Scott and I always joke that our favorite room in the house is our entryway. Although it’s not your typical ‘room,’ it has been our biggest labor of love! Our home is 130-years-old, and at one point in that history, the stairs in our entryway had been painted brown and red. At another point, they were covered up in maroon carpet (I’m guessing it was the ’70s on that one!). And when we bought the home and started the next chapter, we spent years restoring those stairs! The carpet was ripped up, the treads were smoothed over, sanded and finally painted black and white. They ultimately received several thin coats of floor grade polyurethane to prevent the [...]
This January, Scott and I will be welcoming a baby girl to our family! For the last handful of months, we’ve been working on the design for her nursery, but our biggest challenge has been around the size of the room. As is typical in an old Chicago home, the room is narrow and long; it’s no more than 7′ wide and 12′ long. Our goal for the room is to be able to fit a crib, shelving storage, a glider and changing table, and of course, we want it to feel comfortable, too. Luckily, we love small space problem solving, and we knew that in order to fit in all those main pieces, we’d need to borrow space from an unlikely space – the closet! We wanted to add a [...]
Over the last couple of years, Scott and I have made huge strides in improving our small Chicago backyard. What was once a soggy patch of weeds and grass was ultimately turned into a relaxing retreat – our own little slice of peace and quiet in the city. Although the space has come a very long way, we weren’t quite ready to call the space ‘done,’ that is, not until we added a dose of landscape lighting! In my mind, landscape lighting is a job that would be costly, time-consuming and most importantly, confusing. Well, the good news is that it’s surprisingly simple, it only took us one afternoon to complete, and we spent less than $300 to get the job done. [...]
For the last couple of months, all of our focus – every day, evening and weekend! – has been on the renovation of our home’s garden apartment. Let me explain. We live in a typical Chicago two-flat, meaning, our home is divided into two apartments. While we live on the main floors, there is a nicely sized two-bedroom apartment on the lowest level, otherwise known as the garden unit! When we moved into our home 4 years ago, little was done to the garden unit aside from a good scrubbing and fresh paint. It was rented to a quiet couple, and after several years, they have decided to move on.
We took their move as an opportunity to completely renovate the garden unit from head [...]
Several years ago, Scott and I stained our front porch a soft grey-blue. The porch was pressure treated wood that had never been stained, and we opted for an opaque stain so that it would give the illusion of a painted on look. Considering our Chicago location, we’ve been impressed with how well it has held up, despite a few worn areas that receive the most traffic. That said, we always felt that the soft gray was a little too soft and a little too blue. With a handful of years on the books, it was definitely time to reapply to maintain the health of our porch, but this time, we opted for a slightly different hue! I’d like to share with you how we reapplied stain to our [...]
This summer, we will have lived in our current home for 4 years, and for the entirety of our time here, we have been in the midst of a renovation! The day we closed on our house, the questions from friends and family began. How long do you think it will take to renovate your home?, they asked. This was typically followed up with, If anyone can do it, you guys can!
Our house was in rough shape when we bought it. The floors were bowed, ceilings were poorly supported and more windows leaked in a rainstorm than not. The walls were bright orange and damaged with holes, staples, and tape, and the entire second floor had an unforgettable scent that had us scrubbing the walls with [...]