Forest Life

Property Watch: Midcentury Design Meets Nature in Olympia

This lofted home by Robert M. Jones is surrounded by almost seven acres of natural resources—and both are lovingly preserved.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd June 22, 2022

When the Davidson family first bought this property, it was nearly seven acres of secluded forest along the Eld Inlet in Olympia. Today, not much has changed, except for the creative, light-filled midcentury modern home—pristine since 1962—nestled inside.

The family commissioned Tacoma native Robert M. Jones, who started his career in the offices of renowned local architect Paul Thiry, to design their dream home. Custom abodes surrounded by nature were a specialty of his, including his own place in Fircrest; according to his obituary, he took joy in shaping homes around trees to preserve as many of them as possible. 

The Davidson home has the best features of Pacific Northwest midcentury design, including an exterior that lets the foliage around it take center stage and a playful interior that brings the outdoors in. Many regional homes of the era interact with hillside locations in clever ways, but this one takes it a step further: The entire top floor, including the front entry, is one big loft.

Below, a spacious, airy living room has a soaring cathedral ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a large, windowed dormer rising above the rafters. The kitchen, dining room, and a study are all lofted above. The kitchen counters double as a railing, even with storage cabinets above, giving home chefs a peek at the floor below it. The dining room just has a simple wooden rail, likely allowing for multi-tier conversations.

Two parts of the top floor are unlofted: a breakfast nook off the kitchen that connects with a large porch and, on the opposite side, a bedroom suite with its own wall of west-facing windows. Midcentury modern enthusiasts will delight in details like original built-ins, fixtures, hardware, and cabinetry.

Most of the property has been purposefully left wild, but there are some decidedly human-oriented spots. A courtyard surrounds the front entry, with pebbled trails and a patio surrounding tidy concrete beds of trees and ferns. A path leads to a similar but more open courtyard in the back. A winding route through the trees heads down to the medium-bank shoreline and, when the tide is right, beach and tidelands.

Conserving the rugged parts of the land was intentional, and eventually the Davidsons made the property part of the Capitol Land Trust. It's still privately owned land, but through the trust its tidelands, forests, wildlife habitats, and other natural resources are protected for generations to come.

Listing Fast Facts

Undisclosed Location, Olympia
Size: 2,734 square feet/6.82 acres, 3 bedroom/2 bath
List Date:
List Price: $2,350,000
Listing Agent: Anne Jones and Jana Ross, Windermere

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