While many local midcentury homes are tucked into the woods, this one is on a whole other level: It’s perched above a brook densely lined with ferns, the most Northwest moat imaginable. Getting to the front door from the street requires crossing a short bridge behind a row of evergreen trees.

Boatbuilder and architect James Petrich, whose work includes everything from fishing vessels to student housing, designed this home for his own family in Tacoma's University Place. Every inch of it seems designed to take in the forest, and it checks a lot of midcentury dream boxes, including with the sunken living room and its bold, minimalist stone fireplace. Up a few steps, a dining area lined in Japanese ash has a built-in hutch; the adjacent kitchen, mostly separated by a wall, hangs onto 1950s sensibility with a wall oven and plenty of counter space.

The entire home, including the bedrooms, bathrooms, and even the utility room, has deep-toned, exposed-beam ceilings that pop against white concrete for extremely airy vibes. Ash adds warmth and a little extra cohesion to each unique room layout—accent walls in the bedrooms, living room built-ins, kitchen cabinets.

The home is nestled among multiple kinds of outdoor spaces, and each corner has easy access to exploration: In the living room, multiple doors expand the space out to a courtyard. By the kitchen, a glass door leads out to a wraparound terrace. Glass doors by the fireplace in the master bedroom open to a stone path to the courtyard surrounded by trees and hedges. Off another corner of the home, wooden stairs descend to a boardwalk through the ferns.

The courtyard's concrete patio is enormous, and includes concrete planter boxes with even more ferns to keep up the woodland look—although one planter box is just a subtle container for a hot tub. In case you need something a little tidier, a well-defined lawn just the right size for a little croquet or bocce sits just off the courtyard, which isn’t always a given in homes with this kind of landscaping.

Listing Fast Facts

3723 Brookside Way West, University Place
Size: 2,021 square feet/.5 acres, 3 bedroom/2 bath
List Date: 5/25/2021
List Price: $747,000
Listing Agents:
Edward Krigsman, Windermere

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