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A Visit to a Historical Cottage

I have always been intrigued by the Ellsworth Storey cottages along Lake Washington Blvd. but wasn’t sure how I was ever going to the see the inside of one. But I met Libby at the Senior Center and she lives there! She has actually lived there for 20 years and was on the waiting list for 10 years before that.

The cottages (eleven in all) still belong to the Storey family and are now managed by three grandchildren. Libby said the cottages are inspected once a year as with most rental places. Tenants are not allowed to make any changes to the buildings due to the historical nature but at one time, that was not so, and Libby’s cottage was changed from a small two bedroom unit to a larger master bedroom with the simple removal of a wall.

The cottages look rustic from the outside and one might think that they might be dark inside, but the windows are large and on this sunny day, there was plenty of light. Libby said the bedroom area tended to be darker as the land is not as open in the back as in the front. The cottages look east toward Lake Washington so the living area was flooded with morning light. There is no insulation and some of the windows are the old wavy type that feel as though they let the wind come through rather than fight it off. The heat is a gas stove, which Libby feels is not quite as efficient as the older one that recently gave up the ghost.

The kitchen is separated from the living room by a counter top bar, which is handy for conversing with company while preparing a meal. This was changed from an original solid wall, giving the kitchen space an open airy feeling.

Libby has each room filled with her artwork and colorful rugs (even in the bathroom). The original claw foot tub is still there!

The jewel is the front porch, a roomy area with comfy furniture, which is THE place to be in the summer months. Libby said she likes to do her ironing on the front porch and was approached by someone from Pacific Magazine one day who wanted to feature the cottages in an article; she agreed to be photographed ironing! Even a mundane task like ironing can be rewarding in a beautiful spot…as the realtors say, it’s location, location, location!

~Diane Snell

(Note: there are other Storey homes in both Madrona and Mt. Baker. Storey brought the Craftsman style here and concentrated on designing family homes. He wasn’t interested in larger structures. His homes say to one: Live Here! I am comfortable!)

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