Pride of place

  • By Debra Smith / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

S arita and Don Rodenhizer could have afforded a new rambler when they bought their first home in 1975.

Instead they chose a ’30s era home in Everett’s Riverside Neighborhood. Along with the charm of an older Craftsman home, they bought a mountain of work.

They’ve tackled stripping old siding, adding new windows, and painting and rebuilding an old porch. They’ve yanked out carpenter ant-infested junipers in the yard and planted a cottage garden with a mix of roses, lavender and phlox.

Photo Gallery

Susan Russell and Falken Forshaw named their home “Red Berry Corner” f… [ view gallery ]

Sometimes Don Rodenhizer, a 56-year-old railroad engineer, comes home from an all-night stint and does more work on the house. Sarita Rodenhizer suggests that maybe climbing a ladder for so many years contributed to her need for a hip replacement.

“I think it shows what kind of person you are,” said Sarita Rodenhizer, a 53-year-old homemaker. “We just do it because it makes us feel good. We come home and everything looks neat and nice.”

This home is loved.

Tonight the Rodenhizers and nearly 60 Everett home- and business owners will be recognized for taking care of their properties with a Monte Cristo plaque and a handshake from the mayor.

After 31 years of working on the place, someone official finally took notice.

That’s the point of the Monte Cristo Awards, developed a dozen years ago by a former city councilwoman, Marian Krell. Instead of ticketing people for trash-littered yards and dilapidated homes, the city can also reward them for doing things right.

Susan Russell, 61, and Falken Forshaw, 64, don’t particularly care for yard work.

They do care about their home and neighbors. In the 33 years they’ve lived in the Northwest Neighborhood, they’ve developed the large, unfenced yard into a parklike spot with tall Douglas firs everyone can enjoy.

“Dogs and cats walk around the yard, kids come over,” said Russell, a retired high school art teacher.

They bought the home 33 years ago when it was a one-bedroom cottage. Forshaw, an architect, designed an addition for the house that manages to retain the house’s character and add a contemporary edge. The couple named the home “Red Berry Corner” after all the red-berry laden hawthorne trees in the yard.

They added personal touches such as a stained glass piece in the front door and hand-painted ceramic address plates.

The large front yard stayed grass while the couple’s children were young. Later, they asked Hap Wertheimer, an Everett landscape designer, to give them some help. The couple didn’t have much money for the project so Wertheimer organized a neighborhood work party to help them spruce up the landscape.

“I never thought we could get anything like that because we’re not big time gardeners,” Russell said.

Terry Brundage is in charge of the flowers and Doug Brundage handles the grass at their Valley View home.

The division of work seems to be working for the couple. Their modest rambler looks like a quaint cottage with its profusion of colorful annuals and hanging baskets.

Terry Brundage, 52, works as a secretary for Everett Public Schools and Doug Brundage, 50, is a program manager for the Washington state Information Processing Co-op.

Brundage said her husband is a stickler when it comes to grass. He has killed it off several times and started over from scratch. He keeps it mowed and trimmed neatly.

“It makes me feel good, and I love to look out and see the beautiful colors,” she said. “We’ve worked to have it look nice.”

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or

The public is welcome to attend the Monte Cristo Awards tonight at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave.

The ceremony will begin with a dessert reception at 6:30 p.m. and Mayor Ray Stephanson will begin shaking hands and handing out plaques 30 minutes later.

This is the 12th year the city has honored Everett homeowners and businesses for exemplary care of their properties. Citizens submitted 180 nominations and a committee chose about 60 winners selected from 19 neighborhoods.

Winning homes fall into two categories: rejuvenation, for neglected homes restored to beauty; and pride of the neighborhood, for perennially beautiful homes. Businesses receive a separate award.

Cal Moore, a homeowner in the Port Gardner Neighborhood, won the Director’s Award. The one-time honor exemplifies the well-maintained home and landscape the committee is searching for, said Wendy McClure, the coordinator of the Office of Neighborhoods.

The city will begin accepting nominations for next year’s awards in February. For more information, contact the office at 425-257-8717.

Talk to us

More in Life

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay walks into the Prohibition Grille along Hewitt Avenue in Everett Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012 while reportedly filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares at the Everett restaurant. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)
Even more films and TV shows filmed in Snohomish County

Readers point out projects previously missed in this series, from reality television to low-budget indie films.

Daniella Beccaria / for The Herald

15-month-old Kantu attempts to climb a pumpkin at Stocker Farms in Snohomish on Sunday, September 20th, 2015. Stocker Farms offers a U-pick patch, farm animals and a corn maze.
Best pumpkin patch in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.

In Belgium, each type of beer has its own glass – whether wide, tall, or fluted – to show off its distinct qualities.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Bruges brews lift a weary traveler’s spirits

The Belgian city is a mecca for beer lovers from around the world.

Most Read