Welcome back Price Point, our real estate column that explores two different options for the same budget. This month: Two decade-olds with modern updates—in two variations—for $750,000. Would you take a heavily updated Eastlake condo with a tower or a West Seattle house with a clawfoot tub?
Home Page 1: Castle Life in East Lake
The Martello Hotel is located on the Eastlake side of the University Bridge live a little life. It started as a massive single-family home in 1916, but in the 1920s Fred Anhalt, a European multi-family builder, converted it into apartments. In 1990, it underwent another major remodel before being converted into apartments.
This latter style stripped much of the 1920s look from the interiors, but some of the highlights are there. This two-bedroom unit maintains some of that historic whimsy amid state-of-the-art amenities and style.
When you first enter it, it is definitely a modern apartment, with a living room, kitchen and dining area with an open concept. The kitchen is stocked with high-end appliances, including a wine fridge, and has a spacious island with more than enough space to be a spacious workspace. And Breakfast bar. A modern tile fireplace has a gas or electric attachment rather than an older, more insidious wood burning fireplace. Recent updates include an efficient mini-split for heating and air conditioning.
Dig a little deeper and start seeing more vintage-style details emerge, like crown molding. However, the most noticeable (and perhaps most enjoyable) piece is the octagonal room within the building’s tower. The more traditional bedroom has two lattice windows in the shape of a Gothic arch with stained glass.
In addition to a visual benefit that is difficult to replicate, it has high ceilings, a bathroom, a half and two attic. HOA bills at $404 a month here, which is a bargain on a century-old building and the maintenance needs that come with it.
This place is beautifully centrally located, next to both the U and Capitol Hill. Bus stops in the same building can take you to both places, as well as downtown, very quickly, and South Lake Union is a breeze. University Bridge is half a block away, and you can cross it for more options, including a light rail station. No reserved parking – there was no on-premises parking when it was built – but there are usually some street parking options below Fuhrman.
An added bonus of location: Several waterfront promenades line the east side of Lake Union, and are usually less crowded than others.
Telling the Quick Facts
Price List: $749450
location: Eastlake / 3275 Fuhrman Ave E, Unit 202
measuring: 1,273 square feet, 2 bedrooms / 1 den / 1.5 bathrooms
General built: 1916
Registration agents: Sydnie Taylor and Danny Adamson, Lake & Company
Home 2: West Seattle Foursquare Maintenance
This 1910s home in West Seattle’s Youngstown area has a new (or new) roof, plumbing, electrical, appliances, and lighting, but the look is still classic and cohesive. The design of the first floor is instantly familiar, perhaps with some modifications from the past 110 years: the living room, fitted with a fireplace, and the dining room separated by a casing hole, with the kitchen off the dining room. Through the kitchen is a small office or bedroom tucked into the corner. Upstairs, three bedrooms have plenty of wardrobe space – one of which was, at one point, an en suite bathroom, complete with an antique clawfoot tub.
Updated enough to be safe, efficient, and comfortable, some of the spaces are decidedly more modern, like the three-quarter-floor second-floor bathroom with angled shower or skylights. But with no gargantuan repairs, much of that hidden charm is revealed in a few details: low crystal door handles, original trim and molding, and ornate balustrades along the stairwell. It is very cute, but also very practical. With four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, there is no wasted space. But it’s not tight either.
There’s plenty of room for personality here, and that includes the outdoor space. It’s a smaller piece – in the mid-2000s, the lot was split in half (and then in half again) to add a duplex in the back – but it achieves a lot with what it has. A wooden deck for cooling and grilling in one back corner of the house, a lawn, tree and an attractive double driveway gate make things feel idyllic. There is also an unfinished vault for storage, band practice, and new ideas.
While the West Seattle Bridge is currently closed, once it’s back in service, this home is very close to it. The two Rapid Ride lines, the C Line in Avalon and the soon-to-be H Line in Delridge, are a few blocks away, along with many other bus lines.
Telling the Quick Facts
Price List: $745,000
location: West Seattle / 2827 SW Dakota Street
measuring: 1,620 sq ft / 2,753 sq ft, 4 bedrooms / 2.5 bathrooms
General built: 1910
Registration Agent: Brie Bristol Compass
The West Seattle home is as well connected as the homes on the “island,” and while there are a few really fun businesses nearby, traveling from Eastlake home to the University District, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Downtown is a lot simpler. This is especially essential on the go—you’re less likely to have to take buses, and if you’re in a pickle and able-bodied, walking or cycling to Eastlake is much easier than in West Seattle.
Both homes have some classic features from similar eras, but in much different ways. In West Seattle, it’s a cohesive, cute, and simple aesthetic that’s easy to make yourself. There are fewer historical details in the Eastlake house, but it’s big where it counts—the only one in this pairing that has a literal tower. The flip side of Eastlake’s aesthetic is modern luxury, and while that doesn’t add to the old-fashioned charm, it Do Give the apartment a larger kitchen, or at least more counter space.
West Seattle as a whole is about 350 square feet—and has more bedrooms, an extra bathroom, and an entirely unfinished basement above it. With two bedrooms and a den, Eastlake’s place accommodates more people than many apartments, but the space fills up quickly if your family is somehow growing.
Finally, there are typical trade-offs when comparing a house and an apartment that may be a deal breaker either way. Do you want to be responsible for the exterior of your home and the ground it sits on, or are apartment maintenance needs more your speed? Do you want to start projects or modifications that are not possible to a residence? Do you need a free rein to garden? decisions decisions…