While most of his designs were constructed in Spokane, Kirtland Kelsey Cutter was one of Washington’s most prolific and successful architects in the late 19th/early 20th century. In Seattle he’s best known for the Stimson-Green Mansion, Rainier Club, and the Swiss chalet-style Seattle Golf and Country Club.
In the early 1890s, he was commissioned by D.K. Stevens to design a home in Tacoma's North End. The Belgium Tudor-style cottage that he and John Poetz, Sr. created still stands today and just hit the market asking $947K.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is the huge, sloping roof. For years, the rumor was that it was intended to be a “spite roof” of sorts, designed to block the view of an apartment building constructed nearby. Letters between the owner and architect seem to debunk that theory. Instead, Stevens told Cutter that "all rooms have full height ceilings, without an intrusion of the roof line inside the rooms.” Cutter responded by saying he could do so but it would be “very difficult without making an unusual roof line.”
There are plenty more era-appropriate touches in the architecture notable from the exterior, including a distinctive cupola, covered porch, and leaded glass windows. Inside, there are even more touches including the woodwork, grand staircase, and two historic marble fireplaces (three overall). Apparently you’ll also find a secret passageway in there, because that’s how they rolled in 1893.
According to a letter Cutter wrote to Stephens after completion, the total costs involved in building the home came out to $5,400. That was actually 20 percent above the initial budget. If only Stephens could see the asking price now...
- 802 N Yakima Avenue [Estately]
- Kirtland Cutter [Wiki]
- Cutter, Kirtland Kelsey [HL]
- The Cutter House [CH]