Arthur Loveless: A Then and Now Adventure

Some of you may have heard of the architect, Arthur Loveless. He was a significant early Seattle Architect who had a long and productive career that spanned from 1906- 1940. He also happened to be my great-great Uncle. He designed distinguished homes located on exceptional properties for early notable residents in the Seattle neighborhoods of Laurelhurst, Windermere, Washington Park, Mt. Baker, Magnolia, Broadmoor and West Seattle.

In 2016. My cousin Tina and I started out on a journey to learn more about his work. Growing up, we were aware of some of his more significant buildings, yet we did not know the full extent of his work. There had been articles and book chapters written about his work over the years yet but we discovered that a complete body of work that documented his legacy does not exist. So we made it our mission to build just such a list.

What we have discovered in the last 18 months is a list of nearly 75 properties that Loveless designed or contributed to.  During this period of discovery, we decided to create a coffee table book themed Then and Now.  We enlisted the help of my go-to photographer, and the services of a professional journalist that is a friend from college to help us put the stories about each home, the architectural details and the history of some of the first owners who commissioned Loveless to design their homes.

To date, we have photographed over 35 personal residences, 7 UW fraternities and sororities and other significant buildings such as the Loveless Building on Capitol Hill. We have discovered that this year alone, four Loveless properties have been or will be torn down so our timing and our message of legacy could not be more timely.

Read my blog posts as we photographed many of his homes. It was a thrill and an absolute pleasure to be invited into their homes and to get to know many of the current owners. Their stories of what they knew about the houses, some of the previous owners and what updates they have done to keep the homes relevant for today’s world has been a wonderful journey.

 

 

 

 

Loveless Seward Park Home

This beautiful Loveless home was built right next door to his personal home in Seward Park. He purchased 5 properties and then sold them to clients that he designed homes for. This Tudor Revival style home highlights his signature design details such as the simple and unassuming entrance. His entrances had a quintessential English cottage with low height entrances sometimes surrounded by a step down of one or two simple steps. Another signature feature of a Loveless home was leaded glass windows, stained glass window rosettes and built in book cases. 

Situated on the shores of Lake Washington, this house originally had a sloping lawn all the way to the bank of the Lake. The property at one point was subdivided and a house was built on the lake front and a house on the street side was built leaving this house in the middle. It still has a very large lot with a circular driveway and a 3 car garage with apartment built up over. Extensive updates on the house all in keeping with the classic tudor style have been done with detail in mind.

Laurelhurst waterfront home

On a dead-end street in Laurelhurst sits a waterfront home that you might not even take note of. It sits low on the lot down a driveway with a weather-vane. The brick home has a rustic French look about it .It has an unusual brick exterior that we have not seen on any other Loveless homes before. When the exterior bricks were installed, the pattern is uneven on purpose and then white-washed to make it look like an aged farmhouse. It is a Loveless home with some of the most unique features we have come across. Most of his entrances are not oversized or grand. This front door is also not a conspicuous entry but once you enter the door, you step down into a foyer with a distinct character, multi-arched ceiling. You pass by an office and the staircase to the entry landing. From there, you step down again into the lovely and surprisingly large living room. The view is commanding and because the house sits up high on the shores of Lake Washington, you get the feeling that you are in a treehouse! To the right of the entry landing is the dining room and kitchen and kitchen eating nook. A terrace overlooking the Lake is accessed either from the living room or the dining room. The kitchen eating nook has typical Loveless built-in bookshelves and a barrel vaulted ceiling. We had never come across a barrel-vaulted ceiling before so this is another surprise in this Loveless home. The views and the property are spectacular with a zig zag trail that goes down to the level grass lawn. A covered boathouse sits out over the water. Once there, you can see a local eagles nest in the tree at the edge of the water. It’s inhabitant with babies is watched by all the neighbors. This house has another detail that we had not come across before.

The exterior bricks on the house were patterned in an irregular line creating a sense of age and settling like you might find in a old French farmhouse with a white-wash finish. Many of the Loveless homes we have seen are very classic Tudor Revival styled homes. This house has classic proportions in a clear departure from Tudor.

Bloch Mansion on Capital Hill

 

William Bloch commissioned this Capital Hill mansion in 1908. It is stately and was worthy of his status as a local restauranteur that catered to the German immigrant population of early Seattle. He owned and operated Café Germaine located on 2nd and Yesler. He and his wife Louisa entertained many at the stately home near Volunteer Park. Dark clinker brick, half timbers and tudor designs adorn the exteriors. Inside, the house has beautiful wood paneling both quarter-sewn oak and mahogany. The entrance lobby is reached through a vestibule with a built in bench and an arched painted ceiling. The main lobby has a herringbone patterned floor. Large rooms surround the lobby and staircase. In the dining room, a fireplace adorned with original iridescent square tiles is next to built in cabinets, painted ceilings and the original silk chandelier creates an impressive gathering space. A former morning room is now a custom built TV room with bookcases and custom mural paintings. The original floor bell to summon the kitchen staff is still intact in the floor. A study with a cozy fireplace with Batchelder tiles and built in book cases is right off the former parlor.  A former ballroom is located on the third floor and was converted into a library. It combines nooks and small benched alcoves that were originally for the band, and for couples to sit and talk next to a fireplace. The entire ceiling has a custom hand painted mural that replicates the ceiling of NYC’s Grand Central Station. One of the current owners was a lawyer and the library has a distinct feel of a law library. The kitchen has some original features including the exhaust hood over the stove. The master bath has original bath sink, tub and nickel faucets. This house is magnificent, stately and has been lovingly restored and maintained by the current owners. The family of the original Bloch owners still live in the area and gave some original Bloch crest china to the current owners to stay with home as original artifacts of the Bloch family.

 

Fauntleroy Tudor is a Loveless trademark

We had the great pleasure of meeting of a long time owner of a Loveless home. Located on a dead end street in the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle, this home was truly lovely. Owned for the last 33 years, these owners love their home, their location and their privacy. In another Tudor revivalist home, the exterior is in stucco with leaded windows. A sloping roof line, dormers and nooks are distinctive. The house is covered in Ivy and the back of the house had bright crimson ivy leaves. A view of Vashon Island, an outdoor swimming pool make this an ideal location any time of year. Hardwood floors and a split staircase greet you as you enter the door. Leaded glass French doors lead to the living room and the office/study. Built in benches, bookcases and a lovely Batchelder tiled fireplace with a tree motif are Loveless signature designs. The kitchen was expanded and modernized yet kept in the classic style with subway tiles and black honed granite counters. Upstairs is spacious and intimate with Loveless classic arches, dormers and nooks to create plenty of places to hide away. The current owner has a painting studio upstairs with a view looking out over the water. The original owner moved nearby and his son lived two doors away for years and years. This is a West Seattle gem.

A Loveless designed home in Broadmoor

Arthur Loveless had a lot of contacts and a solid client base of well-to-do people who could afford custom built homes usually on view lots within the city. One of the most affluent areas was in a gated community called Broadmoor. With security gates, a golf course and a convenient location to downtown, residents of Broadmoor submit financial reports in order to obtain ownership in the community. Arthur Loveless designed 4 homes in the community.

This house was designed for the Anderson family in 1927. It was built in the Spanish Revival style and today is charming and elegant.

Built using  stucco and a red tiled roof, surrounded by Spanish tile fountains, pavers and black steel windows, this house has a character that is special and feels like you are in Hacienda style home. As you enter, a set of wooden double doors bring you into the tiled entry with a staircase that has Spanish tiles on the footers and original wrought iron hand railings. Beams at the ceiling add rustic charm to the house.  Signature Loveless features in nearly all of his homes are the distinction of room to room by a 2 step up or down creating separation of spaces and distinctive rooms which creates a coziness in each room. This house is no exception.  A step down into the living room from the main entrance hall creates a space that feels cozy yet connected.  A few steps back up into the dining room create a flow yet distinct rooms.

A beautiful example of how Loveless did not just stick with one distinct style and yet his signature features are present. One of my favorites to date.

Don Palmer Residence

Don Palmer was a well known UW track star athlete and later a Physician and then later, a Professor at the UW. He came from a prominent family. In he 1920’s, Arthur  purchased 5 plats of land in the Seward Park area and then he sold them to clients over time. One of them was Don Palmer. His mother was a founding member of the Lake Washington Garden Club and the Arboretum Foundation. Arthur, his sister and his parents were also avid master gardeners and might have known each other because of this common passion. The original gardens were designed by the Olmstead Brothers and much of their footprint still exists on the extensive grounds including a lily pond.

The property sits on acreage on the banks of Lake Washington and the house sits up from the waterfront leaving the actual waterfront undeveloped. There are 3 such waterfront properties remaining on all of Lake Washington. All 3 such waterfront lots are Loveless homes.

The house is a grand Tudor revivalist home in stucco and half-timber style with a tile roof. The first impression was like arriving at a European destination as you go down a long brick driveway with a chevron pattern. You have to pass under a brick arched garage to reach the house.

Inside are some of the signature features of many Loveless homes. A stone fireplace with a re-occurring design of grapes and leaves in the stone work. Stained glass medallions and rooms that you enter by going up or down 2 or 3 steps.

This house is beautiful and the current homeowner has taken great care to bring it up from obsolete plumbing and electrical systems and added in the garage and hired horticulturists to re-shape and reinvigorate the grounds.  A true gem of the Loveless legacy.

Wing Point Residence

Some properties are so special because of where they are and the effect they have on you that you just want to stay forever. This is one of those properties. If you have ever taken the Bainbridge ferry, then you have probably seen this home and the flagpole that marks the waterfront. Unassuming and peaceful, this house sits back and is protected by aging Madrona trees and a seawall.  Built in 1922 for the Fisher family, this house is a craftsman beauty. Wood beams and paneling are original to the house and at some point in time, had been “pickeled” which turned the wood gray. The owners had it meticulously restored to the original dark wood. It is a spacious 5 bedroom home that has a lot of built in features. It originally had two exterior front porches that faced the water and one of those porches has been enclosed and is now a sunroom. A second fireplace in a library area is a cozy room to curl up on a couch and enjoy. A large dining room as well. This house is a lovely example of a well built and large sized craftsman home. The land it sits on is extraordinary. Ferries go by and you almost feel as if they are going to hit the shore of this property. Just on the other side of the point is the amazing view of downtown Seattle. This property is very special. It has been in the same family since 1979 with no plans of ever selling or tearing down.