Dunstan, Thomas E.

(1919 - 2013)

Thomas Edward Dunstan was born in Seattle on May 12, 1919. While his formal education is unknown, he was licensed to practice architecture in Washington State on September 10, 1947 (No. 437). It was in the late 1940s that Dunstan burst onto the architectural scene by entering several design competitions, which explored what housing would look like in the postwar era. With architect Charles A. Lawrence, Dunstan received a third place award in “Small Homes Prize Competition” sponsored by Seattle Trust & Savings Bank, AIA, and Seattle Master Builders. Their designs were also featured in the Dorothy Neighbors “A Puget Sound Home” series in the Seattle Times (1947), which was published to help home builders become acquainted with well planned and artistic homes suitable for the local topography and climate.

Quickly, Dunstan became known for his innovative designs, some of which could be classified as some of the earliest ranch designs in the state. Notable early projects include a spec house at 6721 35th Ave NW (1948); a spec house in the View Ridge neighborhood for builder W.A. Crossett (1948); the Berger Peterson House in Kirkland (1949); a spec house for builder Dick Keenan, (3314 37th Ave W in the Magnolia neighborhood, 1950); the Duane Culbertson House (1950) in Northwoods development; the Gerry & Mel Meadows House (1950) near Sandpoint Country Club; and a spec house for builder W.A. Crossett (945 Sunset Lane, Viewcrest, Bellevue 1950).

In fact, Dunstan became a favorite designer for several local builders due to his unique and ground-breaking ideas. Among them was perhaps the earliest Split Entry design in the state – the William Cosme House (1950); the Michael Hersh House (1951); a spec house remodel for builder King Bros. Construction in Kirkland (1951); the J.A. Peters House on Lake Sammamish (1951); the Rolland & Evelyn Welk House (1952) in Seattle; the Irving Lawson House (1956), which as featured on the Seattle Art Museum’s 7th Annual Architecture Exhibit; several spec homes for builder Arne Goedecke in his El Dorado Lane and El Dorado Beach Club developments in Seattle and Maple Lane Development on Mercer Island (1958); the Sibelle Apartments (now called Willowbrook) in Bellevue (1958); the “Waterfall House” for builder Arne Goedecke (1958, featured in the 1958 Parade of Homes) on Mercer Island; 23 homes in the Northshire Addition for builder Sherman O. Jensen (1959-1963) in Shoreline; and a custom spec home for developer E.P. Powlesland in the Lake Highlands in Lake City (1964).

Non-residential projects include the United Control Corp. Building (1954); the Beaux Arts Medical Center (1955); the Foothills Shopping Center (1956) in Issaquah; a remodel of the Issaquah School lunchroom into Issaquah Community Library (1963); Overlake Park Professional Center (1956) in Bellevue; Edmonds Parker Plaza (1966) in Edmonds; and a shopping center in Juanita (1969).

Dunstan died in Seattle on February 15, 2013.

- Michael C. Houser

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