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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Moving the family home: Siblings honor mother’s wishes to regain a front yard

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

In 1949, John Bording and his bride, Anita, moved into a 700-square-foot house on Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley. His boss gave them the down payment as a wedding gift.

Their two-bedroom, one-bath home, situated on a lot that was just under a half-acre was perfect for the couple. As their family grew, so did their house.

“My dad was a home builder, so he was tasked with adding square footage where my mom deemed necessary,” daughter Pamela Bording-Gray said. “Over the years it grew to a 2,200 square-foot Colonial style home with plenty of room to accommodate four children, two Basset hounds and an unending parade of friends and family.”

Bording-Gray and her siblings did their part when the additions were added.

Her sister Anne Bording-Jebreen recalled the adventure of having a second story added while they were still living in the home.

“When Dad decided to put the top story on the house, he left on the existing roof while he built,” she said. “The job he gave my sisters and me was tearing the shingles off the old roof and throwing them out the window!”

Their mom’s desire to have a used brick façade added to the front resulted in the siblings spending a summer chipping old mortar off the bricks, so the mason could reuse them.

Their family grew, their house grew and so did Spokane Valley.

“During my childhood, Broadway was a quiet tree-lined two-lane road with wide gravel shoulders and very little traffic,” Bording-Gray recalled. “As the Valley expanded, so did Broadway Avenue. Our lovely front yard shrunk with every new county requirement. My parents endured and vowed they’d stay put.”

That’s not to say Anita Bording was content with the status quo. She grieved the loss of the Chinese elms that shaded the front. And she had a solution to address their shrinking landscape.

“Can’t we just move the house back?” she asked.

But that was one change too many for her husband.

“Mom got lots of crazy ideas and Dad was a lovely man who went along with them,” Bording-Jebreen said. “But when Mom suggested they move the entire house farther back on their property, Dad said no for the first time.”

So, she turned her energy to the back yard which evolved from an empty field to a vegetable garden, to a horse pasture, to garden again. She created a beautiful Japanese garden complete with a waterfall, pond and a serene Buddha.

“It was a lovely place to grow up,” said Bording-Jebreen. “Our neighbor had cantaloupes out front and raspberries in the back. There were lots of fields where we could play ‘Wagon Train.’ It was a great place to let your imagination go wild.”

John Bording died in 2002 and his widow stayed in the home they’d created until her death in March 2020.

When the three sisters gathered to discuss the estate (their brother died in 1979) their Mom’s dearly held wish came up. They decided to honor it and have their family home moved 150 feet due north.

“It will begin the next chapter of its life on Mallon Avenue – a spot much like where it began,” said Bording-Gray.

That’s not to say the process has been easy. Finding a company to move the house wasn’t a problem, but winding their way through the city permit process, and discovering surprises like having to pay out of pocket for a fire hydrant, made the project daunting.

Currently, the house is on blocks awaiting the pouring of its new foundation, but a portion of the structure will stay in its current spot.

“We had to leave a family room, bathroom and bedroom,” said Bording-Jebreen.

They plan to add on to that portion.

“One house will become two,” she said.

The sisters plan to sell both of the homes when their passion project is complete.

“People think we’re crazy to do this,” Bording-Jebreen said. “Dad would be shaking his head, but Mom would be so pleased. We’re doing this to honor his skill as a builder and to honor Mom’s wish. Our hope is another family will grow up here and create beautiful memories like we did.”

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