The Urban Farmhouse – 1942-2016
Houzz called it an “urban farmhouse” when it featured this Maple Leaf home on their eponymous Website. After seeing this home, many buyers will wish they could call this radically renovated home their own. The address is 419 NE 88th St, Seattle WA 98115.
The renovation of the home took place between 2012 and 2014. The main drawback of the original house was the placement of the staircases. They ended in strange places such as a bathroom made for Hobbits. The keys to the renovation were sound structural engineering and professional architectural design. The results were a light-filled 2-story architectural core, a raised roof, a true master suite upstairs, additional living space downstairs, a wrap-around deck and another deck at the very top. (Scroll down for the specifications and facts about the home.)
The old-growth, colonial cedar shingle façade tells of the home’s historic origin. From the front, only the glimpse of a rooftop reflection hints at the radical renovation that took place here between 2012 and 2014. A walk around to the back of the home reveals added exteriors of galvanized steel that enclose parts of the home like a curtain. The brick wall portion on the east side served a now-hidden chimney off the kitchen which could be restored. The composite roof is 10 years old. The roof deck is reached through recessed steps and an access hatch.
The contrast of the old and the new is more than skin deep. The interior harmoniously combines original wooden beams with contemporary engineering technology. Steel is used for structural support and the central stairs leading to the second-floor platform. The stairwell and space to the opposite wall of windows form the light-filled core of the home from which everything else emanates.
The Main Floor
On the main floor, the dining area is central to the core with the kitchen visible to the south and the living room and entry to the north. Although the entire main floor is one vast open space, the layout and varied visual treatment give each space its own character. Entering from the front, the living room zags to the right and the kitchen, beyond the core, zags to the left. Immediately to the left of the entrance are an office and a guest room – no stairs! – that’s connected to a spacious bathroom which is also accessible from the kitchen.(continued below gallery)
The kitchen with its separate eating area and square center island measures 320 square feet. Rustically dark, treated oak cabinets contrast with the light Pental quartz countertops, the arabesque Walker Zanger tile work, and premium stainless steel appliances. The blackboard wall behind the eating space, used as a homeschool device, invites many forms of creative chalk expression. Completing the downstairs is an area off the kitchen that includes a small bath with a utility sink, more storage cabinets and a separate door to the deck.
The flooring materials reflect the urban farmhouse character. Durable cement-epoxy is underfoot in the kitchen and bathrooms while the living room and the adjoining office and bedroom feature Siberian oak hardwood.
The Second Floor
The natural patina raw steel steps end on the platform of the second floor. Here, the core of the home separates the master suite to the south from the four bedrooms to the north. The view down past the steel railing shows the dining area and looking up light streams through twin skylights. The yellow storage trunk also functions as the first rung of a recessed climbing ladder leading up to the roof deck access hatch. (continued below gallery)
Behind the steel platform is the full bath that serves the four bedrooms to the south. It features two sinks, a tub and, as an accent, a beach glass penny tile backsplash. The dark oak cabinets carry on the style first seen in the kitchen. Faucets and shower heads here and elsewhere in the home are by Hans Grohe.
The colors and the décor of each of the four northward bedrooms reflect the preferences of their heretofore occupants. The proportions in the two smaller rooms are thoughtfully designed for “little people.” Ample ceiling and wall lighting make it easy to see that no ghosts are hiding under any bed.
The weathered wood looking vinyl flooring in the upstairs bedrooms and hallway matches the downstairs wood floor. With all the foot traffic easy maintenance is crucial.
The master bedroom, overlooking the backyard garden, faces south over a built-in window seat. The cozy, eaved ceiling adds to the atmosphere of total privacy. In contrast to the other bathrooms, the master bath is equipped with Canyon Creek cabinets. The spa-size shower floor awakens the soles of your feet with smooth river stones. You shower surrounded by floor to ceiling subway tile. Naturally, there’s a walk-in closet.
The every-day function of the basement is that of a laundry. Thoughtfully, a laundry chute from the second floor feeds the large capacity washer and dryer effortlessly. The rest makes for good exercise. Beyond that, the basement can continue to be used as a workshop and indoor play and exercise room. More ambitious souls will want to convert it to another finished living space. Existing utility hook ups enable a head start.
Also in the basement are the state-of-the-art gas furnace and a “smart, multi-energy” water heater tank. The home is heated with radiant heat via radiators and heated flooring for the large bathrooms. Powered by a gas-fired furnace that is connected to the water heater, this also makes large volumes of hot water efficiently available in kitchen and bathrooms.
In the home’s June 2016 appraisal report, the appraiser rated the 1070 square foot basement space as unfinished. King county, on the other hand, counts the square footage as finished. Depending how one uses the basement, the truth is somewhere in between.
While there is no garage, NE 88th Street is not much traveled, and the street parking is readily available for residents and their guests. In addition, a city-maintained alley leads from 85th street to the back gate of the property. The 30-foot space inside the gate can accommodate a carport or an RV. (continued below gallery)
The backyard garden is an open invitation for horticultural and even agricultural activity. There used to be a fairly spacious “chicken condo.” The structure along the east fence served as an outlook platform for children. It can be converted into a garden shed. The backyard is fully fenced. Dogs would have immediate company, albeit they would be separated by the fence from the neighbor’s canines.
French doors lead from the kitchen onto the composite deck what wraps around the home’s west side where two more doors connect to the interior.
The large tree in the northeast corner of the front yard is a London Plane tree. Not uncommon in Seattle, it is a hybrid of the American sycamore and the Oriental Plane tree. The front yard itself adds to the home’s curb appeal and provides a buffer to whatever little street noise there is.
The Maple Leaf Neighborhood
According to the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, until 1954 the Seattle City limits stopped at N 85th Street. Today, Maple Leaf is one of the most desirable close-in neighborhoods of Seattle. Only four years from now Maple Leaf residents will be even better connected to UW and downtown Seattle. That’s thanks to the Light Rail system which will stop at the Maple Leaf Portal located at the intersection of 1st Avenue NE and NE 95th Street. This will add yet another option for commuters who are already well served by the Northgate Transit Park & Ride. (continued below gallery)
Nearby Northgate Mall was built in 1950 as the nation’s first regional shopping center designed as a mall. Currently, parking capacity is being added for shoppers of Nordstrom and about 150 retail stores. Closer to this home are a variety of local shops, restaurants and coffee shops. A huge neighborhood park was created in 2012 along Roosevelt Avenue when the Maple Leaf water reservoir went underground. It quickly became a favorite neighborhood playground.
A close bike ride away south leads to the Green Lake neighborhood with a 259-acre lake and park with the same name. A new PCC market, small shops, ethnic food eateries, fitness and dance studios attract the locals and curious from afar. My favorite is Mykonos, a small Greek restaurant near the entrance to the park.
According to the Seattle School District’s school finder, the public schools associated with this home are Olympic View Elementary, Eckstein Middle School, and Nathan Hale High School. One of the private schools in the area is the St. Catherine of Siena School at 8542 8th Ave NE.
After having purchased a new home in Bothell with more space and land for the large family, this is what the seller had to say about leaving the Maple Leaf home behind:
Nine years ago I searched for a home with 4 bedrooms and two baths north of Seattle, and we found this home in Maple Leaf, a foreclosure with no pictures, described as having “lots of potential.” We visited it, all olive green and burgundy, with colonial details and an enormous fireplace taking up most of the living room and entryway. I loved it immediately and moving from a tiny Tudor to this spacious colonial gave us lots of space for our four kids to roam.
We updated and painted our funky house, and I imagined how to remodel the dysfunctional and dark central space and ugly kitchen. The bathrooms were left in the 70s and needed total overhauls. We added kids number five and six in those years, and then we moved out for eight months in 2013 to remodel the home, returning just in time to have baby number seven. We love this house, and the remodel, but adding three children who keep getting older and larger, we have outgrown it already. Sadly, we have to leave our neighborhood, which is chock full of wonderful people.
— Megan Haney, July 29th 2016
Seattle Maple Leaf Home for Sale: Basic Facts
- $1,175,000 (Sold for $1,200,000)
- Northwest Multiple Listing Service: 1003167
- 2016 Taxes $7,105
- Built originally in 1942
- Radically updated 2012-2015
- Per 2016 appraisal report: 2,869 square feet total with 1,545 on the main floor and 1,324 on the second floor. (Basement is 1,074 square feet.)
- 3,800 square feet per King County records who considers the basement finished space.
- 6,818 square foot lot
- 6 bedrooms total
- 1 bedroom on the main floor with 3/4 bath
- 4 bedrooms upstairs sharing a full bath with a 6-foot soaking tub
- Master suite with 3/4 bath & walk-in closet
- 3 bathrooms total (1 full & 3/4 upstairs, 3/4 and 1/2 downstairs)
- Kitchen with island and separate eating space
- Floor coverings: Siberian oak, cement-epoxy, and vinyl
- New windows are vinyl and commercial-grade aluminum. Front windows are historical single-pane
- Solid wood drawers everywhere
- Gas-powered stove and extra capacity water heater
- All appliances, including second refrigerator and large freezer, stay with the home
- Bookcases and work benches do not stay with home
- Plenty of street parking and extra parking in backyard (RV parking possible)
- Backyard is accessible via a city-owned alley from NE 85th Street
- Utilities: Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities
Now it’s time to say good bye and put up a sign saying “Seattle Maple Leaf home for sale.”
Send an email if you’re in the market to list your home with Gerhard.