The home nestled behind trees at 1308 Bonsella St. welcomed owners-to-be Joe and Cindy Meyer when they first walked in to look at it in 1992. They had a list of all the things they wanted in a home. This one didn’t have any of those, but it still felt like home.
Iris Myers and her husband, Bob, built the home in about 1939. She was the society editor at the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, and he was the landscaper at Whitman College with his nursery across the street from their house.
So he had plenty of exotic trees and plantings all around the home.
“That’s why we say we weed with a shovel and chainsaw,” Cindy says.
Cindy and Joe were struck by the similarity of their last names (Myers and Meyer), different spellings and they weren’t related, but it was wonderfully close. And it felt right, like it was meant to be.
“We looked for a house for about a year,” she says. “We had a list of everything we wanted: a formal dining room, a kitchen that you don’t see the first time you walk in, because then you always have to keep it clean. Then we walked in here, and for both of us it felt like we were home. And it had none of the things that we wanted.”
Still it was home, immediately. It was move-in ready, relaxing and calm.
They have made a few upgrades, but nothing was done in a hurry.
“We just finished the bathroom,” she says. It used to have red linoleum, some decor was blue and there was a wall that was in the way. The wall was taken down. Now the room has an open feel, with porcelain tile on the floor, porcelain tile on the walls and shower polished to look like marble. They are very happy with it and credit Christy Bloom design/build with the results.
“She has good taste and we don’t,” Cindy says.
The two-level home is about 2,100 square feet, with two bathrooms, three bedrooms and mostly storage in the finished part of the basement.
The master bedroom is spacious with ample natural light. The home has several bay windows both large and small. There is a fireplace on the main floor and in the finished area of the basement.
The home has been remodeled and expanded in several directions, but the outline of the original home is still visible in a way.
“It used to end at the corner of the bookshelf,” Cindy says of the original outline of the home.
Cindy suspects Iris Myers wanted to expand the home, but her horticulturist husband had already planted many trees in the backyard.
“I think she would just bump the house out until she hit a tree,” Cindy says. In some places she came pretty close. But that also gives the home more shade and privacy.
The front alcove was added; it was Bob Myers’ office, and now it makes a nice entrance to the home.
“The house is very eclectic, no one would ever design a house like this,” Cindy says.
At some point in time, Iris had her sister, Agnes Little, move into the home, so they added the new wing to the northeast. The home hasn’t had many owners and never suffered through becoming an apartment building. Although during WWII the basement area was used as housing for an army air base officer’s family.
When Joe and Cindy moved in, she says she “was very pregnant at the time and it was summer” so they invested in central air conditioning. Then it needed a new roof.
“We had a traditional fireplace,” Joe says. But they wanted the convenience of a gas fireplace, so that was converted. Later on, the backyard also had a pond they filled in so the grand kids would have more lawn to use for running and playing.
Their favorite area in the home they both agree is the large living room, which is very comfortable and relaxing like the whole house.
One time they had a plumber out who had worked with Bob Myers in building the home. Myers had the builders dig out the area for the foundation by hand. The lumber used in construction is larger and more frequently spaced than in modern construction.
“It is so rock solid,” Cindy says. The home is set and built to last.
“Iris Myers was living at Odd Fellows, and we would take her bouquets of Iris from the yard,” Cindy says. “When she died, they quit blooming. It’s interesting, this year they started blooming again.”
Because of Bob Myers’ interest in plants, the home benefits from interesting landscaping.
“We have some pretty odd plants,” Cindy says. These include a very rare sentinel ginkgo tree.
The house has some unconventional angles, hallways and add ons, as well as very few closets, but it doesn’t detract from the home’s comfort and peaceful energy.
“It’s a stealth house,” Cindy says.