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Property Watch: Late-60s Design and Lake Washington Views

This Mercer Island home offers three unique fireplaces and matching midcentury cabinets throughout.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd December 8, 2021

The Eastside is so dense with midcentury style that it almost doesn’t seem fair. Case in point: this pristine 1968 stunner built at the emergence of Northwest Contemporary style, with all its original bones and a view of Lake Washington on Mercer Island.

The home was built at the tail end of the Boeing Boom, and was part of a small, eight-home development by prolific builder Warren Leland on the east edge of the island, then called Leland Place. An April 1968 preview in the Seattle PI paints a picture of Northwest Contemporary luxury; the model home featured a flagstone foyer, teak cabinets (different time), and fireplaces in the beamed-ceiling living room, the den, and the playroom.

If you look at this home today, it’s not much different—and it even still has the original intercom and radio above a built-in desk in the den. It matches the kitchen cabinets, right down to the period door pulls.

On the main, upper floor, walk through that flagstone foyer to cascading formal spaces. A dramatic brick pillar fireplace separates the living room from the formal dining area. Through what appears to be an original pocket door, the kitchen still has its original layout, right down to the wall oven.

The den is particularly special. Its fireplace has colorful brick facing and a wood accent climbing up to the ceiling from the mantel. An iconic sloping ceiling shows off the original tongue-and-groove planks — and from it hang large globe pendants for a major period touch. A balcony lines the far wall of the home from the den to the living area with east-facing lake views.

While the gathering spaces are level with the foyer, the back half of the home is split-level, presumably to line up with the slope. Up half a floor, find two large bedrooms. Down a half floor, there’s another bedroom, this one with an ensuite bath, and a laundry room with original built-ins and a sink.


Head down yet another half-floor (if you’re picturing a blueprint in your head, it’s a full floor directly underneath the main floor) for a more secluded bedroom, an office with a wood-panel accent wall, and what was described in the PI article as a playroom—and yes, it has a brick fireplace of its own.

While it’s a little late for the gorgeous pastel bathrooms of earlier midcenturies, each one has cabinetry to match the kitchen. The powder room off the den also includes some brass sconces with candelabra bulbs as if to remind you it is, in fact, almost the '70s.

The landscaping is typical of the time and place, with a woodland setting punctuated by the occasional rock wall or low-maintenance planting. A brick patio off the back side of the house offers some tidier outdoor space—or there’s plenty of room to hang out on the ground among the trees.

Listing Fast Facts

9507 Southeast 61st Place, Mercer Island
Size: 3,440 square feet/.34 acres, 5 bedroom/3.25 bath
List Date: 12/3/2021
List Price: $2,100,000
Listing Agent: Pam Richmond, Coldwell Banker Bain

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