A Serene Seattle Home Focused Around a Zen Garden Asks $2.4M

This AIA award–winning home emphasizes purity of materials, a simple palette, and remarkable indoor/outdoor spaces.
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One of Seattle’s newest listings feels more like a woodsy retreat than an urban dwelling. Located on the fringe of Washington Park Arboretum in the Madison Valley neighborhood, the timber-clad structure was designed by mwworks—a local firm known for their serene designs that embrace the landscape. Completed in 2013, the home was designed in collaboration with the owners, who desired a peaceful ambiance and an indoor/outdoor lifestyle reminiscent of their former property in rural Washington.

The Helen Street Residence by mwworks is set on a corner lot northeast of downtown Seattle. The home’s glass-enclosed main level is topped by a wood-clad roof plane and second-floor volume.

A walkway leads from a street-facing gate through a Zen garden and central courtyard to the home’s front door. To the right, a small garden shed is clad in reclaimed timbers, stacked and blackened, while the overhang is clad in naturally weathered cedar.

Working with the homeowners, whose company also managed and built the home, the architects landed on a tranquil home built around a central courtyard. Sliding glass doors seamlessly connect a corner of the courtyard to the interior, where concrete floors and warm wood tones run throughout the main level. An open floor plan connects the kitchen, dining area, and living room, and numerous full-height windows illuminate the space. The elegant design received a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2014.

A deck fills the central courtyard, which also features a timber-clad outdoor fireplace and a bespoke rain catcher. Sliding glass doors seamlessly connect the interior with the outdoors.

The cozy family room occupies a corner opposite from the courtyard. A full-height window and built-in bookcase flank a multisided fireplace.

The living area flows into the adjacent kitchen and dining area. Concrete floors run throughout the daylit main level.

Now on the market for the first time, the 2,850-square-foot home offers three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The main floor holds a small library and reading area, and the entire second-floor volume is occupied by the principal suite. Downstairs, a large basement holds the remaining bedrooms and bathrooms, along with a large live/work space. The home’s location is within easy walking distance to many neighborhood restaurants and parks. Keep scrolling to see more of the property, currently listed for $2,400,000.

The kitchen is anchored by a large island, and windows fill the space between the surrounding cabinetry and built-ins. Sliding glass doors open the entire space to the courtyard, where dense plantings and a timber fence provide privacy.

Another view of the kitchen looking toward the main entrance. 

The courtyard is located deep within the center of the site to provide privacy.

The main level offers a small library and reading area.

A custom bookcase provides a cozy nook and additional storage.

A half bathroom sits just off the library.

Upstairs, the principal suite occupies the entire second floor. A timber-clad shutter partially opens a portion of the streetside facade to allow sunlight into the bedroom.

A look at the adjacent bathroom.

Downstairs, the basement level features an additional living area, as well as two bedrooms.

The basement living area has room for a home office. One of the two bedrooms and a bathroom are located in the back.

A gate provides access to the home from the street. The timber-clad shutter disappears into the facade along the second-floor volume.

The Helen Street House, located at 1012 26th Avenue East in Seattle, Washington, is currently listed for $2,400,000 by Kevin O’Doherty of Windermere Real Estate.

Project Credits:

Architecture: mw|works architecture + design / @mw_works

Landscape Design: Wittman Estes / @wittman_estes

General Contracting: Treebird Construction 

Structural Engineering: PCS

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