2022 24th Ave. E., Seattle, WA
For sale: $397,500
This tiny slice of a home reportedly was born out of a dispute, but owners say it's a great place to live.
When most people build a custom home, the feelings behind it are positive. It's a labor of love.
Not so with a tiny home for sale in Seattle. According to legend, the owner had it built out of pure spite.
The home is a little over 800 square feet, measuring 15 feet at its widest point and just 55 inches at its narrowest.
There are several variations to the home's history, including stories of a bitter divorce that led to a strange property divide, but the consensus from most previous homeowners is that the residence was built after a neighbor land dispute.
Former owner Peter O'Neil detailed the story in a 1987 piece for The Seattle Times’ Pacific Northwest Magazine.
He spoke to a woman who lived at the home in the 1940s. She told him that the original owner of the property wanted to sell it to a couple building a new house next door.
At its narrowest point, the home is just 55 inches wide.
"He [the property owner] proposed they use it to expand their garden, and [he] set a fair price," O'Neil wrote. "But the neighbors were too clever for their own good ... Reasoning that the little wedge of property was too small for any sort of independent structure, they figured the man had two choices: leave it vacant or sell it to them, cheap."
Apparently the homeowner was furious at the price offered by the couple, so he went out to prove their analysis of the property wrong. He hired an architect to build the only structure that would fit on the land: a tiny, slice of a home.
To get further revenge, his final touch was painting the wall facing the neighbors’ home solid black.
His efforts worked. Legend has it that the neighbors, upon seeing the completed home, packed up and moved back to Germany, leaving the man with his tiny creation.
While the house was built out of hate, homeowner after homeowner says that the home inspires quite the opposite feeling.
"It's nice to have a home with a sense of humor," O'Neil wrote. "No matter how bad your day, slither off the bus at 6 p.m. and there it is, 55 inches wide, always ready to make you smile."
Current homeowner Lisa Horton tends to agree. When she first visited the home during an open house in 2000, she fell in love.
"It’s a very unique, whimsical home," she said. "I like it because it’s different. I love that it’s stucco — I'm from California — and it didn’t seem to fit in up here."
It's small and reportedly inspired by a neighbor dispute, but owners say it's a lovely place to live.
While the shape and design don’t match other Seattle homes, that doesn't mean that the house won't attract a buyer. Although on the small side for a single-family home, it's bigger than most condos and has a yard. And living in a pie-shaped home isn't too difficult, Horton says.
"At first you chuckle, but having lived in it, it works," she said. "It's in a great neighborhood. I think it's a great place."
And it’s a great price for the area. The current median home value in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood is $769,900. Most homes for sale are priced well above $400,000.
The listing is held by Ev Winningham of John L. Scott. Wondering what the monthly cost of the spite home would be? According to Zillow’s mortgage calculator, you would pay $1,516, assuming a 20 percent down payment and 30-year mortgage.
Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here.
First published November 6 2013, 8:57 AM