For too many years to count I’ve been writing articles about local houses for Yakima Magazine. Often people suggest homes to feature in the publication. However, I was caught off guard when, in line for a movie with my husband, a gentleman we knew walked up and insisted I needed to write an article about a very creative couple who lives west of 40th Avenue. I admit, I’m always amazed at how many men read Yakima Magazine, but I didn’t expect him to give me the couple’s name and phone number.
Intrigued by his enthusiasm, I called the next week and as a result, this month’s issue features Edna and Rick Pettyjohn’s amazing house.
On a cold December day, I made my way up a long, red brick driveway, past a copse of birch trees to the front door. I noticed that the entry’s roof contains five skylights that stream light into the home. An art glass front door opens into the home’s foyer. Stepping across the threshold I found myself surrounded by tropical plants. Edna has a passion for plants and gardening. In fact, she has more than 250 indoor plants on display throughout her home and is an active member of Yakima’s Master Gardener organization. She is also belongs to the Yakima Orchid Society and the Bonsai Society.
While Edna grew up in the Philippines, Rick was raised in Yakima, where his father owned the 5th Avenue Dairy Queen. He attended the University of Washington and spent 30 years working for the City of Yakima, managing the computer department. He retired in 2010. Edna also worked for the City of Yakima as an accountant for 30 years and retired in 2015.
The first stop was the couple’s kitchen/dining room. I was instantly taken aback by the china cupboard that displays Edna’s floral Portmeirion dinnerware, which seemed the perfect choice for someone who loves gardening. Rick’s passion is woodworking and over the years he learned how to bend wood. This unique skill is very apparent in the fanciful dining room sideboard that features a melting checkerboard motif on its doors that would fit right in at an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s tea party.
The couple’s kitchen showcases Rick’s passion for woodworking. He took on the huge challenge of building the kitchen cabinets, using Western Maple for the project. The couple picked a dark granite for the countertops and small tile squares for the backsplash.
The original 1,800-square-foot house has grown to 4,000 square feet over the years the Pettyjohns have owned it. “We had a construction company do the shells for the bedroom addition and the garage and structural work in the basement,” Rick said. “I did at least 90% of all the interior work, including interior walls, plumbing, most of the electrical, sheet rock, woodwork, tile work, much of the furniture, and all of the design.”
He also gets credit for replacing structural beams and removing a huge oil tank from the basement. Edna worked on the interior design.
The garage sits conveniently just off the kitchen. Chico Garcia of Adobe Construction was enlisted to tear down the old one and construct a larger space to accommodate autos and Rick’s woodworking tools and equipment, which can be moved on rollers when Rick is involved in a project.
The next stop on the home tour was the spacious living room. It’s hard to ignore the Art Deco-inspired circular glass design that dominates the floor-to-ceiling west windows and doors and offers a wonderful view of Edna’s backyard arboretum. A multicolored glass starburst skylight is set into the ceiling and adds another intriguing element to the room’s décor. Rick’s exquisite handmade furnishings paired with comfortable leather chairs, Oriental rugs and exotic plants make it a perfect space to entertain guests.
It’s obvious that the combined talents of this couple have made their home a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of daily life. They both love original art, and pieces created by a variety of artists are displayed throughout their home.
The next stop was their unusual guest bathroom. They decided to keep the original pink sink, toilet and shower base. “This is the pinkest room you’ve ever seen in your life,” Rick said. The shower makes a perfect, humid spot for Edna’s collection of tropical plants.
From there, a hallway leads to the couple’s master bedroom suite, a delightful hideaway with many of Rick’s furniture pieces taking center stage.
They enjoy a luxurious bathroom featuring a huge mirror above the double sinks that reflects a black-and-white mural on the opposite wall depicting Manhattan’s famous Stork Club from the “Roaring Twenties” era.
Their bedroom is a few steps around a corner where their Art Deco-inspired bed, complete with fan shaped head and footboard, offers sweet dreams. The wall opposite features a turquoise green tiled fireplace. Two comfortable leather chairs face it and provide a perfect spot for reading a book, or relaxing in front of the fire while enjoying a bedtime aperitif. The south side of the bedroom has large windows and doors that boast a similar circular art glass design as the living room, offering another view of the patio and extensive garden.
The final stop on the tour took us to the couple’s basement. Their large recreation and workout room was impressive, but I must admit the final room was my favorite space in the entire house — hands down. As we walked through some heavy curtains, we stepped into a fabulous private movie theater, built in 2010. I’ve always been a huge movie buff and I admit that this would be my idea of Nirvana! It reminded me of a movie director’s private screening room in a Hollywood mansion. It’s obvious Rick had fun creating this old-school style cinema that features plush leather chairs with cup holders, a large movie screen and décor reminiscent of the early days of “talkies.”
I applaud both Rick and Edna Pettyjohn for their creativity, and building and gardening skills. The ultimate result is a unique home that perfectly fits their active lifestyle.