About the House

Our house is a traditional red brick Chicago bungalow built in 1928. It has a ton of personality, and “good bones” after being lovingly maintained by the same family since the late 1950’s, though as you’ll see on this blog, there were also various things that could use a bit of an upgrade.

We closed on the house toward the end of June 2011 (read more about that here) and moved in on the Fourth of July (which should make for a fun “house-iversary” — you can read more about our moving experience here.) To give an idea of the general layout and how things looked when we moved in, I’ve written a series of “Virtual House Tour” posts:

  • The Outside – Taking a look at the yard, landscaping, and exterior features of the house.
  • The Inside – Giving a detailed tour of the first floor of the house, complete with floor plan.
  • The Attic – Featuring our largely neglected unfinished attic and all its oddities.
  • The Basement – Featuring an awkward laundry layout and a secret hidden window!

In the time since buying the house, we’ve been slowly but surely making progress on fixing it up and making it our own — though it’s definitely a work in progress! For this page, I’ve put together a small collection of before-and-after photos showing some of the changes we’ve made.

For instance, one of the most dramatic changes happened before even moving in, when we had the badly-worn floors professionally refinished (more on that in this post). This definitely seemed like the one big thing to tackle before we had all of our furniture in the way, and I think it was worth it — the before and after photos speak for themselves:

Floor Refinishing - Before and After

The other big thing we did early on was to install a dishwasher in the kitchen where there wasn’t one before, which meant that a drawer and cabinet had to be removed and then it all needed to be hooked up. (This was also well worth it, especially once we entered the energy-draining chaos that is parenthood.) Not much else has changed in the kitchen except for a fresh coat of paint on the walls, as the photos below demonstrate:

Kitchen - Before and After

In the outdoor gardening and landscaping department, we attempted to make the front of the house look a bit more appealing by making a simple little flowerbed around the front bushes. For the future we have plans to put some kind of border around it and switch up the plants and flowers, but for now the “after” photo seems like a nice enough improvement:

Front Garden - Before and After

But it hasn’t all been shiny new appliances and flowery makeovers — owning a home also comes with the responsibility of having to maintain things, and though it may not make for very good house-blog eye-candy, we’ve had to do our fair share of that as well.

For instance, in spring of 2012 we encountered some major electrical problems that prompted us to rewire the old outdated wiring in the entire house straight away, instead of kicking that can a few years down the road as we’d previously planned. It meant some alarming-looking damage to the walls and ceilings, though that quickly got patched, and the peace of mind knowing we had safe, modern wiring when the work was all finished was wonderful. Though for such a major makeover, the only visual evidence that anything changed is the new circuit box:

Circuit Box - Before and After

Then there was the brick work on the exterior of the house. The previous owners had fallen behind on the tuckpointing a little, and there were a couple of places where bricks were starting to look dangerously crumbly — to see lots of examples of what I’m talking about, check out this post. We knew it would just get worse the longer we let it go, so getting the tuckpointing done and bricks repaired was another thing we decided to do fairly early on, and it actually turned out to be a pretty dramatic-looking difference once it was all done:

Brick Repair - Before and After

And that’s just a glimpse of some of what we’ve been doing. I’ll try to eventually add more to this page, but in the meantime, our ongoing adventures in furnishing and upgrading the house can be found in the house category of this blog. Be sure to check it out!