to Highway 18. Take the I-5 South exit, then exit I32B to Bremerton. Continue on Highway 16 West. Turn onto Highway 3, and then turn right on Highway 106 West. Alderbrook will be on your right at 7101 Washington 106.
Alderbrook's Executive Chef, Lucas Sautter, prepares duck breast carbonara.
Alderbrook's rustic lobby welcomes visitors.
Kayaking is one of many outdoor activities offered at the resort.
The rooms are bright and modern with small balconies.
Massage beds await visitors at Alderbrook's spa.
The restaurant overlooks the water.
A cottage at the resort.
A view of the resort from above.
Brian Anderson, who collects and restores vintage cars, stands by his 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. Photos by Sara Gettys.
A couple of months ago, while sipping a latte near my favorite window at Lincoln Avenue Espresso, I looked out to find a vintage Rolls Royce gliding to a stop directly in front of the door. “Now that’s something you don’t see every day in Yakima,” I thought. Curiosity got the better of me, and I accosted the owner, Brian Anderson, with a string of questions. He graciously gave me a peek inside his 1953 Silver Wraith limousine (it’s fit for a queen) and mentioned that he had a few other old cars at home parked in his garage.
Time passed and I would occasionally see him drive up to the coffee shop in other shiny vehicles, both old and new. I finally got up my nerve to ask if he’d agree to let me write an article about his collection for Yakima Magazine, knowing that it would interest the many readers who also suffer from that incurable ailment known as “car lust.”
My own husband gave in to this affliction years ago, when he bought and sold a string of British sports cars that spent more time in the shop than on the road. That said, he loved every inch of these sporty foreign speedsters. (I’m convinced one of the saddest events of his adult life was when he sold his British racing green Triumph TR3.) Although he currently doesn’t own a vintage sports car, he still succumbs to secretly reading the Hemmings Classic Car magazine online when he thinks I’m not looking.
After several coffee shop conversations with Anderson, he finally agreed to an interview and a tour of his automobile collection. When I arrived at his country home in Gleed, he ushered me into his spotless four-car garage. He may not own a huge variety like talk show host Jay Leno, but there’s an interesting story behind each of his classic cars.
Anderson grew up in Yakima, graduating from West Valley High School in 1964. It somehow seems appropriate that a man with a passion for cool cars would have worked as a teenager at the old Country Drive-In on Nob Hill Boulevard for his dad, who owned the outdoor movie theater. In fact, the money he earned from that job allowed him to buy his first car, a 1958 Chevrolet Impala.
The pride of his current collection is the Rolls Royce, which he bought last year, for an undisclosed amount. “Since I was 12 years old, I’ve always wanted a Rolls,” Anderson remembered. “It took me a while to get it.”
With only 11 Silver Wraiths built by Rolls Royce in 1953, the exquisite limousine was originally ordered for the CEO of Lloyds of London, and was subsequently owned by the lord mayor of London. The interior features steering on the right-hand side, wood paneling, a divider between the front and back seats, cup holders and even two crystal decanters in the rear window ledge for backseat cocktails. They’re etched with the Rolls Royce logo.
“The car needed some work, but I just love it,” he said. The car has also won many trophies at car shows.
The next vintage car in his garage had me singing Prince’s Little Red Corvette. There it was in all of its flaming red glory, the fantasy car of every high school boy from the ’60s to the ’80s. Anderson bought the 1964 Vette in 1971 for $1,810, and admits he enjoyed working on it himself, but now leaves the heavy lifting to a mechanic. He claims this high-powered car has clocked 137 mph on the Moxee Highway. “But that was a long time ago,” he quipped.
Next down the line is a shiny 1934 Ford Deluxe four door. The car had been moldering in an old chicken coop before Anderson got the tip. He paid $6,000 for it in 2002, and at the time it looked like a piece of junk ready for the scrap pile. But to Anderson, the model had some historic significance: outlaws “Bonnie and Clyde” were shot to death while attempting to escape the law in a similar Ford Deluxe. “I always wanted a street rod, but wanted one bigger than a coupe,” he explained. He had the Ford painted a candy apple red and restored inside and out to the tune of $100,000. “The inner workings are immaculate. I drive it a lot and take it to car shows in Moxee, Bickleton and Tacoma, all over the state.”
Not completely satisfied with one Corvette, a 1981 jet black Stingray, featuring a 330 horsepower engine and less than 2,000 road miles, eventually became available. He bought his second Corvette in 1991 for $8,500, and today it sits waiting for a fast and furious spin. According to corvette-info.tripod.com, the 1981 Corvette was the first to use a computer on all production models. “I had to put in a new engine,” Anderson said. And like the 1964 model, this car has speed and can reach 130-140 mph.
Before Anderson bought the Rolls Royce he dreamed of, he succumbed to the next best thing: a 1950 snow white Bentley Mark VI, made in England by the same company. Purchased in 2010 for $27,000, it has required a great deal of work. When asked why he wanted a Bentley, Anderson said, “It was the nearest thing to a Rolls at the time! I’ve used both the Rolls and Bentley for friends’ weddings.”
Anderson keeps his relatively small vintage car collection in immaculate condition, spending hours polishing each of them by hand. He also owns a motorhome, a truck with large trailer to transport his vintage cars, a new SUV and a boat, while his wife, Irene, drives a 2009 Cadillac. Not ready to retire, he helps run the family business, a large mobile home park in West Valley.
A visit to the office where he displays his many car show trophies ended my tour and interview. Before I drove away in my not-so-perfect Volvo, he left me with one interesting anecdote about the car that got away. Chuckling, Anderson admitted to owning a “tricked-out” Chevy van in the ‘70s, the perfect “love mobile” in which to take a date to the drive-in. And to remind him of those good times, he owns what might be the only surviving Country Drive-In speakers, just waiting for the outdoor movie to begin.
The interior of Anderson's 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith limousine features a wood interior with two seats that face forward and jump seats that face backward.
The grill of Anderson's 1950 Bentley.
The interior of Anderson's 1934 Ford Deluxe features white leather and a warm wood dash board.
Brian Anderson's red 1934 Ford Deluxe shines in the sun.
Anderson's '81 Stingray Corvette.
Brian Anderson's 1950 Bentley, reflected in one of its mirrors.
Brian Anderson, who collects and restores vintage cars, sits in his 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. The car was originally ordered from Rolls Royce for the Chairman of the Board for Lloyds of London.
The Spirit of Ecstasy stands atop the hood of the 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith belonging to Brian Anderson.
The grill of the 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith is reflected in one of its head lights.
The first car that Brian Anderson restored is this 1964 Corvette.
Anderson's 1950 Bentley has a wood dashboard and glove compartment.
The exterior of Darcie and Brian Roberts' Tudor Home. Photos by Jennifer Dagdagan.
Buying an older home takes long-term commitment. Darcie and Brian Roberts took up just that challenge for a chance to live on West Chestnut Avenue, in one of Yakima’s last historic neighborhoods. Today, their spring green 1934 Tudor home, with its delightful striped awnings and perfectly manicured yard, has stroll-stopping curb appeal in this Yakima neighborhood.
Twelve years ago, when Darcie, 45, and Brian, 54, bought the 3,400 square-foot home, its exterior was a dark brown, and that drab theme carried throughout the interior.
“Even the carpet in the kitchen was brown,” says Darcie, who teaches part-time at LaSalle High School. Fortunately, they could see past the somber motif and visualize the structure’s potential with its classic architectural details, hardwood floors and extensive built-ins, like the floor-to-ceiling china cupboard in a cozy breakfast nook. “We looked at it and bought it the first night,” says Brian, who is a partner at Argus Insurance. “I liked the home’s character.” As only the fifth owners, they were especially pleased that the former occupants had loved the house as much as they did.
Over the course of the home’s almost 80 years, American lifestyles changed drastically. Families in the 1930s and ’40s had larger families, but smaller houses. Children shared bedrooms, and bathrooms were at a premium. Families ate dinner in the dining room, kids played in the neighborhood and the basement often went unfinished. Darcie and Brian knew they would need to remodel to accommodate their two children, Lauren and Jack, but made a plan to make those changes over time.
Fortunately, the living and adjacent dining rooms only needed a light-colored coat of paint, a smattering of comfortable furniture and some interior design to make them perfect for the family. The original leaded glass bay window, shiny wood floors and glass-fronted shelves that bookend the white brick fireplace already lent an old-school charm to the front of the home. Now a round table with six upholstered chairs make the dining room look intimate, but the table can be expanded to accommodate 12 or more people for holiday dinners.
The couple quickly realized that what the original design lacked was a large family room on the main floor where friends could gather and relax. A master bedroom and an adjoining office, steps away from the kitchen and main floor bathroom, became the obvious choice for this new purpose and thus the couple embarked on their first major remodeling project. Today their large family room features lots of windows, including French doors leading to their backyard, cushy leather furniture, a big screen TV and an upright piano, which Darcie plays.
But they didn’t stop there. Upgrading the kitchen became another priority. Instead of making drastic structural changes, Darcie painted the cupboards a soothing sweet cream color to coordinate with the granite countertop tiles. New stainless steel appliances added another update. Having lived in Europe before she married Brian, Darcie incorporated Italian tiles above the cooktop to add a little cosmopolitan charm to the kitchen. “My dream would be opening up the kitchen,” Darcie admitted, but that project still looms in the future.
When asked which room they like the best, Brian professed his fondness for the remodeled basement, but Darcie declared a love for the master bedroom. When they repurposed the original master bedroom into a family room, the couple claimed the largest of the three upstairs bedrooms for their own. The only downside was the lack of closet space. They discovered that if they opened the walls under the eaves they would have sufficient room to create two large closets and deepen the drawers of the original built-in dresser. This extra space now gives plenty of room for shoes and clothes.
Conquering the unfinished basement made for another interesting project. The former owners left an “enchanted tiki room” of sorts, complete with bamboo shades covering the walls and an ancient water bed. After the wee bit of Polynesia sailed away and the old leaking bed left the building, walls and ceilings were finished, carpets were laid and a fireplace was installed. The finished basement now includes a guest bedroom and a “man cave” and TV room complete with a vintage pool table, formerly owned by Brian’s grandfather.
Both Darcie and Brian enjoy gardening, and the recent addition of a large stone deck with a dramatic grapevine-covered pergola makes for the ideal outdoor entertaining spot in their backyard. The space features a built-in grill, comfortable lawn chairs and a gracious wrought iron dining table and chairs. The beautifully manicured gardens complement the new hardscape. The couple also hired Gill Concrete and Masonry Design to create a fountain from Darcie’s design that adds the magical sound of water to this urban oasis. Fourteen koi and two turtles also swim about, making the fountain their home.
Although owning an older house comes with an increased amount of upkeep and hard work, the Roberts family has discovered that it also brings greater than usual reward. The love and perspiration they have poured into the physical structure appears to have been returned many times over as this home gives its blessing to the fifth family it has comfortably housed.
Darcie poses with her dog in front of her fireplace.
The living room is furnished with items that have been collected for years.
The upstairs bathroom has two pedestal sinks and light blue accents.
Darcie stands in her bright tone-on-tone kitchen.
The sunroom holds whimsical furniture and decor.
Doors from the family room open up onto the backyard patio.
Fish meander in the outdoor pond and fountain.
A tidy built-in desk in Jack's room provides storage and work space.
The children's rooms each has its own flair - pink and brown an polka dots for Lauren's room.