Down by the Sea

Property Watch: A Beachfront Cabin on Quiet Vashon

This idyllic little home is just a few steps from the water—and has zero passing car traffic to dull the ocean vibes.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd November 23, 2022


Image: Shelley Hanna

Along the Pacific Northwest’s varied coastlines, “waterfront” can mean a lot of different things. Often, it’s an out-of-reach luxury estate with a high-maintenance yard and a yacht dock. Sometimes a home has private beach access, but it’s a journey down a steep bluff to get there. Occasionally, however, you come across a home where you can count the waves rolling in from the den. This cedar-shingled Vashon Island beach cottage, sitting along 40 feet of Colvos Passage waterfront, falls into that rare latter group—and, to preserve that peaceful setting, it’s part of a community that keeps neighbors close, but cars contained.

Paradise Cove, a collection of mismatched homes set close together, is one of a handful of walk-in neighborhoods on Vashon Island, a traffic-free relic of the Mosquito Fleet era, a time when Puget Sound travel happened primarily by water. Rather than drive, residents would just hail a passing boat from a dock.

Even in this more automobile-centric era, communities like this one limit car traffic to a contained, common parking lot, and residents reach their front doorstep by waterfront pedestrian path, sometimes carrying heavier or bulkier items in wheelbarrows. This particular home is just a few houses down, making access relatively easy, but the absence of traffic noticeable.


Image: Shelley Hanna

The home has two simple, stacked floors, one on the boardwalk level and the main floor up a staircase. While the living room above is compact, it’s surrounded by livable outdoor space; a large deck lines the front of the house for enjoying the water, and a cozier, covered space currently hosts some seating and small potted trees.


Image: Shelley Hanna

Of course, you can enjoy the views almost as well on the inside, with floor-to-ceiling windows lining the whole western wall of the living room. A decent-sized kitchen is tucked away in a corner, with a practical industrial countertop and sink, open shelving, and some more traditional blue cabinetry. The main floor is also home to a bedroom (with water views, of course) and a powder room.


Image: Shelley Hanna

This is one of very few houses where the lower level may have better views than the upper level; the cove is so close that from the den or its built-in office, you’re practically in the water. In reality, fortunately, the separation is a little firmer—the beach itself is actually beyond a low bulkhead past a small patio and the walking path—but it’s still just a literal hop, skip, and jump away.


Image: Shelley Hanna

The lower level also has a smaller, less private bedroom, but a much larger five-piece bath, with a deep, tiled soaking tub and an expansive walk-in shower with an attached steam room for warming up after a cold plunge.


Image: Shelley Hanna

The home was originally built in 1948, but it’s been thoroughly modernized, including a new mini split heat pump for when you’re not out there enjoying the waves. Seriously, there are many waves to enjoy—this home was photographed at high tide this time around, but its 2018 listing shows the expanse of partially sandy beach that appears when the tide is out.

Listing Fast Facts

25626 Bates Walk SW, Vashon
Size: 1,561 square feet, 2 bedroom/1.5 bath
List Date: 11/20/2022
List Price: $750,000
Listing Agents: Sophia Stendahl
, Windermere

Show Comments