EVERETT — Jeff True said a woman who walks her dog by his house on Beverly Boulevard told him several times he should get a Monte Cristo award.
Well, it finally came true for True.
Jeff and Fran True will receive a Pride of the Neighborhood award from the city on Oct. 12 at the annual event. The awards were created in 1994 to recognize homeowners and businesses that take special care of their properties. This year’s ceremony, open to the community, will bestow 53 winners with plaques plus certificates signed by the mayor.
The husband and wife have lived in the 1940 Craftsman bungalow for about 20 years, during which time they have primped, planted and pruned.
“We’ve been plugging away, just a little bit at a time,” Jeff said.
The home was in great shape, both inside and out, when they moved in.
“I like the character. It’s built so well,” Fran said. “It’s a sturdy old house.”
“In all the years we’ve been here, we’ve never seen a power bill of 100 bucks,” Jeff said. “It’s efficient.”
The True house was a cream color when they bought it. They painted it olive green with yellowish trim and brown shutters, and made their front door red for an accent.
“I completely redesigned the yard and put a sprinkler system in,” Jeff said.
The house sits on a double lot. In back is a patio, fire pit and horseshoe game. The side yard has tayberries, rhubarb, roses and hostas. In front are colorful cannas native to North Carolina, where Fran is from. Still to come, someday, is her dream of a country porch.
“It doesn’t matter where it is, the front or the back,” she said. She just wants a porch, with a swing, of course.
The couple, married 30 years, both work for the Mukilteo School District. He’s a locksmith/door specialist and she’s a graphics tech.
At home, he does the outside work and she’s the interior designer.
“We come home from little trips and just go ‘Ahhhh.’ It’s so comfortable here,” Jeff said. “People who come say, ‘It’s such a lovely home. I could just live here.’ It has a lot to do with Fran.”
“Southern hospitality,” she said.
Jaimee Hudson, the city’s community engagement specialist, said the Trues’ home received high marks all around from the Monte Cristo judges.
“Our selection committee looks at the overall street appeal,” Hudson said. “It’s a very cute home, and it’s modernized with the choices of color. They were really intrigued by the landscaping. They really liked the cutouts in the grass with patch gardens, the use of flowers and colors, and the way the porch was decorated. They were absolutely blown away with how beautiful it was.”
Jeff has roots in the area. He grew up in the house next door, where his dad still lives. His mom died in 2013.
Jeff had been in the neighbor’s Craftsman house many times growing up when it was owned by Debbie and Doug Mahood. He often babysat their daughters while the parents bowled on weekends at Evergreen Lanes. The house was built by Doug Mahood’s great-grandfather.
Jeff left home to serve in the Marines. “When I was on leave one time, I told Doug, ‘If you ever sell this house, please let me know,’ ” he said.
He was stationed in North Carolina, where he met Fran at a country music nightclub. The newlyweds later moved to Washington and settled in Marysville, but often came to Beverly Boulevard for family gatherings.
“I was visiting my folks, and Doug called me over to the fence and he said, ‘You mentioned you’d be interested in this place. We’re going to sell, and my girls don’t want it,’ ” Jeff recalled.
He and Fran jumped at the chance to buy the home from the Mahoods, who moved to Marysville.
“We were so pleased when Jeff and Fran bought the place,” Debbie Mahood said. “We knew it would be taken care of.”
Jeff added: “I think we’ve done justice to it.”
The city of Everett agrees.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
Monte Cristo Awards
The free event is Oct. 12 at Snohomish County PUD Auditorium, 2320 California St., Everett. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments and live music. The ceremony starts at 7 p.m.
Award categories are Green Gardening, for homeowners who have implemented natural or green gardening practices; Neighborhood Friendly Business, for overall visual quality from the street view; Pride of the Neighborhood, for homes and yards that consistently look their best; and Rejuvenation and Transformation, for residential properties that have been transformed by the owners to be a visual asset. The Marian Krell Award honors a prior Monte Cristo award recipient who has excelled in the maintenance of their property over several years’ time.