Bellevue lies east of Seattle, across Lake Washington. No longer just a bedroom community of Seattle, Bellevue is a growing, sophisticated city. So big, in fact, that this week I want to focus on a portion of that area: Bellevue’s west side—essentially comprising Medina, Clyde Hill, West Bellevue, and Enatai (including Beaux Arts Village).
Many people—when looking for homes on Bellevue’s west side—tell 360 Modern they will consider homes in any of the above neighborhoods. No wonder. Take a drive through this beautiful, inviting area and you’ll experience firsthand the flavors of these individual communities.
Technically, Medina is a city. One-and-four-tenth square miles in size, incorporated in 1955, current population under 3,000. The most famous resident is Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates. In Medina, you’ll find some of the priciest single-family real estate on the Eastside, much of it Lake Washington waterfront. There’s also the private Overlake Golf and Country Club, featuring an 18-hole course, outdoor swimming pool, and tennis courts.
Medina’s newer, more impressive residences mix easily with the town’s older, established mid-century homes. The community’s overall feel—with its tiny post office, wood frame corner grocery, and public beach—is surprisingly woodsy, rural, and welcoming.
In size, population, and affluence, the City of Clyde Hill is a lot like Medina. However, unlike Medina, Clyde Hill does not have waterfront homes. What this prosperous micro-city does have is a large inventory of outstanding luxury residences that—due to Clyde Hill’s elevation—often feature spectacular Lake Washington and mountain views. Close to Downtown Bellevue, parks, and more. Plus, just minutes to Downtown Kirkland.
From upscale single-family residences, to condominiums so plush they look like French chateaux, West Bellevue is a mix of some of the best Bellevue has to offer. The city was designed on a large grid pattern with a mind for automobile traffic. In that way, Bellevue comes with the ideals and ideas of the Atomic Age. Bordering Clyde Hill to the west, and Enatai to the southwest, West Bellevue boasts a large inventory of mid-century Modern and contemporary Modern homes in subdivisions like Surrey Downs and Lochmoor. There’s also shopping (Bellevue Square is right there—so are Lincoln Square, The Bravern and Old Bellevue) and many public parks (Meydenbauer Park on Lake Washington, the City of Bellevue’s Downtown Park, and more). Close to the Bellevue Art Museum. Convenient to I-405. And—recession or no recession—there’s a fair amount of new construction going up in West Bellevue.
ENATAI (AND BEAUX ARTS)
Luxury single-family waterfront homes and view properties. Twisting, sylvan roads. Welcome to Enatai. Like West Bellevue (but unlike Medina and Clyde Hill), Enatai is part of the City of Bellevue. Making the most of its natural setting, Enatai has several parks, including Enatai Beach Park on Lake Washington. Enatai also borders the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park (Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland).
Enatai surrounds Beaux Arts Village, which was established in 1908 “to develop art and its appreciation here in the Northwest” and incorporated as a city in 1954. The population of this tiny hamlet is only about 300. Exit your car in Beaux Arts, and you’re immediately aware of the scent of lush vegetation and cedar trees. This is ideal Northwest living: large lots (a few on Lake Washington), spacious one-of-a-kind homes (some in the mid-century Modern style). Beaux Arts residents also have access to the community’s private beach and its two docks of community moorage.
The streets in Beaux Arts are mostly narrow, winding lanes bordered by ferns and towering Evergreen trees. The area is so quiet and woodsy, it’s reminiscent of an alpine village. But get in your car—or go for a bit of a walk—and in minutes you’re in Downtown Bellevue.
MODERN IN BELLEVUE
As an affluent area, Bellevue has more than it’s share of custom Mid-Century and Contemporary Moderns, several by our most famous and influential architects-Paul Kirk, Roland Terry, Paul Thiry and Omer Mithun, to name but a few. Over the years, many of the older Mid-Century homes were torn down to make way for the large custom homes found throughout the area. However, with the popularity of the style returning, remaining Mid-Century homes are often being loving restored and renovated. For the more modest pocketbook, the neighborhood of Surrey Downs is an enclave of small, mid-century modern homes built by Omer Mithun in the 50’s. 360 Modern broker Kirsten Robertson had the highest priced sale ever recorded in Surrey Downs on a house that sat on the market all of 5 days!
Contemporary Moderns are abundant and most are expansive, custom residences with no detail or expense spared. If you are looking for a reasonably priced, newly-built, Modern home, this is not the place. Many of the newer condominium projects like the beautiful, LEED Gold Certified Bellevue Towers and One Main were built in the modern style however and most have units that fit the pocketbook of the first or second-time home buyer.
Bellevue as a city has much to offer-proximity to Seattle and easy access to the Eastside, upscale restaurants, shopping and cutting edge Modern homes. In a word…amazing.