The Sanctuary

In 1906, the First Church of Christ, Scientist building was constructed at 16th and Howell. 100 years later, the congregation sold the building to developers for $1.1 million. The key to the sale: The developers were planning an audacious overhaul of the old building that would retain the character and incredible architectural elements of the church while updating it for modern – and luxury – living. Many other amazing old churches in Seattle were simply torn down.

With its beige stucco cladding, red clay-tile roof and arched windows and doors, a Christian Scientist church stands out among the houses lining the streets of a quiet Queen Anne neighborhood.

The “First Church of Christ, Scientist”  building has historic landmark status. That makes the 12 town-home units truly unique, carved, as they are, into the hollowed out center of the old domed building. The units share a huge central atrium, the “Sanctuary” with a stained-glass oculus in the roof, but each has its own address and outdoor entrance. The conversion was a huge engineering, architecture and art project.

The structural reinforcement was important of course, life-safety considerations. The ability to add vision-glass to the homes that have stained-glass windows. It was quite a feat,

the developer said.

The windows facing into the sanctuary are for the most part frosted to prevent a fish bowl effect. However, there are clear sky lights so you can see the original ceiling.

Nostalgic design features are thoughtfully integrated amongst modern, concrete and steel construction. The result is a century old monument transforming a place of worship into a residential opportunity without comparison.

Each home is an architectural masterpiece. The interiors boast soaring ceilings up to 30 feet high and generously-scaled floor plans of 1,600 to more than 3,000 square feet of living space. Many homes include rooftop terraces with city and territorial views. The generously-scaled floor plans are beautifully appointed with the finest fixtures and appliances including trusted brands that include Wolf, Bertazzoni, Liebherr, Asko, Kohler, Hansgrohe, LaCava and Durovit to name a few. Artisan touches include steel stairs with solid wood treads, stained concrete floors and exposed brick walls.

While all aspects of The Sanctuary are of museum-quality, the residences are as approachable as they are livable. An underground, controlled-access garage is connected to the Grand Atrium via an elevator. Homeowners may also enter their homes from their own private street address, like a New England row house. Inside, the careful reengineering of the century-old stained-glass windows systems slide to the side allowing ample light and fresh air while doubling as window treatments for privacy. Many homes feature private rooftop terraces bringing both nostalgic architectural detailing and city and territorial vistas into full view.

Two model homes showcase designs by Interior Designer Robin Chell, furniture retailer Evelyn Lee of Alchemy Collections and Betsy Fetherston of Fetherston Gallery, art curator for The Sanctuary. Home technology systems are integrated by WiPliance and interior and exterior landscaping is provided by Regan & Associates.

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