After writing for Yakima Magazine since its inception, I’ve spent countless hours looking for Yakima houses that would interest our readers. Greater Yakima abounds with beautiful abodes of all shapes and sizes, but I have to admit that I still spend a lot of time searching for the perfect house to feature in each issue.

So when an old friend came by with a note from a couple who live just a block away from my house, I felt a little embarrassed I had never met them. I quickly opened the folded paper to see that the owners, retired teachers Nancy and Kyle Welsh, had included a list of extraordinary collections they’ve obtained and now display in their home. I was beyond intrigued and called them to set a date to visit their house.

When the day arrived, I put on my boots and sloshed a short block through the snow to reach the Welshes’ house. A long, covered walkway, with off-white stacked stone columns guided me to the front door, where Nancy and Kyle were waiting to usher me into their living room.

Nancy then brought in a beautiful, round brass tray with wooden legs to be used as a coffee table. Her family came from Greece and when not entertaining guests, she likes to place the golden tray on the living room mantle in tribute to her heritage.

It quickly became apparent that Nancy loves mixing contemporary furniture with beautiful antiques in the living room. As an example, a tall glass-fronted display case features a veritable United Nations of beautiful dolls from around the world. Additionally, she loves collecting snow globes and elegant, green-stemmed glasses. That day, they had taken residence in another glass-fronted cabinet across the room.

Nancy also pointed out a large fish tank that is filled with what appeared to be very happy tropical residents. And near a bank of south-facing windows is a large potted tree. I had a hunch there was a good story behind the tree and I wasn’t disappointed.

Nancy explained that she taught elementary school in Yakima, and often her students would bring her presents. One day a little girl gave her a tiny tree in a pot. She knew it was a special gift because the girl’s family did not have much money to spare, and she accepted it graciously.

Fast forward to 2021 and this magical tree has grown to take up an entire corner of the Welsh living room. It is strikingly beautiful and must be a constant reminder that her student probably still remembers her as a very special grade-school teacher.

The Welshes’ living room is large enough to share space with a formal dining room that features a convenient doorway leading to the kitchen. The couple inherited a large Oriental rug, a beautiful mahogany dinner table that seats six and a matching sideboard from Nancy’s grandmother. The combination creates an elegant atmosphere for special dinners with family and friends.

Nancy’s grandfather, Robert Adeline, has an interesting story as well. He was a native of Greece and at the age of 18 decided to leave his home in search of better opportunities. He joined the Merchant Marine as a fireman and served for two years traveling to every port in Europe, North Africa and the Black Sea. He continued to change ships and saw a good deal of the world before he landed in Philadelphia and decided he wanted to live in the United States. Long story short, he ultimately ended up in Yakima, where he managed a restaurant and later bought a farm where he ran a dairy.

Nancy and Kyle both grew up in the Tri-Cities and got to know each other while attending Central Washington University in Ellensburg. They married in 1971 and moved to Yakima. The couple spent their working years teaching school here. While Nancy taught elementary school for the Yakima School District, Kyle taught “everything” at the old St. Paul Cathedral School, plus finding time to coach sports. Nancy admitted that her husband was a pretty great baseball player, too.

As we climbed the stairs to the home’s second story, I couldn’t miss spotting Nancy’s extensive collection of framed cross stitch creations. She loves this hobby and rarely isn’t working on another piece.

The second story features their grown daughters’ childhood bedrooms. One has beautiful antique furnishings and the other leans toward a more contemporary style. Kyle’s office is across the hall and a large master bedroom suite takes up the east side of the house.

A beautiful, large brass bed with a delightful floral bedspread adds to the airy feel of the large room. Several potted plants line the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an incredible southern view of the Yakima Valley. There’s a large powder room on the north side of the bedroom that leads to the privacy of the master bathroom.

If that weren’t enough, Nancy directed us back downstairs to what I’d call the heart of the home.

The east end of the main floor, with the help of Terry Kline of Kline Construction, has been remodeled to include a kitchen that opens to a spacious family room. Renovation of this space included updating the original kitchen with new cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, etc., and creating a wonderful eat-in breakfast bar.

The north side of the room features a big-screen TV — great for watching sports while sitting in comfortable chairs and enjoying a crackling fire.

If you’re in the mood, the floor-to-ceiling, south-facing sliding doors lead to the couple’s wonderful balcony and hot tub. I have a feeling that Nancy and Kyle spend a lot of time during the summer months in this wonderful space.

Last but not least, Kyle has installed several outdoor hummingbird feeders on his porch. I mentioned that I had a feeder as well, but that if it gets too cold the birds don’t come. He quickly pointed out that “his” feeders can be plugged in during the winter. Too bad I don’t have an outlet.

Needless to say, I am so glad I had a chance to get to know Nancy and Kyle, my one-block-away neighbors and feel honored they invited me into their beautiful home.