Interiorssneak peeks

A Student’s Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer

by Garrett Fleming

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

It’s only fitting that an architecture student live in a home rich in history and character, right? Wrong! That’s a mere pipe dream for most young adults. Dylan Tibbetts of Eugene, OR, however, got extremely lucky. Three years ago, one of his classmates happened to be moving out of this vintage apartment near campus right as Dylan was leaving dorm life behind. Much to his astonishment, Dylan had landed the apartment he’d always wanted much sooner than he ever thought possible.

Hexagonal bathroom tiles, ornamental casework and leaded glass are just a few of the space’s early-20th-century details. And each is further amplified by Dylan’s distinct style, a look that’s a little sentimental and a lot vintage. A handsome Steelcase desk, for example, graces his home office and pennants from Dylan’s favorite destinations tie a bow on the bedroom’s design. If that weren’t enough, his kitchen gets a personal touch thanks to a dining table he’s lovingly cobbled together with a basic pine topper and $10 base.

Without a doubt, outfitting the space was easy and enjoyable for decor enthusiast Dylan. Working with its unique layout, on the other hand, was much more challenging. Immobile radiators and half walls interrupt the apartment’s flow and presented Dylan with an odd task: create dedicated rooms within a pretty open space. Dylan isn’t one to back down, though. Keep scrolling to check out how he’s risen to the challenge, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Brad A. Phillips

Image above: The credenza to the left of frame is the first of two ways Dylan uses furniture to distinguish different areas of his home from one another. The pennants hanging above his bed represent places particularly important to him.

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A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

The dining space is Dylan’s favorite room. Oftentimes, he sits here on the bench watching the sunset with a cocktail.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

Dylan at the Tulip table he put together with inexpensive finds.

Since spaces like this can be hard to come by, I want to really make it shine and [highlight] how special it really is.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

Vintage finds complement the retro dining set.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

“I love the kitchen because of all the vintage character it retains: the huge Standard cast iron sink and drain board, the ice boxes built into the wall of cabinets, and the electrical box, etc. It’s just the right size for me to make a meal for myself in the evening or brew some coffee in the morning,” Dylan says.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

“I designed and built this chair in Denmark this last summer (while studying furniture design), and it’s one of my most prized possessions. It’s heavily influenced by many Danish furniture designers, particularly Børge Mogensen. The frame is of solid maple with a seat and back of Irish canvas held to the frame with tanned leather belts and brass buckles. I designed it specifically for my small apartment.” – Dylan Tibbetts

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

Just like his credenza did for the bedroom, this desk helps distinguish the office from the rest of Dylan’s home. Its throwback style fits perfectly with the architectural details of the space.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

Dylan greatly admires design with symmetry, so this display case was a natural fit for his home.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

“What I love most about my home is the historic character I was able to build my own style upon.” – Dylan Tibbitts

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

An old valet chair and mirror make getting ready a breeze.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

Beyond the closet lies Dylan’s bathroom, a space with some of the most interesting features in the apartment. The towel rack conveniently hangs just above the radiator so towels are warm when guests need them, and the enviable hardware is milk glass.

A Student's Well-Maintained Vintage Charmer, Design*Sponge

The apartment’s floor plan.


Bedding – Target

Rug – Urban Outfitters

Living Room
Waste bin – Schoolhouse Electric Co.
Wall boxes – Target
Large painting, seagull watercolor – Tom Allen
Leaf print – Isabella Media
NYC cityscape – Yuri
Amsterdam print – Typique
Pathos print – Martha Wassweiler
Tree print – Josh Krute
Telephone wire print – Brittney West

Storage pouf, shower curtain – Target
All paintings in photo – Dylan Tibbetts

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  • This is such a wonderful space, and I love what you’ve done with it.
    As a retired architecture student…I’m jealous!!

  • Beautiful space! All the great little finds add so much to the space. So much warmth and feels very welcoming for such a small space. Can’t wait to see more interior design from you Dylan!

  • WOW!! This apartment is incredibly inspiring. So many beautiful, decorative objects and character. Those old windows tho…

    • Thank you! The lamps are vintage Tensor reading lamps I got from an antique mall in Mt. Angel, Oregon. They were originally designed with a specific bright white bulb for reading.

  • where is your night table from? I’ve been looking for something similar for forever!

    • I got my typewriter stand from an antique shop somewhere in Oregon quite a few years ago. Antique shops are a pretty good place to find them, and maybe at a thrift shop, occasionally.

  • I love this! Definitely something we don’t see enough of is interior design by and for students. Thanks for sharing!

  • I am a 30-something, married homeowner and more than a little jealous of his student apartment. Well done, well done on a thoughtful and inspiring interior. Truly inspiring! Can I ask where the bathroom trash pail is from? I love the whimsical design of it!

    • Thank you so much! The bin is actually a swing top receptacle for sanitary napkins, and while I got mine at a college co-op dorm sale, you can still get them from office or janitorial supply companies.

  • Wow, what an incredible job you’ve done! Impeccable eye and taste – I love when an apartment’s decorating budget becomes imperceptible because the quality of the design is so good. I hope you’re pursuing interiors as a career, in addition to architecture!

    • Thank you! I am actually an Interior Architecture Student, so I will be, and actually currently am, working in the interior design field.

  • Most of the idiosyncratic living spaces here in Eugene have been demolished in favor of bigger boxes. Good on ya, Dylan, for treasuring one of the quirky but special spaces. I love that you source items from antique stores as well as Target (where I personally feel they have great design at a reasonable price). Your chair is a work of art in itself and your paintings reflect your distinctive style. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that there is beauty here still.

    • Thank you so much! Because I am living in this very rare historic apartment in Eugene, I really wanted to make the space as special as I possibly could.

  • The credenza that he did for the bedroom is PERFECT! I agree that its throwback style fits perfectly with the architectural details of the space.

  • Looks incredible! I’m a student who’s always looking for ideas to improve my space and there’s so much great stuff here!! Wow :-)

  • The “display case” in photo 7 is actually called a “California Job Case,” which is used in traditional letterpress to house metal or wood type, keeping it organized in order of which letters are used most frequently (e, t, r, u, m, for example, go in the largest spaces) so the typesetter can reach them and set a line of type quickly, easily, and without thought. And in this placement it’s actually hung upside down on the wall ;)

  • I’ve been searching for a tulip dining table for a few months now. How did you put yours together??

  • Dylan, this is the most gorgeous apartment I’ve ever seen. I’m a fan. Do you have a personal blog/instagram with more photos of the space? Also where did you get your pennants?