Right Angles

Property Watch: A Rare Slice of Capitol Hill History Hits the Market

You could call this famous Lakeview house a wedge issue.

By Zoe Sayler April 30, 2024

The jaunty tilt of Capitol Hill's famous Egan House.

The shape is unmistakable: the triangular silhouette of the Egan House sits just below a lit-up Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, amid the church’s eponymous greenbelt. Today, we call the 1958 home sculptural. When reporters first caught wind of it, according to preservation nonprofit Historic Seattle, they compared it to a “giant wedge of cheese.” 

Robert Reichert, the architect behind retired Rear-Admiral Willard Egan’s home, was no stranger to ruffling feathers. In contrast to his function-focused contemporaries, he felt like “an unwanted, self-styled dissenter” among fellow faculty at the University of Washington’s College of Architecture, per Historic Seattle. Neighbors reportedly threw tomatoes at his similarly strange Queen Anne residence, which he designed to accommodate his 20-foot-tall pipe organ. (Though their opposition may have had more to do with Reichert’s late-night practice sessions.)

But flouting the rules landed him a permanent spot on the roster of great Pacific Northwest architects. After Seattle Parks and Recreation purchased Saint Mark’s Greenbelt in 1998, Historic Seattle acquired the building and restored it, repainting it in its original white, black, and red. The Egan House was officially declared a City of Seattle Landmark in 2010.

If the exterior looks like a modernist art piece, the interior looks shockingly livable. The peak of the wedge houses a spacious and high-ceilinged living room with an imposingly tall metal chimney to match. Odd-sized rectangular windows appear throughout the house at random, reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian painting.

A sizable balcony accessible by sliding glass doors juts off the living room, offering territorial views and additional living space. Though not present in early photos, its bold, triangular shape feels at home among the home’s original geometry.

The building’s steeply angled roof serves as a ceiling for the top two stories. In the middle floor of the house, two skylights bathe a mod, white-tiled kitchen in natural light. Greenery visible through a wide, low-slung window keeps the space from feeling too stark.

The second half of the stacked stairwell leads to the bottom floor—which, with its flat ceilings, almost resembles a typical home. Both bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a small laundry area, fit snugly in this daylight-basement-like space. The primary bedroom features a walk-in closet and a surprisingly roomy, if oddly skinny, black-and-white tiled bathroom.

Even the property itself defies convention. The City of Seattle owns the land that the home sits on, while Historic Seattle owns the building and the right to use that land. Inhabited for years by lucky, modernism-loving tenants whose rent helps fund Historic Seattle’s operations, the sale of the Egan House will help the organization purchase another piece of the city’s history. 

If the recent sale of the Steinbrueck House is any indication of how the market might respond—the historically significant Capitol Hill property sold for 21 percent over asking—that’s a big ticket win for architectural preservation in Seattle.

Listing Fast Facts

1500 Lakeview Boulevard E Seattle, WA 98102
Size: 1,190 square feet, 2 bedroom, 1.75 bathroom
List Price: $995,000
List Date: 4/18/2024
Listing Agent: Tanya Thackeray Wilson, Windermere Real Estate

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