Historic landmark Nettleton Mansion restored, put up for sale

Kirkland developer CamWest refurbished the Nettleton Mansion and put it up for sale. The mansion was built by former Seattle PI Publisher Clark M. Nettleton in 1914. - Matt Phelps, Kirkland Reporter
Kirkland developer CamWest refurbished the Nettleton Mansion and put it up for sale. The mansion was built by former Seattle PI Publisher Clark M. Nettleton in 1914.
— image credit: Matt Phelps, Kirkland Reporter

Housing developments and preserving a city's history don't normally go hand-in-hand. Older structures are sometimes knocked down to make way for cookie-cutter houses.

But in a rare case to preserve Kirkland's history, CamWest Development has given the Nettleton Mansion new life. The Kirkland developer refurbished the mansion, which is now for sale along with 24 other units that comprise the new Nettleton Commons between Fourth and Fifth Ave. S on State Street near downtown Kirkland.

"It is spectacular," said Kirkland Mayor James Lauinger, who along with about 100 people attended an open house of the new development June 23. "You don't get to see a community treasure preserved to this state. We were totally comfortable with CamWest cause it was every bit in their interest that it gets done the right way."

The 2,829-square-foot mansion, built in 1914 by former Seattle PI Publisher Clark M. Nettleton, is one of the oldest structures in Kirkland. The mansion was built in the southern-colonial revival style and was a replica of Nettleton's wife, Jennie M. Borphy's childhood home in Missouri. The Nettleton's lived in the home for approximately 15 years.

The home was purchased in 1929 and was remodeled, including an extension that was added to the back of the house. In 1937, Chat and Agnes Green turned the home into Green's Funeral Home and added a Green's Chapel, which was moved in 2006 to the Unitarian Church north of the property.

CamWest began the $300,000 process of refurbishing the Nettleton Mansion in 2008, which included moving the structure 80 feet and to the southwest corner of the property to make room for the development.

"We wanted to keep its historical presence but keep it economically viable," said Eric Campbell, president of CamWest. "We worked with the (Kirkland) Heritage Society and they were very understanding."

CamWest restored the outside of the mansion and took care to preserve some large trees for the front yard. Most of the mansion's basic structure is original, including the glass in some of the windows.

"With the trees it looks like it has been here for 100 years," Lauinger said.

The biggest changes came inside as the house has more of a modern feel and the second floor, where all three bedrooms are located, was completely redesigned. The master bedroom has a view of Lake Washington, along with a balcony.

"Eric went out to the neighbors to find out what was important," said Bruce Knowlton, a CamWest official.

The main floor is wide open, with the exception of the fireplace and half bath that are in the middle of the house, and a fully updated kitchen.

Campbell said the only thing CamWest wanted to do as far as expanding the structure was to broaden the garage from one car to two.

The development is touted as a walkable community, something that CamWest takes pride in building. The downturn in the housing market pushed the completion date back a full year from original estimates. There are only four houses currently in the development with prices for the remaining 21 starting in the high $600,000 range. The Nettleton Mansion is priced at $1,135,000.

Interested buyers can choose from 2,193 to 3,186-square-foot plans and units range from three-four bedrooms and two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half baths.

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