We couldn’t be more excited to share with you our newest addition, which we lovingly call our Tree House! If you follow us on Instagram, many of you know (and saw the tiniest of sneak peeks!) that we recently became the giddy, proud owners of an adorable home in Lakeside, Michigan.
It’s been 11 years since we’ve moved to Chicago (can you believe this was almost one year ago?), and during that time, we’ve spent a handful of weeks with friends and family along Michigan’s inland lakes or the shores of the pretty Lake itself. It’s incredible how just an hour or two in the car can make you feel a million miles away from the city bustle, and we’ve always said to one another, wouldn’t it be amazing to own our own tiny slice, too? After our getaway to Sawyer this past spring, the urge only intensified, and before we could stop ourselves, we began working with a Harbor Country realtor, recommended to us by a kind reader (hi, Jen!). Along the way, we put in an offer on a home we ached for, lost it to a cash bid and did our best to convince ourselves that it wasn’t meant to be.
Several weeks later, our realtor encouraged us to check out what would – spoiler! – eventually be our lake house. Truthfully, we almost didn’t give it a chance. We had seen it pop up in recent listings, but more than once, we skipped over it simply because of the shabby vinyl siding and overgrown lawn. There was a big red flag (no central HVAC system) and smaller ones as well (only one bathroom). But! It was a half mile walk to Lake Michigan, a handful of miles from the dunes and a quick bike ride to shops and eats. Despite the less than stellar exterior, the inside was bursting with cuteness. Everywhere you looked, it was cute ceilings, cute doors, cute floors! The heavily wooded lot lended more privacy than most homes we had seen, and it’s also where her nickname came from: Tree House.
Initially, we told our realtor that we would drive up to see it in person, if only to officially eliminate it from the running. But as the story goes, once we were inside, we didn’t want to leave. What we thought would be a quick pop in turned into an hour long walkthrough, in which we asked countless questions, FaceTimed our parents and snapped photos on our phones. Since losing out on the house we thought was The One, this girl was the First One we’d seen that made our hearts beat wildly, our palms sweaty and our speech come out a little too quickly. The entire drive home, we talked over each other, already making plans for the bathroom and kitchen. That same day, we put in our offer, and several days later (and after quite a bit of negotiating), we were under contract!
Our Tree House is an hour and a half drive from Chicago, and it’s located on a quiet street with friendly neighbors. It’s estimated to have been built in the 1920s or 30s with a footprint much smaller than we thought we wanted; coming in at just over 800 square feet, it has two bedrooms, one bath and the sweetest sleeping loft. We’re convinced that it was on the market for as long as it was for the same reasons that we almost passed it by – no furnace, overall size and (very, very) sad exterior. That said, it was well under our target budget, and the location couldn’t be beat! It was also the only house we had looked at where much of the interior charm remained. The majority of the original doors and windows are still in place, including glass knob and old brass hardware, lived-in flooring and a tall, exposed loft ceiling in the main living space. There’s quite a bit of fixing up in its future (which might be an understatement), but we can’t stop literally(!) dreaming about the possibilities.
Alright, enough already, let’s go inside! KEEP READING >