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New: The Art of Seattle Architecture

Posted on Jul 5, 2016

Seattle is famous for many things – coffee, music, natural beauty – but, strangely enough, few people are familiar with the architecture of the Emerald City. Or, if they are familiar with it, their knowledge is probably limited to the Space Needle. This gap might not seem significant for most folks, but to a Seattle native like me, it’s nothing short of a travesty. Seattle is home to some quietly majestic architecture, and the residential construction of Seattle houses is particularly striking. In that case, it’s time that it was recognized. Below, you’ll find some classic styles for Seattle houses.

  1. The Seattle Box

A quintessential style for Seattle houses, the Seattle Box offers a simple but highly customizable aesthetic. Sometimes called the Four Square, these Seattle houses are primarily characterized by their boxy style, hip roofs, modest dormers, and generously proportioned porches with columns. While the overarching characteristic of the Seattle Box is elegant simplicity, the model is also something of a blank slate and looks great when elements from other styles, such as Craftsman architecture, are added onto it.

  1. The Bungalow

These Seattle houses exploded onto the scene during the first third of the twentieth century, remaining wildly popular well into the ‘20s. The original bungalows provided an alternative to an earlier era of architecture: in contrast to overwrought styles (such as the Victorian aesthetic), the bungalow offered honest and simple living for normal, middle class families. The bungalow’s defining features are an overhanging roofline and wide porches perfectly suited to the Puget Sound’s rainy weather. In fact, the bungalow can in some ways be seen as a smaller, even simpler version of the Seattle Box.

  1. The Houseboat

Who can watch Sleepless in Seattle without wanting to move to the Northwest and purchase a houseboat? There are few Seattle houses as recognizable as the houseboat, and these floating homes enjoy an elegant reputation. Interestingly enough, houseboats haven’t always been the luxurious structures they are today. As a matter of fact, the original houseboats were little more than floating shacks built by laborers and secured to any available dock. These days, houseboats are some of the most coveted Seattle houses, and understandably so. After all, few things are more enjoyable than waking up in a home moored to a Lake Union dock.

  1. NW Modern

By now, we’re all pretty familiar with modern design: straight, crisp lines, open floor plans, and a classy sense of minimalism. What some people might not be familiar with is Northwest Modernism, a unique aesthetic common to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general. NW Modern Seattle houses often make use of designs used in Japanese architecture, and also strive to utilize the beauty of the Northwest landscape. As such, it might be common to see NW Modern Seattle houses built with rich timber siding to evoke the vast woodlands of the Northwest.

This list is only the beginning; Seattle houses incorporate many unique styles not included in this modest blog post. If you’re a homebuyer navigating the distinctive styles of Seattle houses, contact Pickett Street at(425) 502-5397 or



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