The Barge-Chestnut neighborhood has many old houses whose owners take pride in keeping them up to date, while still honoring their original design. The home Yakima Magazine is featuring this month was built in 1942, and is a perfect example how the current owners, Wendy and Scott Wilding, have made a point of respecting its initial style, while at the same time adding many enhancements that make it all the more beautiful in today’s world.

Wendy and Scott met while attending George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and have been married for 37 years. Scott spent his career working as a human resources manager for lumber companies around the country. Wendy earned a licensed practical nurse degree in Canada and has spent her working years as a medical assistant.

Scott’s work took the family to places like Maine, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. Along the way, the family welcomed two baby boys, though both are now grown. Andrew lives in Portland while Matthew resides in Seattle.

The couple didn’t regret a minute of the amazing adventure their careers provided. From the beginning, however, they had carefully planned to take an early retirement. When that time finally arrived, they began to look for a great city or town in the Northwest where they could be happy putting down roots.

They considered several places and finally decided to take a long look at Yakima.

They asked Yakima Realtor Kate Soldano to help them in their search for a home. She took them to see a house in the Barge-Chestnut area, on a street where homes rarely go on the market. While she encouraged them to see other possible homes for sale, in the end, they just couldn’t get the first house out of their minds and, following a second walk-through, they made an offer for the home that was accepted.

One day recently, while I was taking a walk through the neighborhood, I noticed the house had acquired new landscaping, a rock-edged curved driveway, lovely shutters and striped awnings over the front windows. Vines were growing up the two front door columns and a delightful umbrella provided shade for an outdoor table and wicker chairs. It dawned on me that perhaps the home had new owners who were not only upgrading the landscape, but giving the house’s exterior a lovely makeover.

Then out of the blue I got a call from a neighbor who follows my articles in Yakima Magazine. She told me that not only did she know the homeowners, but she’d suggested that they let me do an article — I jumped at the chance.

When I arrived at the Wildings’ house, Wendy welcomed me into the front hall that boasts an antique sideboard with a large mirror. I love old furniture and I have to admit I was sold from the moment I stepped into the foyer.

Our first stop was their beautiful kitchen, which features a shiny hardwood floor, tons of cupboard space, granite counter tops and modern appliances and more … basically any chef’s dream.

An inviting dining room is conveniently located adjacent to the kitchen. Scott constructed a sturdy, wooden table that is enhanced by a crystal chandelier. Guests can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the view of their beautifully landscaped front yard.

On the other side of the entry hall is the couple’s elegant living room. A charming white sofa and high-backed wicker chair are the perfect spots to sit and enjoy time with friends or read a good book while watching the snow fall outside. That is especially the case if one is basking in the warmth of the living room’s beautiful fireplace.

It’s obvious that Wendy loves collecting unique antiques for her home as indicted by the two elegant, antique mirrors that occupy space on the room’s southern wall. It makes a great spot to enjoy an after-dinner aperitif and conversation with good friends.

Through the adjacent door is the family’s more casual sitting area, ready for watching television complete with its own large fireplace to keep family and friends toasty on cold winter nights. There’s also a small built-in desk in case someone feels inspired to write the next great American novel. Another touch that gives the room a casual feel is the wall of family photos and a cowhide rug on the wood floor.

The house has two generous bedrooms on the main floor and each features a beautiful, antique bed and windows offering a view of the couple’s lovely backyard. A large master bedroom is above the kitchen.

And about that backyard: My biggest surprise was strolling to the western side of the house to discover a lovely private garden space that abounds with beautiful plants, flowers and trees, along with a delightful patio conveniently located off the kitchen. Scott created another sensational wood table with an umbrella for shade. This private space is just the place for entertaining friends and family while basking in a backyard oasis.

The couple have lived all over the East Coast and over the years lived in many different homes. I enjoyed seeing how they’ve enhanced this nearly 80-year-old house and made it their own.

Scott and Wendy, welcome to Yakima.