Patti Payne’s Cool Pads: Couple Lists New England Shingle-style Manse for $4.2 Million

Ben Evans met his wife, Gretchen, on a chairlift in Sun Valley. They skied and talked all the way down. Smitten and penless, he etched her number in the snow packed on his windshield, later calling for a first date.

That was in 1999. Now they have two boys and two girls: a set of 10-year-old twins, a 13-year old and a 14-year-old. They have moved back to Sun Valley where their romance began to start a new home in the mountains.

They return to the Puget Sound region periodically for work. Gretchen, owner of Gretchen Evans Design, is a noted interior designer. He left his own advertising agency, Wills and Evans / New York , to become worldwide creative director for Microsoft during the 1990s and now is a consultant in the area of educational marketing and more. He is also an accomplished builder.

Their secluded New England shingle-style manse on more than two acres at 10901 Algonquin Road in the small coastal city of Woodway, near Edmonds, has just come on the market for $4.2 million. Windermere Broker Adam Cobb has the listing.

Like Medina, Woodway homes are among the most expensive in Washington and in the country, according to

This 6,600 square-foot home was designed by Stuart Silk Architects and is a collaboration between the married couple – Ben doing the building and Gretchen doing the interior design. Over the years it has been featured in three national magazines, including the “Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas” special interest publication.

Because it is built to last generations, they dubbed their place “the 100-year home.”

The Evanses chose the Woodway location to build their home because Ben had spent some time as a child growing up there, and because they wanted room both outside and in.

“We came from a postage stamp in Seattle,” Gretchen says.

They took two years to build the house and moved in 10 years ago. It was everything they hoped it would be and more.
“You could drop it on Martha’s Vineyard and you could sell it for $20 million,” she says.
Of the sweeping open interior spaces, Gretchen loves the kitchen/great-room the best.

“It’s where we spend 80 percent of our time, and it is a grand space. Great for family, great for entertaining. The kids learned to walk and ride their indoor tricycles in this space. It’s got this great circuit,” she says. “And I love the marble baking counter that has been so well used with our family.”

Ben’s favorite hangout is the library.

“He is a book guy, a bibliophile,” she says. “He is obsessed with books and is extremely well read. The library houses his extensive collection of books and antiques and globes we have collected.”

Ben says the foundation is built like a commercial building and that everything else in the house follows suit.

“(It is) a quality of construction only an owner-builder would put into a home – a two-year construction process using only the best materials and techniques,” he says.

There are six bedrooms, five bathrooms, four fireplaces (with one in the self-contained master suite) and two kitchens: one on the main floor and one on the lower level.

The basement has nine-foot ceilings and a music and craft room. And there is an Adirondack-style guest suite above the detached three-car garage.

The back yard is private and expansive with giant 100-year-old trees, rope swings, zip lines, and a remarkable play house that matches the main house

Pudget Sound Business Journal | May 2017
Patti Payne