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Meant to Be

FINDING THEIR PLACE IN ROLLING BAY // By Alli Schuchman

Andrea and Thomas Chymiys
From their Rolling Bay home, Andrea and Thomas Chymiy (and dog Westly) enjoy the view overlooking Murden Cove. Photos by David Cohen and Kelvin Hughes.

The Chymiys’ forever home on Bainbridge Island is many miles—and many years—from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where Andrea and Thomas met in 1992, just days into their freshman year.

The friendship that started at a dormitory mixer soon turned into more and by the second semester they were dating. The pair were married in 1996 and after graduating, moved to New Orleans, where Andrea attended medical school at Tulane. “Our son Jacob was born during our last year there,” said Thomas.

The Chymiys’ next move was to Seattle, Andrea’s childhood hometown. Thomas went to work for Amazon (where he still works today, currently as a principal in advertising) and Andrea, a family practice physician, started first with Swedish before later accepting a position at The Doctor’s Clinic in Poulsbo. It was that job change that prompted the couple to check out Bainbridge.

The Chymiys made the jump to the island in 2003, first to a home they built in Northtown Woods, then later on to one in Hidden Cove Estates off Phelps.

Like it does for many of us, exploring the island became a favorite pastime for Andrea and Thomas. During a Sunday drive in 2014, they came upon a slice of bucolic pastureland on Falk Road in the Rolling Bay neighborhood.

“This is probably one of our favorite areas,” said Andrea. “I just love Manitou. It’s so sunny. We used to come here a lot when we lived nearby—this was our running loop.”

They liked Rolling Bay’s mix of old homes and new, cottages, small farms. The craggy coastline, unhurried streets and undulating hills. The views of Seattle and Rainier and the smell of salt water. It’s a good fit for the couple and their two children—Jacob, who is temporarily back from the University of Washington, and Noelle, a junior at BHS—as well as a pair of pleasantly scruffy, predictably exuberant dogs, Westly, a Wheaten Terrier, and Obi, a cockapoo.

Soon after discovering the picturesque land above Murden Cove, the Chymiys made an offer. “We were lucky to get it,” Thomas reflected. “At the time it was just a pasture,” said Andrea. “Cows had lived here, and we found horseshoes.”

On the property stood a tiny old cottage from years past. “We put in some sweat equity and fixed up its interior and turned it into an Airbnb rental that fall,” explained Thomas. The Chymiys said the cottage was beloved by the neighborhood so they knew they had to keep it.

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