montlake spite house narrow end

This bungalow in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood was reputedly built in a wacky wedge shape out of spite, but its odd proportions didn’t stop it from selling for nearly half a million dollars recently. The Montlake Spite House measures just 55 inches across its narrowest point, requiring inhabitants to step to one side to open the oven door when cooking.

Montlake Spite House entrance

The historic home was built in 1925 on a small, pie slice-shaped plot of land. According to the local legend, a neighbor approached the owner of the land to purchase this plot, but with an insultingly low offer. So the property owner built the ‘Spite House’ in retaliation.

Montlake Spite House kitchen
Montlake Spite House living room

The longest side of the triangular home, at fifteen feet across, faces the street, so passersby might not even notice that there’s anything unusual about it. As narrow as it might be, it’s surprisingly spacious at 830 square feet, comparable to other bungalows in the neighborhood – but keep in mind that these photos were taken with a wide angle lens! A buyer snapped it up for $397,000 in October 2013.

Update: The house entered the market again in 2016 for $599,900, and sold again in 2018 for $630,000. Prices in Seattle are definitely high and getting higher, but the price tag of this particular house can probably be chalked up to its curiosity factor. Maybe that’s why people want to move so often, too.

Montlake Spite House bedroom

In any case, the most recent sale gave us some more info. From Curbed:

“The 860-square-foot home’s layout is not unlike that of a houseboat: It’s thin, at just 55 inches wide at its narrowest point and 15 feet wide at the thickest, and it contains some strangely-shaped spaces to get around those constraints. But it patches in period details that go beyond just working with a small space, from the arched front door to thick moulding.”

“The home’s main entrance is at the midpoint, leading to the roughly nine-by-fourteen-foot living room on the upper floor—enough room for some plush seating and even a small dining nook. The kitchen sits on the narrower end of the house. This room has been redone since the last purchase, with new appliances and what appears to be a little more wiggle room between the counters. The narrowest point of the house is beyond the kitchen: a small mudroom.”