South Seattle: Misplaced Miami Beach

If Ziegfeld had staged the follies of 1949 I bet this place would have been featured. It seems like that year’s great architectural experiment. A little research on the Department of Neighborhoods brought no final word on that except to describe the house as an “eclectic single-family dwelling” owned by a chap named Mack E. Lederman until 1955. Either Mr. Lederman or one of the later owners had a thing for vivid tile combinations. On my visit I was wowed by aqua and lemon yellow in the basement wet bar, sky blue and lemon in the kitchen, pink and maroon in the bath adjacent to the master bedroom and the icing on the vintage cake was the main floor bathroom done in bright pink and turquoise. All color combos better suited to the set of The Birdcage than a $779,000 home in Leschi.

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Tile aside, what really piqued my curiosity were the bizarre venting options built in below or beside almost every window in the house. None of the windows were designed to open, so for ventilation you pull open one of these little doors to let the outside air in through a mesh screen and slats. If it will open for you. I tried most of them and had a 75-80% success rate. Was this the precursor to residential air conditioning and if so, why?

In more practical revelations – I found this house really small and cramped despite its 2,748 sq. ft.*. Perhaps due to its placement on a steep hill, it is mostly a warren of small-ish rooms and hallways, the latter with doors that can block your passage through when they’re left open or ajar. I appreciate a short travel distance for midnight bathroom trips, but there doesn’t seem to me much point in a .5 master bath like the one you’ll find here. The kitchen, despite some truly awesome tile, could do with a serious update so I recommend budgeting for that. I thought there was an excess of glass block throughout and I would keep an eye out for leak issues where it’s installed on exterior walls. Watch your footing on the steep and treacherous driveway and entrance steps. I think we should be glad the mega-trees shown below were cleared away in favor of a Zen-inspired water and rock garden for the front yard.

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2003 historic house photograph courtesy of Washington State Archives.

Lastly, I think the exterior trim paint needs stripping and redoing. But you will have one heckuva view to enjoy while doing it and you can cool off in the pool when you’re done.

Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Lot Sq. Ft.*: 7,200
$/Sq. Ft.*: $283
Last Sale Price: $290,000 (December 1995)
*Information from sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
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