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The Victorian House

Posted by Johnine Larsen on March 8, 2016
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I’ve seen this house a few times when driving through Queen Anne. Every time, I can’t stop looking at it.

There’s nothing else like it. This home belongs in a fairytale with its Hansel-and-Gretel tower, carved sunflower decorations, griffin carvings, and meticulous landscaping (talk about curb appeal!). And the whole thing is a canvas for a dark, gorgeous rainbow of colors.

If you haven’t seen it yet and you find yourself in Queen Anne, it’s worth a 5-minute detour. The photos really don’t do it justice.

“If they say it looks like a museum, to me that means that it looks very authentic. That’s what I like, I guess: thinking you could be in that time period.”

Brian Coleman
The Seattle Times, 1993


I did a little investigation into this house, and turns out people know it as The Victorian House. Or the Sunflower House. Or the Brian Coleman House. Okay, there’s no official name. But I did turn up some solid facts:

  • It’s owned by Brian Coleman, a psychiatrist with a penchant for antiques. Particularly Victorian antiques.
  • The house started as a 1906 Craftsman. Coleman transformed it into its present state.
  • Quo Amplius Eo Amplius is inscribed on the tower (loosely translated, it means “something more beyond plenty”)

“I’ve transformed the early 1900s Craftsman into my dream house, a high-style Queen Anne Victorian, adding a turret, sunflower and griffin carvings on the upper gables, and roof cresting created from a late-1800s cemetery fence. After I painted the house in a late-19th-century fall palette of deep green, burgundy, black, copper, and gold—a combination derived from period sourcebooks of popular era house colors—I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I came home one afternoon to find a wedding party posing on my front steps. Creating a garden to complement my fanciful grande dame was a major undertaking.”

Brian Coleman
Old House Journal


The Victorian House gets even more impressive on the inside. Just about everything in the home either comes straight from the 1800s or has been carefully reproduced. The wallpaper, the fainting couch, the stuffed peacock, the stained glass windows. Even the authentic Victorian asparagus tongs.

Want a tour?


Seattle never ceases to surprise me. From the family that lives in the very top of the Smith Tower to the Ballard lighthouse house, to the man who mapped every single step in Queen Anne, to Brian Coleman and his Victorian House, Seattle has character. We’re a fascinating city with eclectic people, and I, for one, don’t know anywhere I’d rather live.

How about you? Do YOU live in your own style of unconventional home? Does one of your neighbors? Post a photo on our Facebook page!