John and Sandra Hayden recently purchased a condominium and relocated to The Commencement, located in the City of Ruston. Vice President of an area electrical company, John is nearing retirement and the Haydens, like many people, wanted to simplify their lives and leave more time to focus on the things in life that they enjoy.

“We were considering remodeling our former home in Lacey, but that still left John with a longer than desired commute to work and didn’t alleviate the hassle that comes with the upkeep of a single family home ”, said Sandra. “One day John came home from work and suggested that we consider looking at condominiums to buy. We focused a little of our attention on other properties, but when we came to The Commencement for the first time we realized that it had everything we wanted.”

Sandra said that John, with his knowledge of the building and construction industry, was particularly impressed with the quality of construction and finishes at The Commencement and the responsiveness and cooperative nature of the management group.

“From the moment we toured our first unit it was apparent that the builders had paid exceptional attention to detail and that the steel and concrete construction was top notch,” said Sandra. “Everywhere you looked you were reminded of the quality. In the master bathrooms there are large low threshold walk-in showers and deep soaking tubs, the countertops are limestone and granite, and the cabinetry is beautiful with soft close doors and drawers highlighted with stainless steel hardware.”

While all of those aspects were important to Sandra, she was also drawn to the views and recreational path located just below The Commencement on the water. Equally important was the proximity to local shopping and markets.

“It seems like everything I want or need is close by and easily accessed on low traffic two lane roads. Getting places from here is a cinch,” she added. “I’m also looking forward to when the weather warms a bit and I can take our dog on longer walks in the area.”

 For John, not only has his commute to work become shorter and via less heavily traveled routes, but he’s nearer to golf courses that he likes to play. He will also have more time to spend playing golf since he no longer has to factor maintaining a house and lawn into the equation.

“Every morning when I wake up I feel like am dreaming. I love our new home at The Commencement, and its views of the Puget Sound. Purchasing here was a great decision and I’m so thankful that John got us started on the path to simplifying our lives and focusing on what matters.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit

As far as we are concerned, parties can always be justified.  Between impromptu gatherings, anticipated anniversaries and everything in between, hosting is an important skill of any homemaker.  That said, the party doesn’t stop when you move into a condo; in fact, we think it gets a little better.  Condo entertaining is a unique experience that you are sure to enjoy, and coupled with our tips, you will be the mastermind behind the most popular shindigs in town!

When hosting the perfect celebration or dinner party remember comfortable seating is a valuable commodity.  A staple of every living space is the perfect comfy couch; your guests should not be afraid to touch your furniture! Compliment that comfy couch with convertible seating items such as ottomans and piano benches. These can also double as storage when you are not entertaining. When it comes to the event do not be afraid to use your furniture in creative ways or re-arrange, you can always move it back. Another space hack is incorporating mirrors into your décor.  Not only do they add a clean accent, but they also create the illusion of more space.

Food is the centerpiece of any gathering but using your space wisely and strategically will be necessary to put out the spread your guests have been waiting for. You can make the most of your time and enjoy the party too by preparing a cold appetizer or salad.  Instead of rotating dishes from the oven, you can limit your hot items to the main course and give yourself extra time to enjoy your guests.  Also, consider setting up your appetizers away from the kitchen to get your guests moving throughout the entire condo.

Lastly, organization is key and space must be used effectively.  When it comes to set up and its less popular partner clean-up, you can make your responsibilities a breeze with a few tricks.  For a fun decorative look and space saving solution, consider using pedestals and trays that raise your food. With these items food can have a creative display and have levels, creating more space.  Another space-saving technique is labeling drinks.  Feel free to use theme based or unique labeling techniques. In the end, your guests will praise your creativity, and you will have fewer cups to clean! Finally, group like foods and dishes on the same trays or in the same bowls.  Once again, nobody likes dishes and this will create a coherent look on the table while reducing scrubbing.

When The Commencement layouts were being built, entertainment was a consideration.  Each floorplan includes a long list of attributes that make entertaining easy.  One of our favorite features is the balconies. With jaw-dropping views, fresh air access and extra space for guests to mingle, balconies are an effortless amenity that everybody can enjoy.  The condos also feature large entryways and open floorplans. With each room gliding into the next, hallway congestion and cramped spaces are a thing of the past.  Additionally, large events have the option to be held in the community spaces, adding to the abundance of choices and amenities one receives when they choose to make The Commencement their home.

If hosting is part of your routine, The Commencement’s condos are the right fit. The ideal location and well thought out spaces are perfect for those who are looking to downsize without sacrificing space. With only two units left at The Commencement, now is the time to look into our offerings.  Feel free to contact our listing agents Cindy and Joanne to learn more or schedule a tour by calling 1.855.380.6258 or emailing


When you live in a place like Ruston, all the seasons are exceptional, but there is something special about autumn.  The crisp air, delicious tastes, and vibrant colors of the season are worth celebrating, and we have the perfect roundup of events for you to enjoy. If you prefer the cozy company of a warm fire or would rather take on an energizing adventure, this list is packed with options for any and every person looking to enjoy fall.


Washington State Fair

Washington State Fair- Tacoma

Start off the season with one of the year’s most anticipated events.  Now until Sept. 24, you can enjoy incredible musical acts, fun rides and delicious fried food, you will not leave without a giant smile on your face.  The Tacoma State Fair is an event not to be missed!

Fife Harvest Festival

On Oct. 1- 6 head over to the City of Fife to enjoy their biggest event of the year. The 12th Annual Fife Harvest Festival brings the best aspects of the season together for one blowout festival that highlights local offerings.

Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival

It is never too soon to start thinking about the holidays.  From Oct. 19-22 can you can take a quick break from Halloween and jump into the Holiday Food and Gift Festival in Tacoma.  This holiday blowout will have you thinking of Holiday tunes and craving peppermint with fellow winter holiday enthusiasts.

Don’s Ruston Market & Deli

For some reason, we seem to crave some deliciously cool treats when the weather starts to cool off.  Instead of fighting those feelings, we have given in and recommend stopping by Don’s Ruston Market and Deli to indulge in some incredible ice cream.  After all, ice cream is a delicacy 365 days a year!

Point Defiance Park

Bike Point Defiance Park – Take in the colors

One of the best parts of fall is the incredible colors that paint the scenery. Get up close and personal with a bike ride through Point Defiance Park.  The park is a short trip from The Commencement, and the park is about five miles roundtrip. We recommend hitting the trail when the colors are at their peak in October and pack a pair of rain boots if you plan to venture off the path, the grounds can get soggy.


Gig Harbor Film Festival

We are so lucky to have one of the fastest growing independent film festivals in the Northwest right in our backyard! On Oct. 26-29 grab the family to enjoy some small screen masterpieces from local and regional filmmakers.


This year engage in some friendly competition with your neighbors to see who can have the best Halloween decorations.  Each year the town comes alive with creative costumes and spooky themed treats, and you do not want to miss out on the fun.  If you live in a building, here are some fun ways to take advantage of the holiday.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Satisfy your inner child with a visit to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.  This building is the perfect escape from less than ideal weather without having to sacrifice play time.  By the time you leave, you will have even learned a few things.


Tacoma Zoo’s ZooLights


Starting Nov. 24, the Tacoma Zoo will light up the night during its annual ZooLights event.  The creative light displays are a seasonal favorite for many of our residents and their families and serve as the perfect kick-off for the holiday season. 


Enjoying each and every one of these fall moments is made simpler when you live near all the action.  The Commencement is the perfect place to call home with waterfront views, a centralized location and a sense of community unique to our condominium.  Don’t miss out on living in the best building in Washington; our inventory is disappearing!  Feel free to call our resident experts Cindy and JoAnn at 253.625.7121 to learn more or arrange a tour.



Roughly three years ago Mike and JoAnn Dunne decided to sell their two story waterfront home to downsize to a “rambler-style” single floor home. Their house sold quickly and without their eye on a specific home to buy the Dunnes decided to rent a luxury condominium unit at The Commencement in Ruston, Wash.

“The plan was to live here at The Commencement in a unit that we thought we may want to buy, all the while exploring the real estate options in the area. Keep in mind that we both still had our hearts set on a rambler,” said JoAnn. “Mike is a builder and has a keen eye for quality and a high standard.”

The Dunnes tenure at The Commencement continued on past the one year mark, then two, then three.

“We were actively looking at real estate the entire three years, searching for the perfect home. One day we asked ourselves, ‘what more do we want than what we have here at The Commencement’. The answer was ‘nothing’. It’s 2,400 square feet and lives like a rambler. We have 270 degree views from our fourth floor corner Majestic unit that include Mount Rainier, Seattle and the Olympic Range. The security here is top notch with gates and the Ruston Police Department next door, we are right above the water and waterfront and a short walk to restaurants, shopping and the waterfront recreation path. Our unit, which had been in the rental pool, was about to become available for purchase. The decision was easy.”

The Commencement, which has gained the attention of selective buyers over the past few years, is currently releasing new inventory to market.

“We are ahead of pace in releasing new inventory, but we had sold most of the original offering and the buyer demand is there. Some of the same floor plans that weren’t available earlier in the summer are now being released for sale from our rental pool,” said Cindy Stewart, broker with Windermere Professional Partners and co-listing agent with JoAnn Jett at The Commencement.

“Access to all of the amenities here and in the area, views, security and neighborhood were all big considerations, but the quality of construction here at The Commencement sealed the deal for me. I do notice the small details and, as a builder, know that they matter in the lifespan and resale of a property. I didn’t see anything that had this level of quality at this price point in this market”, added Mike.

“We’ve bonded with so many of our neighbors and have formed some great friendships”, said JoAnn. “The Commencement’s layout makes seeing one another and getting together very easy, that and the fact that I can see the sunrise over the water from my bed made up my mind.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit


If you are searching for your perfect home, don’t remove condos from the search. With a host of amenities and communities tailored to a variety of lifestyles, a condo can be just what you need.  At The Commencement, we love the condominium experience we provide, and we have four top reasons why!


While condo units are part of a building, that does not mean space is sacrificed. Your piece of the building can house everything you need including guest bedrooms, large kitchens and roomy closets, in a one-floor setting. Condos solve the problem of having too much space, eliminating the extras and presenting a home with the pieces you need. Also, in many condominiums, there are common areas such as pools, gyms and recreation rooms you can utilize for a variety of activities. In short, your unit may be perfect, but you have access to space beyond your walls.


There is something to be said about being near all the action.  When you remove the time to commute, the dreadful parking in most areas and turn weekend outings into peaceful strolls from your doorstep, you can make plans at the drop of a hat.  Many condominium buildings are strategically placed to be located near everything you want to have near your home.  Here are at the Commencement, we are located right by Commencement Bay with access to the town of Ruston’s incredible shops, restaurants, and jaw-dropping views of the water. Nothing seems too far, but our building can be your serene getaway.

Low Maintenance

Upkeep on a home can be a full-time job.  With yard maintenance dominating your weekends and upgrades to be made year-round, home maintenance can be a lot of work, but condominiums allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want without worrying about how the grass looks. Tasks such as landscaping, structural upkeep and even trash are part of your condo fees so you can reclaim your time.

The Costs

The decision to buy a condo is typically not a swift decision, but financially it can be worth it.  When you break down the mortgage of a condo and the associated fees they can be more affordable than a standalone home mortgage or rent for an apartment month-to-month.  That said, the fees associated with your condo contribute to the amenities and services that make the condominium so great.  Any major cost associated with the building is typically addressed collectively from the reserve fund built from the fees and also includes day to day services such as trash removal and pool maintenance. 


If you are still on the fence, a tour might be the deciding factor.  Get the specifics on amenities, fees, and layouts to make sure it is perfect for you!  If you have seen The Commencement but haven’t taken a look inside, give out experts JoAnne and Cindy a call at 253.625.7121 or drop by, they will be happy to show you around. 

Lee Hoggatt knew about The Commencement since before the luxury condominium development was even under construction.

“I knew the architects and watched as the building was constructed,” Lee says. “The Commencement was built with steel and concrete construction that makes it arguably the most well-built development of its kind in the Tacoma area. In fact, I had a condominium under contract here preconstruction, but the deal dissolved when the building’s former developers fell victim to the recent recession. Life moved on, but I continued to watch what was happening here. When Real Capital Solutions, the current development group purchased The Commencement my wife and I were their third buyers. In this case the second time was a charm.”

Lee is a pilot and his wife an emergency room physician. Condominium life appeals to them because they are each gone often. The ability to lock the door and leave without concerning themselves with maintenance and upkeep suits their busy schedules. They also take comfort in knowing their neighbors and feel safe in the fact that the building is secure and well looked after. The Ruston Police Department is literally a stone’s throw away.

“When we are home and indoors we can be completely unaware of our neighbors and the fact that we live in a condominium. Our home is on the third floor, roughly 90 feet above the waterfront. Needless to say the views of Puget Sound, the Columbia Towers, Mount Rainier and the Olympics are breathtaking. I think The Commencement offers the most peaceful views of any condominium development in the Tacoma-area,” adds Lee. “Equally appealing is the proximity to everything Ruston and Tacoma have to offer without feeling as though it smothers you when you want a quiet night at home.”

The Hoggatts loved their North Tacoma home, but said that as their neighborhood became more and more crowded, parking became scarce, and nightlife increasingly prevalent they began to long for a quieter spot to live that was more conducive to their lifestyles.

“Don’t get me wrong, we loved the restaurants and shops in our old neighborhood, but we have all of that here too. Many of Ruston’s best restaurants are within a five minute walk from The Commencement, not to mention easy access to many of our favorite recreational activities. We can walk out our door and go to the bike path below Promontory Hill and run or ride bikes uninterrupted for miles. Equally convenient is the Yacht Club and Point Defiance State Park. It’s all right here.”

The Hoggatts did extensive remodeling upon purchasing their condominium.

“It’s funny, each of the various tradesmen that we had working on our remodel individually commented to me about the quality of construction here. The general contractor, drywall crew, electricians, you name it, would come up to me and say, ‘this place is really well-built’. It made me feel great that they recognized the caliber of construction that I did so many years ago. My wife and I are very pleased to call The Commencement home. In our case, I think the old saying ‘good things come to those who wait’ applies.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 1-253-625-7121 or visit


They say that timing is everything. For Chrissy Carlson and her husband Jason Simoncic, a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop into an open house resulted in the purchase of an ideal unit at The Commencement, a luxury condominium community in Ruston. The couple closed on their new home in March.

“We had been looking for a few months,” Chrissy explained. “We had lived out in Gig Harbor for a long time, and then in Vaughn for the past four years. We weren’t initially considering a condo because we have two dogs. But, after looking at a lot of homes, we ended up stopping at The Commencement. We put in an offer two days later.” 

Chrissy said that she and Jason were set on a particular unit on the first floor — they wanted easy access in and out for their dogs. “We liked the layout and how spacious it was and the views are spectacular,” she continued. “By the time we purchased, we were a little concerned because we knew how fast units were going. There was definitely a sense of urgency to buy before our unit  got picked up.”

It’s been a whirlwind at The Commencement this year. Only four units remain for sale out of the 62 total units at the luxury condominium community; nine have sold in the past month.

Chrissy said that she and her husband are really enjoying their new home. They wanted to be closer to their families and have the ability to walk to the restaurants and shopping in Point Ruston without being right in the middle of it all.

“I also like that there’s a sense of community, but it’s not intrusive,” Chrissy said. “It feels like our own unique home, with neighbors nearby. It’s amazingly quiet; I rarely hear anything from the other units.”

While Jason can enjoy the views all day (he works from home), Chrissy recently took a job in Seattle that requires her to commute to the city. However, with the Sounder train just seven miles away, her commute is an hour and she’s still thrilled with their decision to buy at The Commencement. 

“I haven’t seen all of the other condo communities in the area, but everyone that I know that has says that The Commencement is the place to be,” Chrissy said. “There might be other options, but I feel like the other units on the waterfront are more like apartments. The Commencement is nicer and more spacious. My advice to anyone who has been looking at or thinking about buying a unit at The Commencement is to grab one before they’re gone.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 4 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 253-370-3473 or visit

Trust us; you will want to see these with your very own eyes. From breathtaking views to one of a kind sights, these destinations are the perfect places to take in the highlights of our beautiful home.  All of Washington is known for being a scenic place, but Ruston and the nearby areas top the list.  In the hustle and bustle of life, we do not want you to miss out on the wonderful sights that you can see in our very own backyard. Try checking these places off on a lazy Sunday or when you have guests in town and you can play guide, they are well worth the trips.

Port of Tacoma

From the Port of Tacoma’s Observation Deck, one can gaze endlessly as the lively port loads and unloads crates. The independent seaport is one of the largest seaports in North America.  If you have the time, we recommend staying to take the free tour to learn more about its activities and the history of the port.

Fireman’s Park

Perched on a hillside, Fireman’s Park’s features a full stretch of 180-degree views of Commencement Bay that will not disappoint.  The park has been a fixture of downtown Tacoma for many years, known for its unparalleled views of the entire area and art installations.  One of the art installations is an 85-foot tall totem pole that pierces the sky that was commissioned more than one hundred years ago. 

National Scenic Byway around Mt. Rainier

If you want a bit of adventure, hop in the car and cruise down State Highway 410.  As the designated National Scenic Byway around Mt. Rainier, you can get a closer view of the gorgeous peak that acts as the backdrop to Commencement Bay.  They highway weaves right up to the national park showcasing the beautiful forest that surrounds one of the nation’s highest peaks.  While you are on your drive, don’t forget to stop in some of the mountain towns along the highway, each one unique in its own way.

The Commencement Condominiums

We would be remiss to leave out the Commencement from a list of best places to take in the views.  The condos unobstructed views are envy-inducing and incredible sights to wake up to each and every day.

For more information about the Commencement Condominiums, check out our website or contact Cindy and Joanne, we would be happy to show you the views and the fantastic condos that accompany them.


RUSTON, Wash.—It’s been a whirlwind at The Commencement this year. Only nine units remain for sale out of the 62 total units at the luxury condominium community; six have sold in the past month. However, two of the most desirable units have recently been released, affording the opportunity for some elevated living in the sought after Ruston area.

“Units 604 and 606 are the only penthouse level units for sale right now,” explained Cindy Stewart, co-listing broker at The Commencement and broker for Windermere Professional Partners. “They’re gorgeous units with unobstructed water views and Mt. Rainier views. You can see to Seattle from these units.”

In addition to the ability to see the Columbia Center from your living room, these top-level units also feature higher ceilings and additional design elements, like coved ceilings in the dining rooms. Both units are two-bedroom, two-bath homes with a den/office, but each has a different layout.

“Unit 604 is The Coastal floorplan, which is probably the most popular floor plan,” Stewart said. “But each is lovely and it’s nice that you can choose between two uniquely different layouts that both contain more than 2,000 square feet of living space.”

In addition to the spacious layouts and high-end design finishes featured at The Commencement, each unit includes two designated parking spaces within the covered garage and a designated storage unit.

However, when buyers choose The Commencement, they’re not just gaining access to the beautiful design, desirable location and additional amenities, like the Dalco Lounge. They’re also joining a community.

“A lot of people choose to purchase at The Commencement because of the community,” Stewart said. “The residents host bunko nights, book clubs, wine and cheese evenings and other social events. It’s a very inclusive community where anyone who wants to be involved is welcome.”

The Commencement is located at 5204 North Bennett Street in Ruston, Washington. Model units are available for viewing daily from noon to 4 p.m. For more information about The Commencement, call JoAnn Jett or Cindy Stewart at Windermere Professional Partners at 253-370-3473 or visit


Situated right above Commencement Bay, The Commencement enjoys unparalleled access to one of Washington’s most prized features, The Puget Sound.  With an abundance of excellent weather, it is hard to find an excuse not to take advantage of our beautiful community.  This year we want to make certain that you know some great ways to spend time in, on and around this wonderful feature beyond it being a perfect backdrop, so we have rounded out our top 5 area activities to enjoy the Puget Sound from Commencement Bay.



One of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to take advantage of the water is to hop in for a dip. The water temperature ranges from 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what time of year it is, making for a comfortable temperature to dive into by North Pacific standards. A great spot is Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park for an excellent place to hang out all day. Owen Beach opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset. 

Paddleboarding and Kayaking

If you are looking to dip your toes just a little bit, we recommend taking on the water with a kayak or stand up paddleboard.  Both offer a great workout while being able to cover a distance, enjoying even more of the water.  While you are out there, you might even spot a seal or two, but make sure you give them space – it is the law. If you do not have your own kayak or paddleboard to carry down to the Bay, you can rent one hourly or for a full day from locals Don & Beth Torbet, owners of Don’s Ruston Market & Deli, who also operate the kayak rental shop out of Owen Beach. Foss Harbor Marina; is also a great place to get a rental, but on potentially busy days, be sure to call ahead or reserve your floating device online.


If you are gazing out over the bay, you will often see boats sprinkled across the water, and being on the boat is an experience you will love.  If you are partial to sailing, you will be happy to hear Commencement Bay shares a border with the Tacoma Yacht Club. The club hosts numerous regattas throughout the year including the first race in the Southern Sound Series and the Memorial Vashon. If you prefer to B.Y.O.B. – bring your own boat, that is – there is a public boat launch at the Vashon Ferry Terminal at Point Defiance Park.  Boating rentals are also available nearby at the Point Defiance Marina.

Ruston Way Scenic Trail

So you do not want to get in the water, we understand! Just below The Commencement is the Ruston Way Scenic Trail and another option to enjoy Commencement Bay. Feel free to bike, skate, stroll, or sprint down the path that runs right along the Ruston waterfront for beautiful views of Mt. Rainier, Cascade Hills, and the Olympic Mountains that will motivate you to power through your workout or encourage you to spend the whole day outside.  The trail is just over 7 miles and is mostly flat and linear for a comfortable experience.


Sometimes the best way to show your appreciation is observing – observing becomes even more enjoyable when delicious food is being served at the same time. With incredible views and the best chowder in town, Duke’s Chowder House comes highly recommended.  Don’t feel obligated to get the chowder though, the menu is full of mouth-watering dishes and the cocktails are worth a happy hour trip.  Another option is to prepare your dining experience at home and head outside for a picnic.  Along Point Defiance Park, the Ruston Waterfront, among many other places there, are great spots to set up the perfect meal on your own terms.

The Commencement is more than a place to call home; it allows its residents to enjoy a lifestyle that is unparalleled in the perfect location. If you are looking for your next home, stop by The Commencement to learn what these condominiums can offer you.