Rethinking {upper} kitchen cabinets

Would you ever go sans upper cabinets in your kitchen? Did you just think to yourself ~ what is this chick talking about?! But  really, think about it, it’s a string of boxes hanging on the wall, floating over that precious counter space… and those top shelves are always so hard to reach! You don’t see a lot of kitchens without upper cabinets, but I’m totally in love with this look and can’t wait to have a space that I can design this way. It might be a little tough to go this design route if you are tight on space, and using vertical…

Minimalist or Maximalist… style, my struggles with purging, and finding balance

It’s super crazy at work these days and we are making {very} slow progress at home purging and combining our things while trying to keep miss Penny from jumping everywhere post knee surgery {we kind of stink at that}. Life these days is chaotic and messy but I’m {mostly} loving it. At first the purging of stuff was pretty easy, but I’ve hit a point where I’m starting to struggle with getting rid of things. Fear of regretting letting something go, feeling obligated to keep things just for sentimental reasons, or possibly needing it later… the list is long. I’ve…

Oak Park renovation ~ progress house tour!

Rebecca and Ryan have made a ton of progress on their house, and I’m excited to share a new video tour with you today! Right now it might not look like they’ve made as much progress as they really have, since all of the kitchen cabinets are still in boxes in the living room, but they have come a looong way since they started, and the project is just about at the point where all the sudden you blink and the space looks almost finished. I’ve even heard whispers that they are even scheduling movers for the end of the month!…

A small project makes a big difference in this Logan Square house!

Last year we met with some clients, Carla and Andrew, who had bought a fixer upper back in the winter of 2014 and were just about ready to sell and get started on a new project. They wanted our input on a few potential projects and timing so that they could really get the house in tip top shape, and at it’s peak value, to be able to maximize their investment when they were ready to sell. Carla and Andrew are awesome people, and they are smart when it comes to their house.  They also have a killer sense of…

Some spaces are better to renovate while you live in them…

A couple of weeks ago I found the most amazing place that had just come on the market. It hasn’t been sold in 40 years! It’s a massive condo in a vintage three flat and is a massive 2400 square feet on one floor. A sprawling three bedroom two bath space with tall ceilings and gorgeous original trim, it even has a picture rails in the dining room {be still my heart}! And of course it needs a lot of updating {that’s part of what makes it so great, in my opinion anyway!}, but has all the vintage charm that…

Adding color to the kitchen

Remember a few decades ago when everyone was doing ‘themes’ in their kitchens? Chickens, cherries, gingham… you’d pick something you love and then fill up the room with dishes, kitchen towels, plates, a nice wallpaper border to top it all off. It was bad design heaven. Thankfully that trend is long gone… When I design a space I tend to gravitate toward more minimal, classic designs, and like to keep things clean and simple. When it comes to my kitchen I like to have as many things put away as possible. I don’t like to have lots of stuff on…

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…

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…