Wave Watching

Property Watch: A Midcentury Home with a Gigantic Fireplace

Designed by an iconic architect, this Shoreline home shows glimpses of Northwest Contemporary style, right down to its mountain of a fireplace.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd February 2, 2022

Iconic Northwest architect Ralph Anderson loved working with wooded settings and big water views, so he was in his element when he designed this three-bedroom 1958 hillside home. While the vibes here are distinctly midcentury, you can see him start to play with the elements that would evolve into Northwest Contemporary style—like that absolutely giant, river-rock mountain of a fireplace dominating the living room.

For the uninitiated, Anderson has a serious cult following among the design and architecture nerds of the Pacific Northwest. He rose to fame for his work restoring historic buildings in Pioneer Square, but his legacy revolves around his distinctive home designs a lot like this one, full of airy interiors, natural materials and finishes, and a thoughtful blending of indoors and out.

The most dramatic design elements are absolutely pristine, with clear vertical-grain fir covering almost every inch of the walls and ceilings. Up a half-floor from the home’s entrance, a soaring vaulted ceiling covers the living, dining, and kitchen areas. On one side of the gargantuan fireplace, the living room has a postcard view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows, and a balcony to absorb it in the open air. The water is two blocks away, close enough to see wildlife and watch ships.

Off the kitchen and dining area—which has its own tiny fireplace and a cabinet that may have been a refrigerator at one point cut out of the stone—a pair of sliding-glass doors in a corner full of windows leads to a deck that’s bigger than some studio apartments. Peek around one corner for a stunner of an office with two stories of windows and a built-in bookshelf to match the wood grain around it. Globe lights and an original built-in wall radio complete the dreamy look.

Back down a half-floor, a long, closet-lined hallway with a row of skylights opens to three different bedrooms, including a breathtaking corner suite with a vaulted ceiling, wraparound balcony, and windows to the west and north. The other two rooms have a similar aesthetic, wood-grain vaulted ceiling and all, and both open up to that long stretch of balcony. They also have matching built-in closets that are wood grain from top to bottom, including shelves and drawers.

Head down to the bottom floor to find a swanky den, complete with a bar and built-in shelving. Its west-facing wall of windows has sliding glass doors to a stone path—and even this basement has peekaboo water views.

Midcentury bathroom fans will be glad to know that each one of the three bathrooms has period touches intact, including wooden boxy light fixtures and cabinetry. One still has some of its blue porcelain, another brown porcelain. In two, even some of the tile work seems original.

True to its time, the near-acre lot is covered in low-maintenance landscaping—and because that landscaping has seriously matured in the last 60-plus years, there’s your own little forest to explore.

This property is part of the Innis Arden community in Shoreline, known for many a glamorous midcentury home. Anderson’s done other work there, too—not super surprising with its wooded setting and protected water views. While much of this home is original, some practical stuff is not: The plumbing, electrical, and roof has been updated, and the deck off the kitchen, while architecturally original, has been replaced.

Listing Fast Facts

16720 15th Ave NW, Shoreline
Size: 3,080 square feet/1 acre, 3 bedroom/2.5 bath
List Date: 1/31/2022
List Price: $2,100,000
Listing Agents:
Jay Kipp and Danny Varona, Realogics Sotheby's International Realty

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