Fall Home & Garden 2019

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home garden



The Wiersma Home .......C4 The McDonnell Home.....C16

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Presented by the Lynden Tribune & Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


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Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


Fall Home & Garden

Wiersmas — a house to stay in Warmth in a neutral palette

Wes and Erin Wiersma and their three children are now enjoying their rural Lynden house built by themselves since 2017. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

Black and white house distills surprising warmth, along with elegance and charm By Elisa Claassen for the Lynden Tribune

“Life is better in black and white!” — Avijeet Das, poet LYNDEN — Trees. Sun. Water. Farm.

Windows looking toward woods. Five minutes to town. Homeowners Wes and Erin Wiersma use all these descriptors to say why they love their new home at Bertrand Creek Estates. And here they will stay put for a while, they say, after plenty of moving around in the past. North of Lynden near Bertrand Creek down a private lane, a black-and-white house sits on 14.5 acres with islands of tall trees preserved along the entry, a grand lawn and fall color tinging the trees beyond. A tall flag pole anchors a spacious

concrete parking area that is room not only for guest parking, but possibly for outdoor entertaining itself. The lines and landscaping exude simplicity and elegance. A single type of flower has been selected to define the edges; white limelight hydrangeas line a concrete walk around the entire exterior. From stepping into this home, the visitor feels spaciousness. White walls stretch up and up to 23 feet. A floor-toceiling fireplace with a concrete base almost hides in the stucco textured wall. The grandness is not in extra detailing, but in the simplicity, the paring

down of what doesn’t add to the tableau. The central great room flows into living, dining and kitchen space, with hallways leading to family room and bedrooms. A Pottery Barn table is ringed by a long warm gray velvet couch on one side and a camel-colored leather couch with Boho seating cushions on the other. Right of grand central are the rooms of the three children — Willa, 7, Boone, 11, and Emery, 13 — sharing a restroom, and also the comfy, but tech-ready family room. To the left is the master suite, a powder room, an office, and a laundry with a “shower” stall for the family’s car-

Fall Home & Garden amel-colored Labradoodle. At back entry in from the garage, a long window seat bench built into the wall provides shoe room for the family’s coming and going. Black tile is laid in a herringbone pattern with contrasting white grout on both sides of the house. The powder room has a retro feel, with marble flooring and a dresser made into a sink stand. The black-and-white, or white-andblack, theme is maintained with sure consistency. Brief punches of brown shading are here and there, with boho chic thrown in as relief. A white oak engineered hardwood is used as flooring throughout, except for slate blue-gray carpeting of the family room. The exterior house walls are painted black, as are accent interior walls in different strengths of gray or black in some of the bedrooms. But the cultured white stone at the front entrance encapsulates what this home is about — and the Wiersmas were told theirs was the first local home to use it. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Erin,” Wes said of his wife’s total imprint upon the interior design of this place. He came into the marriage having just started his business, Wiersma Construction Inc. “I kind of like to do something a little different,” Erin said. Design ideas come from Houzz.com, Pinterest and her accumulated experience. Husband and wife Wes and Erin (Bouma) Wiersma partnered to create this home — he as the builder and she as the designer, working with Jerry Roetcisoender of Lynden’s JWR Design firm and his 30 years of experience. From studying psychology/sociology at Western Washington University, Erin has now worked on well over a dozen homes with Wes for their clients. “We have used him (Jerry) for years,” Erin said. “He’s very creative.” Roetcisoender finds ways to see how to accom-

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Even in adverse weather conditions an extensive covered portion of the back patio area can be used for family or guest gatherings. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

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Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

The great room of the Wiersma house is the central hub that connects all other activity of the family. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune) plish homeowners’ goals and improve on their ideas. “He’s a great guy and it’s so easy for us to send our customers to him.” “I personally appreciate every style,” Erin said, adding she likes to “mix it up.” The couple’s previous home was a twostory white modern farmhouse on Abner Lane. Recently she spotted a Spanishstyled home on a trip to the Palm Desert area in California and it resonated with her, but she assured Wes they wouldn’t be building one soon themselves. This 3,780-square-foot one-story home has elements of Modern, Ranch and Southwest. It was designed both to live in as a family and to entertain in. Memories are to be made, but even a large house should not collect extra clutter, Erin believes. So it is minimalist. With each of their six moves in 15 years, Erin said, purging became a habit. After designing and building several other homes, the Wiersmas agree

they want to stay at this one for a while. The property, part of a wooded tract from the Bayes family, required clearing. They called professional firm Nielsen Brothers, whose motto is to be “stewards” of Northwest timber harvesting. It took about six months for Nielsen to obtain permits and remove about three acres of trees, carefully separating cedars and firs into piles according to use and destination. It was a learning experience for the children as well, the Wiersmas said, teaching a respect for trees. A photograph of the logging operation was given to local artist and friend Jody Sparber, who produced a watercolor sketch that is framed and placed above the white fireplace, one of three in the home, in the family room. “We like sun,” they both said in regard to the careful land clearing phase. In fact, they walked the property in winter with a measuring tape to determine which trees to remove to open up

their future house best to natural light, especially in the dark months of the Pacific Northwest — and also after having lived in super-wooded Sudden Valley for a time. To increase light inside the home, they not only have large three-by-fivefoot windows at the base of the floor, but additional smaller windows closer to the ceilings. A barn-like shop building was erected first in 2017, with an office for Wes and 900 square feet of living space including two bedrooms. It became a bit tight for three growing children for a year or so, but enabled everyone to be close to the ongoing house building process. Wes kept up other clients’ projects while also building his own home. The shop building continues to provide interim housing for friends and family. Bertrand Creek borders the property. A Polaris four-wheeler helps them get around. The family has developed trails

to a sandy beach on the creek. Small signs and a rope swing mark the path. Friends of the children have enjoyed visiting so much they sometimes don’t want to go home. “There is space to roam,” Wes said. Next on the property to-do list may be developing a pasture for goats or llamas. While the home has clean lines, Erin made sure of extra storage to carefully hide out of view everything, from toasters to the coffee maker in the kitchen. The same applies down the halls and into the rooms. The endless white walls help, as do walk-in clothes closets in bedrooms. Yet the home is activly lived in, they say. Books, vases and other personal items are arranged with a sense of order in California Closets. Games and toys are in bedrooms or stored in the family room. Children pass through with their gear. Guests come in. Marvin doors open to the back patio for indoor-outdoor living, which can be enjoyed with overhead protection and

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden skylights, infrared heating from above and a wood fireplace. A TV is attached to the wall by the bar, and around a corner could someday be a hot tub accessible from the master bedroom. The goal is to make the house warm and comfortable in all seasons of the year. The master bath has an open shower, a large free-standing white contemporary acrylic tub, a separate room for the toilet and an equally spacious walk-in closet. Whether for light fixtures, drawer hardware or furnishings, Erin primarily works through online websites to find what she wants. The kitchen is centered around an extra-large white quartztopped island with leather chairs for family-style eating, preferred over the macramé runner-topped table not far away. A dark glass-fronted dining cabinet contains white dishes and plates. For Christmas a tall tree will be set and adorned with black-and-white and gold ornaments and animals, Erin said. Another tree will go on the back patio. Due to the bounty of windows, this house rarely needs daytime lights on. An installed sound system plays worship music. Simple large prints on the dining room wall proclaim in large black print against a white background some of their chosen Bible words to live by.


White is unquestionably the theme of the interior decor, and storage for everything is another high value. (Calvin Bratt/ Lynden Tribune)


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Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

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Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record



Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

A secret garden right along Main Street Mock family creates an amazing floral sanctuary with love and labor By Elisa Claassen for the Lynden Tribune

“Courage is found in unlikely places.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Below Main Street at the Fishtrap Creek bridge in Lynden is the parklike transformation of previously untamed area into a richness of paths and plants and enchanted places by the Mock family across 15 years. (Elisa Claassen/Lynden Tribune)

LYNDEN — A vivid imagination and a lot of work have created a secret oasis along, and below, Main Street at its bridge over Fishtrap Creek. Most people don’t know it is there. Shhh … (but I’ll bet you will now take a look!) The Mock family, consisting of Linda and Brent and nine children now ages 9 to 29, relocated to Lynden in 2004 for work. Leaving Enumclaw, they looked at properties in north Whatcom County. While visiting at another home on Main Street, the Realtor mentioned something “not technically on the market” — this one — and it was “love at first sight.” Daughter Prisca said her sister Bethie had longed for a creek on their new property, similar to what they had known at a previous home in Gig Harbor. Linda tried to prepare her to be disappointed since it was highly unlikely, but then the Realtor said this home had a creek along the back yard. “It was a huge blessing,” Bethie said. While many might desire perfect homes, this home — “with personality” — had been vacant for a few years after the prior owners, the Isom family, had aged out of it. The property, wedged between Main Street’s bridge and the creek, had also lacked consistent care, and fallen trees, blackberries and an array of animals had taken over. The first order of business had to be the home itself, however, before they could lavish attention on the grounds. Books, tea sets and a cozy fireplace now welcome within. 2005: The first few years were very practical and involved a lot of hard work — clearing the broken trees and brush, bottles and trash. “You couldn’t walk or see beyond 20 to 30 feet from the porch.” The family was much smaller at the time and Brent was joined by the three oldest girls on the initial cleanup efforts.

Fall Home & Garden


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

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They also, surprisingly, found not only animals hiding, but a gang of teens, who had been committing petty crimes, according to the police. They managed to climb over a fence and into a hidden club house. “One night Dad heard a commotion,” Bethie said. The police were contacted, arrests made, and the clubhouse and property further cleaned out. After that, she said, Mom made sure she had good visibility of the entire space.

In the meantime, the front yard added a ring of boxwoods by a bird bath, spaces were fenced in to protect plants from dogs and from children getting out. Since the concrete walk was cracking, it was replaced by flagstone and bricks. Pink and purple became the accent colors for floral choices: cosmos, phlox, hydrangeas, alyssum, petunias, roses, peonies, salvia, snapdragons, lilies, daphne, dianthus and lilacs. A hedge has been grown along the fenceline for

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Because of the slope to Fishtrap Creek, the yard has had to be terraced with stepping stones. (Elisa Claassen/Lynden Tribune)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

Exploring the Mock garden is a little like entering into an imaginary world rich with plants and color and fragrances. (Elisa Claassen/Lynden Tribune) both privacy and to reduce the noise of Main Street traffic. A sage green accent is used for signage. The hedge also surprisingly traps the yard’s fragrance inside, Bethie said. Since the property slopes at a sharp angle toward the creek, it needed terracing and steps for proper access. As each

seating area has been completed, it also got a name for fun and practical reasons, often based on lands in the literary world such as “Middle Earth” from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. As the seasons and years went by, more areas got created — and sometimes the work, such as a bricked por-

tion, was a gift by the children on their parents’ anniversary. Since daughter Tabs works at Lynden Door, she has access to scrap wood that can be used creatively. With such a large space to work in, it has helped the whole family to get more accomplished at this kind of transformation. A potting

shed in the top garden features a Dutch half-door, a good-sized window to the lower garden and stained glass from an antique store on Front Street. A sculpture piece sits outside, given by friend Bonnie Patterson, who had started to carve it but didn’t finish it. Chicken wire and a hedge serve to protect visitors from an abrupt

Fall Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


Grape vines, a vegetable garden and an apple orchard are all part of the horticultural mix on the Mock property. (Elisa Claassen/Lynden Tribune)

Fall Home & Garden edge. A favorite beautiful hydrangea looms large at a gate to the back yard, so big it requires ducking to get past. The work is now divvied up between them all. “Everyone works together.” Linda, who has gained experience from previous gardens, peruses books and magazines for ideas. Brent is capable of making just about anything, she said. Everyone else can weed, rake, shovel or do whatever else is needed to maintain existing spaces and create new ones. In nice weather the family moves from the home to read, visit and eat outside. Lights are strung above the walkways and eating areas. Two large walnut trees had become rotten and one fell suddenly, and the other was removed, opening up more space to work with. “It’s a lot of fun for us,” Bethie said. A large wooden table, fit to accommodate the family, is on a brick patio just feet away from the creek and a dogwood tree. While eating, the Mocks can watch an array of wildlife: raccoons, ducks, otters, and deer. Bricks were salvaged from an old construction site. Across the lower section a raked dirt area leads to a flagstone path into a circular fire pit. A former chicken coop is now a She Shed for Linda, just large

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden enough for a comfortable chair, lamp and a small collection of books for the busy Mom to have her own space. A sign “The Wardrobe” hangs by the door in homage to the C.S. Lewis’ Narnia world from a family of book lovers. A porch light illumines the way in the shady spot. Beyond are a grassy swale referred to as the “pond,” an apple orchard, a vegetable garden with raised beds and grape vines, a creekside sandy play area, and Timmy’s own hideout that he has reconstructed more than once as he seeks to make improvements. Younger sister Lydia has a swing hung from a tree along the hillside. The rock retaining wall is called the “Entmoot,” another Tolkien reference. Above, drivers going by on Main Street could have no idea this garden is here. The magic needs a little C.S. Lewis explanation: “Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things, they say — even their looks — will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!” These have been sources of material for the Mock property transformation: Van Wingerden’s, Bakerview Nursery (now My Garden Nursery), CHS Northwest, the former Hi-Hoe Nursery, Northstar Stone & Landscape Supply, Ace Hardware, Costco.


Someone saw a man hiding in a tree that needed to be cut down — and he was given the job of protecting a garden shed. (Elisa Claassen/Lynden Tribune)


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

For couple moving from Seattle, planned renovation turned into new and modern

At twilight the new McDonnell house with a southward view toward Lake Padden comes alive with its own interior lighting. (Courtesy photo/Craig L. Telgenhoff)

Striking parts of Telgenhoff design are lots of window light and metal roof By Calvin Bratt editor@lyndentribune.com

BELLINGHAM — A modern style is not what Don Ander-

sen and Katharyn McDonnell had been used to in their earlier experiences with home renovation, and so it was not what they expected to choose. But when Lynden design/ build architect Craig Telgenhoff laid out his plan incorporating their ideas for a Lake Padden property they had bought, they were won over to the freshness and creativity of it all. In fact, they didn’t intend to

build new at all. From the Seattle metro area and anticipating retirement, this couple was drawn to Bellingham because their daughter Alex was attending Western Washington University. “It’s the quality of the living, and the location, that attracted us to move up here,” Katharyn said. Any issues with traffic here are miniscule compared to Seattle commutes, they assure a Whatcom native.

The house they bought on a quiet one-third acre on College Street, they expected to be able to fix up to be habitable. Not so. The more they dug into foundation issues, the more they realized “it was too far gone.” However, in terms of their planning for the footprint of a new house, its design evolved from the old, they said. It is one and a half floors and positioned on the lot for maximum southern exposure.

“We took (Craig’s) basic design and went new,” Don said. They were thinking of some other factors too, now that they had the chance. One was eventual resale value. Another was designing the house to continue to be fully accessible and suitable to them as they grow older — a situation they were familiar with from assisting Katharyn’s parents. So, their living needs can be fully met on one floor, and doors and hall-

ways are built wide enough for a wheelchair. (They see the upstairs as being where an able-bodied younger person could be.) As the fundamental approach to this design, the couple said, “We wanted lots of light. We wanted the open concept." And they could now plan and do parts of the house with touches that they wanted. Telgenhoff was not only available to them in a busy time for home construction — he was also accommodating to what they wanted to do themselves. “He was extremely cooperative,” Don said. “He learned as it went on that you were capable, and that was a step of faith on his part,” Katharyn said. But this modern look is much different from what the pair had done twice before in reworking more Craftsman-style homes, first 30 years ago in the University of Washington district and then in a valley between Redmond and Fall City in King County. It was hobby for them, he being an engineering manager at Boeing and she a second-grade and special-ed teacher. On this Bellingham house,


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

The kitchen emphasizes clean white lines and continues the house's pattern of letting in lots of light through windows. Flooring throughout most of the house is a luxury vinyl that can absorb all wear without scuffing (Courtesy photo/Craig L. Telgenhoff)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record


Fall Home & Garden

The master bedroom at the back of the house actually has windows on three of its walls, maximizing natural light. (Courtesy photo/Craig L. Telgenhoff) they ended up contributing their own sweat equity on all the interior trim, the cabinetry, the unique open-tread staircase, the stone fireplace, insulating and painting, bathroom tile, and parts

of the ceiling. They got into the house while it was still a work in progress in the winter of 2018-19 and lived in it from then on, dealing with “assorted subcontractors

daily” as the work continued for months. There is no carpeting in the house. Instead, a luxury vinyl floor will hold up to the paws of two dogs that have free range

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here. Throughout, they wanted “a nice clean white look” that was easy to keep clean. Possibly the most interesting thing about this house is the

roof and its singular lines, which carry over by visual extention to the pitch of the detached garage. The roof is of steel, as is the exterior trim.


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

The stairway landing can be used to check in on a computer or to look out outside. On the main floor, everything is done to make sure of adequate accommodation for aging-in-place — enough space, no barriers. (Courtesy photos/Craig L. Telgenhoff)

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Fall Home & Garden

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden

How to store a mower for the winter Carl Levien of Carl’s Mower & Saw, Ferndale, shares his expertise By Brent Lindquist brent@lyndentribune.com

This is not how to do it, in case that point was missed. It is moisture in general that can get into the inner workings of machinery and freeze it all up if dry winter storage is skipped, advises Carl Levien of Carl's Mower & Saw.

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FERNDALE — Fall is here and temperatures are dropping, and it’s not enough to just put your mower under a tarp to let it sit until springtime. Carl Levien, co-owner of Carl’s Mower & Saw in Ferndale, said he knows firsthand the perils of incorrectly storing a mower during the cold season of the year. “First and foremost, probably the most important thing is fuel,” he said. Fuels containing ethanol have a shorter shelf life, and if they go bad over the winter while still in the mower’s fuel tank, they can cause a great deal of damage. The best way to combat this, Levien said, is to use fresh, ethanol-free fuel and stabilize it with an additive to preserve it

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Fall Home & Garden


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

over the winter. Non-ethanol fuel has a shelf life of three to four months before it starts deteriorating, and while this is longer than the shelf life of ethanol-added fuels, it’s still less than the time mowers will likely be put away for the winter. Levien said fuel left in a tank might still burn once the mower is fired up in the spring, but there might be damage to the internals. “It might be very hard to start, or it might have done some gumming-up of the carburetor,” Levien said. “[Fuel is] an organic product. It comes from the ground, so it rots.” A stabilizing liquid works much like a food preservative does. Using ethanol fuel can bring about other problems, too. Water, by nature, is corrosive, and ethanol fuel sitting in a moist atmosphere tends to separate out its water and alcohol, leading to possible corrosion in about eight weeks. “You definitely don’t want to have ethanol gas sitting over the winter,” Levien said. Even additives for that don’t work perfectly. Non-ethanol fuel with added preservatives is good for getting through the winter. However, Levien said, finding ethanol-free fuel can be fairly difficult. Lyn-

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

Fall Home & Garden den has a few ethanol-free outlets, but Ferndale’s are rather limited. A quick Google search reveals which stations provide ethanol-free gas. “If a person searches, they can find it,” Levien said. Beyond taking care of a mower’s fuel, it’s important to clean the mower, as grass residue is corrosive to a mower’s deck. Furthermore, Levien recommends servicing a mower before putting it away for the winter. “I recommend you service it,” Levien said. “Oil change, blade sharpening, air filters, that way in the spring it’s completely ready to go. As long as you’re doing the fuel and cleaning the deck, why not sharpen the blades?” Carl’s Mower & Saw provides complete service for mowers, and while not all of it is necessary when storing a mower over the winter, it’s nice to have the mower ready to go when it is first used in the spring. “If you don’t do it when you put it away, you should do it when you start in the spring,” Levien said.

For a riding lawn mower, Levien said, it’s important to consider the mower’s battery. “A battery, by nature, will slowly drain just by sitting there,” he said. “Normally, by the time spring comes, a battery doesn’t have much juice in it or it’s drained down all the way.” Charging a battery fully before putting a mower away for the winter can prevent this, as can using a battery minder, which keeps the battery charged at all times. Finally, storage location is very important. Levien said owners shouldn’t just put their mowers under a tarp and leave them for the winter. “There’s so much moisture that comes up from the ground. People have done that and moisture gets into the blade bearings and come spring they’re frozen up,” Levien said. “They should be not stored under a tarp. They should be stored in a shed or in a garage or something like that.” Carl’s Mower & Saw is located at 6209 Portal Way in Ferndale.

It's a good idea to have mower and lawn and garden equipment serviced now after it's used for the last time before winter.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | Ferndale Record

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