Best of Eye Candy

Our Top 10 Property Watches of 2022

These are the homes you couldn't quit.

By Sarah Anne Lloyd December 29, 2022

This lovingly preserved midcentury modern home in Olympia didn't make the top 10, but it matches the nature-loving vibe.

Can you believe that Property Watch is about to turn two years old? This column unearths the coolest, weirdest, and wildest things Seattle real estate has to offer, including a Ravenna home inside a wildlife habitat, an Instagram-famous ski cabin, a cult favorite architect’s adaptive reuse rooftop condo, a little vintage Art Deco starchitecture, and even a midcentury ranch for modern horses.

There’s a theme running through 2022’s most popular properties: Most of them pay tribute to the natural landscape of the Pacific Northwest; the list includes a couple of particularly notable houseboats, some cabins, and not one, but two homes that feature outdoor tubs with views. It’s pretty hard to resist an entire wing devoted to a pipe organ, a peek inside Russell Wilson’s house, and the most expensive listing in the region’s history, too. Here’s what you were reading in 2022.

10. A Japanese-Inspired Woodland Home in Broadview

Seattleites, who often come here in the first place for the lush natural surroundings, can be real suckers for woodland homes. This abode inspired by Japanese architecture combines weathered timber, a forest setting, and a unique floor plan that showcases the best the region has to offer, from ground-floor plantings to big Puget Sound views on the top floor.

 

9. An Upgraded Cabin on Whidbey Island

This property on Whidbey Island is less a cabin and more a complex, with outdoor hallways and courtyards connecting a main home and a guest house, patios and decks built for indoor/outdoor living, and trails through native plants that lead to a meditation hut and soaking tub (with a view!). For our nature-minded readers, it was apparently a dream come true.

 

Image: Virtuance

8. A Houseboat You Can Drive

Counterintuitively, it’s pretty rare for a houseboat to also be an actual boat. This liveaboard vessel docked off Westlake Avenue is just one of 11 in Seattle that can move freely about the lake, allowing you to toot around and see the sights, or maybe even get a better view of the Gas Works Park fireworks, without leaving the comfort of home. No wonder it was so popular with readers.

 

7. A Burien Mansion with a Pipe Organ and Ballroom

When one of Seattle’s elite patrons of the arts bought this home in the 1930s, he truly made it his own, building a whole new addition to house a massive theater organ and a ballroom for enjoying the music. Remodels to the main home in the last decade—leaving the fairy-tale look of the addition untouched—have given it some more modern luxuries, but somehow we doubt that’s what propelled this unique, historic home into the top 10.

 

6. A Liveaboard Ferry Boat in Tacoma

Readers always love a houseboat—see above—but this one took the appeal to a whole new level. Annabelle, a ferry that started its live hauling cars across the Dalles in the 1930s, retired in 1994 as one of the most spacious liveaboards we’ve ever seen, and even has enough room for a library. Best of all: It still runs.

 

5. A Remote Watchtower Cabin in the San Juan Islands

Perched on hilly terrain on one of the more remote San Juan Islands, readers loved this clever cabin that’s everything but off-grid: No public ferry, no cars, no tourists. It’s proof that you can get away from it all—and make your morning coffee in an adorable firepit on the deck just outside your bedroom—but still have a real bathroom. A studio, second bathroom, trails, a sauna, and an elevated firepit are all built into the rocky, mossy landscape.

 

Image: Kelvin Hughes

4. A Peaceful Midcentury Retreat on Bainbridge Island

Serene homes that commune with nature make up the majority of the 2022 reader favorites, and this Bainbridge Island home falls right in line—with a side of midcentury architecture. Designed by architect and former UW professor J. William Curtis, the property has a rainbow of natural wood beams and overlooks 267 feet of west-facing waterfront. It even has a little matching guesthouse.

 

3. An Offbeat Hood Canal Cabin Home in Brinnon

Many homes on this list employ a lot of wood grain, but this Hood Canal home near Olympic National Park is entirely covered in it: floors, walls, ceiling, everything. It matches nicely with the log-cabin siding and massive water views—and makes the semi-attached studio, lined with built-in bookshelves, even cozier. If the woodsy library didn’t cinch this spot’s place in the top 10, it was probably the view from the hot tub. 

 

2. Inside Russell Wilson and Ciara’s Bellevue Home

As former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson prepared for his new chapter with the Denver Broncos, he listed the local home he shared with his wife, singer and dancer Ciara. Readers loved catching a peek inside the pair’s waterfront Bellevue mansion, which includes an elaborate treehouse, a walk-in closet with its own living room, a recording studio, and a glass-walled playroom, plus stairs and a tram ready to take you downhill to the property’s private low-bank waterfront.

 

1. Kenny G’s Former Estate in Hunts Point

Lest you think this is a humbling moment for football superstar Russell Wilson (he’s had enough of those lately), it’s not just saxophonist Kenny G that throws this Hunts Point home in the spotlight: It’s also the most expensive home ever officially listed in the region at a whopping $85 million. Originally, Kenny tried to build a house even bigger than the over-17,000-square-foot mansion he ended up with, only to be foiled by opposition from the neighbors. (Hunts Point is only second to Evergreen Point Road in Medina in extreme wealth, so we imagine it takes a lot of house to make the neighbors balk.) As of press time the home, which has been in the telecom billionaire McCaw family for 14 years, hadn’t left the market yet, which isn’t unusual for prices of this magnitude; you really have to find the right buyer for those.

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