South Seattle: You Look Like a Million Bucks?

Or you could, at least. This spectacular 1908 home needs a buyer to correct a litany of wrongs and enjoy the rights. I toured with a friend who has a penchant for hammer wielding and in each new room he muttered more loudly “ye gods…I wouldn’t even know where to start”. We agreed that one would need resources equivalent to or more than the asking price of $1,100,000 in order to make this home great again. It would be totally worth it.


This home’s history is one for the local record books – it was built with Mercer Island timber which was barged to a Leschi saw mill and then steam jacked to the building site. The original owners are believed to have made their fortune in the days when Seattle was the gateway to the Yukon. I believe this one could qualify for landmark status.

The exterior paint is peeling and flaking away and one can’t help but wonder how well this noble structure withstood our stormy season. One edge of the back roof has sustained some damage (tree branch from said storms?) and is in need of repair.
Listing photos do not include the kitchen or any of the baths, and highlight only the rooms that need the least amount of TLC. The entryway, front room and dining room are all in fine condition. The dining room has a wood stove in it, which I really would like to see gone, but the detailing, paneling and beams that make these rooms wonderful are all intact. In the front room and the stair landing there are window seats with storage built in and beautiful detailing on the wood floors. A dear little “secret staircase” runs from the kitchen to the landing.

Last Sunday’s sightseers were met in the front hall by storyboards outlining great plans for the future interior design. That element of restoration is probably not to be tackled immediately, since I think it will take a great deal of time just to figure out what needs to be repaired or redone. I suspect that with every layer pulled off this place you are likely to unearth a new challenge. Some are out in full evidence, for instance, there is a random sink tucked in a corner of the master bedroom and the second floor bathroom offers an odd raised and tiled tub enclosure (is there a claw foot under there?). It appears that a second floor back porch was enclosed to create more sunny spaces, but the floor is at a worrisome slope to the west. I also thought the master bathroom as a throughway to the sun porch was an odd experience.

Both the attic and the basement are finished and I found each to be a labyrinthian concoction of small rooms and storage spaces. The basement is home to a hot tub and sauna, but I must say the former seems risky in an indoor space.

I am rooting for the next owner to bring splendor from the ruins and make this an amazing home again. For the more entrepreneurial this could be your chance to bring a delightful bed and breakfast to the area.

Beds: 5
Baths: 3.25
Sq. Ft.*: 5,766
$/Sq. Ft.*: $191
Last Sale Price: $1,235,000 (July 2006) [and $540,000 in March 2006]
*Information from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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