2013 Scholarship Contest First Place Winner – Sierra Pierson

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on April 16, 2014


Congratulations again to our first place winner Sierra Pierson. Sierra submitted a wonderful essay on how her family has improved their home over the years with a thoughtful tie in on how those improvements have improved her family.


Pictured here with her family, her parents Emil and Anna and brothers Braden (on left) and Joel (on far right) and sister Lauren.

Here is her wonderfully written first place essay:

Home Improvement Projects 

by Sierra Pierson |

My house is in a neighborhood that includes at least twenty other homes that are the exact same model. With every house the same, what truly makes a house a home? The answer for my family is: home improvement projects.
When my family first moved into our current house, the first project was to finish the unfinished basement. This soon became a time-consuming group project done by the family. Although, the project took months, it was time well spent. Not only did we improve our home, we learned skills and learned to work together. In the end, we had a great space where we have spent countless hours with all six of us piled on the couch watching movies and making memories.
The next summer, our family spent hours designing and buying materials for a new deck. Everyone from my parents to my six year old brother gave input into the design. Ultimately, we had a plan which included a two-story deck with a play structure with swings and slide coming off the lower deck. Again, we all worked together on the labor. At one point, it took the entire family to carry four 20 foot long 8×8 beams down to the backyard. This project showed how much could be accomplished if our family works together. The deck is a highlight of our house where we enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Our most recent project was doing tile in one of the bathrooms. This project, smaller than the others, should have only taken a few weeks .However, it has taken over three months and still continues. Instead of spending weekends finishing the bathroom, my family has been willing to delay the finished project (and sacrifice having another available bathroom) in favor of supporting each other in various activities. My parents and siblings could have stayed home and worked on the project every weekend, but instead, they have spent long days going to our track meets, golf matches, basketball games, theater and music productions, and other activities. The structure of my house has not improved, but my family has become closer and my home has been strengthened.
At the end of the day, it is not really the physical improvements to my house that have made my house a home, but the time spent together as a family working towards one goal. My home is a place where I have learned the family values of supporting one another, working hard, and enjoying time spent with each other. Throughout my life, I have moved around, faced challenges, and experienced loss. However, I can always count on my family to be there for me during hard times. I can expect that my home will always be a place of comfort, support and love. Ultimately, making a house a home is not a matter of home improvement projects, but rather “family improvement projects.”




2013 Second Place Scholarship Contest Winner – Hania Marien

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on April 8, 2014

hania single

Congratulations again to our 2013 second place winner Hania Marien. Hania submitted a wonderful essay on how growing up within two cultures has shaped her life.

Here is Hania’s wonderfully written essay:

The Gift of Perfect Pruning and Otherworldly Oreos 

“Hoe ziet uw huis eigenlijk uit?” asked my five-year-old cousin. I was visiting family in België, as I have done every year since I was born. It had not occurred to me that he would not know what my home was like. He was fascinated with America, with visions of Oreo cookies and blue jeans.
At first, I didn’t know how to respond to his question. In België, I feel like I am home. After a few days there, I no longer notice the cobblestone streets, the perfectly pruned geometric hedges, or the bars busting full of jolly townsfolk at eight in the morning as something extraordinary. I looked around, searching for a house comparable to ours, at the narrow streets lined compactly with skinny red brick houses, at the busy market square brimming with historic buildings, and all the tiny cars spewing diesel fumes. Discovering that there were none, I settled for a photograph, of our small blue house with wooden siding. While the house was a distinctive part of my tree abundant Pacific Northwest childhood, for him, it was a glimpse into a whole new world. He was astonished that our house wasn’t made of red brick.

His response got me thinking about my home, my life within the blue wooden siding.

Two different cultures. Two different languages. The day I was born, they meshed together to become one world – mine. I speak one language with Papa, another with Moeke. My birthday signs have always said “happy birthday” twice, once in Flemish and once in English. Books in both languages cover my shelves. On the soccer field, I was cheered on in two languages, and my brain learned to understand the differences. We could walk around town talking about the sky, Venus or cheese, and no one else would understand. In the grocery store people would ask if we were speaking German. Even though I could barely see over the counter, I knew if we told them it was Flemish they wouldn’t have known what we were talking about.

My cousin’s simple question sparked a realization. When I was younger, I did not think about speaking Flemish, or what it meant to grow up within two cultures. Now I recognize that my childhood home was unique. I was given a gift of seeing life from two points of view, and it has made me who I am: Someone who is intrigued by foreign lands and languages, who notices differences and wants to explore them, who understands that there is more than one solution to a problem. I see the beauty and resourcefulness in varied cultures, and want to experience and learn from them.

I loved seeing that familiar curiosity in my cousin’s eyes, and his realization that a house doesn’t have to be made of brick. He may have been listening to my explanation about the influence of local resources on houses, on the people themselves. But who knows, maybe he just wanted to see a picture.


2013 Third Place Scholarship Winner – Riley Kua

March 28, 2014

Congratulations again to our third place winner Riley Kua. Riley submitted a  wonderful essay on his appreciation for his parents sacrifices which have allowed him so many wonderful opportunities today. (Riley pictured with his sister Kelsey and mother Sandra.) Here is Riley’s wonderfully written essay: “There’s No Place Like Home”    The other day, while […]

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Proud to Announce

March 14, 2014

Attached is a great new video from Coldwell Banker – though we might be a little biased.  The video is one in a new series that highlights the benefits of working with the nation’s leading real estate brand.  The story of our own Mitch Dietz was selected from a group of more than one hundred […]

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Remember When?

March 5, 2014

Having served the Thurston County real estate markets since the 1960s, our company has been through a great many market cycles.  Over those 46 years we’ve used a lot of tools to help serve our clients.  Recently, we ran across a mortgage payment table book from 1985. Books like this were standard issue in those […]

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Market News – Local Prices Still on the Rise

February 19, 2014

Those who follow our blog know that we have been commenting about local home prices being on the rise.  Beginning in 2012, we began pointing out that conditions were in place for our market to experience rising prices in 2013.  In fact, the last half of 2013 saw modest but steady gains in home prices.  […]

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Smart Buying in a Seller’s Market

February 14, 2014

In this market, buyers need to know that most price ranges are attracting more buyers than sellers. This makes it competitive for buyers; and these conditions can tempt the unprepared to go places they wouldn’t otherwise be willing to venture.  In this post, we share some thoughts for smart buying in a seller’s market.  Know […]

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Backyard Oasis

January 30, 2014

You may not be thinking about improving your backyard living space as you look out the window on a dreary, rainy winter day, but now is the perfect time to begin planning to enjoy the summer months in your backyard oasis! In taking a peek at the Farmer’s Almanac, this summer just may be a […]

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A New Rob Rice Homes Community – Chestnut Village

December 31, 2013

Rob Rice Homes, a local builder with over 28 years experience building in the South Puget Sound, is excited to announce their newest development Chestnut Village.  This new home community is conveniently located on the corner of Yelm Highway and Rich Road and is close to downtown, local shopping and Olympia schools! A variety of […]

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Christmas Forest – A Great Success!

December 23, 2013

Once again, the Providence St. Peter Foundation Christmas Forest was a great success. This year a record amount of $626,000 was raised showing again what a wonderfully generous community we live in! This year the 5 day event had over 4,100 visitors and the Gala Auction and Dinner raised $228,000 towards a permanent Cancer Survivorship Clinic. […]

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