When Noel Moxley accepted a job with Yakima’s Central Washington Orthopedics in 2007, she knew she wanted to purchase a home in a friendly neighborhood. She’d worked in Los Angeles for several years and then spent time in Wyoming before returning to Yakima, where she had been the executive director of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra.

As luck would have it, she discovered a charming brick house for sale in Yakima’s historic district. That’s when the fun began!

Driving up to Moxley’s house today, you will see a pristine front that features a delightful garden. I had no preconceived notions about the home’s design. However, because of the narrow lot, I assumed the home’s interior must be relatively small. Then Noel appeared at the front door and welcomed my husband and me into her living room.

Wow and wow!

I was instantly gobsmacked by the living room’s spacious interior. She has created a soothing decor by painting the walls aubergine (eggplant), by converting the living room’s lovely, original fireplace to gas, and has filled the room with comfortable chairs and a large sofa. The result is a perfect room for entertaining family and friends.

A large, lighted breakfront cabinet on the far wall displays a collection of Noel’s favorite things. Over the years she’s become a great supporter of local artists and the living room walls display her impressive collection of works by local artists.

The charming dining room is a few steps away. A beautiful chandelier sets an elegant tone for dinner parties, along with the original artwork displayed on the room’s walls. Dinners never arrive cold because Noel’s well-appointed galley kitchen is in the next room. Although compact, the kitchen features everything a cook would need, with plenty of counter space, a double sink, refrigerator-freezer and the most important accoutrement for a successful dinner party, her wall-mounted wine rack.

Moxley next led us down the hall to her bedroom. Her lovely oak poster bed and matching dresser and side tables set the stage for a good night’s sleep. She’s created a den next door that provides the perfect space for relaxing or working on her long list of projects.

“This is the room I live in,” Moxley said.

The den also has a door that opens to the backyard patio, but more about that later. It’s no wonder she spends lots of time there because since moving back to Yakima she’s jumped into community efforts feet-first.

She worked for Central Washington Orthopedics for five years before taking job with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Besides those two important jobs, she found time to become involved with many other community efforts, including the Washington State Arts Commission, United Way, Community Health of Central Washington, The Boxx Art Gallery in Tieton and the Yakima Downtown Rotary. And for the past few years, she has served as board chairman for the Yakima Arts Commission.

Back in the hallway, Moxley pointed to the wall and ceiling near the stairs that lead to the side patio and beyond. In a moment of whimsy, Moxley decided to hire well-known Yakima artist Janet Buege to paint a faux ivy-covered trellis that runs up the wall and across the ceiling — like the one you might see in a garden.

I was surprised when we passed the door to her side patio and continued down steep stairs to her basement. Basements were definitely popular in the 1930s, and this one is very large. In fact, it featured two bedrooms and a great room that had a washer and dryer on one side of the room and a large space, complete with a cushy sofa and big-screen television. You can binge on your favorite miniseries or sporting event while waiting for your laundry to dry.

After touring the home’s interior, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been under the misconception that the house was probably about 1,500 square feet. Boy, was I wrong. Including the basement, it turns out the official footage jumps to 2,400 square feet.

Back upstairs, we went out to see the side patio and backyard, where I was introduced to Naddy, Noel’s beautiful Portuguese water dog. Naddy was sitting proudly in a wicker chair. I’ve always been a cat person, but this sweet pup melted my heart. The side patio is awesome as well, featuring comfortable chairs and a cascade of beautiful blooms. It makes a great spot for an evening cocktail.

We continued by rounding the corner to find a large yard and garden featuring an abundance of flowers. There’s a delightful red shed that seems to tilt precariously above the yard and I dearly wanted Pippi Longstocking to pop out the door. I felt I’d fallen into a wonderful children’s book. For the adults, a door from the den leads to a small garden patio awaiting afternoon tea or something stronger.

Moxley’s neighborhood features a number of brick houses that were built in the late 1930s and ‘40s. They seem to attract buyers who want to live in the historic district and, like Moxley, don’t mind the challenge of updating an old house. Kudos go out to Noel Moxley for taking on the challenge to upgrade her vintage home in a way that celebrates the old while embracing the new!