Inviting Langley Waterfront $1,250,000

in Active Listings,Homes $1,000,000 or More,Waterfront

506 1st Street
Langley, WA
MLS #1102714

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This unique architect designed waterfront property on 0.63+/- acres is a short stroll to the center of Langley, yet private and serene. Enjoy the gardens and watch whales feed while eagles patrol the beach. This refined and gracious home was designed to be comfortable for entertaining & as a quiet retreat. Extensively remodeled and expanded to include a lower level suite complete with kitchen, living room and bedroom, the home retains the relaxed and gentle spirit of a Langley Village escape.

Key Home & Property Features

92+/- Feet of Waterfront
.630+/- Downtown Langley Acres
Stunning Water & Mountain Views
Mature Gardens with Trees, Shrubs, Flowers & Lawn
Downtown Langley Restaurants, Parks, Shops, & Services a Short Stroll Away
Delightful VRBO-Ready 1-Bedroom Garden Apartment
2,972+/- Square Feet
3 Bedrooms and 2.5 Baths
Wrap-Around Deck Perfect for Entertaining
Walls of Windows and Skylights
Gorgeous Woodwork, Including Hardwood Floors & Custom Built-ins
Open Concept Living Areas
Surround Sound in Living Area & Kitchen
Recessed & Directed Lighting
Slate-Tiled Entry
Art Nooks
Living Room

Beautiful Local Madrona Tree Post
Enormous Windows Bring in the View
Vaulted Ceilings
Wood-Burning Stove with Raised Hearth & Wood Storage
Built-in, Large Window Seat Perfect for Daydreaming
Doors to Expansive Deck for Indoor-Outdoor Living
Custom Glass-Fronted Cabinets
Generous Working Space for Multiple Cooks
Built-in Desk & Abundant Storage
Double Corner Sink
Access to Utility /Mud Room with Additional Storage
Dining Room
Open to Kitchen & Living Room
Fronted by Windows & Stunning Views
Doors to Deck & Views Beyond
Sweet Candle-Filled Chandelier
Guest Bedroom
Gorgeous Stained Glass Window
Currently Used as Office
Guest Bath
Beautiful, Hand-Forged Faucet by Jean Gignac
Shower & Tub Combo
Master Bedroom
Vaulted Ceilings & Huge Windows
French Doors to Private Deck
Wall of Closets
Completely Private
Mt. Baker Views
En Suite Bath
2 Sinks
2-Headed Tiled Shower
Built-in Shelves
Charming Window Box
1-Bedroom Garden Apartment
Separate Entry & Utility Area
Living Area
Comfortable Space with Water & Garden Views
Dining Area
Full Kitchen
Bedroom with Lovely Views
Bath with Walk-in Shower

A Short History

This property contains all or parts of multiple lots laid from the Original Plat of Langley, created by Jacob Anthes when he first laid out the city in the 1890’s.  These lots and much of the adjoining property were, in the early part of the 20th century, a large orchard of apple, pear and filbert trees, many of which still remain. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, several lots were sold off and the original part of the present house was built here in about 1938, probably intended as a small summer cottage, as were many houses on the island at that time.
In the late 1940’s this parcel and the 4-room cottage on it was purchased by Jack and Helen Floyd. Jack taught shop and later, electronics at Langley High School and Helen worked as housekeeping administrator at Evergreen Hospital in Redmond. Jack was a craftsman and made numerous improvements to the house, adding a porch, later converted to a kitchen, and a sunny plant room for Helen, who was a gardener.
The Floyds lived here for 47 years, raising a family of four children and filling the house with mementos of family and friends. In 1993, in failing health, they decided to move into an assisted living residence and to put the house on the market.
The property was purchased by the present owners, only the third owners in its history, who took possession in early 1994, made minor revisions, and began plans for remodeling. The work of remodeling, rebuilding, and refinishing began in early 1997 and was completed in November of that year, replacing nearly all of the exterior and interior materials and finishes with more durable counterparts. The floor plan was revised extensively, relocating the front entrance to improve circulation, widening hallways, reconstructing the main staircase, and adding the second floor to house a new master suite and library. But all was done within the original building plan footprint except for three feet which was added to the old sun room to create the present family room space to the left of the front entrance.
The structure and all other systems in the house were upgraded and/or replaced. Exterior and interior walls were strengthened to modern earthquake and weather-resistant codes and standards. The entire house was insulated to modern energy codes. Heating, plumbing and electrical systems are all new, with propane-fired hot water radiant floors on the upper two floors, hot water baseboard heat on the lower floor; new plumbing, piping, controls and fixtures; and new wiring, panels and lighting throughout.
The exterior was refaced with fiber cement panels and wood trim for long maintenance- free life. The 30-year roof is new as of 1997.  The wide roof overhangs further protect the exterior from the effects of weather.
The design of the house is based on the principles of light and air, spaciousness, and comfort. The hall and stairs are wide enough to move furniture; rooms are generous and flexible. The original windows were augmented with new wood/aluminum ones and twelve-foot wide sliding doors to maximize light and access to the magnificent views of mountains and sound, possibly the best in Langley. Exterior decks and walkways surround the house, most under cover. The balcony off the Master Bedroom is as protected and comfortable in the winter rain as it is cool on the warmest day.
Finishes inside and outside were subject to the owner/architect’s rule that every touchable surface be smooth to the touch of a hand. One result is a space where every room feels comfortable, both to those who live there and to those who visit. The other result is one of a sense of quiet and privacy in the middle of a small but busy city, of being part of but able to be separate from all the benefits and amenities of this special place.

A Brief Tour

Approach to the house is down a gently sloping drive at the east edge of the site to a small off-street parking area. The two properties are separated by a landscaped berm that creates a private garden area for both.  The garden  was developed with design assistance from Fran Abel, a local landscape architect with broad recognition on the island for her design skills.  A gently curved bluestone walk leads to the front entrance to the house through which one can glimpse the view of Saratoga Passage and Camano Island beyond.
On entering the house, the full extent of the view can be seen, with a nearly 180° view of the Cascades, Saratoga Passage, Camano Island on to Everett and Marysville on the mainland, and on clear days, all the way to Mt. Baker  in the North to Glacier Peak, 80 miles to the east.  The red slate floor of the entry hall gives way to the finished hardwood floor of the main living area, with a built-in inglenook a seating area facing a wood stove on a raised hearth.
Directly to the right is an alcove wired for the built in speaker system and decorated in the manner of a Japanese “tokonoma” for honored art objects or ikebana arrangements.  The living area runs the full depth of the east side of the house, about 32 feet by 14 to 17 feet wide.  This space along with the adjoining dining area and kitchen has easily been used comfortably for celebrations, including family weddings, for as many as 50 guests.  In good weather, the sliding glass doors in both living and dining areas invite guests to spread out and enjoy even greater views.  At the same time, with furniture moved back into place, it can be an intimate place for as few as two.
Particularly in the evening, the lighting design with recessed down-lights forming pools of illumination makes a comfortable environment for very small groups.  Appropriate scale and lighting is the secret.
The kitchen is designed to be efficient for one or two cooks or a group.  While the cabinets and counters were selected from standard components, the placement of the cabinets 4’ and 6’ out from walls allowed for deeper countertops and permits room for kitchen appliance to be used with adequate space for working in front of them. The refrigerator and dishwasher are new in 2009. The sky lit enclosed porch past the kitchen serves as storage, mud room and secondary access and houses the heating boiler and attached domestic hot water service.  Sliding glass doors lead out to another deck, a gardeners work space, dog run and a safe play area for the owners’ grandchildren.
Back inside the house the hallway from kitchen to front entrance, paved with slate tiles from India, gives access to a full bath through a sliding shoji door and to the guest closet and a custom built alcove now housing an antique linen press cabinet that is too large for an ordinary closet.  Back near the entrance is the den/family room/ guest bedroom/entertainment center. This is also designed so that it can be converted to a bedroom should circumstances demand a single-floor lifestyle.  It is the only first floor room (except the bath) than has a closable door.
The stairway to the east of the front entrance leads both down to the walkout basement and up to the added second floor. The basement area with has two bedrooms, office space, bath, laundry room/shop and three separate storage/ work space. This area can be economically converted to a separate 600+ square foot one-bedroom apartment for rental or family members.  Plans are available for this conversion.
Upstairs from the first floor is a full master suite with bedroom, bath large closet area a separate sitting area and a library.  A small balcony off the bedroom provides a protected sitting area, a small table and chairs for quiet breakfasts or drinks with arguably the best view in Langley.

A Note on The Materials (Especially the Wood)

Both the owner/architect and the general contractor, Carl Magnusson, shared a love for fine woodworking.  The selection, preparation and finishing of the woods used in the house show this love and respect.  From the beginning, when talking about the finishing trim and other elements of the construction, it was agreed that only the best would do.
Accomplishing this on a tight budget required two things, careful selection and careful workmanship.  Fortunately the carpenters on this crew had what you might call dual personalities.  Most were local artists, painters and sculptors, who made a living doing this kind of work.  As a result, they brought an artist’s sensibility to so such things as finished door casework and trim.  Material selection proved as fortunate, with the added benefit of long term quality.  Nearly 90% of all of the interior and exterior trim in the house was milled and finished onsite (actually on the rear deck) from old-growth fir salvaged from northwest mill buildings from around the region.  This meant for large mountains of shavings and sawdust (later used for mulch) but it also meant that there would be no twisting, checking or other subsequent movement in the materials.  This can be confirmed by inspecting the woodwork throughout.
The hardwood floors through the living, dining, and kitchen areas were selected for both beauty and economy. They are Caique, a variety of cherry from Chile, less expensive than American maple, but with far more character. The dark red trim around the periphery of the floor is Padouk, and African hardwood known for its color. The dark line in the floor (more about this later) the stair and library handrails is Jatoba, an extremely hard and dense cherry variety from Brazil. The handmade stair balusters (by Carl Magnuson) are of American Cherry.  The stair posts and other trim are all of old-growth Douglas Fir, as mentioned before.
The diagonal dark Jatoba inlay in the floor was meant to be a foil for the rigid north-south/east-west order of all the other lines in the house and lot.  Jacob Anthes laid out his city that way, good surveyor that he was.  It began as an arbitrary line but became a commemorative one.  Near the end of construction it seemed important to make it mean something, so a compass was laid on the floor and the line became a pointer to magnetic north on the 13th day of November, 1997. A point-event, since Magnetic North, as any chart reading sailor knows, moves and requires chart corrections depending on the date and year.  So this line commemorates that particular day and year as the 15th wedding anniversary of the owners, as well as signifying completion of the work on the house.
Outside, most of trim wood is from the same source, perhaps a little less carefully selected, but still smooth to the touch. A notable exception; however, are the top rails of the deck and upstairs balcony. These were milled from 3×6 redwood timbers, many as long as 15 feet, salvaged from huge wine barrels in California. For several years, after a rain, you could sense their faint vinegary tang in the air.
Finally, the post.  The original house design called for two ordinary timber posts to support the major north-south beam beneath the east side of the new second floor.  Then a mistake was discovered.  One of those posts stood directly over an open doorway on the floor below, so a quick redesign of the beam reduced the number of required posts to one. With only one, it seemed that this, too, should be something special.  Fortunately the painter on the job had an answer.  The post in the living room is a twelve foot section of a northwest madrona tree from Madrona Way in Coupeville, Washington, blown down in a storm in 1992, salvaged by a colleague of the painter, and perfect for the job.  It was brought to the site, stripped of its bark with high pressure water, rubbed with bronze wool and waxed.  It still had a lot of drying out to do even after five years, so it twisted in place and checks opened up in its surface. But these closed as the heart of the tree dried to match the surface. It is now a most beloved part of the house, hugged by friends and grandchildren alike.

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