Selling The Bungalow We Used to Call Home

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!

Last week I posted some very striking before & after photos of the old bungalow.

Also check out the posts about our new house:


Selling the Bungalow


Living Room

image living room arts & crafts bungalow

The brick fireplace-surround in the living room was painted brick red when we moved in.  I painted it ivory to lighten up the space.

image living room arts & crafts bungalow

So many wonderful, original old windows, we had them all restored rather than replaced!

Continue Reading

The Bungalow We Used to Call Home – Before & After

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) 

Front Porch


image bungalow chicago front porch

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.


chicago bungalow front porch

Continue Reading

The Bungalow We Used to Call Home

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 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,

image floor planyou 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.

And of course you can see these three tours of our current home: Before & After, Holiday Tour and The Old House We Love to Live In.

Living Room

image living room bungalow arts & crafts

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!).

Continue Reading

Harper gets Liberty Spikes

image boy with liberty spikes in hair

Harper’s class had a special celebration last week for the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Monday was Fox in Socks day – the more socks the better, I think he wore three pairs and it was tough getting shoes on. Tuesday he wore green head to toe for Green Eggs & Ham day. Wednesday was dress wacky for Wacky Wednesday. Harper wore a wetsuit! Thursday was Whoville Hair Day and Friday was crazy hat day, celebrating the The Cat in the Hat. The kids loved it.

All of the boys in Harper’s class have short hair and many of them were planning to spike and color their hair.  Harper decided he wanted to spike his hair too.  Well, the boy has a lot of long and fine hair.  I tried some different products and techniques the night before and he liked the look but it wasn’t holding.  YouTube saved me.  There are so many videos on making Liberty Spikes and most of them use the same product, Got2B Glue Blasting Freeze Spray.  Steve went out that night and found it for me.  The next morning we started bright and early to get this boy spiked.

Continue Reading

The Old House We Love to Live In – Before & After

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.

Don’t forget to see the posts of our home tour and our house decked out for the holidays.



image old house before

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.


image, old house after

Continue Reading

The Old House We Love to Live In

We moved into our 150-year-old home in Charleston, Illinois in the fall of 2013.

Right now we are looking forward to Spring (but also wishing for some late February snow).

Here is a shot of the exterior of our house from last Spring with the dogwood tree (aka Harper’s tree) and the groundcover on our hill in bloom.  Every year we add more drought-tolerant perennials with the hope that one day the steep hill will be covered in color.  I really enjoy mixing different heights, textures, and colors to create a patchwork of lovely for all to see.  I grew many of the plants from seed and some came all the way from our last home.  We love to garden. We moved from a typical Chicago postage-stamp lot to a huge yard that hadn’t been tended to for decades.  There are always so many projects going on at once. It is a lot of work, but is so rewarding each year.

In the fall of 2015, we painted our house in Sherwin Williams Dark Knight, with a slightly darker custom-mixed trim in a glossy finish.   The house had been white with (decorative) green shutters for at least 100 years so we get lots of double-takes from passersby.  It took courage to go for the dark color, especially since we are a relatively new family to a very small rural community, but I am so glad we took the risk.  The house looked disjointed before, starting out as a Carpenter Gothic in 1864 and then being morphed into a more Georgian Colonial Revival style in 1920.  I think the dark color solidifies the look.

Since we moved here we have made many changes.  Here are the most recent shots of the house interior.

Take a look at our Holiday House Tour for even more photos.

To see what the house looked like before we moved in check out the  “before and after” post.


Front Door

picture of front door

This color is Sherwin Williams “Nervy Hue,” isn’t that a perfect name!  The doorbell is original and in perfect condition, the door plate and knob were eBay finds (We ordered many and tried them and resold the rejects, it was hard to find the right fit.  Who knew antique door hardware was so complicated?!) and the mail slot is a reproduction from Signature Hardware.

Continue Reading

Chest for the Mudroom – Before & After

In our old house we made a great little mudroom.  Last week I showed you the before and after of the bookcase I used for shoe storage.  Well, across from the shoe shelf there was room for another storage piece.  This time I went rummaging in my basement and found this old chest.

image chest unpainted

It was from my grandparents’ bedroom.  When my mom and I were cleaning their house out I was working in their bedroom and right inside the door there was a pile of laundry.  There was always a pile of laundry there.  I never really thought about it because I knew it was clean, folded laundry.  I guess I assumed that the pile was sitting on a table, but it wasn’t.  It was set on top of a chest and the chest was covered with a small blanket.  Total mystery piece.  My mom had never noticed it before either so we have no idea where it came from.  I am not a fan of its style, which I call “pirate-ship chic,” but I guess it’s really “Early American,” I decided I would put it into my storage space with all of the rest of the furniture and “treasures” I found.  Finally it came in handy.

Sanding, primer, red glossy paint did the trick, just like with the bookcase.  I had some Marimekko fabric leftover from working on a girls’ 1980s bedroom for the John Cusack movie “High Fidelity” (I save everything cute!).  I added some poly fiber fill from old pillows and stretched the fabric over the top and the back piece.  Now it’s a colorful and comfy place to sit, perfect for a mudroom.

image painted chest

Hold on to those old, good quality pieces and repurpose them!



Continue Reading

Harper Gets a Doll of his Own, and So Does a Child in Need

My daughter Trixie loves to take care of her special rag dolls.  Her favorite is her Wee Wonderfuls doll my mom got her for Christmas a couple of years ago from The Land of Nod.  She gets the whole bed to herself.

image girls bedroom yellow pink bed

They are tall, soft, and lovable.  The girls pictured below are Clara and Agnes and are available at The Land of Nod.

image wee wonderful doll Clara, Land of Nodimage of Wee wonderful doll Agnes, Land of Nod

Sometimes Trixie lets Harper play with her special girls, which is lovely when it happens.  He usually gets pretty frustrated that he doesn’t have his own doll.  It doesn’t matter how many rag dolls we find him in our stash, Harper wants a boy doll.  I decided that I would find him a boy doll for Christmas that is equally as fabulous as the Wee Wonderfuls are.

I spent hours searching online whenever I had a spare moment during the pre-holiday madness, and finally, after days of looking, I found it!

Continue Reading

Bookcase for the Mudroom – Before & After

Our former house had a small breezeway/entrance that was created when the back porch was removed to allow for a rear deck.  I knew right away that it was the perfect size for a mini-mudroom.  The previous owner had covered the walls with sheets of “wood” bead board.  Some paint cheered it right up!

I was excited to use some cool vintage hooks I had, but needed some shoe storage.  A quick trip to my mom’s basement brought me to a very dirty old book shelf that had been used to store paint.  It wasn’t pretty – yet!

image unpainted bookshelf

All it needed was a sanding, a coat of primer and a few coats of glossy red.  I really love what a little paint will do to brighten up your world.

image red painted bookcase mudroom

Continue Reading

Valentine’s Day

image crayon hearts

Being out of grade school for so many years, I forgot what an important holiday Valentine’s Day is for school kids.
image homemade valentinesIn 2010, when Trixie was in Pre-Kindergarten, I wanted to find something easy for her to do that was creative and fun for both of us.  I had her paint on watercolor paper and fill the whole page.  After the page dried I cut out large heart shapes.  Then we attached the hearts to pieces of patterned scrap paper I had lying around, added some drips of Elmer’s glue, and dusted the glue with glitter.  The glitter kept flaking off, so I made simple envelopes out of tracing paper and closed them up with a sticker. They were so cute!image homemade valentines

After school that day, we looked through her valentines and I was surprised that they were all store-bought character cards or candies.

What had I missed in the 25 years I had been out of the valentine game?

Continue Reading