Cake!

Property Watch: A Unique Victorian in Queen Anne

This pretty home is just one of a handful of Seattle houses built before 1900, and features ornate millwork, unique fireplaces, and a wondrous backyard.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd August 17, 2022

There are a couple of things that immediately stand out about this Queen Anne Victorian home in, appropriately, Lower Queen Anne: A) It has a giant turret, and B) It’s the only detached home on the block.

Even as everything has changed around it, though, it’s remarkably well-preserved as just a pocket of 1891 in the middle of a twenty-first-century sea. It helps that the home, commonly known as the Ankeny-Gowey House, is a city landmark—and that it’s incredibly pretty. During a 1980s restoration, a Historic Seattle staffer observed that “it looks like a little wedding cake.”

It’s also unique among the Queen Annes on Queen Anne, with softer, rounded geometry like the arched front porch entry and the extremely subtle dormer peeking out from the roof. The entire second story exterior is covered in whimsical, fish-scale shingles, along with what looks like an upside-down turret—in reality, a bay that holds the home’s original wood staircase, one of two interior spaces protected by its landmark designation. The other is the home's entry hall with its own built-in carved wood bench integrated into the stair railing. Atop one carved pedestal just above perches an ornate three-light fixture.

Find more period millwork in the living room at the base of the turret, complete with a bay window. A classic corner fireplace has a handsome wood mantel with carved corbels and flourishes and a relief tile surround. It connects by fully original pocket door to a formal dining area with its own long bay window. The spacious, renovated kitchen is around the corner and past a built-in hutch.

At the top of those stairs are three bedrooms, including one fancy three-room suite. A sitting room with a fireplace, the second floor of the turret, has a bay window with a water view and another unique fireplace decorated in delicate wood relief. The sleeping area is surrounded by built-ins, and has the ultra-private window that peeks at the front walkway below at an angle; on the outside, it’s the itty-bitty dormer. An itty-bitty modern three-quarter bath replaced a former closet. We don’t mean to freak you out, but apparently the sleeping alcove used to be full of dolls.

The basement was fully renovated in 2002 into a separate, contained dwelling, with its own outside entrance and small kitchen. It even has a secluded outdoor space: a stone patio recessed down a partial story to match the basement level, giving it built-in walls, too. A staircase leads to the rest of the manicured yard, which combines some more structured planting areas with stone pathways, patios, raised vegetable beds, and mature berry bushes.

The listing comes fully furnished. The landmark nomination report includes some uncorroborated references to a since-expired curse, which is probably not anything to be worried about—just feels weird not to mention that, you know?

Listing Fast Facts

912 Second Ave W
Size: 2,890 square feet/.19 acres, 4 bedroom/3.25 bath
List Date:
6/3/2022
List Price: $1,891,433
Listing Agent: Curtis Kiepprien, Compass

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the listing came with a 2014 Airstream. That is, disappointingly, no longer the case.

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