Mercer Island residents have the best of both worlds. On the one hand, Islanders enjoy a picturesque existence. They live in a lushly forested environment, surrounded by the freshwater “moat” of Lake Washington. On the other hand, they also enjoy the sophistication and convenience that comes with being just minutes from Seattle.
BLUE WATER AND MOUNTAINS
Of course, it wasn’t always that way. Mercer Island saw its first European-descent settlers in the late nineteenth century. For many years, the region was accessible only by boat, and remained sparsely populated. But in 1940, a floating bridge was built linking Mercer Island with Seattle. The island’s population grew. By 1970, the entire area was incorporated as the City of Mercer Island.
Today, Mercer Island remains a place of greenery and tranquility. A community of mostly single-family residences, the island offers hundreds of acres of open space and parkland, plus many miles of forested walking/hiking trails. Winding, country-like roads reveal surprises around every corner: Amazing retreats perched on steep bluffs; emerald green hillsides rich with sword ferns, maples, and towering evergreens; sweeping blue water and mountain views.
The friendly Downtown area at the north end of Mercer Island offers many shops and services, yet manages to keep its small-town feel. And not surprisingly, given the history of its growth, the island has an impressive inventory of mid-century Modern and custom Modern homes.
Many well-known “Northwest School” architects designed homes here—including Ralph Anderson, Paul Hayden Kirk, and Wendell Lovett. Northwest mid-century architect Gene Zema designed ten homes on the island. (A book on Zema’s work is scheduled for publication in 2012.)
In the last year, Mercer Island saw over two hundred and fifty sales of single-family homes. Fifty-four of those residences fell into the category of Modern—whether mid-century, contemporary Modern, or Northwest contemporary. Right now, we are seeing a lot of new contemporary Modern homes being built there. Days on the market currently average about three months, although many homes have sold in just a few days. Waterfront and view properties on the island can be pricey, one million and up. But the average price for all non-waterfront homes is $895k—up 1.8% from last year. And that’s in a down market!
Interested in Mercer Island?
360 Modern team Monica Posado and Laurence Barratt, specialize in Mercer Island Modern homes. One of their current listings is a choice 1959 Fred Bassetti-designed home (sale pending) that was under contract in just seven days.