Brian's Boarding House

Brian's Boarding House

Katy Nida
Jun 28, 2011

Name: Brian Naubert
Location: Phinney Ridge — Seattle, Washington
Size: 6 bedrooms and 2 baths in main house. Separate basement apartment — built in 1909.
Years lived in: 7 — owned

At first glance you could never tell the distressed state this 1909 bungalow was in when owner Brian Naubert first purchased it. The neighborhood kids remember the decrepit house very well however. It was the one they always avoided on Halloween due to the terrifying condition it was in. Seven years later and the transformation is remarkable. Brian has poured every last ounce of love and energy he has into the breathtaking makeover.

This house's charming yet quirky history is hard to match. Early records indicate the home was once owned by the Catholic Church and served as a boarding house. Unwed Catholic women would stay for months on end and partake in daily chores to keep the residence in top shape. A tattered chore list still hangs on the back of the attic door. Other reminders of the church remain – such as the stain glass window in the former "Prayer Room" and current bathroom. Twenty-five foot Japanese Maples planted by the nuns are also a welcome reminder around the property. The house is named Villa Maria in honor of the church even though it no longer has any ties.

After the church sold the boarding house to private owners, care and upkeep went downhill. The house sat vacant for five years until it eventually caught Brian's artistic eye. The graphic designer wanted a project to keep him busy and boy did he find it. He worked meticulously for three years straight to restore the original bungalow details back to their previous glory. Today the tradition of the boarding house carries on with six of seven rooms rented out to tenants. The title of the renter's ad reads, "Best Rental House Ever" and that's no lie. Over 25 roommates have passed in and out of the house just in the last seven years Brian has owned it. All keep in touch with one another on the Villa Maria Facebook page. It is hard to guess how many borders in all have called this space their home, but it is most likely pushing one hundred. The beautiful history and heritage will be shared with many more thanks to Brian's restoration work.

Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Bungalow

Inspiration: Bungalow style itself. Brian researched as much as he possibly could to remain true to the structure. He also pulled from his drafting skills and love of architecture.

Favorite Element: The exterior paint colors. They are inspired by a trip Brian took to Pasadena and are unique to the Northwest. Well they were until three neighbors asked to use his paint chips.

Biggest Challenge: Finding a stopping point. Once Brian started to take the old house apart, he kept finding new projects. He finally drew the line, but still talks about what his next project on the house will be.

Proudest DIY: The day he added the last tile to the kitchen. I am surprised it wasn't the day he finished installing the main support beam of the dining room and the house did not fall.

Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen. It was in complete shambles when Brian first purchased the house. So his slogan was if he had to gut it he might as well splurge a bit too.

Best Advice: Research, research, research. Also take your time. The house is not going anywhere. With this theory it took Brian three years of full-time work to complete the project. The end result was worth it however.

Resources of Note:
Frequent trips to Southeast Asia, vintage shops and relatives supplied most all furniture. Paint colors are from Benjamin Moore. All hardware and Kitchen lighting is supplied from Rejuvenation. Switch plates are from Anthropologie.

Thanks, Brian!

Images: Image 1 - 3: Brian Naubert. All others: Katy Nida

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