Renovation by: Laura
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
My husband Michael and I just purchased this 1892 gothic Victorian home in outlying Chicago's historic Oak Park. (land of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway's birthplace.) I own a jewelry boutique called Gem Jewelry Boutique and Michael is a general contractor. The home is perfect with its nearly 10 foot high ceilings and elegant moulding, original marble fireplace and gothic windows.
We wanted a house in central Oak Park so our kids could easily walk to school and we could walk to the farmer's market, yoga nearby and the pool. Our musts were: front porch to sit on in the summer, fireplace to use in the winter and charm. We just completed phase 1 of a 3 phase renovation. This involved taking a small bedroom and transforming it into a new bathroom. The house only had a claw foot tub in a very large but odd bathroom which was originally a storage closet. (outhouse was used originally). We needed a shower and upon hiring an architect realized the back half of the house where the original bath is can become a master bedroom/suite by raising the roof lines.
Phase 1 also had us pull up carpet throughout the house, exposing original wide plank floors which needed paining; stripping and repainting moulding, rasing the ceiling on the staircase in order to get a queen sized mattress upstairs! and redoing the entire living room, restoring the fireplace, tearing down paneling, insulating, electrical and new windows. We also added new light fixtures throughout, put in a new water and sewer system and got a second water heater.
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