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Marvels and mysteries

ROOSEVELT NEIGHBORS: Libby Chenault, Steeb Russell and Franklin

Almost out of time, Steeb and Libby had the financing, but they didn't have the home. They knew what they wanted, but "Houses would get five offers the first day! Most houses were out of our price range," Libby remembers.

"We didn't have a computer, so we'd go to the library and see what was new on the market." They would have to act fast. "Finally, we found this house in the Roosevelt neighborhood with three bedrooms and a large yard—two things we really wanted." Kulshan's Erica Malone found more money to help them qualify.

Like any other homeowner, they have a wish list. They want to brighten up their kitchen with a solar tube, she says. Steeb adds, "...and we want to paint the house. It was painted when we bought it ten years ago." A recent plumbing issue required bank financing. "It's hard to spend money on that; they aren't the fun things," Libby remarks.

Fun things include "building a studio on our deep lot; it would save us money on studio rental," says Libby. Both she and Steeb are artists. Her business, Moth and Squirrel, is an institution at the Bellingham Farmer's Market. He also sells his paint-toonery'—cartoon paintings that "reflect the marvels and mysteries of our animal world.

"After 20 years in Bellingham, they've grown deep roots. "We have so many layers to our community," says Libby. Our friends, our safety net, would help us if we needed it," says Steeb. A metaphor for the stability of homeownership is the fig tree she planted from a cutting seven years ago. "I'm proud of that tree," Libby notes. "Each year it bears more fruit." Of their neighborhood, "We want to make it a better neighborhood by being here

Each year the fig tree bears fruit; I'm proud of that tree which I planted in our front yard seven years ago.
Libby Chenault