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Name: Brooke Fitts, with my partner, and my 10-year-old daughter. We also live with our two dogs, Marley and Otis.
Location: White Center, Seattle
Size: 957 square feet
Type of Home: Two-bedroom, one-bathroom mid-century house
Years lived in: 1 year, owned
I found my home on Redfin! I had a great real estate agent, but had a clear idea of what I wanted and didn’t want so kept a roving eye on the market. As a freelance creative on a budget (and buying independently and solo), I was terrified of trying to enter the highly competitive Seattle housing market and being able to find something I actually loved. There were nine offers on my home, and I wasn’t even the highest offer but I was able to snag it because of flexible terms and agreeing to a two-month rent-back for the prior owners.
I love that it’s an original mid-century home and that it has incredible unobstructed views of the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier right from the front yard. The whole front of the house is windows, so there’s tons of views and light. I also love that the kitchen is beautiful to be in (as I love to cook) and also has great natural light and tons of counter space.
Time at home is spent working often from the computer at home (I’m a self-employed photographer), gardening, cooking, reading, and lots of evenings by the fire outside and movie nights inside.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A mix of modern and vintage with a focus on hand-crafted and natural materials. My decor ethos is to surround myself with mementos and objects that elicit beauty, quality, and memories. My partner jokes that the decor style is a pleasant Cold War between the minimalist (me) and the collector (him).
Inspiration: A personal art collection, books, music/records, tons of plants, things made with beauty and craftsmanship.
Favorite Element: I love that the front of the house gazes out to snow-capped mountains and that the backyard is completely private and secluded… but that I’m a 15-minute drive from downtown Seattle. I also love the spacious kitchen, and that we have a stand-apart studio garden shed that can be used as an additional guest room and also houses my partner’s extensive comic book collection.
Biggest Challenge: Buying a home as a self-employed photographer during a pandemic! The market is fierce and I bought this home without any help (other than the bank!) Applying for a loan as a self-employed person isn’t easy. And I closed on April 16 2020, when it felt as if the world was ending and we were in deep lockdown. All of my income dissipated and I remember being terrified of being able to hang on to this new home purchase. I also remember wondering if this was either the dumbest or smartest thing I’d ever done.
Proudest DIY: We really wanted to dive into gardening without a ton of space. We ordered these cool modular raised beds from Vego Garden and created space to grow food. We have five beds that are full of herbs and vegetables, and one bed dedicated just to flowers. We also converted a walled dirt strip into a pollinator garden along the rock wall in the backyard. Because it’s a small lot, we also knocked down an outdated carport to create more yard space.
Biggest Indulgence: Hands down my La Marzocco Home espresso machine. I coveted that thing from the moment I was introduced to it. And it’s been 100 percent worth it! Every single morning I thank my lucky stars I get daily coffee from such an amazing machine. I ended up pitching it back to La Marzocco to do a shoot of it in my home, and got some of it paid back retroactively from shooting for them.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? It’s a small home (for three people and two dogs), so we converted a stand apart backyard garden shed into a guest room/movie room and library for my partner’s extensive book collection. It’s like an extra room across the yard.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love our Vego Garden raised beds and Novogratz lawn furniture (powder coated for those long wet Seattle winters!) I have several area rugs I purchased on work trips to Istanbul, Turkey that I just adore. A vintage poster map of NYC’s subway reminds me of the years I lived there. I got pet portraits made of our two dogs as gifts for my partner and our growing art collection.
Our home also has some cherished family heirlooms that have a lot of sentimental value. A hand-painted family business sign, great-grandma’s cookie jar, and the comic spinner rack in my daughter’s room was the same one my partner bought comics from as a child.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: We swapped out a side-by-side washer dryer in exchange for a stackable one, and created an additional shelving/storage space out of it. I also have a personal rule that for every new thing bought or brought into the house, something old has to go. This goes for shoes, clothing, bedding, dishes etc. It’s an easy way to make sure the house doesn’t get overrun with “things” since we’re low on space!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Mix your decor with personal items to make a space yours! Plants, art, music, books, family heirlooms, photographs, and items from travels. I also love Instagram, Pinterest, and decor sites for inspiration.
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.