As a Realtor and current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, nothing makes me crazier than seeing houses that are marketed incorrectly as Craftsmen. A Craftsman has a distinct architectural style that’s rarely seen with new or newer construction homes. A Craftsman is almost always an older, historic home with hallmark architectural features. With so many intact Craftsman homes in Tacoma, I thought it might be helpful to shed a little light on exactly what makes a house a Craftsman.
The Craftsman was the dominant architectural style for smaller homes built in Tacoma in the early 1900s. The style originated in Southern California but quickly spread to other parts of the country through popular magazines like House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. Magazine articles were soon followed by a flood of pattern books with plans for Craftsman bungalows, and companies began marketing “kit” houses, which included pre-cut lumber and detailed instructions for assembly by local laborers.
The following characteristics are typical of a Craftsman home, but not every Craftsman home will include all of them.
- Timber framing
- Wood shingled siding and/or horizontal wood siding
- Low pitched, gabled (or sometimes hipped) roofs
- Decorative beams or braces under the gables
- Exposed rafters
- Wide unenclosed eave overhangs
- Triangular knee brace supports
- Shed, gabled or eyebrow dormers
- Wide window and door casings
- Full or partial-width covered porches
- Tapered porch supports
- Sloping (or battered) foundations
Craftsman homes aren’t all identical to one another. In truth, the term Craftsman encompasses a wide and wonderful variety of substyles.
The typical Craftsman cottage is a one story structure with a symmetrical front façade, a centralized main entry, a partial width front porch, horizontal wood siding, a compact rectangular floor plan and a side-gabled, low pitched roof. This is a listing in North Tacoma that we sold a few years ago.
The typical Craftsman bungalow is a one story structure with broad, low pitched gables. A lower gable covers an open or screened front porch, and a larger gable covers the main portion of the house. With larger bungalows, you may see steeper gables and interesting cross gables or dormers. The bungalow is probably the most common and most popular Craftsman style in Tacoma. This is a listing that we sold in North Tacoma a few years back.
Clipped Gable (Hip Roof) Style
The typical clipped gable Craftsman has a gabled roof with the points “clipped off”. The roof can be front, side or cross gabled and may have hipped or eye brow dormers.
The typical colonial style Craftsman features a symmetrical façade with columns and trellised front and/or side porches. This was a really unique listing in Proctor that we sold a few years back.
The typical airplane style Craftsman features a setback second story and wide overhanging eaves, which give the impression of airplane wings.
The typical structure transitioning from Victorian to Craftsman embodies elements of both – including a more vertical façade than later Craftsman homes.
I love older, historic homes. I’ve renovated and sold more than 50 to date, including quite a few Craftsmen. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a historic home, you should consider working with a Realtor who really understands the value of the architecture. Give me a call. I’d be happy to help.
I’ve always had a deep appreciation for historic homes. It’s one of the reasons that I love living and working in Tacoma, with its abundance of intact architecturally significant historic buildings. It’s no accident that Tacoma still has so many incredible old homes. In part, it’s because city leaders recognize and appreciate that historic homes are an important part of Tacoma’s identity AND because the city is committed to protecting and preserving its old homes. In fact, the city’s Historic Preservation Office just won a state-wide award for the outreach programs that they’ve developed to strengthen public understanding of the importance of historic building stock to the fabric of a community. As a City Commissioner on the Landmarks Preservation Commission, I’m grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had to support the city’s efforts.
Historic Homes Workshop
There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding landmark preservation and how it can and cannot impact homeowners in Tacoma. This disinformation is due in part to the fact that many real estate brokers aren’t as well versed on the topic as they should be. In an effort to help better educate the brokerage community, I’ll be leading an informational workshop for local real estate brokers on Monday, July 8th in association with Windermere and the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ll cover the potential benefits that landmark designation can have for homeowners and some of the guidelines that owners of landmarked homes must follow when making external modifications. We’ll also discuss the ways in which historic restoration and adaptive reuse can pave the way for increased investment capital in the community.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a historic home, please give me a call. I’m happy to assist.
For More Information Please Visit: cityoftacoma.org/HPEvents
Jeff and I recently bought a duplex in North Tacoma that we’re pretty excited about. We weighed the pros and cons of purchasing in the current market and ultimately decided that the property met our needs, both for the short term and the long. In light of our recent purchase, I thought it might be a good time to share some thoughts and observations about investing in real estate in Tacoma’s North End.
According to a recent report from Redfin, Tacoma has the hottest housing market in the nation. That doesn’t come as a complete surprise to brokers in the know. Tacoma has a lot to offer potential residents in terms of amenities and culture, but a big part of the city’s appeal has to do with affordability. You just get more for your housing dollar in Tacoma than you do in neighboring Seattle.
Not surprisingly, rents are on the rise in Tacoma. Between April of last year and April of this year, rents in Tacoma rose about 10%. Developers have been building new apartment buildings, but not enough to outpace demand. That means rents are likely to continue rising for the foreseeable future, making a strong argument for investing in rental properties in Tacoma.
Investing in real estate is a great long term strategy for accruing wealth but, like any type of investment, it does involve risk. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself before becoming a landlord.
5 Things to Consider BEFORE Becoming a Landlord
- Will you manage the property yourself or will you hire a property management company? If you decide to manage the property yourself, you may still benefit from assistance with screening potential tenants and/or evicting tenants if things don’t work out. Landlord Solutions is a great local resource for those types of services.
- Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? Large? Small? Allowing pets will obviously increase your potential applicant pool, but pets can take a toll on a house, which might cost you more than it’s worth in the long run.
- If your property is located near the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College or UW Tacoma, will you rent by the room to attract students? You may be able to earn more income if you rent by the room, but you can also expect more wear and tear on your property.
- Have you talked to your insurance company to find out if there will be an increase in your premium if you convert a homeowner’s policy to a landlord’s policy? Our preferred insurance agent Jerry Hallman at Farmers is a great resource for exploring your insurance options.
- Have you spoken with your accountant about the potential tax implications associated with owning a rental property, converting your primary residence into a rental or selling a rental property? What expenses can be counted as deductions on your tax returns? How can you avoid capital gains taxes when selling a rental property?
Short Term Rentals?
With the emergence of marketing platforms like VRBO and Airbnb, short term rentals have become a very popular way for homeowners to generate income. Short term rentals may offer a greater return on your investment than a traditional rental property, but it feels like the short term rental market in Tacoma is becoming saturated. Jeff and I were initially thinking about using our new duplex units as short term rentals but are now leaning towards a more traditional long term rental approach.
If you have questions about investing in Tacoma real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923
Jeff, Mark and Miles recently listed 2207 N Washington Street, a 1925 Craftsman that comes complete with a covered front porch and porch swing. A great home in an even greater location, just blocks from all that the Proctor District has to offer. The farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, happy hours at Cactus and date nights at the Blue Mouse Theater. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
Features of the home include:
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 1/2 bathrooms
- Hardwood and fir floors
- Spacious formal living room with a gas fireplace with original Batchelder tile surround
- Formal dining room
- Main floor master suite
- Updated kitchen with stainless appliances, quartz counters and a breakfast room
- Unfinished basement with exterior access
- Fully fenced backyard with patio
- Detached one car garage and two car parking pad off the alley
The spacious formal living room is a great place to gather with friends and family, offering two separate seating areas, a gas fireplace and easy access to the dining room.
Large formal dining room with hardwood floors and original windows.
The kitchen has been tastefully updated with quartz counters, stainless appliances and cork flooring. An adjacent breakfast room makes a great spot for casual dining.
Wake up each morning in this bright and beautiful main floor master suite with original fir floors and a fresh, updated bathroom with shower.
The home’s fully fenced back yard is perfect for entertaining, with a covered porch off the kitchen and a great patio area.
As one of Tacoma’s most desirable neighborhoods, the Proctor District offers an idyllic urban village experience. The area features some great old historic homes and a wonderful mix of owner operated shops and restaurants, including Metropolitan Market, Chalet Bowl, Cactus and Cooks Tavern. Proctor is also home to the historic Blue Mouse Theater – the oldest continuously operating movie theater in Washington State. The University of Puget Sound serves as an anchor institution in the neighborhood, providing access to a wide variety of cultural and athletic activities. With great public schools and easy access to downtown Tacoma, Point Ruston and Point Defiance Park, the Proctor District has something for everyone.
For additional photos and more detailed information about this property, visit: www.2207nwashington.com
If you’d like more information about homes in the Proctor District, we’re here to help.