To say Albert D. Rosellini played a large role in a transformative era for Washington state is an understatement. The son of two Italian immigrants, he was elected to the state senate in 1938 and spent 18 years there before he was elected to his first of two terms as governor in 1956. During that time, Rosellini, then a New Deal Democrat, helped establish UW Medical Center and ushered in several major (for the time) reforms to the state justice system, prison conditions, and mental health facilities. You may have noticed his name on the 520 floating bridge—he pushed the project through as governor, and the bridge was later named for him. While his lifelong friendship with an organized crime leader left a complicated legacy, he remained a beloved political figure for the rest of his life.
His family—him, his wife Ethel, their five children, and a collie named Betty—lived in this Spanish Revival home in Mount Baker for 13 years before moving to the Governor’s Mansion. But the Rosellinis aren’t its first claim to fame: Its architect, William J. Bain Sr., was just a few years out of architecture school when this home was built in 1925. He’d go on to make his own indelible mark on the region as a founding partner of Seattle-based architecture firm NBBJ, one of the largest in the nation (and a major contributor to Seattle’s skyline).
The home keeps a low profile from the sidewalk thanks to some hedges and trees, but past all the landscaping, this home looks like a Spanish villa, with a vast white stucco exterior peppered with shutters and wrought iron. The front door is tucked inside an ornamental arch at the base of a turret, lending an extra air of majesty.
The interior, while updated for modern life, is true to the original look. A circular floor plan on the main level connects the living room, dining room, and kitchen through a series of archways. Leaded-glass windows bookend the fireplace and adorn the dining room. Stained glass lights up the dining nook in the eat-in kitchen on the way out to a long back deck perfect for grilling. Hardwood and clay tile flooring keep things classic. It does have a pretty clever addition, though: A bar hidden in a dining room closet.
Just off the living room, a secondary lounge area is designed to best take in the Lake Washington views, with giant windows filling up the east wall. Parquet floors and a nook with built-in benches make for perhaps the fanciest den of all time.
The home’s four bedrooms are upstairs, each with unique features. The most lavish is a suite with multiple balconies off the bedroom—a Juliet looking out over the front of the house and a large deck for surveying Lake Washington—and a private three-quarter bath. The smallest bedroom, however, is deceptively cool. Remember the turret at the front entrance? It has a walk-in closet (or secret hideout) tucked inside it. There’s still a lot of 1925 up here, with original hallway built-ins and crystal doorknobs alike.
The backyard is multiple kinds of wonderland. For lounging, there’s the large brick patio with both a killer view and a sizable in-ground hot tub. Some already-established raised beds are just past an adorable garden shed. Head downgrade for a large lawn that’s actually a second lot, currently home to an enviable playset (with, of course, its own water view).
Listing Fast Facts
3838 Cascadia Ave S
Size: 4,470 square feet/.43 acres, 4 bedroom/5 bath
List Date: 3/30/2022
List Price: $3,495,000
Listing Agents: Amy Sajer, Windermere Real Estate