What is that charming building at the north end of Broadway?
Perhaps the most quietly beloved building in Seattle, the Loveless Building is located at 711 Broadway East on Capitol Hill, steps from the Broadway Y-intersection at the north end of the strip. Completed in 1933, the building has been home to many shops, restaurants and artists over the years. During that time, notable tenants have included photographers Ella McBride and Myra Albert Wiggins. In addition, Arthur Loveless, the prominent architect who designed the building, lived in one of the Loveless Building apartments until his death in 1971.
Past an iron gate, the open-air entrance passage leads to a peaceful garden courtyard and access to all of the apartments. The stucco walls, lawn and fountain all add to the pleasant courtyard ambience. In fact, the Loveless Building received a citation for excellence in 1961 from the American Institute of Architects.
The Loveless Building was designed at the end of the 1920s, a time of rapid expansion for Seattle. At the same time, technological advances had already transformed society at a pace never known before in such forms as the gasoline-powered automobiles, electric lights and the telephone. With the urban turmoil everywhere, it seems that Loveless rejected architectural movements such as City Beautiful and Romanesque Revival, and instead combined elements of Gothic and Tudor architectural styles with a bit of imagination to create an urban oasis.
Brick, sandstone and stucco all figure prominently in the Loveless Building.
Tudor Architecture Features
Originally known as the Studio Building, the Loveless Building is constructed in the Tudor Revival style and looks as though it has been plucked out of a quaint English village. The first floor, for example, has a brick exterior and many windows, and a beautiful courtyard graces the interior. On the interior can be found half-timbers (exposed load-bearing wood), also a feature of Tudor architecture. The second floor features other Tudor architecture features such as dormers, leaded windows, and steep gabled roofs used to avoid rain from collecting. Arthur Loveless specifically discussed the need for steep roofs in Seattle:
“Grey days require ample windows surface; much rain would suggest roofs of fair pitch to shed the waters; our cool summers do not require much cover for out-door living…” (Smith).
Gothic Architecture Features
The main feature of Gothic architecture is the pointed, or ogival, arch. The importance of arches in Gothic architecture includes windows, such as found where the Massage Sanctuary is located. Another Gothic feature found in the Loveless Building is the faint lines that cross the Massage Sanctuary windows. This is known as tracery. While usually made of stone or molding as a means to support the glass, tracery can also be any lacy design on a window.
Storybook Architecture Features
The varied styles, multiple gables, a turret and Tudor and Gothic features combine together in a fun—even whimsical—way. It is this unique combination that makes the Loveless Building such a beloved landmark in the Seattle cityscape. It is this combination also for which the Loveless Building may also be said to be of the Storybook style of architecture. Storybook architecture is a fun style such as you might find in a child’s story, and certainly the Loveless Building has such charm that you might think you have entered a fantasy world when in the courtyard!
- Landmarks Preservation Board Nomination for the Acacia Apartments and Anhalt Hall, Nathan Rosenbaum, January 2018, p. 14
Across Roy to the south are the DeLuxe Bar & Grill and the Mexican embassy (formerly the Harvard Exit Theatre). The Woman’s Century Club meets there to this day. To the west is the Rainier Chapter House, a property of the Daughters of the American Revolution open to weddings and other special events. Sitting at the center of the Broadway Y-intersection is the 700 Broadway Apartments. Another neighbor is the Theosophical Society in Seattle and its Quest Bookshop to the north.
Historical Significance of the Loveless Building
As part of the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District, the Loveless Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1982. Also known as the Harvard-Belmont Historic District, the area is filled with many notable examples of architecture.
To this day, the Loveless Building houses a number of shops and apartments and at least one studio.
Further citations and reading about the Loveless Building:
- The Loveless Studio and Apartment Complex, Ronald E Smith, 1972, p 10
- Studio Building, PCAD, University of Washington
- Arthur Lamont Loveless (Architect), PCAD, University of Washington
- Loveless Apartments at 711 Broadway North, James Carlislse, 1964
Neighborhood — Capitol Hill
Convenience: WalkScore.com gives the Loveless Building a 95 for walking, labeling it a “Walker’s Paradise.” For public transportation, it gets a 78, and for cycling, it gets a 93—again a paradise for bikers.
Located at the north end of Broadway, the Loveless Building is on the southeastern edge of the Harvard-Belmont Landmark District and across the street from the former Harvard Exit movie theater. Restaurants, cafés, and lots of shopping options are available down the length of Broadway, and the Capitol Hill library branch is only a block away.
Shops in the Loveless Building
Billing itself as serving “inauthentic Eurasian food,” Cook Weaver has an eclectic atmosphere befitting of the Loveless Building heritage. Owner-chef Zac Reynolds crafts internationally inspired cuisine. Together with by drinks by owner-mixologist Nile Klein, the food is a delight to eat. Cook Weaver opened in late 2016.
A storied space, 806 East Roy has been occupied by—going back in time from the most recent—Restaurant Marron, the Olivar, Coco La Ti Da, Fork, Bacchus and Byzantium. The original occupant, however, was the Russian Samovar, which opened in 1931 with commissioned murals on the interior walls. Painted by Vladimir Shkurkin, the murals depict scenes from “The Tale of Tsar Saltan,” a fairy tale written by Alexander Pushkin. The paintings still grace the walls, and an English translation of the fairy tale can be found on the Cook Weaver website.
Address: 806 East Roy Street
First envisioned in October 2020, the French Guys serves a variety of French baked goods, including pain Suisse, hazelnut chocolate croissants and authentic French quiches. Catch them between 7 and 3 Wednesday to Sunday and at summer markets around the Puget Sound area.
Address: 810 East Roy Street
Now closed, Joe Bar served up espresso drinks, crepes, beer and wine—along with art—from 1997 until 2023. Harvard Exit Theatre-goers, Woman’s Century Club members and community residents were among the many fans of this café. On the second Thursday of the month, Joe Bar hosted an art night to celebrate artists and their works.
Owner Wylie Bush also owned Barjot, which was located a few blocks down Roy on Bellevue.
Address: 810 East Roy Street
Kobo is an artisan gallery, displaying fine crafts made by Japanese and Northwest artists in both traditional and contemporary styles.
Opening in 1995, Kobo puts on about six art shows each year, and the selection of goods includes books, greeting cards and jewelry. In addition, they have a second shop in the International District at the Higo Variety Store on Jackson. Check out their Instagram feed for lots of pictures of artistic creations.
Address: 814 East Roy
For more than a decade, the Massage Sanctuary has been providing professional massages. Among the techniques their expert staff practice are cupping, deep tissue, hot stone, and trigger point.
Address: 705 Broadway East
Above all, underU4men provides quality underwear for men that is fashionable. Bamboo rayon, beech wood, and eucalyptus are some of the excellent materials that go into their offerings. Oregonian founder Steve Lien found a gap between the underwear available for men in the Europe and the US. He therefore used his eye for excellence to make such products available here.
Lien opened his flagship store in Portland, which is the largest underwear shop for men in the US, 2006. Subsequently, he opened his Loveless Building boutique in 2008. Browse the Speedo, Hugo Boss and other offerings without distractions and with staff members that are knowledgeable about men’s underwear.
Address: 709 Broadway East
A solid rain jacket for Seattle. Quality denim pants. Socks, hats and bags.
Focused on producing quality goods with excellent materials, the Freemans began operation in 2011 and opened up their Loveless Building location in 2014. Their website includes a guide to Freeman raincoat care and a wonderful webpage on the Loveless Building.
Among the great goods to check out are cotton masks for COVID-19.
In addition to their locally produced products, they offer quality brand clothing and other goods that are made domestically.
Address: 713 Broadway East
Training at Gene Jaurez, Leigh Dawson bought Blink in 2012 to bring her passion for learning and beauty to the world.
She and her talented staff offer a range of beauty treatments, from haircuts and styling to eyelashes and eyebrows, and manicures and pedicures. Check out their Brazilian blowouts, wax treatment, and polish changes.
Address: 715 Broadway East
References and further reading:
- Olivar up for sale after nearly 6 years on Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Bryan Cohen, January 2014
- Scott Simpson sticks a Fork in Capitol Hill, Seattle Times, Nancy Leson, October 2005
- Fork is closing because of chef’s health, Seattle PI, Rebekah Denn, June 2006
- Pastry ‘diva’ has big plans for dessert, Seattle PI, Rebekah Denn, June 2006
- Sue McCown’s new restaurant makes the last course first, Seattle PI, Rebekah Denn, October 2006
- Russian Walls, Spanish Plates, French Chef; Cornichon; July 2008
- Capitol Hill food+drink | A look inside Cook Weaver, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, jseattle, January 2017
- Restaurant Marron Will Replace Olivar on Capitol Hill; SeattleMet, Allecia Vermillion, March 2014
- A man, Joe Bar, Barjot — Wylie Bush bringing coffee and fresh juice to Bellevue Ave, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, jseattle, May 2014
- Joe Bar, Sidewalk Dog
Kobo Shop and Gallery
- Holiday Shopping: Loveless Building, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, jseattle, December 2007
The Massage Sanctuary
- The Massage Sanctuary, Fresh Chalk
- Seattle clothing company Freeman and its famous raincoats ready for summer opening of Capitol Hill shop, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, jseattle, June 2014
- Seattle’s Freeman Opens Up Shop in Capitol Hill, Seattle Met, Kelsey Kaufman, August 2014