The 11,000-square-foot residence, known as Rust Mansion, was built in 1907. It’s going up for a no-reserve auction Feb. 9–14.

Until recently, few had been inside the place.

“What makes Rust Mansion special is it is an iconic house that nobody’s ever been in,” explains listing agent Michael Morrison, with Morrison House Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s been closed off to the public, and there’s actually been no interior photos.”

Now the internet is abuzz over the restoration.

“It’s the house that everyone who grew up in Tacoma wanted to get inside, and now they can,” Morrison says.

Exterior

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Exterior details

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Living space

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Wood-paneled dining room

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Historic home

Smelter and refiner William Ross Rust built the home for his family, and the design was ahead of its time. It includes seven bedrooms, a ballroom, and plenty of living spaces.

“My favorite thing is actually the floor plan,” Morrison says. “It’s livable and workable.”

The forward-thinking layout included a primary bedroom with an en suite bath—a rarity for the era.

Interior

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Bathroom

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Kitchen

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Throughout the years, the home has been a private residence and several apartments. In 1983, one family bought the property with plans to restore it. But it turned out to be too big of a project for them.

“Everyone had this love story of living in an iconic old house, and they’re going to restore it. But it’s very hard and is a big undertaking,” Morrison notes.

Developer with a dream

Then came Ashley Burks, an experienced builder and developer with a dream.

“It was a passion project,” Morrison explains. “She had always been by the house and always wondered about it like everyone else. She really wanted to restore the home back to its original glory.”

Burks bought the property in late 2021 and began a fast and furious restoration.

“She doesn’t let the grass grow under her feet,” Morrison says. “She worked 24 hours a day. She has the experience and crew. She’s an incredible builder.”

The home was in significant disrepair, and its renovation required painstaking attention to detail.

Dual offices, a chef’s kitchen, and renovated bedrooms, bathrooms, and sitting rooms were all part of Burks’ plan.

“I was completely taken aback,” Morrison recalls of his postrenovation impression of the mansion. “It … was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on something pretty unique.”

Interior

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One of six fireplaces

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Fundraising mansion tours

Because of the public interest in the landmark house, Burks was able to turn her project into a charitable contribution to the community.

“We opened up the home and gave construction tours, and we were able to generate money for violent-crime victims and for domestic violence support services,” Morrison says.

The opportunity to help sell this piece of history is special, he adds, and selling it by auction was the way to go.

Letting bidders “come forward and duke it out” seems like the best way to set a fair market value on the home, he explains.

As for what such a home might go for, Morrison believes $4.8 million to be a fair price.

“The perfect buyer’s going to be someone that loves history and loves Tacoma,” he insists, expressing his hope that a family buys it. “It has to be someone that’s willing to embrace the history of the house and understand that they’re not owning the house—they’re just a steward for the house while they’re living there.”

Office

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