BY Melissa Labberton | PHOTO BY CHAD BREMERMAN
“ I have no regrets about my life other than I would have loved to spend more time with Theresa … my art is lifelong …” — Jack Roberts
From Yakima Magazine’s first publication, I’ve had the privilege of being welcomed into homes of all sizes and descriptions — and I’ve loved every one of them. The best part is meeting the people who live there and discovering what makes their homes so special.
So, when Chad Bremerman, Yakima Magazine’s photographer, told me to check out a house near St. Paul Cathedral, I did just that. As I was driving up the street, I noticed a well-kept neighborhood lined with charming, bungalow-style homes, many painted white, boasting lush, green front yards. Then I spied the address of the home that Chad wanted me to see.
The gabled bungalow has a charming yellow picket fence that surrounds an artistic rock garden sprinkled with desert plants that really caught my attention. I entered the front yard through a tall, gated arbor. Later, I learned that roses climb the the arbor during warmer months.
Feeling a bit like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz,” I walked up a red brick path to the front door where the owner was waiting. Chad had given me a hint about what was behind the front door, but even that did not prepare me for what I’d find. The owner, Theresa Roberts, welcomed me into her home.
Once inside I scanned a well-appointed living room and immediately saw that the walls displayed beautiful paintings. Theresa was quick to point out that her late husband, Jack Roberts, was the accomplished artist responsible for creating the original pieces. She added that he also was an amazing photographer and showed me a book featuring a variety of his images.
The room has also been enhanced by antiques that work perfectly with the more contemporary furnishings. Being a fan of antiques of all descriptions, I asked her about the collection.
Theresa happily admitted that she loved collecting them and for her, the search was half the fun. For those interested, wonderful antiques can be found at many Yakima venues including local second-hand stores, or even at local yard or estate sales.
As I admired the home’s hardwood floors, I asked if they were newly installed and Theresa proudly replied that all of the wood floors were original to the house.
Her husband Jack earned his art degree at Central Washington University and went on to teach art until he retired while on the faculty at Franklin Junior High School. He also coached track and field at Franklin and wrestling at Davis High School.
Theresa worked at the old St. Elizabeth Hospital as a nurse for 26 years. They both had ended previous marriages when they met and after dating for three years, decided to take a leap of faith and fly to Las Vegas to have their wedding in one of the many Vegas wedding chapels. They each loved to travel and during their time together they explored extensively.
Unfortunately, Jack passed away in 2017.
As we moved to the adjoining dining room it was hard to ignore the incredible stained glass that covered all the windows. When the sun hits the perfect spot, the colors of the glass gloriously spill across the dining room’ Of course, this was just one more artistic talent at which Jack excelled.
Theresa also remembered how Jack inherited his father’s passion to remodel, build and improve property. He’d often say, “Every house I have owned or even rented has been transformed in some way and I still have all of my fingers!”
Jack loved taking his boat out to fish on Rimrock Lake along with his close teacher friends. Four of them decided to go in together to buy a cabin so their families could take part in the fun.
He also helped build a place on Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho that was his father’s long-term project. It’s amazing that Jack had so many different outside interests — he even had a passion for competitive bridge, but still found time for creating his wonderful artwork.
One project he endeavored to complete was a special workplace for Theresa adjacent to the couple’s kitchen. She wanted a spot to call her own that would combine a window ledge to grow her house plants, with a built-in desk where she could grab a quick breakfast.
Jack created a long narrow space with three tall windows, the perfect spot to cultivate a variety of indoor plants. Next, he installed a wonderful skinny desk with a curved window to the kitchen.
Theresa then decorated the wall on the opposite side of the space with some of her favorite pieces of china. To top off the look, she chose a vintage phone and old-school lamp to complete this cozy space.
But never fear, her kitchen has modern appliances and plenty of storage. Theresa installed an antique Hoosier cabinet that holds a modern microwave along with cupboards for storing appliances. Colorful stained glass covers the bottom half of the kitchen windows, as well, allowing delightful colors to mingle with the incoming sunshine.
At the back of the house, the bedrooms are filled with a mix of family photos, artwork, vintage wardrobes and beautiful quilts covering the beds. Theresa even has Jack’s Eisenhower letterman’s sweater and jacket on display from a tall, antique wardrobe.
Thinking the tour was over, I was surprised when Theresa told me to follow her to the backyard to see the swimming pool. It was covered with a steel top, however, with a push of a button, the cover went up, revealing a beautiful midsize pool.
At that point I realized that this particular property was full of wonderful surprises.
Thank you, Theresa Roberts, for sharing it with Yakima Magazine.