The Seattle Vintage Apartment Project is a database of pre-1940s apartments in Seattle. It includes over 300 buildings and has information about their age, architects, and the units inside.

The SVAP started in January 2019 when I began to look for a new apartment. I knew I wanted to live in a vintage apartment and I checked Craigslist every day for new buildings. I started to seriously research the buildings and kept an Excel spreadsheet of my favorites. It quickly outgrew itself and needed a much more permanent and scalable home.

I decided to build an Android client that would be backed by a Firebase Cloudstore database. Using the app I could explore existing apartments, add new apartment buildings or units, and search through my database.

How it’s made

The SVAP is integrated with Google Maps and the Places API to present the map and to allow users to look up addresses and find their coordinates. I used SeatGeek’s Places Autocomplete Textview to display the Places API results.

In order to search through the SVAP I integrated the project with Algolia’s Instant Search product. I index my database using a Firebase Cloud Function (as described in this post) and then used Algolia’s Instant Search Android SDK to add a search view and search results to my app.

New entries are posted up to the Firebase Cloudstore and any images are hosted in Firebase.

Tech Stack



Future plans

I would love to create a website to allow anyone to view the Seattle Vintage Apartment Project. For now the Android client is the only way to add new data and view the apartments.