Lawton Wood Estate
4334 W Cramer Street, Seattle, WA
Offered at: $4,250,000
4 Bedrooms | 5 Bathrooms | 5,800 SF
A Masterpiece of Design and Tranquility -- Historic landscaping and masterful design and construction coalesce in this singular Lawton Wood estate on a shy acre at the edge of Discovery Park. Low-slung Northwest architectural forms create grand, yet enveloping spaces constructed from exquisite native materials, while a classic spring-fed pool and opulent tree house provide languid relaxation and whimsy. Old growth trees and massive boulders define the property, which includes a guesthouse. Indoor/outdoor living at its most majestic!
- Seattle Public Schools
- 1 Acre Lot
- 3-Car Garage
- Additional Detached MIL
Sweeping back from a secluded, central entrance and great room, this singular residence embraces its stunning historic landscape, creating a private retreat in the woods that is as much a work of art as it is a highly detailed and masterfully constructed home. Clad in cedar board and baton siding with deep eaves that shelter it from the sun and rain and welcome visitors, the house conveys a sense of modesty and oneness with its surroundings that belies its gracious scale and luxurious finishes. Architecturally, it references many of the forms and influences most associated with the Pacific Northwest – the low-slung volumes of the Coastal Native longhouse, the simple yet profound and unadorned materials and methods of the Arts & Crafts movement, the emphasis on careful siting and the interplay of light and shadow found in Northwest modernism, and the meticulous refinement and detail of Japanese construction techniques.
The words appropriate, organic and timeless immediately come to mind upon first introduction to the residence at 4334 Cramer in Magnolia’s historic Lawton Wood enclave. This is an estate of languid grace and unfussy elegance, evolved to the highest order over generations of stewardship and revision by a series of loving and committed owners. In its current iteration, the home stands as one of the most meticulously crafted, yet relaxed and tranquil homes in the Seattle metropolitan area, rising organically from its exquisite natural surroundings on a shy acre at the entrance to Discovery Park. Despite its location a mere 15 minutes from Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union, this home feels like a country house, with virtually no sightlines to neighbors and an exceptional sense of natural calm and solitude in every aspect. Should its grounds
Detail abounds from the palette of carefully selected and repurposed ship’s timbers that define the house’s structure and order, to the subtle paint finishes that resemble rice paper and unify the public spaces. As the former residence of one of the region’s most admired builders, this house represents the finest work by some of the most talented craftspeople available. From custom light fixtures and metal work to meticulously matched and joined cabinetry, old-world stone masonry to the most subtle of surface finishing, this home is a veritable gallery of fine craftsmanship. It exudes a quiet confidence that relies upon modest forms and material eloquence to create an atmosphere that is timeless and enveloping in its grace and honest luxury.
This is a home that has evolved in both style and scale through its history. Originally constructed as a modest cottage, it has been reimagined into the more grand residence on offer today through a series of carefully envisaged remodels over multiple decades that began with a comprehensive garden plan to facilitate indoor/outdoor living and moved on to the creation of a sublimely unified home of ideal proportion and volume.
Entry to the main house is via a gorgeous fir door that leads into a raised foyer, paved in honed Indian granite and enclosed by an intimate timber frame structure. This space opens into the great room that serves as the home’s formal living area, and offers two stories of light-filled volume, enclosed beneath a vaulted ceiling with exposed structure. High, clerestory windows surround the room and welcome rays of afternoon light, while a grand cast fireplace visually anchors the space. Walls are covered in a delicate finish that resembles rice paper, and the whole central area of the house conveys a distinctly Japanese aesthetic that calms its grand spaces.
The main living room serves as a central axis off of which the home’s three primary living spaces diverge. To the left is the section that contains the original structure, and which has been artfully transformed into a pair of delightful guest suites with views over the surrounding gardens. One bedroom includes a raised antechamber that is ideal for use as a nursery or office.
To the immediate right of the great room, the kitchen is a masterpiece of precise design and craftsmanship, featuring custom maple upper cabinets accented by minimalist lower units finished in a deep charcoal tone with subtle edge detailing that is carried throughout the room. The centerpiece is a 48” Dacor gas range with six burners and double ovens, resting under a massive, custom fabricated hood crafted from stainless steel and steel girders with a quilted stainless backsplash. Counters are soapstone with a raised and beveled edge. An island and casual eating area are anchored by a sculptural fabricated soapstone sink, and can easily accommodate 4-6 people. A 48” SubZero refrigerator with matching wine storage and a Thermador dishwasher round out the appliances, while a vaulted ceiling with low profile spot lighting affords ambient light to go with the under cabinet illumination and custom steel central fixture. All cabinetry is built to a furniture-grade level of finish.
Behind the kitchen is a mudroom and laundry area that is also set up to function as the ultimate spa and staging area for pets. A stunningly detailed powder room with a custom fabricated steel vanity, discreet water closet and custom light fixtures rounds out this section of the house.
A long casual seating area stretches out from the kitchen, with multiple points of access to the patios and swimming pool via French doors that open the room to nature. This is a warm and gracious space with carefully crafted timber framing and a vaulted ceiling finished in natural fir car decking. The room evokes a wide range of sensibilities, from the evolution of native long house forms that were common to Northwest modernism to the simple, fir-lined structures found in the great lodges of the region. Floors are paved in some of the largest slabs of Indian granite ever cut, and an alcove with its own window seat invites hours of reading or gazing.
This section of the house also houses an opulently scaled media room that opens to an outdoor kitchen through a mudroom that contains its own spa retreat. The room combines the strong lines of a long house with the sacred aura of a temple, featuring stunning fir post and beam construction and custom built-ins throughout. With its perfect proportion, low-slung elegance and easy access to the gardens, this is sure to be a favorite retreat.
A third and final area is defined by the master suite, an unrivalled enclave of rest and refreshment that projects into some of the estate’s most beautiful plantings. A long hallway leads down to the master bath and bedroom, illuminated by floor-to-ceiling windows and doors facing the pool. The opposite side of the hall is dedicated to meticulously integrated storage, hidden behind full-height wenge doors with custom bronze hardware and detailing. The master bath is entered through a large, custom-finished dressing room with cabinetry and shelving that matches the low profile wenge casework running through the bath. Custom concrete counters run the perimeter of the bathing area, stepping down to a wide makeup table that sits across from an elegantly sculptural deep soaking tub. The space terminates in a huge shower room with multiple heads and seating options for a regenerative soak.
The master bedroom is spacious and light-filled, surrounded by windows on three sides and featuring a separate seating area under its own vaulted ceiling. Although huge in scale, the room’s carefully devised proportions and outlooks keep it comfortable and inviting – the perfect place for long Sunday mornings over the paper. French doors allow easy access to the patios and pool area, while the room’s distance from the rest of the house ensures absolute tranquility and restfulness.
A 1000 square foot guesthouse sits gracefully above the three-car garage, and is finished to match the main house with vaulted ceilings, a spacious bath and a private balcony off the bedroom. This is a beautifully proportioned and autonomous space that can be adapted for use as a home for extended family, guest quarters, housing for staff, or as a private office for the most industrious professional or executive.
The residence is situated in the middle of some of the most naturalistic and exquisite landscaping to be found in the Seattle area. Giant boulders were brought down from Canada to help define outdoor spaces and blend more recent plantings with the historic landscaping and water features that help define the property. Indeed, tiny ecosystems still exist throughout the property in old tree stumps and in the cracks and shadows of the rocks, providing additional shelter for wildlife and visual interest.
The estate is entered through a private gate and down a graceful path that is sheltered by old growth trees and landscaping that consists of thousands of rare plant species.
This spectacular landscape includes what is considered to be the oldest residential pool in Seattle, and its elegant form and deep blue color makes it the centerpiece of the spectacular multi-generational gardens that surround it and help to define this property. A natural artesian spring feeds waterfalls and a stream that run through the property and out to the Puget Sound, while wildlife can be watched every day, even though Downtown Seattle is but a 15 minute commute away.
A later owner would commission noted tree house expert, Pete Nelson, to construct the “Secret Garden” tree house that has been featured in numerous books, articles and TV shows. This amazing space is fully outfitted with power and is conditioned so that it can serve as a truly unique office, yoga retreat or play area, offering views over the entire yard and a cool respite on a hot summer afternoon.
+ LAWTONWOOD COMMUNITY
Lawton Wood is one of Seattle’s most private and rarified communities, existing to the north of Discovery Park, on the Magnolia Bluff since the beginning of the 20th Century. It is comparable to The Highlands in the nearly complete level of privacy and natural tranquility that it affords its residents, and properties very rarely become available, as the community is small and close knit. In fact, it is not unusual for multiple generations of the same family to maintain residences in this delightful and low-key enclave. Lawton Wood’s location allows for an unsurpassed natural experience within the city, with Puget Sound accessible by every home and miles of Discovery Park trails at its doorstep. This is perhaps the ultimate retreat for those who desire a refined wilderness experience, but who require close proximity to all that Seattle’s business and cultural corridors have to offer.
This Lawton Wood estate represents a truly singular achievement of grace and beauty that has evolved through the loving ownership of a dedicated and small group of owners. Although it is an opulently appointed retreat, it manages to convey a rare sense of history and continuity. It is a grand residence on an acre of spectacular property, yet its simple palette of materials and low-slung architecture allow it to seamlessly blend with its surroundings and impress with a sublime modesty of form. This is a home in the truest and deepest sense of the word, and an ideal retreat for those seeking the ultimate distillation of the Northwest lifestyle and aesthetic.