It's a wonderful, new life
By Stacee Sledge
Whatcom Magazine, Holiday Bonus Edition
Family renews hope in
Sudden Valley home
Linda Tyler and daughter Traci Johnson, last Christmas
marked a fresh start. After several difficult years,
they found fun and solace in decking the halls with new
Christmas decorations for Linda’s first holiday in her
new home in Sudden Valley.
Married in 1964, Linda and her husband Bill had raised
their family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before
relocating to Boise in 1993. In 1999 the couple started
what would become a successful business measuring
cabinets, blinds and floors in the Northwest.
Bill passed away in December 2001 after a two-year
battle with melanoma. His family — Linda, her daughters
Traci and Liz, and their husbands and children — was
“Christmas has always been such an important holiday for
our family,” says Traci Johnson. “He said, ‘I will not
die on Christmas,’ and he died the next day.”
weeks after Bill’s funeral in Boise, Linda’s mother,
Mildred Foster, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She died
cruel turn, Linda learned that she had breast cancer the
month after Mildred’s death. Fortunately, after
undergoing chemotherapy in 2005, she is now in
her father’s death, Traci made her mother a magnificent
offer. She asked Linda to move from Boise to Whatcom
County, where she had lived since 1993, into a
home Traci would design and build for her.
wanted me to have all new everything, to start fresh,”
says Linda. “My husband built homes and Traci designed
them when she was only 19. She just has it — she’s got
sketched the home’s design quickly, and then set out to
find the right location. In 2004, she unearthed three
connected lots in Sudden Valley that were secluded and
cozied up into the trees.
talent for defining details, Traci created a warm and
inviting dream home, full of sentimental touches that
celebrate Bill and Linda and their close-knit family.
example, Traci sprinkled the master bedroom ceiling with
glow-in-the-dark stars forming the exact constellation
from the night her parents were married in March 1964.
“It’s literally like sleeping under the stars,” says
fact, Linda visited the site only twice before
completion, once to see the land and again at the
framing stage. She did have input into the furnishings,
but Traci made her wait to see how everything came
couldn’t wait,” says Linda, who now runs part of her
business from a home office with a staff of two, “but
Traci wouldn’t let me see it until it was finished
Traci finally brought Linda to see the finished house
for the first time, emotions brimmed over. “I was
crying, laughing and happy all at once,” says Linda. “It
was the ultimate surprise.”
home was christened The Wildhare, a tip of the cowboy
hat to Bill’s nickname, and also how the project came
about: Traci had a wild hair and made it happen.
house has a little of all our former homes and our lives
before,” she says, “but I wanted it to eliminate some of
the bad memories and bring together some of the good, to
replace some of the hard memories she had at her other
joy to me'
Nowhere is that more evident than at the holidays.
Getting together to decorate is an important family
tradition, with carols, hot chocolate and platters of
“Because we love Christmas and all the decorating so
much, Traci knew exactly where the Christmas tree would
go before the house was even finished,” says Linda.
enter the great room from the front door — greeted by a
sparkling, rotund 4-foot-tall Santa that Traci begged to
buy right off a store’s display. Sentimental holiday
pieces are scattered throughout the house, such as a
framed Christmas tree made of costume jewelry, created
25 years ago by Linda’s mother-in-law, Lucille
Christmas tree takes center stage in the great room. A
large Texas star is displayed year-round in a coved arch
above the tree.
also have the Texas star on top of the tree, of course,"
tell you how particular we are about Christmas,” says
Linda in her soft Texas drawl. “My husband used to get a
real tree and then buy extra limbs to fill in the gaps
one year he decided the tree didn’t look full enough. So
he undecorated it, took it outside, reversed an old
vacuum and wafted the tree.”
Linda’s mother Mildred loved purple and all things
feathery, fluffy or glittery. “Anything with bodacious
attitude,” says Traci says of her grandmother. In her
memory, the tree includes all of these elements.
“Christmas decorating — decorating, period — is just our
thing,” says Traci. “Going out and getting everything is
just as much fun as decorating and enjoying it.”
been a joy to me. It’s really special,” says Linda,
looking around her festive Christmas-clad home. “I love
homes with personality and this home definitely has a
personality. Plus, it was built with love by my Traci.”
Stacee Sledge is a
| Resume |
Clients & Projects |