Welcome to the new layout! Let’s take a virtual walk-through:
Front porch – This stays the same. (Ok, not the most exciting start). BUT, I’m excited to add some kind of outdoor furniture (or swing?) here to sip tea and yell at the neighborhood kids to get off our teeny, tiny lawn. J/K, there’s a fence, no one is getting in.
[Brian: We are fixing the cracked cement and putting a new roof to the front porch, so it should look much nicer than in the before photos.]
Entry – The little vestibule before becomes our new entryway. We’re adding a coat closet here because #chicagoweather. We’re excited for the original tile to be the star of the show, and maybe a fun entryway light. The original doors have taken a bit of a beating, so we’ll likely replace some of it, likely a door that’s not mostly glass for privacy reasons. Speaking of which, this area just barely passes the “underwear test.” I suppose there are a lot of potential meanings to that, but in this case it relates to how far away the bottom of the staircase ends to where your front door begins – it should be a good enough distance that people from the street can’t see you in your underwear coming down the stairs. Brian was less worried about this – in his words, “You’re welcome, neighborhood.”
[Brian: You’re welcome, neighborhood.]
Living room – this also stays pretty much the same, although we’re widening the cased opening and pushing the far wall back a bit. In my mind this could be a really cool room eventually, including a window seat that spans along the window wall and built-in bookshelves along the long continuous wall. And probably moulding. Lots of moulding. I’m mad for moulding! We’d like for this to be a non TV-centric room for hanging out and family time. That little nook is where we may sneak the original built-ins back in.
[Brian: Kripa’s Canadian origins are coming out here – she obviously means “molding” without the Crown adding an unnecessary “u”.]
Dining area – OK, here’s where things really start to take a hard left from the original floor plan. We like things generally open so this seemed like a good place to keep things more open (note to self: look up synonyms for “open” and “open concept”). A lot of single family homes here have a formal dining room/area and an eat-in kitchen or additional eat-in nook. There was really no need for us to have two separate areas so having one designated “eating spot” that was central to the house seemed to be the right fit. We call this area the “bump out” on all the floors (because the wall comes out a bit with two angled windows).
Bathroom – A plus about needing to replace all the plumbing anyway meant we could put the bathrooms anywhere. Most homes have only a powder bath on the first floor, but we opted to add a shower to make it more accessible. I have some fun ideas for the design in here – feels like a good place to be a little creative!
[Brian: we have family members that don’t jive well with lots of stairs, so having a full bath on the first floor makes it easier for them to come and stay with us.]
Family room – This little corner becomes the new family room or informal living room. We thought this might be a good place for a TV. I’m a little worried with the couch placement it will end up being too close to the TV. This ends up being an argument with Brian who basically feels like you should be close enough to touch the screen. True story, he started inching up our couch closer to the TV to make his point after we had this
argument discussion, as if I wouldn’t notice.
[Brian: she didn’t notice until I pointed it out. — That said, I do share Kripa’s concern about the couch placement – I want to keep a sense of openness, and I’m worried the TV couch make some areas feel cramped. I’m still open on which room the TV goes in – maybe we revisit it being in the front formal living room?]
Rear terrace/porch – This is another big change. The addition (breakfast nook) in the original structure had to be either removed or re-built due to code. Our architect made a good point: imagine once that was the addition was taken out, you essentially you have a big hole to work with – specifically, to work in a lot of windows. And windows are our love language. We’ll put in french doors to the outside and a transom window above. I don’t think we’ll miss the square footage (I mean, this house will be way bigger than anything we’ve lived in anyway). Instead we’ll have an outdoor porch where we can sit around and watch the train go by. Silently, because you can’t talk over the train noise.
Kitchen – The kitchen will be open to the rest of the space, with cabinets and a range along the back wall and a large island. A lot of people put a mudroom of some kind at the back of the houses here because the garages here are detached so most of the time people come in from the back door as opposed to the front. I think this might have been a missed opportunity, but we’ll see. Instead we’re doing a big cabinet right next to the french doors that will be like a mudroom closet. I’ve been thinking a lot about the kitchen design and finishes, perhaps too much time? The range and hood will be the star of the show and I’m going to have a POT FILLER because they are FANCY and I’m a FANCY LADY.
[Brian: spoiler: we’ll have a proper mudroom you can enter from the back yard in the basement, so I think we’ll be fine. And I think I’m OK taking lead carrying groceries from the basement mudroom up to the kitchen when it’s snowy/rainy, even though that will mean traversing the house length twice – but if any more experienced folks have insight about how that plays out in reality, I’d love to hear more in the comments section.]
Pantry – This is one of those things I never thought I would love as much as I do, but #adulting. This pantry is going to be massive – sort of unintentionally so, but I am here for it! We’ll have some room along the wall to put some base cabinets and shelving for all our small appliances that I am also weirdly very excited about. I’d like to put a beverage fridge in here so the fridge doesn’t get clogged up with all of Brian’s beer. We’ll see; built-in beverage fridges can be more expensive than actual fridges. We should talk about appliances at some point, because everything beautiful costs $1,203,227,432,874 (estimate).
[Brian: I want to take umbrage with the implication that I drink so much beer that we don’t have room for other food in our fridge, but sounds like I’m getting a beer fridge in the pantry, so I’m good.]
Ok, ok, ok. Are you excited? I’m excited. Let’s talk about the 2nd floor in the next post!