Spring Home & Garden 2022

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Presented by the Lynden

Spring

rd Tribune & Ferndale Reco 22 Wednesday, April 27, 20

n e d r a G Home &

Featuring

The Russell Home ........................C5 The Langstraat Home ...................C10 WLT Celebrating 40 years.............C27


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Spring Home & Garden

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What’s black and white with green all over?

A creek runs through this hidden park-like setting for Lynden residents Erin and Julia Russell. For story, see page C6. (Courtesy photo)


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Spring Home & Garden

A creek runs through this hidden park-like setting for Erin and Julia Russell

By Elisa Claassen For the Tribune

E

rin and Julia Russell lived in the Bridgeview neighborhood in the northeast section of town and loved their home ... until COVID-19 hit. Coronavirus was a decisive couple of years for many. As the Russells, including their three daughters 13-year-old Grace,

The Russell home seems spacious due to the proximity to Fishtrap Creek. (Exterior photos are courtesy photos. Interior photos by Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)

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Spring Home & Garden 10-year-old Ivy, and 3-year-old Eta, were home more. Their beloved 1,800 squarefoot home became quite full, busting at the seams, they said. Suddenly, the Russells had an unexpected solution. A friend noticed a 'For Sale' sign for a building lot down the street. It was perfect since they wanted to stay in the neighborhood that contained the children’s friends and maternal grandparents, Dick and Donna Bajema. This lot was, and is, a rarity in that it contains 1.6 acres in town with so many homes being built side by side elsewhere. The long drive was already in place for the existing home. The owner had decided to carve off one building lot which was what was for sale. Although it seems spacious, due to the proximity to Fishtrap Creek, it also contains a large setback and resulted in mitigation with planting lots of trees, shrubs and a small building envelope. Yet the lot is not too small to contain a 3,600-square-foot dream home with a bit

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record of repositioning. Erin and Julia went to Jerry Roetcisoender of Lynden’s JWR Design with this challenge. He met it head on. In fact their custom design is now part of JWR’s portfolio now of ready-made designs available to others. The result is a garage facing the drive over the creek, the front door looks out to the great lawn, and the patio is on the side of the home. The back side is close to the neighboring property and the space is limited and used for storage. It doesn’t pencil out on paper but works well in reality. The team of Roetcisoender and Lyndenbased general contractor Wes Wiersma of Wiersma Construction Inc., who brought the talent of his wife Erin Wiersma for interiors, worked quickly. The lot closed in August 2020; the permitting commenced with work beginning by December 2020. See Russell on C8

Erin and Julia Russell have now been in their new home for seven months, and while the crucial things are all in place, they continue to evaluate a few decorative elements such as adding a family picture gallery in a hallway or two. Yet, they don’t want to add to much as they are quite happy as it is. (Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)

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Russell Continued from C7

“It was such a good project team,” Erin Russell said. Creating a new life during Coronavirus Luckily, the Russell family was able to stay in its former home during the eightmonth construction process. The home sold quickly once on the market in July 2021 and they negotiated to stay there for a month and a half to move directly from there. They have now been in their new home for seven months, and while the crucial things are all in place, they continue to evaluate a few decorative elements such as adding a family picture gallery in a hallway or two. Yet, they don’t want to add to much as they are quite happy as it is. The concept is clean and crisp — large black-framed unobstructed windows letting in not only light but views of the bridge, creek, green shrubbery, trees and a red barn at a neighboring property. The yard has both landscaping elements leading toward the entry as well as a play space coming together for the younger children. The covered patio has lowered ceiling over the seating space for overhead heating. Patio furniture, as with other items throughout the house, was found through Pinterest searching modern farmhouse and was directed to article.com. A pass-through window and bar allows mom to convey food and drinks from inside to outside easily, without small feet tracking back inside. Bar stools are set up to sit and eat snacks. The central living area has touches of tan and green but is light and airy with a low profile couch and chairs. Small knit footstools also double for young children to sit upon. The footstools were a form of a replacement for not having the comfortable recliners. Engineered white oak flooring runs throughout. Detail after detail Roetcisoender and an interior decorator Erin Wiersma listened to their list of things they really wanted and incorporated detail after detail with the result making life so much easier. What types of things? The kitchen has a drawer microwave that slides out at kid-level for use and slides back in to hide.

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Spring Home & Garden

They have a double oven so they can cook several things at once — at different temperatures. The separate gas range has a large hood. The space has many useful cupboards and cabinets by Riverside Cabinets that contain the many things that usually sit out and clutter countertops. Not here. Open a cabinet and find the coffee mugs. Open the cabinet below that and there’s the coffeemaker, something much loved and used. The white dishes are seen, green plants, small décor items. The kitchen, living room, and dining area are wide open to each other but not to the rest of the house. “Originally, I questioned having less counter space,” Julia Russell said. “But I do have a larger (white quartz with gray veining topped) island.” Typical pantry, but so much more Down the hall, and easily accessed from the entry, the garage and the kitchen is a hidden walk-in pantry behind a sliding barn door. Not only does it contain the typical pantry items but in an easy-to-reach style for children to make their lunches – from bins containing their favorite snacks. The counter has a soda stream with its syrups and a mini-fridge underneath. Other considerations are the fact that children reside in this elegant home and have needs to be comfortable — do schoolwork, entertain friends, and comfortably store their own possessions. Walking in from the three-car garage, the first floor hallway has impeccable storage for the whole family to take off shoes and go into the bottom drawers, coats and hats into the locker-like cupboard, and even room for sports balls and backpacks all arranged from youngest to oldest. Off to the side of the hallway beyond the elegant cubbies is the laundry room — with matching black-and-white washer and dryer, hanging rod for drying, lots of storage and a black deep sink beneath a window. A side door leads directly into the walkin closet and into the master bath and bedroom. The bath has bypassed having a tub to have a larger walk-in shower with a rain head surrounded by black-and-white tile. Everything is steps away The house has entrances two ways into and out of the kitchen — and also from the master bath, the walk-in closet, and the master bedroom. Everything is steps away and Julia is delighted. It’s organized but the kind of structure that helps a family with three girls stay on

track. It’s helpful but not stifling. As for the girls, they have the upstairs for their individual vaulted-ceiling bedrooms — which they didn’t have in their prior home — as well as a space to study and a bonus/playroom with lots of windows. It’s not just the light but the views of the creek, trees, and the feeling of being in the countryside. While the younger set play in big space with toys coming in and out of bins, a door can be closed to give the teen set some space of their own, their mom said. While the study space is sparse at

present with a blank wall, plans are to decorate possibly with some of the girls own artwork. Small, yet viable As for the girls’ rooms, Roetcisoender has gifted each of them a small yet viable walk-in closet with space for clothes, toys, and cubbies. Their personalities show with choices of princess tent, hanging swing, or with the teen sister to be afforded with her own bath See Russell on C18


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Spring Home & Garden

The Russell

Home

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Spring Home & Garden

Melding of old and new

Older home emerges into new home with help of Lynden residents Kurt and Gwen Langstraat By Elisa Claassen For the Tribune

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he small white house was once part of a farm and only 952 square feet on an acre not far from Lynden Christian High School. The neighboring property was slowly turned from farmland into different

developments in the 1980s and 1990s. John J. and Edith Grace Fischer moved to Lynden in 1965. John passed in 1989 and Edith Grace died of cancer at home in 2013. It went from the family trust to Kurt and Gwen Langstraat the following year. See Langstraat on C12

In daylight and at twilight, the new and old sections of the Kurt and Gwen Langstraat home flow together with a generous wrap-around porch. Behind the main home is the separate apartment used by Gwen’s parents. (Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)


Spring Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Spring Home & Garden

Langstraat Continued from C10

The Architect The Langstraats came to architect Craig Telgenhoff, the president, designer and project manager at CLT Design/Build Inc. to rehab an old farmhouse. “They had no expectations,” Telgenhoff said. “It wasn’t necessarily to become their forever home. But it may have become that.” “Retain the old yet with a willingness to be forward looking and appreciate the new,” Telgenhoff said. “At the end of the day, by not tearing down the building, it has soul.” “This is not what you get in new construction. It’s not just a space to occupy. You can feel the history and appreciate the future ... You can also apply in a spiritual sense. Being broken, reborn and made new. The past makes us aware of who we used to be … and the hope we find.”

The

Langstraat Home

The staircase in the Langstraat home is both functional and attractive and gives a nice architectural focal point as well as more space for the family to enjoy time when small grandchildren came to visit and to play. (Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)

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Spring Home & Garden Telgenhoff, who trained at the University of Washington in economics, architecture and construction management, started in the building practices in teen years with cabinetry and furniture making to taking on construction duties, with a role with Seattle’s then-Safeco Field and being part of the building of a special home for Starbucks founder Howard Schultz with the use of master craftsmen and materials. His Lynden office was founded 21 years ago to do new construction, commercial and general residential projects. Telgenhoff thinks of real budgets – thinking through the processes so that his clients don’t have to. The design process entails and can encompass so many details including selecting paints and furnishing if needed. The rehabbing of an old home is not unfamiliar to Telgenhoff and it isn’t the first time. He looks to design and to how the investment dollars will best be served with an addition versus a total rehab which is less economical in the case of the Langstraats. The addition has a great room. The old living room became the master bedroom, the old kitchen being a connector between the old and new, and a small bath for guests in a hall. The Langstraats Kurt Langstraat grew up in Lynden, one of six children at an older home at 8455 Benson Road. He played basketball for the late Jake Maberry at Lynden High School, then became a musician and a pastor in his adulthood. Gwen (Visser) Langstraat also grew up in Lynden. She played basketball for Lynden Christian High School, then became a wife and mother – and a nurse. Kurt and Gwen married – a mixed marriage of the neighboring high schools and went into ministry which took them into other parts of Washington and into other countries. The Langstraats were most recently on Bradley Meadows across from Lynden High School. They had purchased an old See Langstraat on C14

Gwen and Kurt Langstraat can now enjoy the results of work, including their own hands-on labors in both demoing old worn out farmhouse and putting in flooring. Gwen is a nursing administrator at Meadow Greens. Kurt is senior pastor at North County Christ the King Church. (Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)

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Spring Home & Garden

Langstraat: Old home’s front door is used in bedroom Continued from C13

1917-built farm house in the fall of 2014 with the intention of using it as a rental and the surrounding property for a church garden space that had to relocate. Kurt, the senior pastor at North County Christ the King Church in Lynden’s Fairway Center, and Gwen, director of nursing at Meadows Greens senior living, found that they could rethink the property. ‘Perfect for them’ First, fewer of the long-time volunteers were available to work on the garden spot to keep it viable. Secondly, while Kurt’s parents were now-deceased, Gwen’s parents, George and Gladys Visser, were aging and they developed an idea to create a 770-square-foot space for them to live independently but much closer to them to age in place. Their accessory dwelling unit (ADU) has been created as an apartment with a garage and wheelchair-accessible ramps already in place to be ready for when they

are needed, as with the rails and ADU accessible bath. “It’s perfect for them,” Kurt said. Kurt refers to the process as a redemption process for redeeming the house and helping family which went from housing their daughter Lindsey and husband Evan Pollock for a time to Gwen’s parents. The parents raised them to “be a blessing to your family.” Lindsey and family now have 3-year-old Trilby and 1-year-old Winona and live by Wiser Lake. Keeping records Several friends listened to their ideas and urged them to consider tearing the house down – and “we went down to the bones.” The Langstraats discovered that beyond the charm and history was rot. Even from the base of the original floors, they had to jack it up, and demo, demo, demo. Good bye to shiplap, sheetrock, and cedar. See Langstraat on C16


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Spring Home & Garden

Langstraat: Old home’s front door is used in bedroom Continued from C14

Kurt kept record on his Facebook page. Since the Langstraats had sold their previous house, and so much demolition work was needed, they needed housing longer than anticipated. A church family who spend part of the year in Florida opened up its home to the Langstraats – a even with furniture intact – rent-free for the needed eight months.

They just had to pay the utilities. Inviting They got to work – demoing out buildings, dirt work, concrete foundations, walls going up, roof, demo inside the house, flooring installed. To create something new, some things had to go. What left the site were a barn and several outbuildings. What stayed were several of the outbuildings – one to use as a workout area, another for storage,

and one to house a favorite car – and the old house was incorporated into the new 2,000 square-foot home. It’s distinctive with a large wrap around porch. Upon entry, the main stairs are architecturally striking. Caesar, the cat, makes his presence known, flitting in and out of where the family was talking. They proceed from the new section of the house to a 270-square-foot loft – with play space and room to sew – above the kitchen which has a custom stain to match the gunstock-colored wood flooring. A space under the stairs is used by the grandchildren for their toys. The house is not pretentious. It invites those in it to live. The main decorative elements along the hallway walls are collages of family life. Old and new Son Levi, in the living room, points to the many windows around the room. “Mom likes light,” he said. Levi smiles, mom nods. An effective trick has been used in the hallway: An IKEA closet for coats and other storage has been painted and blends into place with paint and trim. Upstairs in the old house, and literally

Several of the Langstraat's friends listened to their ideas and urged them to consider tearing their former house down. The new home, not far from Lynden Christian High School, contains pieces from the original farmhouse. The property is approximately one acre in size and once had an old small farm house and garden space. (Elisa Claassen for the Tribune)

up small steep stairs retained from the old house, Kurt ducks his head with the lowered ceiling. There’s a special study Kurt uses with special things from the family’s time in Taiwan at the Morrison Academy, an international Christian school which has three campuses in Taiwan established in 1952 to educate students in a distinctly Christian environment with a quality American education. The student body is comprised of 80 percent Taiwanese and 20 percent international students. The Nike company has a living community in the region. In order to attend, everyone is required to have a passport. Side by side The room, one of two upstairs both with slanting ceilings, is surprisingly cozy with quaintness and quietness. Across from it is a small old-world guest room with a mirrored door into a small walk-in closet with a tiny dresser. Back downstairs to the master bedroom with attached master bath, laundry area, and refurbished stairs to the basement now used for storage. Cabinets from the old house have been repurposed as well and placed by the washer and dryer. To save on space a pocket door protects the entry to the powder room in the hall. A window, taken from the original home, has been repurposed as a picture frame in a noticeable place not far from where it was taken. Kurt and Gwen point it out. The old home’s front door is used in the bedroom. Old and new. New and old. They live side by side. Note Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, sits at the “junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean” according to Wikipedia. There is a main island with a total of 168 islands. Many of the residents immigrated in the 17th Century from Han Chinese under a Dutch colony. Later Japan had control for a time and as China had a civil war, many Chinese fled from the mainland to the island in 1949. This includes General Chiang Kai-shek who brought artifacts and stories. The Langstraats have brought their own artifacts and stories home.


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Spring Home & Garden

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Spring Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Spring Home & Garden

Russell Continued from C8

with walk-in shower while the younger set share a bath down the hall. Back to the staircase in the vaulted ceiling wide open entry, a wonderful detailed wall has given depth and interest to the white surface and something that

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record delights Julia. At the base of the stairs is the home office to the right which allows easy access for them to both work and look after a three-year-old and to have clients stop by. While the computer screen is visible, everything else is stored in drawers and cabinets from printers to the sound system for the house. Specially-created glass barn doors, created by Lynden Sheet Metal for them from a picture, slide closed for privacy.

The large family photo at the center of the living room is actually not a photo but a family photo showing on the flat screen – so it can be changed as the family grows and changes themselves. The use of the flat screen is also in place in the master bedroom and playroom. The school bus arrives and the sound of children comes down the lane. They are making their way to the garage to put their things away, greet their family, and get to play and homework.

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5 tips to keep your garden shed both functional and chic

Winter days can be harsh for your garden, and your furniture shed included, are no exception when it comes to preserving and refurbishing the freshness of its overall look. Experts on the subject from Shedplans have shared five tips to keep your shed tidy, practical and aesthetically pleasing to give a refreshed look to your space, while keeping things top tier functional. Discover unexpected storage places Every bit of your shed can be repurposed to be even more functional and adding additional storage to spots where you might have not had

thought of it is a great way to do so. An area you might’ve missed is the back of your hinged shed doors: just by adding ventilated-wire racks, you can recuperate a considerable amount of storage. You can also add large sheets of pegboard to any of your walls to display and organize tools and accessories you might need or want in handy rather than piling up drawers and closets. Elevate your shed entrance There’s no rule that states that sheds only must be functional. In prospect of another spring/sum-

mer season, you could build a porch around the entrance of the shed where you can then place patio furniture to transform the area into a place to relax and entertain guests. Choose the right exterior finish There are different ways in which you can finish the exterior of your shed and all of them have a different impact on its style and overall look. If you wish to paint it, be sure to use high-quality 100% acrylic latex paint, but bear in mind that painted wood will need to be scraped and repainted. If that is not something that you look forward to, you can use either

semi-transparent stains or solid-color stains. The first one won’t peel or blister but will still fade over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, while the second one, even though it comes in a wider variety of colors, it could peel and blister because of the higher quantity of pigments. The last method you can try is clear wood preservatives which requires the least amount of maintenance. This will not stop the wood from naturally turning grey with time, but it will cerSee Chic on C22

There are different ways in which you can finish the exterior of your shed and all of them have a different impact on its style and overall look.


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Chic: 5 tips to keep garden shed functional Continued from C21

tainly preserve it from the effects of any type of weather. Decorate the exteriors Nothing says springs like flowers, and that is why adding new flower boxes to the windows will make the perfect addition to your shed and your garden overall. Painting them to match the shed door will give a seamless finish. Another way to decorate the exterior is to choose a fun color for your door or a specific design: Dutch doors, for example, are a popular option that embodies both functionality and good looks. Camouflage your shed Many sheds even if decorated can still look lacking something and that might be

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because it doesn’t perfectly blend with the rest of your yard or garden. A perfect way to fix this is to create some camouflage by adding small trees or shrubs around the front door or along the sides. You can also elevate your planter game by adding more around the shed area, matching the ones on the window or the natural colors of your space, or by using creative and alternative materials such as tin cans, watering cans, barrels and more. Choosing the perfect plants to grow is also important, and if you’re new to gardening we advise using plants that are relatively easy to grow such as yarrow, bugleweed, and aster. More information available at shedplans.org.


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

A small slice of nature Even apartment dwellers can make room for house plants By Leora Watson leora@lyndentribune.com

W

hen people visualize their dream home, what do they imagine? Perhaps they dream of a big kitchen they can cook in, or an amazing walk-in closet, or even a large yard for gardening. Maybe they dream of a wine cellar, the perfect man cave to relax in, or just a quiet simple home in nature that they can feel at ease in. I dream of houseplants. Lots and lots of houseplants.

When Tribune/Record reporter Leora Watson lived in the dorms her first year of college, she would drive her plants back and forth between her dorm and the home she grew up in. (Top photo courtesy Lyle Postle, photo below by Sophia Beach)


Spring Home & Garden I cannot tell you where the obsession with houseplants came from, but wherever it did, it does not seem to be leaving anytime soon. Wherever I went in life, my army of flora followed. When I lived in the dorms my first year of college, I would drive my plants back and forth between my dorm and the home I grew up in with them in a cardboard box strapped in the front seat. I would not dare risk them dying while I was home for break. For my college graduation, my parents gifted me a bonsai tree. I would scour the shelves of thrift shops in search of the perfect plant pot. Walking past plant shops I would have to hold myself back from running in and buying yet another one. I believe part of my obsession with houseplants comes down to this: people need nature in their lives. There are reasons why all major cities have parks to escape the chaotic urban bustle, why parents pile their kids into camper vans every summer, or why people buy homes with large backyards or out in nature. People need the green and fresh air, and we seek it out in all aspects of life.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record And houseplants can provide that, no matter how large or small a person’s home may be. For my friend Sophia Beach, a favorite part of having houseplants is incorporating them into her daily routine. “It gives me a break from life to just spend an hour or so watering all of my plants,” said Beach. “Taking the time to notice new growth or any deterioration in them.” Beach’s grandma is the main reason why her passion for plants started, after caring for her grandmother’s large collection of indoor plants while she was on vacation. Having something to care for and providing a way to be in nature without having to leave your space are some reasons why Beach believes houseplants are popular. “Pets and kids are expensive,” said Beach. “I think being able to care for something other than ourselves makes people happy and gives them a purpose.” That is the beauty of houseplants. You can have a small slice of nature to care for right at your fingertips. It is just a drive to the nursery away.

Houseplants can provide green, and fresh air, no matter how large or small a person’s home may be. (Photo courtesy Sophia Beach)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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WLT Owner Colleen Baldwin: “Our most important mission is to provide our best client care working together as a team to deliver. Teamwork is the foundation of our company culture.” (Bill Helm/Lynden Tribune)

Whatcom Land Title celebrates 40 years By Bill Helm bill@lyndentribune.com

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our decades ago, David Goddard founded Whatcom Land Title. When Colleen Baldwin began her career at the company four years later as a customer service representative, she could not have known that in less than 10 years, she and her husband would share company ownership with Goddard.

Perhaps Baldwin’s first steps in the business are key to the Whatcom Land Title mission. “When I think of what is dearest to WLT and our team, there are many points that come to mind,” Baldwin said recently as she reflected on the company’s 40-year celebration. “Our most important mission is to provide our best client care working together as See Whatcom Land Title on C29

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Whatcom Land Title: Celebrates 40 years Continued from C27

a team to deliver. Teamwork is the foundation of our company culture.” Any successful business knows that it has two customer bases, and that one is its employees. “This is a great place for me to work personally because of the great people I work with,” said Ken Bugbee, chief financial officer with WLT and employed by the company since 1990. “Everyone here strikes me as being motivated, capable, and super nice. We do laugh a bit as well, so that is an added bonus.” Although Bugbee’s duties don’t involve much by the way of customer interaction, he said that the WLT staff is “super motivated and interested in making sure that the real estate transactions that we are a part are handled as smoothly as possible.” “My desk is placed such in our main office that I am able to see and hear how our many of our staff interact with clients on a daily baSee WLT on C30

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WLT Continued from C29

sis,” Bugbee said. “I am constantly impressed with how polite and helpful our staff strive to be.”

WLT Director of

Education supplements With three locations – Lynden, Bellingham and Burch Bay – and another in Ferndale to open later this year, Whatcom Land Title has close to 90 employees who are led by a 13-person management team. Baldwin explained that the average tenure of the company’s management team is approximately 22 years, with the average tenure of its team members approximately 10 years. “Our team members and managers are the greatest asset of our company,” Baldwin said. “We learn something new each day whether we have been in the business two years, or 20. I think it is very special that many of our employees choose the title and escrow business as their long-term profession without much knowledge afforded in college or

Client Services

Beverly Ott says that staying in business for 40 years requires “dedication, hard work, showing appreciation, willingness to learn new things, care and concern for others, and building a team and leadership that share these values.” (Bill Helm/

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

WLT: About its customers and its employees Continued from C30

other educational source. As a result, we formed and have licensed our own WLT School of Education for our team members. This education supplements other professional licenses and experience.” ‘Most valuable services’ Part of the company culture at WLT is having a “strong presence in our community and to contribute to our community,” Baldwin said. “We appreciate the purchase of a home or other real estate investment is often the largest and most personal commitment one can make,” she said. “The purchase or sale process can be daunting and very stressful. We take great pride that our work is performed in our offices. WLT does not outsource its work or services as other companies do.” Further, it’s true that prompt

service is crucial when your customer is buying a home. But Whatcom Land Title prioritizes “performing an accurate title search and providing a smooth escrow settlement closing process,” which Baldwin said are the “most valuable services we can provide.” ‘I know we made him proud’ In 1994, Colleen and her husband Michael purchased one-half interest in WLT. Together, she and David Goddard managed the company with the help of their management team until 2016 when Goddard retired. It was then that the Baldwins bought Goddard’s remaining interest. Employed at WLT for the past 14 years, Beverly Ott said recently that she remembers Goddard, who she described as “quite the character.” “Every year on our anniversary he would say ‘I started WLT on April Fool’s Day, so just in case things didn’t work out I could say

April Fools,’ which of course would leave us all chuckling, even though we had heard it so many times before,” said Ott, director of client services at WLT. “He really taught us to take the important stuff seriously but always remember to have fun whenever possible. And here stands his little start-up, 40 years later, a business in the top 100 of Whatcom County. I know we made him proud.” Knowledgeable, ethical, professional Whatcom County born and raised, Bill Ronhaar graduated from Lynden High School in 1970 and attended Western Washington University when it was a state college. President since 2017, CEO as of this year, Ronhaar has been with Whatcom Land Title since 2014 when he was hired as operations manager. He explained recently that the key to WLT’s success is to

provide knowledgeable, ethical, and professional service. “It’s about helping people through the quagmire of what to them is unknown territory and making it an enjoyable experience in what for many is the largest investment they may make in their lifetime,” Ronhaar said. “It’s about knowing how to explain a very technical, detailed situation in layman’s terms. Title insurance is a risk elimination business, so it’s about doing our job right so that you and your family can enjoy your home – your sanctuary from the troubles of the world – without having to worry about claims that others might have against your property.” “It’s about peace of mind, not only in the process that makes you an owner but also of ensuring that no one else can take that away from you,” Ronhaar also said. “WLT differs from other companies in many ways. We believe in family first and

try to accommodate the demands that family life has on your employment life. We believe in a proper work/life balance and try to staff accordingly. We believe in doing things as a company that is over and above what other companies for their employees. We try to create a family-oriented atmosphere among our employees – helping each other where we can in order to ensure the entire operation runs as smoothly as possible.” Q&A with WLT Lynden Tribune: What makes WLT a great place for your clients to do business? Jensen Salisbury, chief underwriter and senior title officer: We have the distinction of being the only locally owned and locally operated title agency based in Whatcom County. As an agent we have the capability of shopping the underwrit-

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Q&A: Getting to know WLT leadership Continued from C31

ers we issue policies for to ensure the insured obtains the best fit for their transaction. This allows us greater flexibility in options for the community that we serve. It shouldn’t be overlooked that the people that work for WLT are a part of that same community and have a vested interest in its wellbeing. A large number of our employees have worked for WLT for over 10, 15, 20 or more years, meaning that not only will you get expertise from a tenured professional, but it will also be from a local resident. Lynden Tribune: What does it take to stay in business these days for 40 years? Colleen Baldwin, owner: As a local title and escrow company we are uniquely positioned to be able to pivot quickly to accommodate

industry and client needs. We can make decisions faster and adapt our business model to the needs of our clients and community. Sometimes it can be challenging to vision the future bricklaying of our company foundation. However, each change and challenge are opportunities for driving our growth, technology, innovation, and learning. Collaboration with our industry partners and clients further drives our vision. Beverly Ott, director of client services: Dedication, hard work, showing appreciation, willingness to learn new things, care and concern for others, and building a team and leadership that share these values. Our leaders have become really good, in the last few years, at learning how to be flexible, learning how to change plans with a moment’s notice, and learning how to strive together toward a common goal. We have learned that we are a lot stronger

and more resilient than we imagined. Lynden Tribune: How does WLT stay relevant and fresh when the business started years before the Internet and cellular phones? Bill Ronhaar, CEO: We stay ahead of the game by participating in state and national organizations that keep us informed on new software and equipment available, current marketing trends and educational and legislative matters that help us compete with national companies. Lynden Tribune: What is dearest to Whatcom Land Trust? Bill Ronhaar, CEO: We believe in family first and try to accommodate the demands that family life has on your employment life. We believe in a proper work/life balance and try to staff accordingly. We believe in doing things as a company that is over and above what other companies for their employees.

We try to create a family-oriented atmosphere among our employees – helping each other where we can in order to ensure the entire operation runs as smoothly as possible. We are local and coordinate our charitable giving to those who are less fortunate in the communities we serve. We contribute dollars as well as volunteer time to those causes we hold most dear, both individually and collectively. Beverly Ott, director of client services: It’s hard to put one’s finger on the number one most dear, so I’ll break it into three. We are obsessed with making sure we have great relationships with our clients. We are 100% dedicated to our community and making it a wonderful place to live and work. We know we have an amazing team and we work hard to let them know how much we value them.

Lynden Tribune: Does WLT have plans to be even more innovative, more reliable, even more customer-friendly moving forward? Jensen Salisbury, chief underwriter and senior title officer: I think any big business will answer this question with a resounding and enthusiastic yes. While plans are great, and necessary, plans without action are just wishes. WLT is constantly in action to upgrade, improve and innovate for our clients and community. You can certainly see this by the growth of the company (nearing 100 employees). In fact, we’re very excited about the opening of yet another branch office, this one in the heart of Ferndale, giving our clients even more options for offices closer to them. Actions will always speak louder than words, so instead of listening to the plans, be on the watch for our actions.

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Spring Home & Garden

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

Garden fails can knock thousands off your home’s value Experts reveal which garden improvements add the most value to your home, and which garden mistakes can decrease your home’s value the most By Gian-Carlo Grossi Managing Director at Roofing Megastore

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ew research from building and renovation expert, Roofing Megastore reveals 15 garden fails that could collectively decrease the value of your home by over $109,000, and many of which can either be fixed for free, or for very little investment. A moldy conservatory roof was shown to be biggest turn off for potential buyers, knocking off $8,057 from your home’s value. Close behind were damaged garden walls, no lawn, broken guttering and a damaged patio. The findings are taken from Roofing Megastore’s Garden Trends Report where more than 2,000 prospective purchasers were asked about the garden trends they now value the most, and which would cause them to lower their offer on a property they were looking to buy. Garden fails to fix before selling Many of the issues that are most likely to see buyers reduce their offers are related to elements of the garden that need repair. A damaged garden wall could see offers reduced by $7,857. Broken guttering would decrease a home’s val-

ue by $7,620, and broken fences would shave $7,065 off a home’s resale value. Other fails that could be fixed for free in just a few hours include decking that just needs a clean – this would put buyers off to the tune of $7,495. Having rubbish and debris in the garden would knock off $7,288 and having children’s play equipment and toys on display would see buyers put in an offer that’s$6,594 lower than if they had been neatly tidied away and stored out of sight. If your garden needs some serious TLC and you’re unlucky enough to have all 15 garden issues, you could stand to lose a massive $109,396 off the value of your home when you come to sell. Garden improvements maximize your home value At the other end of the scale, the research also analyzed the external additions that are now valued the most by potential buyers. Over the past two years, our outside spaces have become more important than ever, and flexible living and at-home socializing dominate the top 10 most valued garden improvements. A conservatory is the most prized, potentially adding $11,086 to the value of your home, and home office garden rooms are now second on See Garden Fails on C34

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Garden Fails: Can knock thousands off your home's value Continued from C33

a buyer’s wish list for things they’d like in a garden, adding over $9,528 to a property’s value. A garden gym room, an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor entertaining area and a hot tub all make the top 10 too. Just outside the top 10, buyers would now pay $7,380 extra for a home that had a garden bar. A built-in pizza oven would add on $6,738 and a builtin BBQ could increase a home’s value by $6,642. North, South, East, West Given the increased time many of us have spent at home and in our gardens during the pandemic, it’s understandable how many buyers are keen to maximize the amount of sunshine they get in their outside space. South-facing gardens are historically the most prized, with dawn ‘til dusk sunshine on the cards during the summer months, and they could also increase the value of a home by $8,084. A home with a west facing garden would see its value increase by $6,571. But an east-facing garden could knock off $6,541 from a property’s value, and a north-facing garden could reduce a home’s value by $6,978. Gian-Carlo Grossi, managing director at Roofing Megastore, says It’s “so important to maintain your garden because moldy roofs, damaged decking and broken guttering can all significantly decrease the value of your home.” “Not only can a neglected garden be a health hazard and unappealing to look at, often, basic maintenance or DIY is all that’s needed to fix many of the issues that put buyers off the most,” Grossi said. “So many of us have spent much more time at home since the start of the pandemic, meaning there’s been a massive increase in demand for garden features such as garden offices, garden gym studio spaces, as well as outdoor cooking and entertaining spaces. This shift in demand has been reflected in our study, with homeowners willing to pay more for properties with these items.”

Given the increased time many of us have spent at home and in our gardens during the pandemic, it’s understandable how many buyers are keen to maximize the amount of sunshine they get in their outside space. (Courtesy photo)

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Apartment living – Downtown Lynden above a pub Terrace has brought style to downtown living, views over the downtown and mountains By Elisa Claassen For the Tribune

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ynden has grown and changed and even gone a bit up – up a few floors and upscale at the same time along the 600 block of Front

Street. During the economic downtown, things were a bit faded in this portion of the downtown. Not so now. The windmill was restored, the Dutch Village building freshly painted, new logos put out with new flowers on street corners, and even new apartments came into the mix. Built in 1930, the then green-andwhite one-story building had been several things, such as the long-time home of the Lynden Tribune before the newspaper relocated around the corner to Sixth Street. The building also housed a liquor store and eventually left the Lewis family ownership in 2009, then changed ownership again in 2019. The liquor store moved across the street into the Dutch Village Mall, while the new owners went to work with a new Above, a view of the apartments above the soon-to-open Newsroom Pub on Front Street in downtown Lynden. vision for the building. In doing so, sev- Below, one of the downtown Lynden apartments. (Above, courtesy photo. Below, photos by Elisa Claassen for the Tribune) eral floors were added above for a total of Once back home in 2018, Ron needed a seven apartments and a new dark exterior new project. This coincided with seeing a with contemporary touches. For Sale sign on the building. In the course of renovating the buildIt occurred to him what kind of view ing, the colorful Bill “Swins” Swinburnson would be possible from higher up from mural of 18 years had to be replaced when that location. They saved the first floor prithe building construction found problems marily for a potential food venue. with sections of the building behind the Now the seven apartments at 606 Front mural with water damage. range from 900 to 1,300 square feet – inThankfully, the new father-and-son art- cluding one that is ADA – are all rented ist team of Harry and Eric Engstrom still out. aimed for a colorful rendition of the hisThe five two-bedroom and two onetory and beauty of the area. bedroom units went fast even with a highCo-owner Ron Hanson, long-time er price point than many other area stanteacher, is also a long-time building con- dard apartments. tractor with Hanson Homeworks. Hanson got permission of a tenant, After retiring in 2017 from teaching, he Tania Hawes, to look at her apartment. She and his wife Alida Hanson, who works in welcomed us in and mentioned she works the kitchen at Lynden High School, took a from home as a subcontractor for Puget year off to travel in Europe. Sound Energy. In the process they enjoyed seeing This 1,300-square-foot home is actually many beautiful places – and visiting English pubs. The memories stayed with them. See Terrace on C38


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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Terrace: Has brought style to downtown living, views over the downtown and mountains Continued from C36

two-story with an internal staircase, air conditioning, tankless hot water heater, natural gas appliances, several bedrooms, several bathrooms, in unit washer-and-dryer, a den, and even two small separate patios facing different directions. Luxury vinyl plant (LVP) flooring is throughout. She’s delighted by the many details and finishes which aren’t found in many other apartments, she said. Once back in the hallway, Hanson walks down to another door which opens to a staircase which winds around and around to the rooftop patio which is for all tenants and can be reserved for private tenant parties. It has a small room for security systems near the doorway. The roof has outdoor seating, fire table, barbecue, party lights, outdoor heater, an enclosed kitchenette with a door to open to the outside, a turf-covered play space as well as building venting. The views are amazing whether sunrise or sunset – looking over other downtown buildings out to Mount Bak-

is. Hanson explained the artist painted on plywood, which was removed in the windowed sections and taken to a screen artist to replicate as a decal much like those wrapped on buses. These were then applied seamlessly to the windows. Another 1,000 square feet comprises the kitchen, freezers, and food preparation areas. Behind that are offices and a parking space. The east side of the building, facing the post office, is reserved for a future outside patio eating area. Hanson says the menu will integrate locally-produced fresh foods such as cheeses, craft beers, wines, ciders, and meats. Another surprise is a collaboration with another local food manufacturer, Edaleen Dairy. With a separate entrance from the street as well as accessibility from the inside, a small old-fashioned ice cream parlor has been incorporated and will also have a take-out window. So many details thought out. Diners will get a scoop of ice cream with their meals, Hanson said. As he discussed this, a resident

er, fertile farmlands, the Nooksack River, and also to the windmill. Meanwhile, in mid-April, Hanson and crew were hard at work at 608 Front which is quickly becoming the Newsroom Pub to celebrate the heritage of the building. Rather than finding an outside vendor, the Hansons came up with an idea to do the eatery themselves by taking on four additional couples as minority partners in the business with them retaining a 60% interest. Alida came up with the news theme. Ron called Tribune Publisher Mike Lewis and went to the Lynden Pioneer Museum to find potential décor based on real history. Upon entering the pub, the 1,500 square-foot serving interior has a desk with a manual typewriter, components from the original printing press, comfortable booths, and even filtered daylight coming from windows. The windows on the west side are a surprise as they look through the new mural. Several visitors walked in and to check that out. Hanson laughed. From a distance the mural definitely looks complete and intact, and in essence it

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | Ferndale Record

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