Wood trim: to paint or not to paint, that is the question…

When it comes to renovations, there’s one topic that people always have strong feelings about… whether to paint the vintage wood trim and built-ins… People generally have strong opinions and are solidly on one side or the other of this debate. It’s either fine no matter what, go crazy and have fun… or you are the devil incarnate if you even think about defiling a vintage treasure in such an offensive way. I might be the rare bird who doesn’t have strong feelings one way or the other. Well, I take that back, I’m actually really conflicted about whether to…

Video House Tour of the Oak Park Foursquare!

If you don’t follow my Haven by Design Facebook page you probably missed my LIVE video tour of Rebecca & Ryan’s new house, which is still very much in-progress. If you want a real live peek into a renovation by real humans, with full time jobs and kids and dogs, just like the rest of us {who might be thinking a renovation is too much to take on} then click here and see where they are now and learn a little more about renovations and as-is sales! I’ll share more mid-renovation pics this week, until then, have a great Sunday!…

A soda pop factory gets a stunning makeover

I love Architecture, and I’m obsessed with renovations and bringing an outdated or neglected space back to life. Recently I came across an absolutely jaw dropping space that just sold that I’m excited to share today. I’m so sad I didn’t make it over to see the space before it sold {in a whiplash inducing three days at just over $1 million}, maybe I can make friends with the new owners and get an invite over for dinner, ha! Too often people think that updates have to be very neutral and safe so that their space is appealing to the…

The dream loft that is kind of a nightmare…

Today it’s totally gloomy and rainy here in Chicago. And of course I’m in a funk and if you want to talk about energy… energy is when you are randomly in a bad mood for no reason.. or you wake up with ferocious back pain out of nowhere… and you just can’t seem to snap out of it. So I thought what better topic to talk about than our place that we are so not in love with. Because that’s energy too, lol. My manfriend moved from his amazing bro-partment last summer and I helped him find his new place. I…

A peek inside a BIG renovation, and talking about buying ‘as-is’

Happy Friday! I got a fun surprise this week, some great friends and clients of mine are letting me share a peek inside the {big} renovation of their new house in Oak Park! {!!!} Ryan and Rebecca are a contractor/architect husband and wife team who both have backgrounds in Interior Design as well. And they’ve been around the block when it comes to renovations, having already done a full gut-renovation on their first house, and two other renovations on subsequent investment properties. I’m a little tired just telling you all of that! Renovations can be a big deal, even small…

Lots to be thankful for… even when things get messy

Usually November and December are a little slower, and it’s a much needed time to slow down, recoup from a busy year, and maybe catch up on some neglected projects and forgotten to-do list items before we ramp up again in January. But this year these months are busier than ever, both with work and with changes in the rest of my life. As I look back on this year there is so much to be thankful for. I felt like last year was huge with my job change, but this year everything else in my life has changed, and…

There’s More Than One Kind of Renovation

I’ve always imagined buying an old old house that needed a complete gut renovation and diving in headfirst. I’ve never really considered any other kind of project. It would be an old house that hadn’t been updated or kept up for decades, and I would overhaul the whole space. That’s a pretty big project to undertake, even for an architect. And it’s a huge project to undertake as your first go round renovating a space on your own. That is most certainly still a dream of mine, and it will happen, but I think that dream is a little further…

Weekend Agenda ~ Open House Chicago

Happy Friday! As I sit at my computer trying to write, and think of anything else I could possibly come up with to avoid actually going through everything in my apartment to do a seriously overdue purge of my space, I remembered that Open House Chicago is this weekend! Stop. Everything. If you have any spare time this weekend, check out Open House Chicago. Once a year, a plethora of spaces are open to the public that are usually off limits. There is a mind boggling array of types of buildings, in so many different neighborhoods it’s actually impossible to…

Real Estate ~ The Weirdest Investment

I don’t really think real estate is a weird investment, not in a bad way anyway. But I do think it’s unique and unusual in the way that it’s our largest investment, and it’s really the only one that we can actually touch, feel, be inside, experience, and grow emotionally attached to. I mean, I guess you can be emotionally attached to your stock portfolio, but definitely not in the same way that people get attached to their house. People’s homes are their safety, their shelter, their haven from the outside world. It’s only natural that we have an emotional connection…

If I could buy anything ~ vintage highrise edition

There are so many amazing places that I would happily buy. So welcome to the first of who knows how many ~ If I could buy anything ~ posts. . . today’s debut edition is all about the vintage highrise {drool!!} Guys, Chicago has some AHMAZING vintage buildings, but one specific type that I’ve always been completely crazy in love with are the vintage high-rises. Seriously, breathtaking, stop you in your tracks beautiful, outside and in. The rooms are huge, I take that back, they are normal sized, you know, from the days when you had a dining room and a living room… and…