Wanting to see how the laundry room would take shape over the course of its renovation, we waited until the cabinets and machines were in place before deciding on a laundry sorting system. For as long as I can remember doing laundry (both growing up and in my adult life), all of our clothes went…
  • Pam Freeman - July 20, 2016 - 10:45 AM

    I just love this idea! Takes up no space and laundry is always sorted. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - July 20, 2016 - 11:27 AM

    This looks great! I am definitely stealing this idea! (I love the wallpaper too)ReplyCancel

  • Stacy @Blake Hill House - July 20, 2016 - 12:21 PM

    Looks great! With six people in our house, the laundry system looks a little different around here. :D However, at our last house, I made wall pockets hung the same way, for use on the wall by the top bunk of their bunk beds. They used the pockets to hold library books. This DIY could be modified for many different applications.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 12:35 PM

    Love that, and you’re so right. It can be further modified by size and shape of the bags, too!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - July 20, 2016 - 1:20 PM

    Cute! You can probably not worry so much about sorting darks from lights, advances in materials and soap means I have been washing all my clothes together for years wit out issue. The only exception is something like a red sheet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 2:41 PM

      Right! Libby’s favorite blanket is red, so we like to keep things pretty separate. And new jeans can be no bueno!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - July 20, 2016 - 1:45 PM

    Too cute! I am confused on how you use this, though. Do you put laundry in there as you use it/dirty it up? Or do you still use one hamper and just sort into these three bags on laundry day?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 2:40 PM

      We just throw our dirty laundry in the right bag! Instant sorting. When each bag gets full, we do a load.ReplyCancel

      • Kelli - July 24, 2016 - 1:30 PM

        I was wondering the same thing but still didn’t quite get it. Do you bring your clothes to the laundry room every time you change? Is your laundry room really close to your bedroom?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 24, 2016 - 3:35 PM

          Hi Kelli, our laundry room is literally 5 steps from our bedroom closet. :)ReplyCancel

  • qlkowa - July 20, 2016 - 3:48 PM

    I love this wallpaper!
    Beautiful laundry room.ReplyCancel

  • susan - July 21, 2016 - 8:11 AM

    I really like this idea. It looks good and makes sense.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - July 28, 2016 - 9:27 AM

    This is so great! We’re planning our master closet renovation and I’ve been trying to figure out a laundry sorter solution that doesn’t take up so much room. I love this. It would also be a nice solution for toys in the girls nursery.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - July 28, 2016 - 12:42 PM

    I love this!!! So cute and clever. Our hamper lives in a walk-in closet attached to our bathroom, so it would be a great candidate for a similar system when I finally get that closet under control… I’m going to have to remember this :)ReplyCancel


At the time that the wallpaper was hung in the laundry room, we were starting with an empty box. There was a washer and dryer, but we hadn’t yet decided on cabinets, and we definitely didn’t have baseboards. (Btw, baseboards! When will this to-do ever be off our list?) But now that the cabinets have been installed, it…
  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - July 15, 2016 - 8:29 AM

    You did a great job! You’re so right about the details. They can seem so small and insignificant (or a lot of work for such a small project) but they make ALL the difference in helping a room feel complete.ReplyCancel

  • Avery - July 15, 2016 - 9:15 AM

    That rug–swoon! <3ReplyCancel

  • michelle - July 15, 2016 - 11:30 AM

    Yeah that would drive me bonkers…looks good!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Ballard - July 15, 2016 - 12:15 PM

    Ugh….I feel your pain!! We rent and they never caulked any of the baseboards or crown molding!! It drives me BANANAS!!! The walls are a honey-tan color (yuck) and the base boards and molding, while beautiful, are WOOD IN TWO DIFFERENT COLORED STAINS which is also different from the color of wood windows!! Ack!!! SO MANY DIFFERENT SHADES OF BROWN!!! :( Our landlord, as it turns out, is my mother (haha!!) so I give her grief about it (in good fun) and tell her that I plan to find away to fix it when we have the money…

    Your caulking job with the wallpaper makes such a difference! Great job!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2016 - 1:09 PM

      Oh, man! So frustrating. That’s one of those things that would drive me nuts, haha!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - July 15, 2016 - 3:33 PM

    Ha! When I read the title of this post and saw your picture, I thought it was going to be how the baseboards cut your pattern off so it’s all birds bottoms in the air:) Looks amazing, nice job and great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - July 15, 2016 - 8:23 PM

    No shoe or quarter round? I feel like it really finishes up a baseboard over hardwood…thoughts?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 16, 2016 - 9:07 AM

      We won’t be putting that in here since the flooring was freshly installed and went wall to wall nicely. In other rooms, we HAD to use it because some of the gaps were so big!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - July 19, 2016 - 9:42 PM

    I have been looking at your website for inspirations and love your style. We are currently renovating our attic and I’m so lost as to what paint color I should paint the walls. I would like a cozy feel to it.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 9:31 AM

      Hi, Jane! I suppose it would depend on how much light your attic receives. If it doesn’t receive a lot of light, you don’t want to choose a color that’s too soft, or it won’t receive the light it needs to ‘shine’! I’d recommend pinning some of your favorite cozy rooms/colors on Pinterest, and then bringing home a handful of paint chips to hang on your attic walls. Pull down the colors you immediately don’t like, and watch the other colors throughout the day until you narrow in on something. We also like to get sample jars of strong contenders that we can put on posterboard and move around the room!ReplyCancel

      • Jane - July 20, 2016 - 9:47 AM

        Thanks for your reply! One more question, we have a big slope in the attic. I should treat the room the same as you suggested?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 10:13 AM

    Do you mean a slope in the ceiling? But if so, yes, I would treat the room the same. Be sure to put your paint samples on the slope so you can see how it reflects light!ReplyCancel

    • Jane - July 20, 2016 - 4:12 PM

      Yes, I did mean the slope in the ceiling. Most cozy atric I clicked on Pinterest had white paint colors with different undertones. Would you for for a different paint color all together instead of white? I’m thinking about painting the trims and the walls the same color. Thanks again for your quick reply!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - July 20, 2016 - 4:18 PM

        Hi Jane! It’s so hard to tell without me knowing how many windows or how much light your attic has, which is why I strongly suggest bringing in paint chips. For example, if your inspiration photo has the same amount of windows as yours, definitely give white a try after you look at a bunch of white samples! You can always add coziness and warmth with pillows, blankets, rugs and curtains (basically, any textile!). I do love your idea of painting the trim and walls the same color. It’s such a chic look.ReplyCancel

  • Sybil Strawser - August 21, 2016 - 11:08 AM

    So much good information on your blog. Love the ostriches!! Hoping to add wallpaper someday and this info will certainly come in handy. Just LOVE your baseboards. Hope to install something similar when we put new floors in our 1968 home.ReplyCancel


For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about how I would write this post. By the way, by this post, I mean, how do I even begin writing about our backyard? Scott and I have been talking about this yard for as many years as we’ve lived here, and while a lot of our major renovations took place…
  • Magda - July 12, 2016 - 6:36 AM

    We went to look around a house that had a special dog toilet for their huskies – a concrete pad, sloping down to a gully with a gutter to a drain, they trained their dogs to use it for pees and poops then hosed it down afterwards!ReplyCancel

  • Natasha | The Simply Inspired Blog - July 12, 2016 - 6:40 AM

    Love this detailed recap of your plans. It sounds like it’s going to be beautiful & functional. We’re also currently prepping and researching to do a paver stone patio in our yard. Look forward to seeing how it all turns out!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - July 12, 2016 - 7:28 AM

    Sometimes I feel like having a smaller back yard would be SO much easier than a big one – my back yard is about 8000 square feet and while I do really love it, it can be totally overwhelming at times. Where do I put the grill? A patio area? A vegetable garden? A fire pit? What do you even do with a side yard?? And the mowing! I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I see smaller yards like yours sometimes and just think, if only…

    All that to say, I think your little city back yard is fantastic, and I am really excited to see what you do with it :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 7:49 AM

      Your feeling of our yard is how we felt when we moved from our 657 sq ft condo to this house! SO MUCH SPACE, ha! But I hear you. A large space can be just as overwhelming as a smaller one, and the feeling that you need to maximize every square inch. It can really be tricky! It’s taken us 3 years to get to this point, so there’s no harm in simmering on your yard until ideas start flowing.ReplyCancel

  • Kaylin - July 12, 2016 - 8:47 AM

    What are you going to put in your above-ground planters? Are you worried about the shade from the garage interfering with them?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 9:12 AM

      We are 100% open to suggestions! We might need to do some part shade plants by the garage, but along the fence is so sunny for the majority of the day. We’re also putting a planter to the left of the stairs, and that gets bright sunlight all day, too!ReplyCancel

  • CC - July 12, 2016 - 9:19 AM

    I like the brick pavers but I get sad whenever city dwellers with a grass yard get rid of it. It’s so rare to have a yard in the city and even more rare to have grass. I’d be careful taking away your grass for brick if for no other reason than the potential for backyard flooding. Brick is more permeable than say concrete, but not as much as grass.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:45 AM

      Thanks, CC! We’ve discussed any flooding issues with the crew that will be grading our yard for us. It’s definitely something we wanted to be mindful of!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - July 12, 2016 - 9:26 AM

    Clover is more drought-tolerant & dog-pee tolerant than grass. You could do a clover pit if you want to keep some soft greenery back there for the pups to pee or lay on.

    I would worry about my dogs’ feet getting sore from the hot concrete/stone if there was nothing else for them to walk on.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:44 AM

      Thanks, Kelly! The pee pit will be shaded almost entirely by the stairs, and they use the pit in the front yard with no issues at all.ReplyCancel

    • Laura - July 12, 2016 - 2:43 PM

      Clover attracts bees!!!ReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - July 12, 2016 - 10:11 AM

    Jubilee Furniture has an amazing relationship with many of the outdoor furniture showroom managers at the Merchandise Mart and have lots of “never been used” pieces from them. That said, sometimes it’s a single piece of a collection. We also just picked up (yesterday) a couple hundred outdoor cushions/pillows that we sell for $8 each! Again, it’s sorta hit or miss re: sizes and fabrics – but that might be a thought for your stairs (which are gorgeous!). Love your plans (as always!).ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:16 AM

      So good to know! We love Jubilee. :DReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 12, 2016 - 11:03 AM

    I love the plans! It’s going to be such a chic place to hangout! We’ve had really, really good success with herbs (especially basil of all types) in our planters. They love direct sun and are really easy to grow.ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Ballard - July 12, 2016 - 11:58 AM

    Ok…so this is an honest question, and not meant to be critical at all but, what does that window lead to that is right below your stairs just to the left of your dog in that picture?? I thought I recall you have a rental unit below your house (am I mistaken??) and am wondering if that is their kitchen or bedroom window that is now going to look out onto the dog toilet? I am just curious! I promise!
    PS the pee-pit idea is genius and i am thinking of how we can incorporate them into our front and backyards for our future dog(s). Our pug is 14 y.o. and at this point, we are just thankful she makes it outside to go ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 12:07 PM

      It’s a valid question! It is a window to their unit, but when the pee pit is done, it’s literally going to look like gravel. SO much nicer than what they have now and have had for the last 3 years. The pee drains, and we pick up #2 when they go.ReplyCancel

      • Jacqueline - July 12, 2016 - 2:11 PM

        I was wondering the same thing, Jaime! And wondering about the smell, if you plan on using the stairs as seating for the backyard? I’m a cat person, but my kids desperately want a dog. 😀ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 2:18 PM

          As long as everything is picked up after a potty break, there’s no issue with smell! The great thing about the pee pit is that it can be hosed down every now and then, too. It was really important for us to make an area where the dogs could go for a quick nighttime potty break, and the front yard pee pit has been a champion! This one will just be larger.ReplyCancel

      • Melbournite - July 12, 2016 - 8:46 PM

        But, they still look out to a view of the dogs toileting multiple times a day, right? Unless that window’s view is obscured in a way we readers can’t see, it looks like you don’t value the comfort and amenity of your tenants (you can’t half tell I’m a tenant).ReplyCancel

        • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:38 AM

          We absolutely do. Everything has been thought out to ensure the comfort of our pets, our tenants, and lastly, us. We’ve even discussed our plans with them. (Besides, our dogs do much more than potty in the back yard!)ReplyCancel

  • Shelle - July 12, 2016 - 1:34 PM

    Please slow down the transitions on your photo montages. They flip too fast. They did on the last post as well. Or leave readers the option of still photos so we can see the transformation at our own speed. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - July 12, 2016 - 2:52 PM

    The flow between inside and outside is so so great. I love all your plans! I have brick in my yard and it works so well with lots of rain and lots of doggie activity. Your chair selections are beautiful. Try before you buy or be able to return or exchange is my only recommendation. As it goes with inside furniture- one won’t use a space if it isn’t comfortable.
    I love your idea of making the fire pit gas. Wood fires seem like such a great idea until the winds shift and you can’t breath and your neighbors have to close their windows on a hot night for all the smoke.
    I’m excited to see the project completed!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 4:16 PM

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Happy to hear that brick works well with your yard + dogs. Such a good boost of info!ReplyCancel

  • Ben - July 12, 2016 - 3:14 PM

    Just came from Belize. Belizean chairs. Look them up. Mahogany gold slat chairs. It’ll play well with your MCM fireplace, which by the way I have one and it’s been in the garage. Never thought to just bring it outside like a chiminea.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 4:18 PM

      Those chairs are so pretty! We actually saw a vintage one at a street fest a few weekends ago, and Scott loved it. I sat in it, and the combo of the deep seat and angle didn’t allow for my short legs to sit comfortably. Womp.ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - July 12, 2016 - 4:26 PM

    Where/how did you get that fireplace? I NEED ONE. I have been searching craigslist to no avail :(ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 6:08 PM

      Craigslist! We did a really wide search, which is how we ended up in Madison (we’re in Chicago).ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - July 12, 2016 - 9:46 PM

    Love the idea of the aged brick in herringbone pattern — will look stunning. Can you tell us the dimensions of the top “step” of your outdoor staircase (i.e., the landing) and how you arrived at the width (is it wide enough for a chair and/or table, for example, or for planters)? Looking forward to seeing images when the yard is finished!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:36 AM

      The landing is 12′ wide x 4′ deep. The stairs are 8′ wide. We came to this to give us the most amount of yard possible, but a landing that was deep enough to accommodate a bench on one side and a grill on the other. We couldn’t go wider than 12′, due to the stairs that lead down to our tenant’s apartment, below!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Homrok - July 13, 2016 - 6:31 AM

    Just purchased a similar fireplace yesterday! I know you are early in your design plans, but, how do you think it will hold up in our Chicago winter? Will you store it inside? I plan on placing it in front of our wooden fence too, do you think the heat will damage the fence? Which type of paint will you use to refinish it? Thanks so much! I have enjoyed watching you rehab your home.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:35 AM

      We’ll be using a high heat spray paint, and we’ve seen this fireplace in SO many settings nestled close to a wall or fence. It’s intended to be used indoors, and an image search shows that they used to sit almost right up to drywall in a lot of homes! Ours will still sit several inches away from the fence, but we’ll definitely share the transformation once we get to that point.ReplyCancel

  • Haley Hepburn - July 13, 2016 - 7:24 AM

    DO you plan to get rid of all the grass? Or leave some? I noticed that your inspiration pictures had both brick and grass? I think the extra green is so nice. But it’s your yard of course and I’m sure it will look great no matter what! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 13, 2016 - 8:43 AM

      We went back and forth on that for a WHILE. I wanted to keep a strip of grass, but for what? Our inspiration yards are also much, much larger! We decided to nix the grass completely, which is why the entire perimeter – with the exception of the fireplace – will be above ground planters. We’ll still get a lot of greenery in there!ReplyCancel

  • Shay - July 13, 2016 - 5:01 PM

    I love those CB2 chairs you linked! I also want one of those MCM fireplaces in the future but it wouldn’t fit here. We are currently going through a huge backyard make over – in some ways similar to yours. we started two years ago by splitting off part of the yard to make a dog run that’s full of rocks for the pup to do his business. We’ve also been working to remove the grass; we turned most of the space into veggie bins, we refuse to water it, and the dog is allergic anyway. We had a tiny broken patio that just got replaced with a 17′ square and we filled it up with furniture and added a sun sail. It’s smaller then you’re looking for but we got the Beer Garden set from World Market and really like it.

    The last two big projects minus landscaping and some paths is to finish a chicken coop and we’re having our tiny deck screened in. The deck goes to the kitchen and will give us a nice bug free zone on the cool side of the house in the summer and will be a nice place for our indoor kitty to get to watch more of the world.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 10:40 AM

      That sounds so nice! Wow. All that hard work is totally going to pay off. Love that you have chickens, too. :)ReplyCancel

  • av - July 14, 2016 - 10:16 AM

    looks like you guys will really be able to get the most out of the space back there–i’m excited to see it come together! and the deck already looks great! gotta say, though, i’m a bit sad for the pups…you said you liked having the yard for the dogs to run/get some energy out, and it appears all of that space will be completely taken away by the table, dining chairs, club chairs, plants, etc…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 10:33 AM

      Don’t let them fool you… We live within walking distance of parks, a large urban walking trail and an ice cream place where they frequently get doggie cones.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - July 14, 2016 - 11:53 AM

    awesome to hear that you are listening to your instincts on the red brick pavers. they will provide a nice color balance with the grey and wood that you currently have at the house — plus the earthiness will help to make the greenery really stand out as well. have you thought about adding wheels to the bottom of the dining table (similar to the island) in case you decided to host the block party in the back yard?

    ugh! chrome hates me — originally posted on a totally different post from the 8th!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 14, 2016 - 11:57 AM

      Hmm, wheels are an interesting idea! We have plans we’re looking at for the table we want to build, but I’m not sure wheels will work for them. It’s something to consider though!ReplyCancel

  • Grondwerken - July 15, 2016 - 12:46 AM

    Amazing! Only question in my mind is your yard’s ground is neither full of grass nor has bricks? Exactly what are you planning for the same? A complete concreted ground or garden kind of yard?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 15, 2016 - 10:36 AM

      It’s almost all grass, but it will be brick pavers, and the perimeter will be lined with above ground planters soon enough!ReplyCancel

  • Casey - July 17, 2016 - 9:01 AM

    Those stairs look amazing! We’ve been slowly working on our backyard space this summer as well. It’s so satisfying to see it change into a place you want to invite friends over to :)ReplyCancel

  • Pat - July 19, 2016 - 12:04 AM

    We used pea gravel in our dog’s potty area. It worked out ok, our dogs still preferred the grass.

    And an fyi, my cousin’s dog broke a leg when it slipped through the open stair as he was running full bore up the stairs. Ever since then I always advise people to put a riser on their stairs.ReplyCancel


When we last left off with the laundry room cabinets, we had just finished building them – fresh from their flat-packed boxes! – and we laid them in place until we were ready to install. Aside from the hanging rail system that we’ve used in the past for our fauxdenzas, we had yet to hang cabinets…
  • Kari - July 8, 2016 - 8:09 AM

    Two posts in three days? It’s Christmas over here! But really, your laundry room is coming together so nicely. I’m excited to see how you fill all of those gaps. I’m sure it’ll be so, so worth the tedious work. Bravo!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 8, 2016 - 9:29 AM

      Haha, I wish I could find the time between projects to write even more. Thanks, Kari!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - July 8, 2016 - 9:07 AM

    looks great! what happens to the top cabinet if you need to pull the washer or the dryer out to fix something or for maintenance?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 8, 2016 - 9:30 AM

      That cabinet will be floating independently of the washer and dryer! Those 2x4s it’s being stacked on is just there for support until we can add the side panel.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - July 8, 2016 - 9:08 AM

    Looking goooood! Confession – at first I didn’t love that ostrich wallpaper (what? blasphemy!) and now that the room is coming together I love it!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 8, 2016 - 9:31 AM

      Ha, that’s okay! Wallpaper is such a personal choice. :)ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Sante - July 9, 2016 - 8:17 AM

    Will there be an under-cabinet light over the sink? I’m afraid the sink will be in shadow when you stand there to do hand washing.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 9, 2016 - 8:52 PM

      I don’t think so, but we could certainly add LED strips down the road. Along those lines, we installed 2 recessed cans closer to the cabinets for that reason in addition to the ceiling light. There will be 3 lights in a small room!ReplyCancel

  • kathy - July 9, 2016 - 10:37 AM

    Holy muscles! Did you do all that cabinet lifting without even a Jack or CC to help?! ;) This little room is looking awesome!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 9, 2016 - 8:53 PM

      Can you believe it?! They just sat and watched us, thinking, ‘suckers.’ We DID take the doors off when hanging to lighten the load though. That helps tremendously!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - July 11, 2016 - 10:58 AM

    So good! Is it weird I’m looking forward to see how you create Libby’s personal suite? I’m totally trying to figure out a way to conceal the boxes, but still make the boys happy in the new house. I’m thinking hanging curtains from the ceiling and creating their own little room in the basement…aka-spoiled, haha!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2016 - 11:12 AM

      Not weird at all! Our pets don’t know what spoiled is… HA!ReplyCancel

  • Dakwerken - July 12, 2016 - 2:36 AM

    Looking good. Even I’m trying to do something just like you. Your blog is inspiring me to start the work soon :)ReplyCancel


When we shared our new interior attic access, we also gave you a preview of the shape of our back yard. So sad! Our little attic hatch door was actually the tiniest piece of a huge puzzle for our backyard, one that included tearing down that beast of an exterior staircase. Since turning the first and second floor apartments into…
  • Julie - July 6, 2016 - 6:43 AM

    I hope you didn’t tell Daniel you were throwing away the original clapboard. He would have lost sleep over that pile of old, rotten wood not being salvaged! :pReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 9:10 AM

      The original is still under the new siding! It was just patchy and missing in parts, so those had to be filled in before we could do anything to give the new siding an even surface. The sad part is that we know the original clapboard isn’t necessarily on every side of our home, from what we can tell. It has been re-sided SO many times over the years, so there will be a lot of peeling back layers… one day!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Go Haus Go - July 6, 2016 - 6:55 AM

    It’s all coming together! I would love to hear your tips and tricks on dealing with contractors/hired guns when it comes to home repair. It’s always been a big stumbling block for me, but you seem to have such a good handle on it. Love your attitude and of course… love the back of your house!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 9:11 AM

      Thanks, Emily, but boy do we have you fooled! Haha. We have our fair share of heartache when working with contractors, but I’ve had a post like that on my list for a while. Honestly, I’m just not even sure where to start typing… but it’s on our radar for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Trish - July 6, 2016 - 7:23 AM

    It looks absolutely wonderful! And don’t worry about lack of symmetry – you can fix that pretty easily with a beautiful tall arborvitae or juniper tree to the left of the stairs, which will also hide the gas meters (so NOT pretty, right?!). But….have you thought about expanding to a bigger deck that goes across the whole backside of your house? We are fellow Chicagoans and recently took the plunge to do just that. Our house had a very small balcony type deck off the back and we built one that is all the way across the back of the house and goes ten feet back. We gained another whole room in our house! So many people have rooftop decks that are rarely used because it’s such a pain to take everything upstairs. As a plus, the gas line was right there to run to a fire table and a built in grill. You have such a huge yard, so this would still give a pooch room to run too. (key!) P.S. Daniel is the best, no?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 9:14 AM

      Hi, Trish! We did consider a wider deck. We even considered a larger/deeper deck at one point, but then ultimately nixed it – it all ties into the backyard plans. :) The biggest reason why we can NOT do a wider deck, however, is because you’ll notice in the bottom left part of our house, there are stairs that lead down to the back door of our garden apartment. If the deck is wider, it wouldn’t allow for head clearance to walk up or down the steps! The reason it DID work on the horrible thing we had before was because there used to be deck stairs that led up to the second floor landing, creating the headspace needed. Does that make sense?

      More on why we chose a shallow deck in the coming weeks! We still have a lot to talk about when it comes to the yard!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - July 6, 2016 - 7:51 AM

    Wow, what a transformation! I can’t wait to see what else you do in your back yard! Just one question (not a criticism) – did you consider putting in a small window in the space left by the old attic door? I think it would have balanced the back of the house a little bit…and also I’m a sucker for a cute little window.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 9:17 AM

      We did! We also considered adding a piece of horizontal trim for interest as well, but in the end, we decided to keep the back of the house REALLY simple. We do have a cute attic window on the front of the house though! :D

      • AnnMarie - July 6, 2016 - 2:06 PM

        Oh my goodness, it’s an OCTAGONAL cute little attic window! Be still my heart! I dream of the day I can have one of those. ^_^ReplyCancel

  • Michele - July 6, 2016 - 8:07 AM

    I second Trish, a wider deck would help balance. It looks awesome and it’s so great to see a project complete, on to the next! Cute window is also a good idear.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - July 6, 2016 - 8:37 AM

    What a wonderful change! It looks awesome. I love how you already have a bottle opener on your new stairs; first things first!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 9:12 AM

      Absolutely! That little opener got a LOT of use this July 4th. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Courtney @ Foxwood Forest - July 6, 2016 - 8:49 AM

    Wow! I cannot believe how different it looks! You guys must be so excited about it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - July 6, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    I’m a new-ish reader, but just wanted to pop in and say you guys are doing a great job! I look to this blog for inspiration on not completely losing it during a renovation (about to start one ourselves) and for encouragement that slow and steady wins the race. Your place is gorgeous, keep up the great work!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 10:33 AM

      Aw man, thanks, Jennifer! Best of luck on your own renovation. If it wasn’t for our ‘slow and steady’ mantra, we’d be beating ourselves up. Slow and steady always wins the race… right?ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - July 6, 2016 - 10:26 AM

    What a difference!!! I’m so happy for you. She’s a looker, alright!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - July 6, 2016 - 11:27 AM

    Looking good! I can’t wait to see what your backyard plans are, now that the back of the house is done. I’d never heard of LP SmartSide til now– in Austin, everyone seems to use Hardie. I have old board and batten siding that is going to need to be completely replaced at some point (and I want to replace all my crappy old windows and add a few doors), so it’s nice to know that there are other options out there besides the Hardie.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 1:03 PM

      It’s definitely worth looking into!ReplyCancel

  • Marti | Project Palermo - July 6, 2016 - 12:43 PM

    That looks SO nice. I love the wide staircase – plenty of space for friends to sit, without eating up your yard like a deeper deck would have done. And as a former garden unit tenant, I’m sure your renter appreciates the changes you’ve made to make their apartment feel more open in the front and back!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 1:04 PM

      Yup, one of the big reasons we nixed a deeper deck – more yard! We had some friends over on the 4th, and even though our yard is far from complete, we all chilled on the stadium style stairs, which was our whole goal.ReplyCancel

  • jannike - July 6, 2016 - 1:50 PM

    Wow, looks amazing. It must feel great hanging out in your “new” backyard. I spied the bottle opener on the back deck. We are in the process of building our front deck at the cottage and we are using brown pressure-treated lumber. It’s a new-to-us product that is sprayed cedar-color instead of greenish and looks so nice. It will fade to grey in a few years if we don’t stain, but for now I’m in love. Can’t wait to see the rest of the backyard.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 1:55 PM

      Oh, cool! I haven’t seen that product, but what a great solution to get by until you’re ready to stain. The waiting is the worst part with PT wood!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 6, 2016 - 4:37 PM

    This is such an amazing change! I absolutely love it! Admittedly, I’m also excited about your house going super dark and sleek. I can’t wait to see what else you have planned!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 6, 2016 - 4:47 PM

      Heather! Don’t get us too excited about a sleek house just yet… that could take YEARS!ReplyCancel

  • Tori - July 7, 2016 - 2:15 PM

    This looks amazing, what a transformation! Your neighbors must be LOVING you!ReplyCancel

  • Dakwerken - July 8, 2016 - 8:37 AM

    Wonderful change over. Awaiting to see the rest of your backyard. Good going Kim; Good luck! :)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - July 10, 2016 - 9:34 PM

    What a dramatic and fantastic makeover! I’m sure your rooms are now flooded with light. The exterior is so simple now. So glad you chose LP SmartSide. We have had it on our home for two years now and it’s held up to a monster hail storm. Not a single dent. It’s a great, long lasting product and will definitely enhances your home.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 11, 2016 - 9:28 AM

      Good to know! We don’t know anyone who has used LP, but we’re happy with the product and the warranty they have. We have been known to have crazy hail storms, too!ReplyCancel

  • misie - July 12, 2016 - 10:18 AM

    love it. all of it. I have been slacking on my blog reading these days – trying to catch up – everything is looking freaking fantastic! The future yard plans/pinspirations – I have all the faith you guys will make it perfection.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 12, 2016 - 10:56 AM

      Aw, thanks so much, Misie!ReplyCancel

  • Ben - July 12, 2016 - 5:10 PM

    BELIZEAN CHAIRS. Just came from Belize. Look them up. Mahogany slat wood. I’m buying them after my back porch/deck is done.
    Also, I have the same MCM fireplace in my garage and I never thought to put it outside like a Chiminea. Lovely.ReplyCancel

  • julie - July 14, 2016 - 11:50 AM

    awesome to hear that you are listening to your instincts on the red brick pavers. they will provide a nice color balance with the grey and wood that you currently have at the house — plus the earthiness will help to make the greenery really stand out as well. have you thought about adding wheels to the bottom of the dining table (similar to the island) in case you decided to host the block party in the back yard?ReplyCancel