Driving around town looking for a house to feature in Yakima Magazine, I spotted a home in the Barge Chestnut neighborhood that could have been transported from colonial days to its current address. This revelation should have come as no surprise because I’m always reaching for my trusty copy of “A Field Guide to American Houses,” and a quick check resulted in my discovery of a picture of a “Colonial Revival” that matched theirs.
Bingo! The design was definitely similar to the house in the Yakima neighborhood. Ironically, on a walk a few days later, I saw the owners working in the yard and struck up a conversation. Never one to be shy, I asked if I could write about their beautiful home and they graciously said yes.
So, what makes a house fit the Colonial Revival style? This month’s home has a side gabled roof and a two-story red brick exterior with white trimmed, multipaned windows, black shutters and a lovely a brick walkway that leads to the covered front porch. The current owners also added black iron fencing with red brick posts around the front yard to enhance the home’s Colonial Revival look.
Ron and Natalie Baron moved into their 1930s home in 2015. With eyes wide open, they knew it would require a major remodel to meet their family’s needs.
A former berry farmer in the Lower Valley, Ron and his son Cameron started remodeling old houses and the venture led to owning a private construction company called Baron Homes. So for them, taking on the task of remodeling a 90-year-old house was almost like “A Busman’s Holiday.”
During the ‘30s, Yakima’s population was growing, and many orchards were removed to make room for the construction of houses to accommodate the boom. The Barons’ three-story house was built with two of the stories facing Yakima Avenue and a large basement not visible from the front of the home.
The couple have four grown children — two boys and two girls — and seven grandchildren, and they kept that in mind when searching for a house that could accommodate their large family gatherings.
As much as I loved the exterior, I was even more taken by the wonderful manner in which Ron and Natalie have updated the décor of their home’s first floor without betraying the style of the house.
Our first stop was their spacious living room just off the front door.
Obviously, remodeling a 1930s house has its own special challenges like having to refinish the hardwood floors. Additionally, white blinds along with beautiful curtains were installed on the north and south windows.
Natalie chose a unique curved sofa (sometimes referred to as a “conversational couch”) which sits on a beautiful round rug, making it the perfect spot to catch up with friends and family. Blue club chairs bookend a white brick fireplace, while a comfortable, leather sofa provides extra seating on the opposite side of the room. One special touch is the French inspired table and chairs that offer a cozy spot by the windows that look out on the backyard garden.
Ron and Natalie definitely wanted their master bedroom on the first floor, so they remodeled a space just off the living room that would accommodate their king-size bed, matching bedside tables and large dresser. They also were able to add an adjoining master bathroom that features a spacious soaking tub and shower, plus a large white vanity with double sinks and mirrors.
The last piece of the first-floor puzzle was enlarging their dining room and kitchen, plus updating the lighting, countertops, appliances, cupboards and more. The end result reveals a dining area large enough to accommodate a beautiful long table which can seat 10 comfortably. Natalie added a striking iron chandelier above the table and an elegant dining room buffet to round out the space.
The home’s remodeled kitchen is just around the corner. The original room was small and antiquated, so they quickly took on the major task of enlarging and opening its access to the dining room.
A gorgeous brick column marks the entry to the kitchen, which features large floor tiles. The off-white wood cabinets and drawers are complemented with quartz countertops and a gray stone backsplash. They installed a modern black refrigerator to provide additional contrast. A curved opening above the sink offers a peek at the what Natalie calls the adjoining coffee corner, reached from the kitchen or front door.
The home’s second floor contains two more well-appointed bedrooms perfect for grandchild visits. Natalie has established her own sewing and crafts space in a third room. She works part-time as a hospice nurse and currently spends some of her free time sewing masks to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Not to be outdone, Ron has his own room on the second floor, where he can work and also write novels. He self-publishes them and gave me one to read — and it was terrific! I can’t wait to peruse his next publication.
The basement offers a spacious room for their family to gather, play games, watch movies or maybe even view a football game on TV. I couldn’t help being jealous that our two married daughters and grandson live in Virginia and we can’t share the same fun of having them in Yakima.
I’ve saved the best for last.
As it turns out, the Barons have a wonderful back porch right off the dining room that provides an amazing view of Yakima and beyond. Sitting out there on a cool evening feels like the home has an extra room to relax from the hustle and bustle of life.
A metal staircase leads down to their backyard and amazing terraced garden that bursts with beautiful summer blooms of all description. At the bottom of the yard they’ve built a fire pit that’s perfect for roasting marshmallows or s’mores with family or friends.
It takes a special couple to commit to a historic home, knowing it will need a lot of work to be brought up to date. I’m impressed and definitely happy that the Barons did just that and hope they will enjoy owning their beautiful piece of Yakima history for years to come.