Light and Airy 1920s Seattle Apartment

Betsy Greenman said goodbye to her must-have record the minute she laid eyes on a gorgeous Craftsman-style apartment in Seattle’s coveted Capitol Hill area. “I wanted a garage, a security building, an outside deck, in-unit laundry plus something light and airy,” she states. “Everything except light and airy dropped off the list.”

While the expansive ceilings, exquisite natural lighting, hand-crafted wood information and enchanting 1920s buildings are pluses, Greenman is constantly combating the building’s old fittings and quirks. “it is a fantastic old building with circuitous hallways and pipes labyrinths,” she states. “Another owner once remarked that these homes are not so much apartments since they are an experience. Make your must-have record — and be ready to be surprised.”

in a Glance
Who lives here: Betsy Greenman
Location: Capitol Hill area in Seattle
Size: 1,000 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bath

Sarah Greenman

Greenman’s corner unit consists of two stories with a living area, den, kitchen and bathroom on the first floor, and a loft bedroom, adjoining office and closet on the top floor. The main living area has a tiny footprint, but makes up for it in overhead space. “I love when people enter the space from the hall and are awestruck from the living area windows and ceiling height,” she states.

The furniture is largely handed down from preceding generations. A beloved cedar chest once belonged to her grandmother and the armchair was pulled out of her parents’ Vermont barn and reupholstered. “I guess my decorating style could be known as ‘diverse ancestor,'” she says.

Sarah Greenman

The most commanding feature of the apartment is an huge skylight in the living area. “I replaced an old apartment skylight using all the domed opening,” she states. “It was a massive expense, but well worthwhile.”

Greenman interviewed a range of glass firms who were not able to install the skylight owing to its weight and size. “The company that I went with specifically crafted the window to fit the space,” she states. “The size of this glass was smaller than the opening an additional box framework was fashioned to accommodate the measurements.”

Due to the broad temperature ranges from her home, Greenman was not able to maintain a conventional piano. “I also felt stressed about playing because noise carries in the building,” she states. Greenman invested in a Yamaha GranTouch GT1. It does not have to be tuned or protected against temperature fluctuations. “It’s great because I’ve headphones that plug into the piano therefore the one person who disturbs me perform is me,” she states.

Piano: Sherman-Clay; sofa mattress: JC Penney; nesting tables: Dania

Sarah Greenman

Sarah Greenman

“Everyone calls my home ‘The tree home’ for obvious reasons,” Greenman states. “It’s truly amazing to be surrounded by all this greenery.”

The building, constructed in 1923 as an apartment hotel, dropped into disrepair from the late ’70s. It was subsequently rehabilitated and transformed into 14 apartments.

Sarah Greenman

The living area opens into a small dining room and galley kitchen. Greenman painted a green accent wall to delineate the room and draw the eye upwards. “No matter the weather, it is amazing to sit down in the space,” she states.

Paint: Benjamin Moore Regal

Sarah Greenman

A romantic den with beamed ceilings lies just from the central family room and supplies Greenman with a cozy location for reading, watching TV or entertaining with her grandchildren. To conserve space, Greenman uses a leather ottoman instead of the conventional coffee table.

The flat design is completely open and without doors. Greenman hung a teal brocade curtain from the den’s entrance to make a bit more solitude.

Paint trimming: Eggplant, Benjamin Moore; Novel instances: Dania; comforter: Lamps Plus

Sarah Greenman

Warm tones of natural timber encase the small galley kitchen. The most vexing design dilemma Greenman struck was putting her furniture to the apartment. Her home is a three-floor walkup with a great deal of turns and twists along the way.

“When I needed to replace the refrigerator I presumed measuring the space would be enough,” she states. “When the new refrigerator arrived we could not get it into the building. I moved back to Sears using a tape measure and downsized.”

Sarah Greenman

The red glass pieces are out of Blenko Glass in West Virginia, in which Greenman lived prior to moving to Seattle from the early ’80s. The blue pieces were presents from her son and daughter-in-law. She loves having them out where they catch sun.

Sarah Greenman

Antique furnishings and family heirlooms — like the quilt on the bed, which has been a 25th wedding anniversary gift for her grandparents — fill out the vivid attic bedroom. The secretary was inherited by a great aunt and the marble top dresser came from the Vermont estate of a family friend. The chest of drawers has been initially purchased by Greenman’s parents for her childhood nursery, and it’s been with her ever since.

The wooden captain’s bed was assembled in the unit from the prior owner. Greenman purchased it for $1 at the flat sale contract. “It will probably never leave,” she states.

Sarah Greenman

Greenman states, “I love this bedroom. It’s like sleeping in the clouds. But the biggest obstacle is that the four-floor climb with laundry on the ground floor at a shared laundry center.” The quilt on the wall was made by her paternal grandmother.

When Greenman transferred into her home in 1996, she could see Mount Rainier from her south-facing bedroom window. The trees have grown and block her mountain perspective. “In winter, once the leaves have dropped from the trees, I could sometimes catch a glimpse of this mountain,” she states.

Sarah Greenman

Both the office and bedroom open into the living area below and enjoy natural lighting from the windows that are adjoining.

Sarah Greenman

Greenman, who recently retired but works from home as a consultant, turned into a corner of her office to some guest room. A framed photograph of Glacier National Park, taken on one of Greenman’s trips, hangs above the daybed. Two CD towers turned in their side serve as low-lying bookshelves at the bottom of the slanted ceiling.

Paint: Benjamin Moore; area rug: Carpet Liquidators

Sarah Greenman

Greenman sits in her favourite room close to a window full of green tree limbs.

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