By Amy Daybert Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — The house has been called “psychedelic,” “a glass monstrosity” and a “crazy wormhole.”
Jan and Rick Wanzer have laughed off all the criticism of the home where they have lived for the past 14 years. The attention, whether positive or not, is a good thing, they said.
“I don’t mind,” Rick Wanzer said. “It’s kind of like movie stars. Any attention is good.”
That’s because the couple is selling their $1.89 million home at 9716 58th Place W.
Walk through the entryway of the Wanzers’ house and you’ll find yourself in the middle of an open glass hallway with columns made of vertical grain fir. Natural light pours into the space from the 140-foot arched glass ceiling that extends in opposite directions throughout the home.
Their 1979 home attracted worldwide notice last month when a real estate blog called Curbed Seattle described it as a “glass house nightmare.” Then London’s Daily Mail newspaper picked up on it for their online edition calling it “Washington state’s most outlandish mansion.” More Web buzz followed.
“It’s really been so interesting how it’s picked up attention,” Jan Wanzer said. “People from Sydney and Spain and all over the world have been commenting on the article about our house. It’s just been crazy the interest in it because it is so unusual.”
Everyone asks about the hall with the glass ceiling, added Jan Wanzer, 59. The couple asked their own questions about the feature before they bought the house. “It was our biggest concern and in the 14 years that we’ve lived here we’ve never had to clean it,” she said. “It’s self cleaning when it rains and it’s never leaked.”
When it comes to cleaning all those windows that provide a courtyard view of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, they created their own solution.
“We’re bad glass cleaners so we just hire somebody,” said Rick Wanzer, 58.
Everett architect Bob Champion remembers designing the house for a relative of the owner of Nord Doors, a business along the city’s waterfront that closed in 2005.
He was asked by the homeowners to design the glass hallway so that they could wrap the house around a backyard pool, said Champion, 83.
“They liked the idea of bringing skylights into the home,” he said. “I designed the house with one end of the skylight looking out on the water and the other end ending up in a bedroom. It seemed like a circulation path around the swimming pool would be good.”
The swimming pool was never built, he added. The home’s exterior and interior brickwork was well done and the wooden columns were the result of modernizing Grecian architecture, Champion remembers. A consultant was hired to produce stained glass windows on both ends of the home.
“It’s one of the features that I think is pretty attractive,” Champion said.
The Wanzers, who own Traxx Indoor Racing on Chennault Beach Road, said they updated parts of the kitchen, dining room and family room but changed little overall about the house. The home also includes a master bedroom with a fireplace and bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and heated floor. One of the four fireplaces is made of brass and nickel and is at the center of a formal living room.
“The focal point of our living area was right here when the kids were growing up,” Jan Wanzer said. “This was like our campfire. We all just sat around it and put our feet up and checked in. It was just really fun.”
The Wanzers bought the house from its original owners so it’s just the second time it’s been for sale. The house has been on the market for about 100 days. Last month, it earned the title of “House of the Day” from AOL Real Estate, which called it a “totally trippy mansion.”
Champion said he doesn’t mind if there are negative comments about his work.
“Architecture can be laughed at,” he said.
The house is scheduled to be featured on the Travel Channel in January, Jan Wanzer said. A crew filmed at the home three weeks ago for a segment on unusual vacation homes in Seattle and the San Juan Islands, she added.
“It could be some millionaire’s vacation home but it’s not a vacation home for us,” she said.
After raising their three children, the Wanzers are now empty nesters and plan to move into a smaller home. A houseboat may become their next home, Rick Wanzer said.
The Wanzers will take with them plenty of memories of parties at their unique house celebrating soccer and cheerleading teams, high school musical casts, and family milestones.
“We’ve really enjoyed it,” Jan Wanzer said. “I’ll miss it but we’re just ready for the next journey.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.