Marvelous Medina Mansion

Few residences evoke the modern, airy sophistication of Paris and Manhattan quite like this $21.5 million Medina estate.

The four-bedroom, six-bath, 8,250-square-foot home is located along Evergreen Point Road — just six blocks away from Bill Gates’ massive waterfront estate — and sits atop a bluff overlooking Lake Washington and offering distant views of downtown Seattle skyscrapers.

The current owner, a former vice president at Amazon who moved to the East Coast, purchased the home in 2014 and hired Stillwell Hanson Architects and Seattle-based builder Schultz Miller to spend two years and $5 million to renovate the residence, which was originally built in 2003.

The great room includes a Carrara marble fireplace and walls of marble-flecked Venetian plaster.

“There is heavy use of marble, certainly in the kitchen,” said Lance Harwell, Concierge Services Manager at Foster Realty. Tere Foster and Moya Skillman are the listing agents and founders of the Bellevue-based residential real estate company handling the marketing and sale of the home. During a brief visit to the home, the concierge paused to point out bookmatched marble — meaning the veins of the marble are mirrored, giving the visual effect of an open book — on the kitchen island and the wrap-around hood above a La Cornue range. “Most of the marble is book-matched, which is very premium. They have to be done exactly right. It’s amazing because the veins (of marble) just wrap around. It (involves) very high craftsmanship to get this. Even the showers have bookmatched marble.”

Residents can choose to play games or music in a soundproof music room, featuring a felted ceiling; relax in a sauna; or watch movies in a large media room.

media room

And pillowed walls and vaulted ceilings can be found in rooms throughout the home.

“One cool feature of this house is that it’s completely controlled by an app,” the Foster Realty concierge added. “You can adjust the lights, turn on the music, adjust the thermostats in individual rooms — everything — just from an app on your phone.”

Meanwhile, the homeowner and her guests can choose to access a hillside staircase or a cable tram (see below) to access a boat dock, a 730-square-foot guest house, and 90 feet of private waterfront below.

Foster Realty has had international, local, and California buyer interest. The home has been on the market since May 2018.

A Modern Stairway to Heaven

stairwayIf you drive west on State Route 520 or sail Lake Washington near the Gold Coast communities of Medina, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, and Clyde Hill, you might notice long, conspicuous lines that stretch from the waterfront up to Medina’s hilltop bluff. Some are staircases connecting waterfront cabanas, guest houses, and docks to a homeowner’s main residence above. But some are rail tracks serving passenger funiculars, or cable wires serving passenger trams, for easier transport.

“The topography lends to it,” explained Lance Harwell, Concierge Services Manager at Foster Realty. Foster Realty is the Bellevue-based residential real estate company handling the sale. Foster Realty owners Tere Foster and Moya Skillman are the listing agents for the property. “With the steep hillsides, this is your waterfront access.”

One recent sunny and crisp afternoon, Harwell and I visited a Medina home with one of these conveyances. We stepped inside a two-person tram (maximum weight capacity: 600 pounds); secured two waist-high doors; and, after pressing a start button, began our descent along cable wires, easing away from a steep, tree-covered hillside slope toward the waterfront below. “I think it’s kind of fun,” he said as a couple small birds flitted past. “You don’t get to ride a tram every day.”

Three minutes later, we stepped onto a manicured lawn that fronted 90 feet of waterfront with dock access adjacent to a roomy guest house.

Much like elevators, these carriages are inspected annually and need to be maintained. Companies such as Hillside Elevator in Auburn, ProFab Metal Fabricators in Seattle, and Accumar Cable & Track Lift Systems in Poulsbo specialize in manufacturing and servicing these transports.

Even if you don’t have a guest house or cabana down below, trams and funiculars can be used to ferry gear down to a moored boat, or refreshments down to a waterfront garden party.

The real estate company’s concierge added: “We had one listing where, literally, Amazon would put the packages on the tram and send it down. It’s a really cool feature.”

And you thought Amazon drone deliveries were cool.

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