Thoroughly Modern

A specialty real estate firm specializes in midcentury architecture.

By Ashley Griffin December 28, 2008 Published in the July 2008 issue of Seattle Met

RICHARD CORFF MET THE SECOND LOVE of his life (a 2,500-square-foot, 1952 Paul Hayden Kirk–designed modern home on a one-acre Eastside lot) through his first love (his wife). The home had belonged to his in-laws, and he was immediately smitten. When they planned to move in 1992, he snatched it up.

Modern homes tend to be one-story buildings with low-pitched roofs, characterized by open floor plans, substantial hearths, and a strong indoor-outdoor flow achieved by an emphasis on glass. In Seattle a number of renowned architects built these homes from 1945 to 1970, including Kirk as well as Roland Terry, most often associated with his work on Canlis Restaurant. For Corff, the abundance of such homes became an opportunity. He merged his real estate background with his passion for architecture and founded 360° Modern.

“We match people who are selling modern homes with people that are interested in [buying] them,” says Corff. Since the company’s launch four years ago, 360° Modern’s agents have provided definitions of modernist style for buyers, marketed themselves as the local authority, and created a database of modern homes. The company served Los Angeles transplants Rob and Nicole Adams well. They sought a large midcentury modern home with original architecture and a view—but they were on a tight budget. Corff showed the couple a 1950s home in Bellevue designed by Harry Nordquist—and priced well within their means. In other words, they found their modern dream home.

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