2014 First Place Scholarship Winner – Emily Arend

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 14, 2014

emily arendCongratulations to our first place winner Emily Arend. Emily’s essay spoke to being yourself is what “Makes a House a Home”. Her words painted great pictures of her and her family being “just who they are” in the comfort of their home.

arend family(Emily is pictured here with her mother and father, Jack and Brenda Arend.)

Here’s her wonderfully written essay:

“Home is where the heart is…” I imagine you have read plenty of essays that developed that theme to the point of being ridiculous. Let’s be real and take a break from those ooey-gooey, sappy, sugar-coated essays! Let’s skip the metaphors. Skip the philosophy. Let me write out what everyone knows makes a house a home, but nobody has the courage to submit in this contest. 

Home is where you can be yourself. You can sit in your pajamas, eat ice-cream out of the container, and not worry about being judged! In my home, I have been known to sing at the top of my lungs and blow bubbles in my glass of milk. Just last week, my 19-year-old sister sat on the landing of our stairs, playing the incredibly horrible nose-flute she received in her Easter basket. She played song after unrecognizable song, making us all play a hopeless game of “Name that Tune”. This is just who she is; she can make a game out of anything, and she had the entire family on the floor laughing! I know for a fact that she would never have done this in any other house. Only at home.

Home is that one place where everything is familiar and you know the layout like the back of your hand. You can find each light switch in the pitch-black night with a single touch to the wall. I know exactly which stair step to skip when I am trying to quietly sneak up to my room, without waking my parents, after watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. 

Home is where family happens. Fun family stuff. The stuff that makes for stories told over and over. For example, my siblings and I have an on-going game of “I will scare you when you least expect it” that never gets old! The best scare I ever pulled off was when I hid in my sister’s closet, and stayed there, quiet, for 15 minutes after she got into bed. I slowly crawled out, jumped on her bed, and yelled, “BAH!” You can imagine the scream that came from her mouth and the sheer terror I got to see in her face! It was awesome! Now, would I have done this in any other house? Of course not. I would only have done this in my home. 

So if a home isn’t just “where the heart is”, and a home isn’t just more than the sum of it’s materials, then what is it? What really makes a house a home? Every home has different stories to tell, but I know that those stories are real. And “real” is what makes a house a home. 




2014 Second Place Scholarship Winner – McKenzie Murray

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 13, 2014

mckenzie murray alone

Congratulations again to our  second place winner McKenzie Murray. McKenzie’s essay wove wonderful descriptions of selling a house and relocating but bringing the soul, “the home”, with them.mckenzie murray and mother(McKenzie is pictured here with her mom, Wendy Murray)

Here’s her wonderfully written essay:

I had my first taste of the real estate industry when we put our house up for sale to move cross-country. I was ten. My brother and I dropped our toys, first onto the carpet of the playroom in shock, and then later into collapsible cardboard boxes, to be sealed away by the assault of packaging tape and Sharpie scrawl. The kitchen table yielded to reams of paper, bills, deeds, and notices. Mouths fell closed and hands went to work, sanding kitchen cabinets, pressing putty into corners and the holes left by posters and pictureframes. Carpets were ripped up, and fragments of lives were plucked from the walls as nails and hangers.
We whitewashed everything. Mantles, banisters, porches and mailboxes are all like smiles; they may have more character the longer they’re exposed, but eventually someone will come along and tell you they’re veering towards yellow. Sometimes we redid whole rooms, rolling over and double-coating those mysterious splotches by the table, and bleaching the trim in the old nursery.
What makes a house a home? Stains. Rust and dust, peeling plaster. A running faucet like a running joke. For all we covet the gleaming all-American homefront, things are better when they’re a little bit crooked. I like my places to point to, saying “Remember when?” and my seven-year-old crayon scribbles in corners. They’re the viscera of the thing, the thrumming life and memory hubs. When caulked, painted, and sanded away, our house was a skeleton. 
We put the skeleton up for market and someone else burrowed into the ribcage, promising they could restart the heart, get things moving again. Then we drove away with our faces smushed against the car windows because we’d witnessed something like the beginning of a soul transplant and it was transfixing and tragic. 
And then we moved into another skeleton, all vast and empty; you could hear the wind whistling through the joints and sockets. Somewhere on the road behind us, the soul of the old house was hovering, and we politely folded our hands and waited for it to catch up. We moved in the sofas and beds, but it still brought a JC-Penny catalogue forcibly to mind.
It only took two days for someone to spill coffee in the living room. We plastered paper towels to it and poured on fathoms of carpet soap and elbow grease, but ultimately it left an ever-so-slightly darker brown ring. We strategically positioned some bar stools over it, but it’s still there, if you’re willing to cast aside the stools and point and whisper, “Remember when?”
After this it was like the soul of home came rushing back all at once, fleshing out the too-big, too-ramshackle bungalow easily. We forgot we were supposed to be living stiffly, uncomfortable in our own rooms and jumpy every time the front door creaked. Nothing seemed hollow anymore. A different family bought our house—but we took the home with us.



2014 Third Place Scholarship Winner – Rachel Alexanian

June 12, 2014

Congratulations again to our third place winner Rachel Alexanian. Rachel submitted a wonderful essay on how her home is full of vivid memories. She blended these memories with how they appeal to our five senses. (Rachel is pictured here with her parents Dan and Cindy Alexanian.) Here’s her wonderfully written essay: One word can be […]

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Chestnut Village Grand Opening

May 27, 2014

Grand opening Celebration at Rob Rice Homes’ newest community-Chestnut Village! This new community on the corner of Rich Road & Yelm Highway is just a short distance to all Olympia Schools, the Chehalis Western Trail, downtown & area shopping! Many homes styles will be offered, ranging from an 1895 sf rambler up to our 2692 […]

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2013 Scholarship Contest First Place Winner – Sierra Pierson

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 […]

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2013 Second Place Scholarship Contest Winner – Hania Marien

April 8, 2014

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 […]

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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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