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Published on November 29th, 2014 | by Steve Hanley


Tiny Seattle Spite House Sells For $397,500

November 29th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Green Building Elements.

The tiny 830 square foot home known as “the Spite House” in the Montlake section of Seattle sold recently for $397,500- nearly $500/ft., which is pretty good for the area. As for why it’s called the Spite House? Seattle’s Spite House was originally constructed to irritate its owner’s next-door neighbor … who also happened to be her ex-husband!

Spite House 1That’s right, kids. According to a popular local legend, a judge in a contested divorce case awarded the couple’s house to the husband, and the pie shaped yard to his wife.  Being a clever and vindictive ex-wife, the woman built a house on the property to spite her now ex-husband. Whether that’s true or not, it makes for a good story.

Built in 1925, the Spite House is only 15 feet wide at the front and narrows to just 4.5 feet at the rear. Nevertheless, it offers the same amount of living space as a comparably-sized one bedroom apartment or “tiny house“, and is a fully realized dwelling, as the accompanying photos can attest. Plus, it means never running out of things to talk about at dinner parties!


Spite House Photo Gallery

Reprinted with permission.

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writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

  • GCO

    Why is this on Cleantechnica??

    • Bob_Wallace

      There’s entertainment value….

  • jonesey

    830 sq ft is not a “tiny house” by any stretch. It’s a normal-sized house for one or two adults.

    Also, those curtains hanging right over the (wasteful, but that’s another comment entirely) electric baseboard heaters are pretty, but not such a good idea from a safety perspective.

    • Fact

      The baseboard heaters…. what is a good alternative for these? I’ve been trynig to find replacements in my own home, and I’m coming up short for something that doesn’t involve running duct work everywhere…

      • Bob_Wallace

        Does anyone make small efficient heat pumps? Small enough to serve single rooms at an affordable cost?

        That would allow for separate room settings and no duct work.

        • NRG4All

          Fujitsu makes heat pumps that have A/C SEERs of 26 (1 ton) and 27 (3/4 ton). The heating side is measured at 20 degrees F and will produce usable heat down to -15 F. We have two of the older models in a well insulated 2000 sq. ft. house in the mountains of AZ. They work best with house plans that feature a “great room” concept. The air handlers are mounted on the wall, so depending on the floor plan you may need a few of them. Our two, installed, was around $6,000.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I was looking around on the web. There are heat pumps with two and four “outlets” so that they can serve multiple parts of a house. Each outlet was individually controllable.

          • NRG4All

            Yes, Fujitsu has those with a single compressor and multiple wall air handlers. They are very efficient because they don’t use ducting, but they are not as efficient as the stand alones. I think their SEER is somewhere around 18.

      • jonesey

        Ductless heat pumps are quite popular in certain regions. They are very efficient and work well in most climates. They are well-suited to relatively small houses (like the one in this post) and houses with open floorplans. Here are two places to learn more:



        • Kevin McKinney

          Yes, that’s what we have at our 800-sf lake house. They were pretty affordable.

      • Peter Gray

        I replaced our baseboard heaters with a hydronic radiant heating system in the floor (1,200 sf), driven by a small on-demand natural gas water heater. It’s “backed up” by a woodstove that provides most of the heat when we’re around to tend it.

        A hydronic system is not a simple project by any stretch, esp. as a retrofit, but we needed to re-floor anyway… It took some research and engineering to design, and cost around $3k in parts and materials. It’s very quiet, no ducts, dusty things to clean, or blowing air, and quite efficient in that when heat comes from below, room air temp can be lower for a given comfort level.

        I set it up with 5 zones, 5 independent thermostats. It’s been running for about 10 years with no maintenance.

    • James Van Damme

      We raised 4 kids in 864 sq.ft. It’s too big for the 2 of us now. The extra room just fills up with junk.

  • David in Bushwick

    I know this house – Montlake is a lovely neighborhood so the price isn’t that surprising.
    You just have to deal with 9 months of grey skies every year.
    I don’t miss that at all.

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