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Seattle’s Live/Work Oasis

Posted by Johnine Larsen on June 19, 2019
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Urban Trees

Update: We just put one of Urban Tree’s live-work spaces on the market: a 2-bed, 2.5-bath townhouse (1818 E Yesler). It’s a sleek, loft-style home with an open and customizable floor plan, flooded with natural light, double-height ceilings, and 5 levels of multi-faceted living spaces. The townhouse has incredible views of the city skyline, mountains, and Puget Sound and three balconies to make the most of it.

We wrote about live-work spaces last month, and sure enough, we’re now experiencing the “selection effect”—that phenomenon where, for instance, you buy a car and then start seeing other cars like yours everywhere. We can’t get away from live-work spaces. On the street, on the MLS, in our newsfeeds. We see them everywhere. We won’t show you all the live-work spaces throughout Seattle, this new class of home that most people overlook—just the one. The one group of live-work spaces we can’t stop admiring.

These are the quintessential live-work spaces. An AIA award-winning group of homes, featured in both Seattle Met and Curbed, these live-work spaces even have green materials, low energy costs, and a walkable location right on Yesler and 19th. Entrepreneurs, startup owners, self-employed, small business owners, meet “Urban Trees.”

Urban Trees consists of 11 units: five live-work homes and six residential townhouses. A common outdoor space divides the two halves as a sort of private park, and according to the people who live there, the common area succeeds in building community and making people comfortable.

First, the homes. The work-part occupies the ground floor, and the live-part happens above. Each home is unique with different bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, stories, and layouts. Nothing in Urban Trees comes cookie-cutter. The facades blend materials and colors in a striking take on Northwest Contemporary. These buildings stand out in a good way, and they still feel home-sweet-home-y. It’s not just us who think so; the design won the AIA Future Shack Award in 2009. Step inside, and you meet real-world Instagram in the form of hardwood floors, lots of natural light, and some Bauhaus-inspired lines and arrangements. It’s a dream.

Each home has decks and windows that look out on the outdoor common space, which Urban Trees calls a “woonerf” (a term and concept borrowed from the Dutch). The woonerf/courtyard/private park lives in the middle of the homes like an oasis in the city. Sunlight pools amid grass, gardens, and all sorts of trees. Cherry, linden, maple, and black hawthorn trees all beautify the space. It’s a place for kids, barbecues, evening chats, and peace. In the middle of Seattle’s bustle, you get privacy.

Green matters at Urban Trees (it’s aptly named) not just with the woonerf, but with green materials, such as façade panels of seasoned fir boards reclaimed from old buildings, floors made from recycled pallets, and concrete courtyard pavers recovered from a car dealer’s surplus. Solar-heated water and hydronic heat continue that environmental consciousness, as well as giving residents low energy bills.

Urban Trees is located on Yesler Way and 19th Ave. Broadcast Coffee sits half a block away, and in a three-block radius, you can walk to more craft coffeeshops, 5-star local restaurants, a grocery store, and three parks (if you need even more greenspace). Widen that circle slightly, and residents can access Capitol Hill’s nightlife, First Hill and its hospital jobs, Seattle University, the International District, and downtown Seattle without the hassle of traffic and parking. Let’s keep going, beyond walking distance. Myriad bus lines pass near Urban Trees, and a streetcar stops five blocks away at Yesler and 14th. You can get almost anywhere in the city, no car needed.

Am I daydreaming of these live-work homes? You bet I am. Urban Trees, built in 2008 by b9 architects, set the bar for new live-work spaces when it hit the scene. In fact, it’s still the bar. Our live-work “selection effect” has give us lots of other spaces to compare this to in the past month, and… Urban Trees is the best. There’s nothing else to say.

  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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