This massive Capitol Hill home, originally built in 1912 as the Boulevard Inn, has been shaped by two impressive local women: Elizabeth Ayer, the first woman to be registered as an architect in Washington State, redesigned it as her private residence in 1930. Then, in 1980, it was purchased by Ann Wilson, lead singer and songwriter of the band Heart.
While much of the architecture Ayer designed 106 years ago is lovingly preserved, living in a place for nearly 40 years can leave a strong mark. In its present state, the house remains majestic, but with whimsical, modern details that make it shine today.
Located in north Capitol Hill by Volunteer Park—home of many large, dreamboat houses—the home that Wilson has dubbed “Ol’ Yeller” is a colonial revival-inspired mansion that looks more like a country estate than a in-city enclave. 32,479 square feet of grounds are wrapped on all sides by Interlaken Park.
Inside, formal gathering spaces are covered with hardwood floors, including a sitting area warmed by both a fireplace and a bay window. Follow French doors outside to an outdoor sitting area warmed by its own even grander outdoor fireplace.
There’s no shortage of fireplaces in the home. There are six in total, including one in a formal dining area and another in a library or study, lined with sugar pine.
A bright sunroom off the home’s entrance makes use of an original leaded glass door.
A humongous eat-in kitchen has been updated for modern sensibilities while still maintaining a grand air. A smaller, less formal dining nook provides plenty of storage for china.
The ballroom has been reimagined as a fireside retreat, with a high, vaulted ceiling peppered by exposed beams, complemented by wood-panel walls. This leads to a large deck for indoor-outdoor entertaining.
Upstairs, four bedrooms, a couple with fireplaces of their own, each have a distinct identity—which extends to en-suite and jack-and-jill bathrooms. One is dominated in pink; another has a more vintage look, including a clawfoot tub.
The master bedroom steps it up, with two vast closets and a modern en-suite bath with a soaking tub.
Outside, an in-ground pool and hot tub are served by a dreamy little poolhouse, lined with shōji doors. Explore further for little rock gardens and tree-lined hideaways.
A 7,000-square-foot home on the edge of Capitol Hill is enough to command a high price on its own. Factor in Ayer and Wilson’s magic touches and it adds up to a listing price of $6.15 million.
- Ol’ Yeller [RSIR]