We lived in our old house, a Chicago bungalow, from 2006-2013. Over those 7 years we did countless projects including updating the kitchen and remodeling the bathroom. When Harper was born we changed Trixie’s nursery into a room for them to share.
Here are pictures from 2013 when we were putting our house on the market in preparation to move to our current home. Since we were getting the house ready to sell, we swapped our living room and dining room to their original and intended layout. You can see our unorthodox set up in The Bungalow We Used to Call Home.
2006 was the height of the real estate bubble, and when we were selling in 2013, it certainly hadn’t recovered anywhere close to the 2006 levels (you can read all about that in my DesignMom interview), but even in that sluggish environment, our house was under contact within a week of putting it on the market!
We were thrilled to find our first house in Berwyn, Illinois, 10 miles from downtown Chicago and on the commuter train line. After looking for an entire year (thanks to our patient realtor Chris) we found a gem – a Chicago Bungalow with all of its original woodwork and character. We were only the third owners of this 100-year-old home. It needed a lot of work: repair on the stucco exterior, electrical rewiring, insulation, window restoration, storms and screens, a new chimney, a roof, as well as cosmetic work throughout. Over the seven years we lived there, we attacked all of those updates as well as remodeling the bathroom, updating the kitchen, adding a fence and designing gardens around the entire property.
(Please excuse the not-so-good quality of the photos)
The house was painted white with wedgewood blue trim. I really wanted to embrace the natural, neutral colors that were popular in the Arts and Crafts movement. Painting windows a dark color on a light colored house always gives it a real punch. For the trim I chose an earthy khaki color. We replaced the house numbers with ceramic tiles from Rejuvenation Hardware.
The porch swing belonged to my grandparents. I remember my grandpa taking it off of its frame in the yard and putting in the garage when it rained. I would always ask him why he didn’t just leave it out in the rain and he would say that you need to take care of things if you want them to last. I staked a claim on that swing long ago.
We moved into our first home in 2006. It was a wild ride. I was almost nine months pregnant and my water broke the morning after our move-in day. We had had a rough night sleeping on a slowly deflating air mattress in our mostly-empty old apartment. Trixie came 3 weeks early. I was looking forward to those weeks to do some unpacking, but instead we spent 5 days in the hospital and then brought home a gorgeous, healthy baby girl to our new house filled with boxes.
Our first night in our first ever house was our first night home with a baby! My mom and a few other family members worked hard unpacking the necessities when they weren’t with us in the hospital. Needless to say, most of those boxes stayed packed for a long time. Some of them are still packed in our current basement – no joke.
About 2.5 years later, in 2008, I introduced a new product line of cashmere baby items to my business Kistner Supply. As part of promoting the new line I worked with Gabby Blair at DesignMom.com to do a home tour for Cookie Magazine. These shots are from that 2008 tour and interview.
Our house was a typical 2.5 bedroom/1 bath 1000 square foot Chicago bungalow. Like many bungalows,
you enter into a small foyer, then into the living room and you walk back through the dining room to get to the kitchen. The entrance to the bedrooms and bath are through the dining room.
In our home I decided to switch the living and dining rooms so that the main living space wasn’t all the way in the front of the house. The end result was a larger space that didn’t have to work around an entry and fireplace, and that was closer to the bedrooms and an eat-in kitchen. When we put the house up for sale in 2013 I switched them back to the traditional layout.
To see what the house looked like when we put it on the market stay tuned for another post coming soon.
Also coming soon is a before & after post of our old house.
We fell in love with the original woodwork in the house and the grass-paper wallpaper.
The coffee, endtables, stool and magazine rack belonged to my parents in the 1960s and the large brown chair was something my grandparent’s purchased in the 1950s (at one point it was upholstered in brown vinyl!).
As soon as I saw this 150-year-old house in Charleston Illinois I knew that we could make it our own. It was dirty, dark and unloved but had so much potential to be a happy and bright family home. You can read more about what brought us to Charleston in my interview with Design Mom.
The house was white with decorative green shutters for at least 100 years. After living here for 2 years I decided that we needed to go dark. I love the monochromatic Colonial homes in New England, especially Massachusetts homes like The House of Seven Gables and The Orchard House that were built in the late 1600s.
In 1864 our house was originally built in the Carpenter Gothic style. Then in 1920 the second owners added a Georgian Colonial Revival style by changing the facade. The gingerbread trim and the porch were removed and a portico with columns was added. The bay windows in the front of the house were replaced with french doors.
I found the combination of styles confusing and think that the monochromatic, dark paint job solidified the look. We chose Sherwin Williams color Dark Knight for the exterior with Nervy Hue for a pop of color on the door.