Welcome back to Price Point, our latest real estate column that has never even heard of HGTV. Each month, we look at two very different homes with very similar prices. This week, we're looking at $1 million, apparently the new average price of a home in King County. With that budget, which of these colorful homes would you choose: a sleek midcentury in Lake Forest Park or an eclectic Craftsman near Wallingford?
Home 1: Eclectic meets historic in Wallingford
This five-bedroom Craftsman has a couple of different personalities—and it wasn’t renovated into a “blank slate” (read: modern farmhouse) before selling. Built in 1912, the living area features a stately box-beam ceiling along with a built-in liquor cabinet. In one bathroom, the tile walls and tub look like they came right out of the era. One attic bedroom, in a departure, is just covered in wood paneling.
The kitchen, still its own separate room, feels close to its original design, save for modern appliances and a sweet green-and-white color palette. It also has an extremely adorable breakfast nook, separated by an archway.
A large, semifinished basement is ideal for band practice or perhaps even a separate apartment. With one owner since 1969, these spaces have been able to evolve on their own paths.
You might want to switch some things up—the finger block parquet paneling on the wall around the fireplace, for example, could be a little much for most people—but the place is still completely turnkey. You can choose to live in this house in all its current wild glory, or you can update the design as you go. Regardless, nobody made any drastic new design changes for you.
With a whopping five bedrooms (but alas, only two toilets), this might be a great candidate for co-buying with a few friends.
Listing Fast Facts
List price: $999,990
Location: 316 NE 53rd St
Size: 2,360 square feet on 4,080 square feet
Year built: 1912
Listing agent: Jeffrey Castro, The Castro Team
Home 2: Midcentury style in the suburbs
This 1963, four-bedroom home was built right after its town of Lake Forest Park incorporated—and back when it was even sleepier. Inside, its bold midcentury style starts with gorgeous original architectural dividers in a unique color palette, and keeps going with floor-to-ceiling windows, a stone fireplace, and other delights.
With high-quality original features mingling with more recent updates, it looks like the owners only fixed things when they were actually broken. In one bathroom, pristine original cabinets, blue shower tile, and a blue tub have survived almost 60 years.
Several rooms still have original globe light fixtures, some a little extra stylized. In a back room with sliding-glass doors to a porch, a wall of built-ins includes a desk, bookshelves, and cabinets, just in case you’ve always wanted a study. It even has its original intercom system, which was very on-trend in the 1960s. The exterior still has its atomic geometry, including a large wraparound deck with a slanted rail.
By contrast, the kitchen and other bathroom are mostly new, with deep-brown cabinets and quartz countertops. The eating nook off the kitchen is also a recent addition, as well as a convenient pull-out pantry.
The 1,300-square-foot basement is its own story. It features a cozy brick fireplace and, on the other side of a pink Formica wet bar, a gigantic party zone with checkered tile that looks like it could be a set for Twin Peaks. (We say this in a good way. Please don’t touch the Formica.)
Listing Fast Facts
List price: $995,000
Location: 3323 NE 158th St, Lake Forest Park
Size: 3,010 square feet on 8,697 square feet
Year built: 1963
Listing agent: Troy Anderson, Tend Home Team
These are drastically different houses: one cool and collected minimalist, the other easygoing maximalist. They are both, however, roomy and turnkey, meaning you can get started living daily life in them right away. Both houses have basements and expansion potential.
The biggest choice we see between the two of them is location. The Craftsman is about five blocks up and one block over from the Wallingford Dick’s, making that whole 45th Street commercial strip of restaurants, bars, and shops readily accessible. It’s one overpass away from the northern end of the U District. Downtown is one 35- to 45-minute bus ride away. Seeing a show or a movie doesn’t require finding parking, and it’s simple to have a few drinks or grab a few necessities on foot or bike.
The midcentury home is just a few blocks off 522, so less deep than a lot of Lake Forest Park homes. There’s a handful of restaurants along the highway around a 15-minute walk away, but no grocery store conveniently close. The nearby presence of 522 makes transit a little easier, but it’s still not anywhere close to the city center. There are, however, all the classic suburban tradeoffs: In Lake Forest Park, you get double the yard, significantly less noise, and additional privacy. Commute times matter less for some people that are able to work from home or get a hybrid model, and that home has a gorgeous office just waiting for you.
Of course different things matter. One’s older than the other, and there might be different maintenance needs. Someone who needs a calm, consistent aesthetic right off the bat is going to want to go for Lake Forest Park, but someone who wants to absolutely go nuts on their new place is going to find more stuff to do back in the city. Both midcentury moderns and 1910s Craftsmans have pretty devoted fan bases. Chances are, regardless of which home is your favorite, it won't be especially difficult to decide.