As we all know, the views in Seattle can be spectacular, and some people will go to great lengths to create them or preserve them. Trees, even those on public land, can be cut down – as in this case in West Seattle back in March. (Here’s a very recent update to that story.) Some have even resorted to poisoning trees, as occurred along the Burke Gilman trail back in 2008. And there are a host of strictly legal means to contain rampant construction, some of which are reported on in a recent article in the Time’s Pacific Northwest Magazine.
Now a Wallingford neighbor has chosen a different tack in his efforts to clear a house from his view: buy the offending structure and rip the top off.
This story begins at nearly the start of the century. Those of us (myself included) who lived south of 40th back then may recall the small, single-story house at 2305 N. 39th St. on the southeast corner of 39th and Corliss. Across the street to the north at what is now 2304 and 2308 N. 39th, some new constructions took place. My search for building permits shows that, in 2003, a permit was issued for 2308 N. 39th to “REMOVE EXISTING PARTIAL 2ND FLOOR AND CONSTRUCT 2ND FLOOR ADDITION TO SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE PER PLAN.” Next door, at 2304 N. 39th, a permit had been issued back in 2002 to “DEMOLISH EXISTING SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING ESTABLISH USE AND OCCUPY AS SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING CONSTRUCT ONE FAMILY DWELLING W/ ATTACHED GARAGE PER PLANS.” (Interestingly, the contact person for this permit was residing at 2302 N. 39th at that time, i.e. right next door.) Both of these houses had, and still have, very nice, south-facing balconies off the top floor, and with the small, single-story house across the street at 2305, the views down to Lake Union must have been great.
But they did not last long.
In September of 2004, a permit was issued for 2305 N. 39th St. to “DEMOLISH EXISTING SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE ESTABLISH USE AS EXISTING SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE CONSTRUCT NEW SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE PER PLANS.” Up went a huge, 2.5-story edifice. For those on the north side of 39th, it was goodbye Lake Union, hello cedar siding.
And there things stood until May of 2015 when 2305 N. 39th went on the market again according to Redfin. The buyers? The residents across the street at 2308.
Brian Robinson who, along with his wife, owns 2308 N. 39th (and, now, 2305) was kind enough to discuss his recent home purchase with me. Brian and his wife moved into 2308 almost 19 years ago, and remodeled their second floor in 2003 both to make room for a new addition to the family and to take advantage of the views of downtown and Lake Union. Needless to say, they were less than pleased with the new construction.
Their purchase last year of 2305 gives them the opportunity to restore what they lost back in 2004. As Brian wrote to me:
John [Trieger, architect] & I collaborated together to reduce the size and feel of the house. The size of the existing house lent itself to a modern design. We have always felt that the previous design was way out of scale for the neighborhood with its volume, a massive black roof and undersized bracketed eaves, over proportioned railings and dark brown stained cedar siding. By removing the whole roof and a portion of the 2nd floor (approx. 167 SF) we were able to reclaim our view and the view for our neighbors on the north side of N 39th St. We are also moving the entrance to N 39th St. by removing the NW corner of the 1st floor (approx. 167 SF). This area will now be a large covered front porch more conducive to the street and neighbors. Ditto for the east side of the first floor which will create a larger outdoor living space.
Barney Manor of Manor Construction, another Wallingford neighbor & friend, started deconstruction in April 2016. In July, when he removed the existing roof, all our neighbors that night were out on their 2nd floor balconies taking in their amazing views once again of downtown. We’ve had nothing but complements since we began work on the project from neighbors walking by.
If you’re in the market for a new home in Wallingford, expect to see a For Sale sign go up at 2305 sometime in early 2017. But also expect some restrictions on any additions you may have in mind!