Homegrown Housing

Property Watch: A DIY Midcentury with Puget Sound Views

The first owners built this custom Burien home in 1955—and it has barely changed since.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd August 18, 2021

Aone-story house at sunset, viewed from the street.

When this midcentury home’s original owners were looking for a house in the 1950s, they came across a place they loved. It was just what they were looking for, except for one dealbreaker: It was on Mercer Island.

Undeterred from their quest, the couple bought the plans of that house from the original architect and found a plot of land in Burien’s Three Tree Point. It had Puget Sound views for just $4,000, or about $40,000 in today’s dollars. They made a couple of adjustments, reversing the plan for the main floor and adding a daylight basement.

A 1950s photograph of a woman sitting in an unfinished house's timber framing

Rather than hire a contractor for the whole project, they saved money by doing much of the work themselves. The family, including three poodles, hung onto the house for more than 65 years; now it’s on the market for the first time.

The view of a home from a courtyard. There's a door to the right, and a tall window to a bedroom on the left.

The house is still mostly as they built it, with few aesthetic changes. It’s largely hidden from the street, with its main entrance nestled in the back of a serene courtyard where a large window peeks right through the house to the water. It delivers pristine 1955 charm from the jump, with a peek at floor-to-ceiling windows from the front door. The foyer partially hides behind the living room with a vertical wood beam divider. To the left, find a stone wall with a built-in bench and a period door chime that doubles as decor, with large brass tubes in a stairstep pattern.

A home interior. To the left, a stone wall with large brass chimes. Ahead, a dining table and large windows.

Find an iconic floor plan inside: A sloping, exposed-beam ceiling above an open kitchen and dining area, separated by a sleek stone fireplace. The west-facing wall is all windows, with glass doors leading to a deck spanning an entire side of the house. An eat-in kitchen with slate floors and original layout and cabinetry nestles behind a tall, built-in dining room buffet. The back deck rounds the corner to the kitchen with a large patio perfect for grilling and outdoor dining.

A home interior with a stone fireplace and large windows.

Three bedrooms live down the hall, each with the same warm, sloping ceiling. The largest has floor-to-ceiling windows fitted into the roof shape overlooking the courtyard and an ensuite bath with original pink porcelain. The home’s other bathroom sports another bold 1950s porcelain color: powder blue.

A bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and an exposed-beam ceiling with a skylight.

The basement is also notably untouched from the original construction—it remains unfinished, and is still a shop and a laundry room with a killer view. It was built with somewhat of a vision, though: The main-floor fireplace descends into the ghost of a den, and back doors open up to a lawn overlooking the bluff.

Listing Fast Facts

2640 SW 167th Street, Burien
Size: 2,500 square feet on 0.46 acres, 3 bedroom/2 bath
List Date: 8/11/2021
List Price: $995,000
Listing Agent: Veronique Hval, Windermere

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