Bainbridge Bliss

Property Watch: A Peaceful Retreat on Bainbridge Island

Designed by a former UW architecture professor, this property boasts two serene homes with well-preserved midcentury modern details.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd September 21, 2022

Image: Kelvin Hughes

The setting alone makes this home worth a look. The two-plus-acre Bainbridge Island property is full of open fields, trees, gathering space, even a stream, all along 267 feet of west-facing, medium-bank waterfront. But the home itself, an artfully designed midcentury modern house with a matching guesthouse, send it over the edge.

This peaceful abode, built in 1963, was designed by architect J. William Curtis, a former professor of architecture at the University of Washington with a particular specialty in South Asian design. Also a sculptor, Curtis co-owned the architecture firm Curtis and Emmons with his wife, Patricia Emmons, an architect and artist, for 26 years until his death in 2008. (Emmons is still practicing both painting and residential architecture.)

Image: Kelvin Hughes

It’s still in pristine condition, with polished wood-plank walls and beautiful built-in details. The living room features floor-to-elevated-ceiling windows with an up-close water view that wraps around one corner; the rest is covered with tongue-in-groove boards with subtly different finishes that almost imitate a sunset. The room becomes a little more cozy as it moves away from the windows, with a brick wall of a fireplace. Another gathering area is more intimate, tucked in a corner with built-in shelves and its own fireplace. The formal dining room is right next door, complete with built-in cabinetry and glass doors to the home’s expansive back porch.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

The kitchen, complete with perfectly preserved green linoleum flooring, is just behind a pair of pocket doors, and while it has no outside walls, it has an elevated ceiling with clerestory windows for bringing in added light. It also has a few windows that steal light from a less formal eating nook and gathering space, this one with access to its own little view porch.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

Down a hallway full of cabinets, a built-in work area complete with its own shelves and drawers is a convenient place to get stuff done; it leads to a hub of bedrooms and bathrooms, all uniquely designed and full of wood-lined cubbies and built-in closets. Each one has its own section of elevated ceiling with clerestory windows, in addition to standard-level windows that take in the trees around them.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

Fans of midcentury bathroom design will be delighted to know that the three bathrooms in the main house, one green and two blue, have what appear to be original shower tile, countertops, flooring, and cabinetry.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

There’s a second story, but it’s small; you do, after all, have to make room for all those clerestory windows below. It’s home to an ultra-private bedroom with an adjoining library or studio space. You can separate them with a set of pocket doors—they both have their own hall door—in a pinch, but who doesn’t want a little bonus room off the side of their bedroom? A second, larger studio elsewhere on the property has windows and skylights, perfect for yoga or art. For more heavy-duty hobbies, there's a shop in the basement.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

The guesthouse is similarly designed, just in a smaller package. It even has a little green midcentury bathroom. Its living room is completely lined in wood planks, save for a brick hearth with an iron stove inside. Sliding-glass doors lead to a small deck with a view of the water, and more light comes in through its own elevated clerestory windows. Behind it is a modest kitchen and, in the back, a bedroom with a wood accent wall opposite built-in closet cabinets.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

Outside, mature landscaping complements the whole midcentury vibe, including beds of ferns and surrounding forest. There’s a sports court, originally for tennis, that could use an upgrade into whatever function you choose. One of the stone patios on the property has a small firepit. A large, flat lawn overlooks the water—or some stairs lead to the bank for waterside lounging or launching human-powered watercraft. Depending on what the tide is doing, you might find a little rocky beach, too.

Image: Kelvin Hughes

Listing Fast Facts

5789 Crystal Springs Dr NE, Bainbridge Island
Size: 3,769 square feet/2.19 acres, 4 bedrooms/3 baths (in the main house!)
List Date: 9/7/2022
List Price: $4,595,000
Listing Agents:
Betsy Atkinson, Windermere

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