Nick's Grad School Digs

House Tour

Name: Nick Wafle, Grad Student, University of Washington
Location: Capitol Hill – Seattle, Washington
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years

Kudos to Nick for not letting the meager budget of a student get in the way of living in a stylish and comfortable apartment. After seeing a few photos of the space, you realize that his home fits him perfectly, and you can definitely see the East Coast inspiration throughout.

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I love Nick's style so much and had to know how he found his home. In his own words...

I found my apartment building on Craigslist on the day I got a call from the admissions officer at the University of Washington to let me know that I had gotten into grad school in Seattle. It was in the perfect location on the edge of Capitol Hill, had just the right amount of scruffy charm and featured a handsome gardener on Google Street View tending the beds. I was living in DC at the time and had been to Seattle only once, for my interview. Fast forward to summer 2010, when I flew out to the city to apartment hunt and discovered that the building I had found online back in the spring was managed by a recent grad from my program at school. Several other students and the admissions officer lived there too! I was really lucky, as the building manager held one of the best apartments in the building for me until I arrived in August for school.

I moved into my apartment without ever having seen it. Once I was there I knew that it was worth dealing with the uncertainty. My place is on the top floor, in the front of the building, faces south and has tons of light (even for Seattle). The rooms are all nicely proportioned and flow well. I've had several homes in DC that were basically shotguns with one room off the next, but in my Seattle apartment the foyer, kitchen, dining room and living room connect in a circle.

I had all of my things shipped from the East Coast, which took two months. While I waited, I hunted Seattle's antique, consignment and thrift stores for some missing pieces, like the dining table. I also painted and made the leap of faith that a black ceiling in the dining room would somehow work. That fall I was dating someone who was the head of store design at Starbucks and had come from Ralph Lauren. When my East Coast stuff arrived, having his expertise on hand helped me to arrange and install it all within a few days. He also introduced me to the artist Alfred Harris, and I now have three of his paintings in my home.

This apartment has been emblematic of my transition to Seattle. It's a very idyllic and relaxed place where I feel immediately at home. I spend most of my time in the dining room alternately studying and looking out the large windows across the treetops at the ever-changing clouds and sky. The space is often bathed in a soft light and I always leave my blinds pulled all the way up.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic prep.

Inspiration: David Hicks's mixture of antiques and Mid-Century art/furniture.

Favorite Element: Grandmother's hand-me-downs, especially the living room rug.

Biggest Challenge: Shipping all of my things from the East Coast to a space I'd nnever seen and hoping it would all fit together on a minimal budget.

What Friends Say: "What a classic Seattle apartment." or "You should have people over more often."

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom (not pictured)

Proudest DIY: Salvaging the original dining room light fixture when the apartment next door was 'renovated'

Biggest Indulgence: As a grad student, shipping out all of my old things form Washington, D.C. and renting a large apartment for myself seemed extravagant, but I knew that I was going to spending lots of time at home studying. I also wanted to feel comfortable in my new city.

Best Advice: Paint (even if you loose part of your deposit like I did).

Dream Sources: Good Wood (Washington, D.C.), Kirk Albert (Seattle), Galerie Half (Los Angeles)

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Resources of Note:

HARDWARE

  • Vintage brass switchplates from the ReStore in Ballard, Seattle

FURNITURE

  • Desk, shelves, bed, dining table from West Elm
  • Safari chair in office from Millennium in Washington, D.C.
  • All other pieces are hand-me-downs from my grandmother

LIGHTING

  • Vintage lamps in living room from GoodWood in Washington, D.C.
  • Vintage anchor lamp in foyer from Brimfield in Chicago

PAINT

  • Living Room and Dining Room: Benjamin Moore Clarksville Gray
  • Foyer and Dining Room Ceiling: Ben Moore Almost Black

RUGS & CARPET

ARTWORK

  • Over couch: Feud by Seattle artist Alfred Harris
  • All others vintage

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Thanks, Nick!

(Images: Charles Ramsey)

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