The Alan Anderson Award is presented to residents of a selected Washington Square home that exemplifies Alan’s love, pride and care for his home and neighborhood which contributes to Washington Square’s sense of community and positivity. Congratulations to Washington Square’s long time residents, the van der Roest family. Susan is shown below accepting the award at the January WSNA General Meeting from President Javier Garcia and Santa Ana City Manager and Police Chief, Paul Walters.The front of their home for the last eight years has undergone a major facelift. It all started when they realized they needed a ramp for Susan’s walker and wheelchair and a small porch for lounging, plus they wanted it to be attractive and in character with their home which was built in 1939.

The van der Roest Family has deep roots in Santa Ana. Martin and Susan lived on Freeman Street in Washington Square for many years prior to moving into the house on Towner which they purchased from Susan’s brother, Dan Griset, former Mayor of Santa Ana.

Before occupying the house, they did a major interior restoration keeping in mind their aesthetic objective when designing. Susan describes the look they are going for: “We want this house to look like a well maintained 1939 home.” With that in mind they started their newest renovation adventure.
An interesting hardscape feature of the property is the scalloped white fence which is made of concrete. Concrete was not an uncommon fencing material when the house was constructed in 1939, but fell out of favor over time so the fence repair project was a challenge. Th e van der Roests were fortunate to find skilled artisans who were able to restore it onsite, workers recast and completely replaced damaged areas for a like new look.

Susan and Martin’s hardscape adventure continued with the decorative fl agstone which now wraps the house, new porch and new ramp. The intention was to match the original stonework in the backyard (not pictured) in both color and pattern. Both became a challenge. A few loads of off -color stone were returned before the project was completed. To create the pattern, every stone of the complicated, deconstructed pattern was laid on the ground before placing stones permanently on the wall, it came out as envisioned.

The van der Roests are thrilled with the result, especially Susie who absolutely loves her new ramp. The design objective of creating “a well-maintained 1939 home” drove the selection and placement of the new plantings. Carefully selected roses, shrubs, grasses and groundcover all came from Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar.

An accomplished gardener, Susie personally arranged, and rearranged, the plants before they were put in the ground and has kept detailed records so she can chart her successes and (hopefully not) failures. Let’s say “challenges” instead Congratulations and thank you for beautifying the neighborhood.




Want to share any news about our neighborhood with your neighbors?  Send your stories to to get the word out. Of course we reserve the right to edit the story for appropriateness and fairness.



News and Activity Information


WNSA Events

News and Issues

Santa Ana Calendar