psychiatrist house

Photo: William Wright

Psychiatrist and author Brian Coleman spent 20 years turning a 1906 cottage in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood into a magical Victorian home. Now Historic Seattle is offering registered participants the opportunity to take a tour.

The Latin inscription on the home’s bell-topped turret says it all: “more is better.” Wrought iron gates, exotic plants, decorative shingles and hand-carved sea serpents are just a few of the over-the-top exterior features of this distinct property.

According to Historic Seattle, the mystical home is just as ornate inside. The organization describes it as a “Victorian fantasy-land, with layer upon layer of woodwork, wall and ceiling treatments in paper, fabric, and stencil, and fine examples of Victorian period furniture, textiles, metalwork, and ceramics. A recently completed conservatory combines salvaged art glass windows, hardware and lighting with newly crafted woodwork and painted friezes.”

Coleman is a practicing psychiatrist in Seattle who has turned his love of old houses into a second career as the author of 14 books and numerous articles on the decorative arts. The storybook cottage was his passion project and an escape from the emotionally draining world of caring for the mentally ill.

In 2004, he described the home to the Seattle Times as follows, “[t]here’s a lot I love about psychiatry. But it can be very demanding. A lot of people burn out. This recharges me.”

The tour of Coleman’s home is scheduled for July 17th from 1pm to 4pm, and tickets are already sold out. Hopefully interest in the project will prompt Historic Seattle to host an encore event.

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