The neighborhood of Queen Anne is known for some of Seattle’s most magnificent mansions and beautiful Victorian cottages. But none is more extraordinary than the Coleman House, the wondrous Nob Hill icon causing residents and visitors alike to stop in their tracks.
I first stumbled upon it on a walk mapped out in the excellent Mountaineers’ guidebook “Seattle Stairway Walks” (a must-have guide to urban hikes). After hiking up the Galer stairs to Bhy Kracke Park and past Queen Anne High School (a magnificent 1909 Beaux-Art building turned into pricey condos in 2006), I arrived at the wrought iron gates and exotic plantings that frame the decorative shingles, bell-topped turret, and hand-carved wonders of sunflowers, sea serpents, and other creatures depicted on this remarkable abode.
The eye-popping dwelling belongs to author and psychiatrist Brian Coleman, who has spent more than two decades transforming a non-descript 1906 Craftsman cottage into a lavish and colorful Victorian confection. Look for the flower box at the right front window with a hand-carved sculpture of alligators harassing an anxious-looking infant. In the middle of the elaborate Turkish turret is inscribed the fitting latin quote: Quo Amplius Eo Amplius, or “Something more beyond plenty.”
The inside of the house is supposedly just as astounding, but not generally open to the public (if you’re curious, you can watch a YouTube video about what the house looks like inside). It is still plenty rewarding to see it from the outside, and well worth the journey up hilly Queen Anne!