It had a living room, kitchen and one bedroom. There was no bathroom or laundry room.
Margie Betker wasn't so sure about their decision.
"I thought we were crazy," Betker said, remembering that the place that reminded her more of a chicken coop than a house.
It cost $3,000, $600 down and $25 a month, not a small sum on her husband's 50-cents-an-hour salary at a local lumber company.
Her husband put in a bathroom and laundry room immediately.
Over the years, he expanded their home with a dining nook, a second bedroom and a large living room, eventually bringing it up to 1,100 square feet.
"So it's gone though a lot of changes," Betker said. "There is quite a story to this house here."
Indeed, the Betker home has recently gone through another round of big changes to carry it forward another 60 years.
Thursday night, Betker will be honored along with 51 other Everett property owners at the city of Everett's 17th annual Monte Cristo Awards.
Properties from neighborhoods across the city will be awarded plaques in three categories: Pride of the Neighborhood, Rejuvenation and Transformation, and Neighborhood Friendly Business.
Betker's home, which is in the Evergreen neighborhood just north of the Boeing Freeway and west of Evergreen Way, won in the Rejuvenation and Transformation category for a recent makeover, courtesy of her grandson, Todd Davenport, of Everett.
Betker's husband died nearly three years ago. She wanted to stay in their longtime family home but it needed updates, including siding, roofing, windows, wiring, flooring and paint.
It was then that Davenport, 45, stepped in to help.
Davenport, who runs his own contracting company, Davenport Construction, sent his grandmother away for two weeks to visit her nephew in Atlanta.
Then he did his own version of ABC's "Extreme Makeover."
In two weeks, he and a team of trusted contractor friends replaced almost everything in the house, working 15-hour days, often in the rain.
In addition to renovating the exterior of the home, Davenport and his friends painted all the walls and installed new carpeting in the living room and bedrooms, wood floors in the kitchen, and vinyl flooring in the laundry room and bathroom.
They also helped with the enormous task of packing and moving his grandmother's things -- including many delicate collections -- out of the house.
"We individually wrapped every dish," Davenport said.
Then they moved it all back into the house, mostly in the right places, days later.
"When I came home and opened the door and walked in, I thought I was in somebody else's house," Betker said.
Betker especially likes the comments from neighbors who have noticed her new front yard, a project Davenport completed this past spring, including all new landscaping, irrigation and a cedar split-rail fence set in concrete curbing.
Japanese maples, specimen conifers, ornamental grasses and a variety of shrubs decorate the yard, along with swaths of rich, green lawn and elegantly placed boulders.
Davenport painted the front porch and back deck with a skid-resistant coating called Deck Restore.
"I have people coming and knocking on my door and telling me how nice this is, people I've never met before," Betker said of her yard and new home.
Davenport, Betker's only grandson, is carrying on his grandfather's legacy of being a particularly handy man. Wally Betker worked as a millwright for Weyerhaeuser for more than 25 years.
"He could fix anything. If he couldn't fix it, he could make the part to fix it," Davenport said. "All of my years of experience just kind of added up to doing this for my grandma."
Margie Betker, who will be 85 in March, is looking forward to spring.
"I have 100 tulip bulbs to plant. He is going to help me," she said of Davenport, grinning. "I would never have had all of this if it wasn't for him. I'm so lucky."
Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037; email@example.com.
Monte Cristo Awards
The city of Everett will recognize residents and business owners, 52 in all, for taking exceptional care of their properties at the annual Monte Cristo Awards reception and ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave. The public is invited to attend.
If you'd like to nominate someone in your neighborhood for next year's awards, forms will be available in early 2012. Go to www.everettwa.org or contact Wendy McClure at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-257-8717 with questions.
Billed as a "liquid armor resurfacer" and "smart alternative to deck replacement," this product can be used to resurface aging but sturdy wood and composite decking.
Its sandy texture provides a nonslip surface. It is water based and comes in a variety of colors. It can fill cracks up to a quarter inch.
It is sold at most major hardware stores for $70 to $90 for a 4-gallon container. Two coats are recommended.
See synta.com for more information.
2011 Monte Cristo Award Winners
• Tyler and Kristen Smith
• Darlene Weber
• Brion and Ann Henault
• Kurt Nicholson
• Thomas Subitch
• Ted "Fuzzy" Demott
• Tanya Hoffman and Jerry Spooner
• Dawn Bergesen
• Leota Bernethy
• Vickie Deibler
EVERETT MALL SOUTH
• Lynn and Tim Dykes
• Leland Hull
• Jim Nordquist
• Todd Davenport and Margie Betker
• Oksana Rybka and Scott Woods
• Stefanie Harris
• Ronald and Janet Porter
• Dino Martinez
• Lynda Erickson
• Craig and Nancy Sunderland
• Frederick Niedermeyer
HARBORVIEW SEAHURST GLENHAVEN
• Troy and Heather Burke
• Ashley Wigren
• David and Sheri Carpenter
• JJ and Jamie Zabkar
• Craig and Jamie Beeson
• Brent and Maren Diamond
• Cory and Kelly Rettenmier
• Geoff and Carlene Goldfinch
• Bruce and Kathleen Ormiston
• Randy Wyllys
• Gregory and Jane Goett
• David and Candace Lutz
• April Williams
• Joseph and Amy Reed
• Richard Stahl
• Gordon and Lisa Stevens
• Dawn and Rick Lowery
• Roger and Christina Mehl
• Brett and Brenda Wilson
• Essam and Katherene (Kay) Nasreldin
• Frank Waring and Karen VanCuren
VIEW RIDGE / MADISON
• Jared Pedigo
• Robert and Geraldine Conrad
• Jeanette Hofmann
• Steve and Barb Turner
• Colby Court Condos
• Westchester Place Condominiums
• Community Health Center of Snohomish County
• Everett Community College
• Group Health, Everett
• Jeff Bonanno of View East Condos
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