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I love Architecture, and I’m obsessed with renovations and bringing an outdated or neglected space back to life.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…

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…

Color is the New Neutral

I’m noticing a disturbing trend lately… I think it’s been going on for a while now and I just haven’t noticed, but an alarming number of homes are filled with absolutely horrible poo colored brown couches. Please. Stop this behavior immediately. Be better than a poo brown couch. I’m not really sure how anyone can look at that and think that it’s a good choice, forget trying to figure out why a furniture company would even offer it as an option. Ugh. Maybe poo brown is supposed to be neutral? Maybe not. The great news is that these days, in design…

What I’m doing with all the stuff I’m getting rid of…

As I’m cleaning out my space I’m experiencing a strong desire for my things to go directly {or as close to directly as possible} to someone who really needs or wants them. One thing I never liked about just dropping off a huge pile at the Salvation Army is that everything is being re-sold. And I always feel overwhelmed in those spaces, it’s literally everything piled into one big warehouse and you have to go hunting for one specific thing. It just isn’t my favorite. I really want as many of my things to go directly into the hands of their…

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…

Front Door Refresh Ideas ~ Wreaths, Door Knockers, and Door Mats Galore

I always love walking up to someone’s door and seeing a beautiful wreath, or a great door knocker. Doors and entryways don’t always get the love and attention that they deserve. They are people’s first physical interaction with your home, it’s a great chance to make a warm, welcoming first impression. There are a few simple elements to having a strong, statement making and memorable entrance. A solid door in a great color makes a strong foundation, and entry lights are the perfect frame. But the fun finishing touches are a great door knocker, and a fun door mat and…

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…