First Place Scholarship Winner – Margaret Maclay

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 12, 2016

PNG_9635(Margaret is pictured here with her mother Annie Maclay  and siblings Ellen and Tavish)

Congratulations to the first place scholarship winner of our 6th annual What Makes a House a Home scholarship contest, Margaret Maclay. Margaret – now known to us as Maisie –  wrote a fantastic essay about the history of her home. Her essay was rich with the memories from her first home to the warmth of her new address. A read we are sure you too will enjoy!

Wonderful work Maisie!

Here’s her winning essay:

The History Of My Home

By Margaret Maclay

My current house is not my first home. It is the second address to live at the tip of my tongue, and the second set of directions written on the back of my hand. It came later, replacing the house that all three kids were born in, the first house my parents had together, the house that remembered my first words, my first steps, my first tantrum. As a particularly sentimental person, I was more than reluctant to let go of this history and call a new place home. Eventually, I realized that we are a family of individuals living in an eternal work in progress, and it is these two things that make our house a home.
I watched this house being built from the ground up by my dad’s own hands. I saw every ounce of work he poured into building something better for our growing family, and watched as he woke up for work at six and then drove across town at five in the evening to work on our new house, sometimes not coming back until nine. My own handprint lies in the cement foundation, a nine year old’s mark on the world. However, for all the sawdust summers, the way the nailgun rewrote the rhythm of my heart beat, it was never quite finished. There are always half started ideas and unfinished plans.
Now, six years later, I walk into my house everyday by turning the stiff doorknob a little extra hard, ignoring the light fixture in the entryway that has never had a bulb. I walk past my dad’s building plans laid out across the coffee table, my brother’s trains chugging their way across the living room floor, my mom’s shoes covered in dirt from gardening, my sister’s unassuming masterpieces gracing the dining table, my own books and dance shoes piled high on the couch. I’m alone in the living room, but I can hear my mom’s fingers flying at sixty words a minute as she works in the office, my four year old brother having a teaparty with his stuffed animals, and my sister singing in her room as she works on her latest artwork. In a few hours I’ll pass my dad in the driveway as he comes home and I go to dance.
Everyone in my family has their own story and they leave little paragraphs inside the unpainted walls, the piles of belongings littering the stairs. I don’t need a history to make my house a home. I just need my family to keep writing their own history, and I need my home to store that history until we need to move it.



Second Place Scholarship Winner – Ryan Birbeck

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 10, 2016

PNG_9638(Ryan is pictured here with girlfriend Maddy Welling and parents Jeff and Traci Birbeck)

Congratulations to Ryan Birbeck, our second place winner in our 6th annual What Makes a House a Home scholarship contest. Ryan wrote a great essay about his comfortable and welcoming home – one we would all love to visit!

Wonderful job Ryan!

Here’s his winning essay:

What Makes My House a Home

By Ryan Birbeck

A home can have many different meanings and interpretations from person to person, but to me not just any house can be a home. A home has to be somewhere where you are free from the coldness of the outside world, and where you can be sheltered away from the harshness of reality when needed. A home is a place where people support you without you having to ask them to. It doesn’t matter if these people are your family or friends as long as they are there for you. Home is a place where you can relax and unwind.
To me, home is a place where my dad first taught me to throw and catch a football, and where my mom doesn’t rip my head off after forgetting to clean the bathroom for a fourth time. A home is where I found the most loyal dog waiting for me to get home every day after school for 12 years. My home is where my close friends know that they do not have to knock to come in, because they are welcome day and night 24/7. In my home, we have heated ping pong matches on late summer nights followed by nostalgic bonfire talks. We play backyard baseball and games of horse on the cul-de-sac basketball hoop.
My home is where I was taught to be a man, how to treat others, how to be compassionate about life, and how to stand up for myself when needed. My home is where I often put in four hours a night on AP homework, so I can be successful and one day make myself a new home for my own family. What makes my house a home is not taking for granted all the aspects that I see some other people’s living environments are lacking such as parental figures, food on the table, endless moral support, and love. If you know for sure that the house you have is a home, never take that for granted. Every time I walk in my house there isn’t even a question about it. This is my home.


Third Place Scholarship Winner – Karen Coppock

June 9, 2016

(Karen is pictured here with her mother, Alison Coppock) Congratulations to Karen Coppock, our third place winner in our 6th annual What Makes a House a Home scholarship contest. Karen wrote a beautifully descriptive essay about her home that will capture your attention from start to finish. Her creatively titled essay, The Distinctive Cracks of Life, […]

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2016 Scholarship Essay Contest Winners

May 31, 2016

The panel of community judges have announced the winners of our 2015 What Makes a House a Home scholarship contest. Congratulations to the following students, from Left to Right, Third Place Winner, Karen Coppock from Timberline High School, First Place Winner, Margaret Maclay from Olympia High School and Second Place Winner, Ryan Birbeck from Timberline […]

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Scholarship Essay Contest in Voting Phase

May 9, 2016

    We received over 80 wonderful entries into our 6th annual “What Makes a House a Home” scholarship essay contest.  We are now in our voting phase of the contest (through Friday, May 13th.) To read the essays and vote for your favorite, visit We will announce the Top 10 Finalists on Wednesday, May […]

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Annual Scholarship Contest

March 29, 2016

It’s that time of year again! Our annual “What Makes a House a Home” scholarship contest is about to begin it’s 6th year. All essays can be submitted HERE now through May 8th.  Again, this year we have our “Inspirational Educator Award” where the top scholarship winner will nominate a local, active Thurston County educator who […]

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Smart Buying in a Seller’s Market – Revisited

March 4, 2016

Our local real estate market is off to a record start.  With 882 pending home sales in January and February, we blew past the previous mark of 763 sales last year.  New buyers are now outpacing new sellers coming to the market.  This is leading to multiple offers on many properties. Much talk around the […]

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Winter Maintenance Tips

November 25, 2015

Oh the weather outside is chillful but prepping your home for the cold shouldn’t be frightful! Bracing your home for winter is very important. Here are the Top 5 Winter Tips in getting ready for the chilly days ahead: Furnace – The middle of winter is not the time to wake up in a freezing […]

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Strong Seller Market

September 18, 2015

Great market news! Locally we are experiencing strong seller markets throughout Thurston County. Additional great news is that we also have strong buyer activity. “In some instances, buyers are moving faster today than they were before the recession.” Read more about these trends within our local housing market by clicking on the Business Examiner logo […]

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Sustainable Trends

August 12, 2015

With all the good real estate news we are frequently asked whether this run is sustainable. While we wish we could predict the future, it is impossible to know for sure. What we can say is that there are some fundamental differences between this current trend and the last run-up that resulted in an unprecedented […]

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