Price Point: A Wallingford Craftsman and Mid-Century Suburban Home

Welcome to Price Pointour latest real estate column which has never even heard speaking about HGTV. Each month we look at two very different homes with very similar prices. This week, we’re looking at $1 million, apparently the new average home price in King County. With this budget, which of these colorful houses would you choose: a mid century elegant in Lake Forest Park or a eclectic craftsman near Wallingford?

Home 1: Eclectic meets historic in Wallingford

This five-bedroom craftsman has two different personalities – and it wasn’t renovated into a ‘blank slate’ (read: modern farmhouse) before selling. Built in 1912, the living room features a majestic beamed ceiling as well as a built-in liquor cabinet. In a bathroom, the tiled walls and bathtub seem straight out of the era. An attic bedroom, in a departure, is just covered with woodwork.

The kitchen, still its own separate room, feels close to its original design save for the modern appliances and a soft green and white color scheme. It also has an extremely adorable breakfast nook, separated by an archway.

A large semi-finished basement is ideal for group practice or maybe even a separate apartment. With a single owner since 1969, these spaces have evolved in their own way.

You might want to change a few things – the finger block parquet panels on the wall around the fireplace, for example, might be a bit too much for most people – but the place is still completely turnkey. You can choose to live in this home in all of its current rugged glory, or you can update the design as you go. Anyway, no one made any drastic changes to the design for you.

With a whopping five bedrooms (but alas, only two toilets), this could be a great candidate for co-purchase with some friends.

List of fast facts

List of prices: $999,990
Site: 316 NE 53rd Street
Cut: 2,360 square feet by 4,080 square feet
Year of construction: 1912
Listing agent: Jeffrey Castro, The Castro Team

House 2: Mid-Century Style in the suburbs

This 1963 four-bedroom home was built just after its town of Lake Forest Park was incorporated, and back when it was even sleepier. Inside, its bold mid-century style begins with beautiful original architectural room dividers in a unique color palette, and continues with floor-to-ceiling windows, a stone fireplace, and other delights.

With original, high-quality features mingling with newer updates, it seems the owners only fixed things when they were actually broken. In one bathroom, pristine original cabinetry, blue shower tiling, and a blue tub have survived nearly 60 years.

Several rooms still have original globe light fixtures, some a bit more stylized. In a back room with sliding glass doors to a porch, a wall of built-ins includes a desk, shelves and cabinets, just in case you’ve always wanted a desk. It even has its original intercom systemvery trendy in the 1960s. The exterior retained its atomic geometry, including a large wrap-around deck with a sloping rail.

In contrast, the kitchen and other bathrooms are mostly new, with dark brown cabinetry and quartz countertops. The dining area next to the kitchen is also a recent addition, along with a handy pull-out pantry.

The 1,300 square foot basement is its own story. It features a cozy brick fireplace and, across from a wet pink Formica bar, a gigantic party area with checkered tiles that look like they could be a set for twin peaks. (We say that in a good way. Please don’t touch the Formica.)

List of fast facts

List of prices: $995,000
Site: 3323 NE 158th Street, Lake Forest Park
Cut: 3,010 square feet by 8,697 square feet
Year of construction: 1963
Listing agent: Troy Anderson, local Tendance team

Final remarks

They are radically different houses: one cool and collected minimalist, the other relaxed maximalist. However, they are both spacious and turnkey, meaning you can start living there right away. Both houses have basements and expansion potential.

The biggest choice we see between the two is location. The Craftsman is about five blocks away and one block from Wallingford Dick’s, making this entire commercial strip of restaurants, bars, and shops on 45th Street easily accessible. It’s an overpass from the northern end of the U district. Downtown is 35-45 minutes by bus. To see a show or movie, there’s no need to find parking, and it’s easy to grab a few drinks or pick up some necessities on foot or by bike.

The mid-century house is only 522 blocks away, so shallower than many houses in Lake Forest Park. There are a handful of restaurants along the highway about a 15-minute walk away, but no grocery store nearby. The presence near the 522 makes transit a little easier, but it is still not close to the city center. There are all the classic suburban compromises, though: in Lake Forest Park, you get double the yard, a lot less noise, and more privacy. Commute times matter less for some people who can work from home or get a hybrid model, and this house has a gorgeous office just waiting for you.

Of course, different things matter. One is older than the other and there may be different maintenance needs. Someone who needs a calm, cohesive aesthetic right off the bat will want to go to Lake Forest Park, but someone who absolutely wants to go crazy for their new place is going to find more things to do in the city. Mid-Century Modern Crafters and 1910s Crafters have quite dedicated fanbases. Chances are, whichever house you prefer, it won’t be particularly difficult to decide.