The couple live in the middle of three units. Their neighbors to the east are their architects, Tiffany Bowie and Joe Malboeuf of Malboeuf Bowie Architects.
After Sanjin Alajbegovic graduated from pharmacy school, he and his partner, Chris Thompson, started talking about life after renting.
Not that their Capitol Hill apartment wasn’t great, and meticulously managed, but it was time, they thought, to buy in, commit.
Thompson is a house kind of a guy. Alajbegovic is more of a condo person. Taken together, their answer was obvious: a town house.
“We were in the process of looking at condos, and we saw this at an open house,” says Thompson, seated on the living room sofa of their conjoined Central District home. “It was by far and away the best thing we saw.”
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Well, you couldn’t forget it, that’s for sure. On a street of older houses with big porches, and a small brown brick apartment on the corner, this one is not like the others. Tall and slender, wrapped in black metal siding, the large windows of the streetfront unit are wrapped in prefinished and warm-stained cedar siding cut in the shape of the letter C, large and off-angle, a bit of sensual surrealism fun (surrealism: “the irrational juxtaposition of images.”) Yet somehow it is also rational. The entry level is defined by brick the color of latte foam. And, yet? The place, like a contemporary row house, fits in rather politely.
The couple live in the middle of three units. Their neighbors to the east are their architects, Tiffany Bowie and Joe Malboeuf of Malboeuf Bowie Architecture.
Bowie reports that although Alajbegovic and Thompson’s unit was the most challenging to design, stuck in the middle like that, it is also her favorite for its winding steel and wood staircase and indoor planter (outdoors comes indoors in a tight space). Both elements, along with high ceilings, helped to create large volumes and lure light, making living spaces feel larger. In reality, the home is 1,440 square feet, with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.
The stair tower does most of the heavy lifting at Unit B. Stairs snake their way up four floors from front door to rooftop deck, winding and binding spaces like a strand of structural DNA. Steel railings make a contemporary statement. The Doug fir beam stringers add warmth. (The payoff at the top are exposed cedar beams that run from the stairwell to the rooftop overhang outside.) Windows all along the way allow natural light into the home on each level.
The reward for the climb? The large rooftop deck with room to host friends, a succulent green roof, small garden space and a right proper territorial view (Lake Washington, Bellevue, Mount Rainier).
The main living spaces are on the second floor. The kitchen has a white marble tile backsplash in a herringbone pattern. Also there, white quartz counters and Abodian custom cabinets, gray laminate up and walnut veneer below. The look is quiet and rich. Which is good, because all is on full view from the sofa: And a long window over the kitchen sink, handily also serves those seated in the living room.
Alajbegovic and Thompson dressed their first home with Blue Dot furnishings from Area 51 on nearby Capitol Hill, the master bed a contemporary Ikea piece.
Thompson loves the location of their home, which also has parking (ever more desirable): “It feels really quiet, but it’s four blocks from Skillet (Diner) and all the crazy bars on Capitol Hill.” Its modest size is easy to manage: “The square footage is perfect. We don’t want more.” And the whole package? “I’m just still amazed we were able to get this quality in this location.”
Alajbegovic’s favorite part?
“The whole package.”