If you are a Seattleite with a fondness for mid-century modern architecture, chances are that you’ve already heard of the prolific local architect, Ralph Anderson, and understand his impact on contemporary residential home design in the Pacific Northwest.
Ralph Anderson was a Seattle native who graduated from the influential School of Architecture at the University of Washington in 1951. Shortly after that, he opened his practice where through the years he produced an impressive portfolio in both residential and commercial architecture around the Puget Sound region. An early advocate for preservation in the Northwest, Anderson was instrumental in the protection of many of the historically significant buildings that make up our beloved, yet once neglected, Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle.
He is frequently credited with creating the Northwest Regional Style that was taking shape around the Pacific Northwest in the 1950s & 1960s. Ralph and fellow prominent Seattle-based architects like Roland Terry, Paul Thiry, and Paul Hayden Kirk were all heavily influenced by the famed Bauhaus movement making waves in Europe, and inspiring modern residential design in California and other areas across the US during the mid-century era. These architects adapted the emerging modern style to the Northwest in a way that successfully demonstrates our distinctive cultural heritage.
Ralph Anderson’s architectural style is unique and distinguished. He gave special consideration to the relationship between a structure and the land on which it was being built. Ralph took advantage of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and his homes are usually oriented on lots facing exquisite mountain and water views. The outside is often brought in through the use of large expanses of glass, walls of windows, and spacious outdoor living spaces. Other typical characteristics include the generous use of wood, both in exterior and interior applications, an emphasis on verticality, large stone or brick fireplaces, and expansive overhangs that provide shelter from outdoor elements.
Ralph Anderson’s homes are highly coveted for their unique style and the enduring legacy of the architect himself. When one of his notable homes hits the market, it usually creates quite a stir amongst potential buyers and modern enthusiasts alike. Today awareness for his work continues to grow, especially as we see a new emerging crop of modern architects whose work is influenced by this masterful craftsman. To find a Ralph Anderson home that maintains its original character is increasingly rare. 360modern’s Heidi Ward is lucky enough to get the chance to list one of these gems.
Just below Magnolia Blvd, the amazing home at 4511 W Dravus St, was built in 1966, and offers a world a privacy. It is conveniently located within minutes of Magnolia’s great shops and restaurants. Situated on nearly an acre, the house is tucked away behind luscious landscape, and beautiful greenery. A hidden oasis amongst the trees that opens to sweeping views of Mountains and the Puget Sound out towards Bainbridge Island.
You make your way to the main entrance past the garage which is connected to the home by a breezeway that takes you underneath a pathway towards the home’s impressive front double doors. Upon entering the home, you find yourself in the foyer where you are immediately drawn to the soaring vaulted ceilings clad in well-preserved cedar planks. You are in awe of the rich architectural detail on display throughout the main living space, as one might expect from a home designed by such a revered architect.
The brick flooring from the main entrance carries on into the dining room where it meets with rich oak hardwood floors. The dining area features a prominent vintage chandelier that hangs over the table and contributes to the warmth in this sophisticated space. You can catch a glimpse of the kitchen through the 1960s era pass-through located in the corner, a typical feature in the mid-century home, which adds a unique touch.
Just past the dining room, you’ll find a generously sized, and well-maintained kitchen with tons of original character. Features include an eat-in area with a corner brick fireplace and a door situated amongst a wall of windows that opens to the large upper deck spanning the entire length of the home. This kitchen comes equipped with many of its original appliances including a collectible Emerson Pryne range. The floor is covered in linoleum tiles, and the countertop is thick, solid stainless steel. The birch cabinets are in great condition and feature strikingly tall suspended upper cabinets, and a large built-in pantry.
Making your way back past the dining room, you come to the dramatic showpiece of the home. In the living room, your eyes are immediately drawn to the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows that span across two walls of the room and take advantage of the property’s beautiful scenery and sweeping views of the sound and mountains beyond. The brick fireplace is another focal point of the room that adds emphasis without detracting from the natural setting on display through the glass.
Light plays an important role in setting the tone in this great room as well. Hidden above the soffits that span the entire width of the living room, are lights that cast a warm glow throughout. Light bounces off the ceilings and draws your attention up towards the extraordinary architectural detail in the wood trim of the walls and ceilings. These elements work together to create dramatic visual interest throughout the space.
From the foyer, you find your way to a beautiful oak staircase that wraps its way down around to the daylight basement. Above the staircase, a vintage cast iron hanging pendant lights the way to the living space below. Once downstairs, you arrive at double doors that open to a cozy family room. There you find another fireplace, and a bank of windows looking out on to a terrace, with more great views of the Sound. Just beyond that, there are two spacious bedrooms with doors out to the lower level terrace, and a shared bathroom in original condition. At the other end of the basement removed from the main living area is an additional guest bedroom with its own bathroom.
Back on the main level through the foyer, you’ll find the master suite that includes a bathroom with double vanities, new marble countertops and tile floor, a toilet closet, and private bath. An separate dressing room full of pristine birch built-in cabinets connects to the master bedroom. The bedroom features stunning, tall windows that rise all the way to meet with the the vaulted ceilings. Two structural beams are aligned on either side of the windows and extend out to create continuation from inside to outside. Double doors open to the vast deck that spans the length of the house with westward facing views. A truly tranquil master suite.
In this home, Ralph Anderson succeeded in creating a modern sanctuary inside and out. This peaceful and serene space is a shining example of Northwest Contemporary design, and a great contribution to the lasting legacy the one of the great pioneers of modern architecture here in Seattle.
Don’t miss your chance to see this magnificent Ralph Anderson gem! Open Houses are scheduled for this weekend: Saturday 10/28 11:00 am- 1:00 pm & Sunday 10/29 11:00 am-1:00 pm
Special thanks to Modernous, for their fantastic job creating a period-perfect look for this magnificent mid-century estate!
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We know how to present your home is the best light, in the right places, and to the right potential buyers at the right price. Whether you are selling or buying a modern home in Greater Seattle, work with the source for modern real estate. Work with us.