$1.3 Million Showdown

Price Point: Bellevue Midcentury vs. Shoreline Craftsman

Which would you choose: An untouched Eastside midcentury with private amenities or a semi-updated Craftsman near public ones?

By Sarah Anne Lloyd April 18, 2022

This month on Price Point, we’re looking at two homes from two separate eras, both with exciting historic details—and both listed for the price of $1.3 million on the dot. With that budget, which way would you go: A lightly renovated 1908 Craftsman in Shoreline or an untouched midcentury home in Bellevue ?

Home 1: Stained glass and cute cabinetry in Shoreline

Across from Richmond Beach Community Park, this 1908 Craftsman retains all its hard-to-find charm. Leaded-glass windows and cabinets adorn the whole first floor with a couple of stained-glass windows thrown in, too, including a pretty little tree at the base of the stairs (complete with a classic banister). A small sitting room has a corner fireplace. A pair of French doors open up a gathering space, perfect for making room for party guests. Another doorway leads to a small but formal dining room with wainscoting and a built-in hutch.

This house has been around for 114 years, and updates here and there reflect different eras. The kitchen, for example, looks a bit more contemporary—while it’s still its own separate space, an island with a gas cooktop nods to popular open-concept designs. The cabinets and countertops look updated, too, although the cabinet doors have a stained-glass design that honors the original features.

Upstairs, find three bedrooms, the largest with a private balcony and what looks like a cedar walk-in closet, plus original built-ins in the hall and bath. The rest of the bedrooms are in the finished basement—this is one of the more major updates, although ceiling tiles in the utility room and other design choices (plus a lack of recent permit records) imply that it’s been around for a long time. Out back, a large deck adds extra living space and connects the larger gathering area to the kitchen. 

Now the location: It’s walking distance to Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, a coffee shop, and a cute corner store. It's also a few blocks from a bus that goes downtown (or to the park and ride if you want to transfer to something faster) and about a 10-minute drive to several grocery stores.

Listing Fast Facts
List price: $1,300,000
Location: 2200 NW 197th St, Shoreline
Size: 2,740 square feet/8,028 square foot lot, 4 bedroom/2.5 bath
Year built: 1908
Listing agent: Becky Christensen, Redfin

Home 2: A pristine Bellevue midcentury home

This 1965 rambler in Bellevue’s ritzy Tam O’Shanter community—complete with golf course, country club, and pool—is a step back in time, with a late-midcentury design and a few previews of the 1970s to come. In between brick accents, the house numbers look like they’ve been here this whole time. Through the front door, bookended by frosted glass, is a living room with an iconic brick fireplace straight out of the era. To the right, double doors lead to a grandiose bedroom with an en suite bath and some counter colors they don’t make anymore. One sitting area has a river-rock floor and floor-to-ceiling windows to mature trees outside for an atrium-like feel, with soft lighting in a narrow tray above.

The kitchen has its original coppertone wall oven and sink, and is separated by a breakfast bar from a large dining area with what just might be linoleum floors. On the far wall, wide sliding-glass doors lead out to the back patio and a large, flat backyard surrounded by a wooden fence and mature evergreen trees. There’s a rec room back here, too—it’s significantly bigger than the living room and has a wood stove.

One major piece of evidence for how untouched this home is: the top floor with an attic ceiling. Much of it is only semi-finished, waiting for the right inspiration to come along, but the room that is finished has an extremely robust shag carpet in shades of brown and beige.

While the house is turnkey, it’s probably not the kind of time capsule that you want to just preserve in amber. There are some truly wild carpet choices; in addition to the shaggy attic, the two front rooms sport mustard and red floors. The interior could use a few coats of fresh paint. But there are some absolutely beautiful accents just waiting to shine—and some midcentury enthusiasts out there are probably already formulating a dream plan. Watch it before you touch the exterior though: Tam O’Shanter has pretty strict HOA rules on aesthetics, and even a new fence is going to require board approval. Good thing there’s plenty to do inside.

This home is only a couple of blocks up from Lake Sammamish, although it’s only a five-minute drive up Lake Sammamish Parkway to Idylwood Park (Tam O’Shanter does have its own private pool, too). It’s also extraordinarily close to Redmond and the Microsoft campus—eight minutes by car or 15 via bike—and a 15-minute drive into downtown Bellevue. A downtown Seattle commute is going to be a bit trickier, since the closest bus stop is about a 15-minute walk away. By car though, it’s less than 10 minutes to Crossroads Bellevue, which is kind of a mall-plus with a few grocery stores and many locally owned restaurants in addition to some of the more traditional chains.

Listing Fast Facts
List price: $1,300,000, plus $375/month in HOA dues
Location: 17938 NE 13th St, Bellevue
Size: 2,560 square feet (not including the second floor)/9,180 square foot lot, 3 bedroom/2 bath
Year built: 1965
Listing agent: Cheryl Crane, Windermere

Final Notes

This pairing offers a greater lifestyle spread than most. On one hand, you have a home near public amenities like transit and parks. On the other, you have private amenities outside your front door, including an HOA-run pool, golf course, and park. While both homes would be a little tricky to live in without a car, in the Bellevue place, you’re much more dependent on your private vehicle.

One might need a little more TLC than the other, but they’re both turnkey and can house you and your family right away (and maybe you like bright red carpet in a bedroom). They’re similarly sized on paper, although the midcentury home has more than 1,000 extra square feet tucked away on the upper floor once you put in the work. 

Your work situation is also extremely relevant here. If you work on the Eastside, commuting’s a breeze from the Bellevue home, especially if you’re a Microsoftie. West of the lake, the Shoreline property’s proximity to commuter buses is probably way more useful to you.

Because these two homes are so different, though, it’s probably not a difficult choice for you, unless you’re a Microsoft employee that can’t get enough leaded glass.

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