Our New Home Tour – The Before

Drum roll… our new home tour! I’m so excited to open our virtual doors to what will become our new home this week.

First, how we came to get this home!…

I have to show you this because it truly is crazy. We saw the listing come on with a price reduction; I saw it was a great location where we wanted. I quickly scanned the listing, double checked room sizes, taxes, square footage, etc., and once I realized everything checked out, I excitedly ran to Dan with my laptop, showed it to him, and said, “should we put in an offer?” Hah he couldn’t believe it given how picky I am. So we basically knew right away.

We still had our realtor set up a virtual home tour via Facetime because of the stay at home order in place from COVID19. Again, after that, we were even more ready to put in an offer. 

But our realtor asked, are we sure we want to submit an offer sight unseen? It was easy enough to arrange for me to go see it alone in person the next morning. No one else was in the home; the selling agent stayed outside. All of the doors of the house were open or ajar so I literally touched nothing and wore a mask as I went through and took these photos. As soon as I was out, I called Dan immediately and said, it’s perfect, even better in person–tell Lauren we’d like to submit an offer! Within 24 hours we were under contract, 50 hours from first seeing the listing. The next day was the inspection and Dan went to see it in person then. He loved it, too, obviously.

As you can see from these screenshots from the Facetime tour, it was pretty easy for us to see that it was a lovely home and had everything we wanted in terms of space and function. The virtual tour just allowed us to get a clear sense of the floorplan, where closets were, confirmed there was no mudroom, and we were able to ask questions. It was a great experience and I honestly could have made the offer based on it alone! Seeing it in person just made me more excited.

 

A few of my favorite things about the home:

– the obvious: the floorplan and rooms the home has is exactly what we were looking for and we didn’t think we’d be able to find it at a price we liked that would still allow for us to make updates

– the millwork throughout the house is exceptional, which is coincidentally one of the reasons we got our current condo. I also love it in this home! The crown molding on the first floor… drool. And quite a few rooms have wainscoting which I love. The home was a custom build originally so the original owners did a lot of really nice finishes.

– the inset cabinetry in the kitchen

– ceiling height + lots of natural light

– open kitchen/breakfast nook/family room – a lot of the older homes we looked at didn’t have this and I really want that open space for our daily living and entertaining

– second floor laundry room (this was pretty high on my wish list)

– the master bath

 

I mean I love basically everything (I’m so excited!), but if I had to narrow it down, those are some of my favorite features.

 

The things on our wishlist that we had to “give up:”

None of these items are a big deal at all so I don’t mean to say they are, but a few of you asked this question so I want to share.

– having a mudroom was pretty high on our house hunting wish list because the functionality is amazing with kiddos. This home doesn’t have a mudroom. That’s basically the only thing it doesn’t have that we were hoping for.

– the home has a front facing garage which isn’t my favorite look; but again, this is so trivial and just an architectural preference and truly doesn’t matter. I’m excited the garage is attached with all the bad weather Chicago has so it’s also a win.

– the lot the home is on is pretty small; it’s an average size lot for these suburbs that are close to towns and train stops (versus being farther out in subdivisions or something like that), but I had really wanted a big wide lot. But those are pretty hard to find plus they’re usually considered double lots and have double the taxes.

– I wish the backyard was a bit bigger but it’s big enough for the boys, and we are very close to a park so again, not a big deal.

That’s truly it!

 

RENOVATING/PROJECTS:

As I’ve mentioned, there are a few projects we plan on tackling in this home. As you’ll see, the home is perfectly lovely and no, nothing needs to get changed. But interior design has been an interest of mine since I was a child so yes, we plan to make updates to make this our own and give it a fresh look to some of the more dated finishes.

The first thing we are doing, and we’re doing it before we even move in, is getting the hardwood floors refinished. The floors are Brazilian Cherry and finished to be very red in appearance. This look was super popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but I’m really not a fan of red anything unless its Christmas time, so we are having them stained much darker to diminish the red.

The guy we hired has done this before so we’re excited for how it will turn out! But I called around a few companies to price it out, and apparently this is a very common request.

photo via Oakley Home Builders

So that is starting literally as soon as we can get to the house after closing. And we’ll move in a week later.

 

Alrighty. Without further ado… welcome to our home!

 

FIRST FLOOR

 

The Office

Dan and I both work from home a lot for our jobs so we will have two work areas, this being one of them. Remember my lovely desk we had to move out when we turned Charlie’s nursery into an office? It’s been living safely at my dad’s house, and now it will go in here. I love the wainscoting and French doors and two windows. No set design plans other than changing the lighting and either painting or wallpapering the top half of the walls. TBD.

Oh but you better believe I’ll rearrange at Christmas time to put a tree in the front window. I love driving around and seeing Christmas trees in people’s homes, and pulling up to my own home and seeing a tree in the window, so I will gladly do that for all of the other me’s in the world.

 

Formal Living Room

I am so so excited for this space. Next to the office is the formal living room, which we learned in our current condo, we have zero use for. If it doesn’t have a TV or kids’ toys, we likely aren’t sitting there. Sad but true. (I prefer to read in bed.) So per my sister’s recommendation that while the boys are so little, we are going to make this a first floor play room. We obviously can’t have them in the basement alone while we’re cooking dinner, so the goal is for this to be the “pretty” playroom–kind of like Henry’s current play nook. I have a design plan and it’s going to be good. Will share soon! And all the Little Tikes plastic toys will go into the basement which will 100% become our personal recreational center for the boys.

First Floor Play Room Style Inspiration:

via Pottery Barn Kids

This is obviously a much older kids’ space but I love the look! Muted colors to reflect the first floor decor but it will obviously be a kids’ space. Their books and toys will bring in tons of color.

 

Dining Room

Across from the living room/soon-to-be-playroom is the formal dining room. Again no big plans other than putting what we already have in there. I love the molding. It’s a great size and it has this beautiful butler’s pantry that leads to the kitchen. Cannot wait to have holiday dinners here!

I don’t love the shape of the tray ceiling, but maybe with a new light fixture it’ll work? I can’t tell. Plan on using our current table and end chairs, but the white wishbone chairs are going into the breakfast nook so we’ll need new side chairs. Haven’t found anything yet since I’m not sure what style we want. I’ll have a better feel once we are in there. We’ll probably hang the Paris map in here also.

 

Family Room / Breakfast Nook / Kitchen

The back of the house is basically one large open space which is exactly what we wanted. The hallway leads you back into the family room which is next to the breakfast nook and kitchen.

The family room has a few features I love–notably a fireplace! Our current home has a fireplace but it’s in the formal living room but the TV is in our back family room, so we rarely used the fireplace. We ordered a Frame TV to hang above the mantel–I love how it can look like a piece of art instead of a large black box above the fireplace when we’re not watching anything.

The room isn’t super large, but it’s still a great size. It’s wide but not deep so we’re not sure a sectional will fit. Might just go with a traditional sofa or a chaise sofa against the long wall and two chairs by the window. 

What we plan on changing:

The mantel. I’m not entirely sure why the mantel is so skinny and more narrow than the molding above it, but it looks very off to me. Which is a shame since I love the traditional dental trim on the top of the mantel. But we plan on replacing it and the surround to something more fresh. Likely white wood with a stone surround, similar to our current mantel, but I do love how all stone mantels look! I’ll do a whole post on my inspiration because I haven’t made up my mind. I’ll probably just paint the wood white in the interim! Like the first week we’re there. Hah

Mantel Inspiration:

 

Breakfast Nook

I love that the sliding doors have French door panes and it opens up right onto the deck and yard. We will change out the lighting–probably using the honeycomb pendant. Already have the table that is going here, and it’s a favorite of mine. So excited.

 

The kitchen!

I love so much about this kitchen. But because it’s what I do, I have a few plans to give it a 2020 zhushing. It has all the practicality we need and were hoping for plus some really nice features we probably wouldn’t have been able to justify had we built a home or bought new (Viking oven, SubZero fridge, inset cabinetry).

My favorite thing about the space is the inset cabinetry! If you’re like my husband and haven’t given much consideration to traditional English cabinetry options, it means the cabinet door is flush with the cabinet surround around it.  This photo does a great job of showing it close-up. Most modern cabinet doors sit outside of the cabinet frame which you can see here in our current home. Probably not something most people ever notice, but I have had a major crush on inset cabinetry for the past few years, largely because of Devol Kitchens Instagram account. And the dental trim at the top… so good. And I love the beige color and plan on keeping it. I also love that is has a double window above the sink. Hoping to do a lovely roman shade there. The island. So many good things.

And can we talk about that extra wide doorframe going into the butler’s pantry?! That is easily one of my three favorite things in the house. Haha perhaps something people might not notice if you’re not into interiors. My friend Ally was suggesting doing a color on the pantry cabinetry… ooo I do like mossy green. Could be fun.

 

What we plan on changing:

What we will eventually change is the backsplash, countertops, lighting, kitchen faucet, sink, and hardware. And if we can, we’ll strip and stain the island to be a light wood color. These new details will give this classic kitchen a more current look. I’ve been playing around in Photoshop and will share my inspiration and plans soon! I am so excited for this project.

 

Kitchen Inspiration:

via Park and Oak Design

Wow. Just wow. 🙂 The last photo is the best example of the beige cabinets paired w/ the light wood island. I love the warmth plus the walls will all be white, so this way it won’t be too white.

 

Alright let’s go upstairs…!

 

SECOND FLOOR 

Master Bedroom and Bathroom:

I don’t know why the floors looks so much more red upstairs, but you can definitely see the redness of the cherry floors even more so than on the first floor. Anywho!

Master bedroom is a great size. It will fit everything we have perfectly. We’ll probably get a second desk and put it in front of the window. And I have big plans for a redesign of the bathroom, but the footprint is amazing. Any older home we looked at either didn’t have a master bath or it was small / awkward. This way we won’t have to move any plumbing or knock down walls or anything; we’ll just give it a new look w/ tile and fixtures.

Ya’ll know I love taking baths, and I can just picture a soaking tub right there. Although I’m just excited to be able to take baths without waking the boys up since I currently have attempted using the one in their shared bathroom after they went to bed, but it for sure woke Henry up. I’m also oddly excited by the water closet. ie separate toilet room. oh also love the French doors to the bathroom. And it has a big old closet but I don’t have a photo. 

 

Master Bathroom Inspiration (there’s a lot more where this came from):

via Studio McGee
via Studio McGee

So nervous about all of the choices that go into a bathroom reno. Plumbing hardware and a big tub I can choose but pairing tiles seems… tricky. 

 

Charlie’s Room:

Pretty standard! But a great size. Again almost all of the older homes we looked at had one really good size bedroom for the boys and one really tiny one. We’re so happy all of these bedrooms are good sizes. The three bedrooms that are not the master have carpet which we’ll change out eventually–once COVID19 passes and it’s safe to have people in the home. But I layer area rugs over them anyway so it is not urgent.

As for decor, we will be keeping all his stuff the same (after all we just designed it–but I had a couple people ask)! Might paint the trim green and the walls white! Add some fun lighting. Stay tuned.

 

Charlie’s Room Inspiration (the trim):

 

 

Henry’s Room:

Henry’s new room is fun and actually quite large although you can’t really tell in this photo. Again, we’re just putting all his current stuff into it; no set design plans yet for when it becomes his “big boy” room! Could be really fun to add shiplap to the ceiling though.

 

Guest Room: 

The fourth bedroom with ensuite bath was high on our “would like but definitely don’t need” list. But this home had it. Yippee! We have a lot of family who could make use of this so that’s exciting to have a nice place for them to stay.

This room is stumping me a bit though as I’m not sure where a queen bed can go in it. I am guessing it will have to get pushed up against the wall which I don’t love but also isn’t a big deal. Yes, another bathroom that needs some love. All of the bathrooms are in great shape and perfectly usable, we’ll just update the styles of them over the years.

 

Laundry Room

Another exciting makeover project. We have new laundry being installed the day before close. We went with this LG set and added the pedestals (including a mini washer) which I love because it’s higher up which means no bending over. It always hurts my back when I do that. We always have random little loads of laundry to do so I’m stoked for the mini washer. As for decor, will probably do a fun tile and wallpaper. Keep the cabinetry but paint them and switch out that little sink and counter. Fun fun fun.

Laundry Room Inspiration:

via House of Brooke and Lou

 

Basement

I am SOOO excited for this finished basement. This, a backyard, and a fourth bedroom (and proximity to family) are the reasons we’re moving to the suburbs to begin with! The fact that is is finished so nicely is just the icing on top. The boys are going to live down here. We may eventually add a sofa and TV but for now it will just be a giant play room. You’ve seen Henry’s energy on Instagram, running circles around our island. Now he can just run laps down here in the winter! Hah and while I love the look of a nice faux wood floor in a basement, we’re going to stick with the safety that comes with the carpet for all of the spills and wrestling matches that I have no doubt will ensue. Someone mentioned they can’t wait to see how I make this chic, and I replied, I have 0 plans. Hah this is exactly what I was hoping for. A giant holding area for the Little Tikes rec center this will become.

 

So that is that! There is also a deck and backyard but I’ll share that once we are in!

Here is a sneak at my inspiration I’ve been saving over the months. There are hundreds more where that came from.

As you can see it’s a little all over the place but definitely leaning into traditional lines, fresh colors, overall pretty happy. At least that’s the goal! I hope I can make it translate.

Wish us luck!

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Our New Home Tour – The Before