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The Weekender

We’re so excited to finally be kicking off a (sometimes) Friday series that we’re calling The Weekender! It’s been at the top of our list for far too long; we wanted a place to talk about anything. Everything. Nothing at all. (Okay, but really, maybe we can talk about the twinklings of a DIY idea, current favorites and things that made us smile?) Between emails, DMs and comments, we find ourselves enjoying conversations with you that might not be related to renovation, and we thought it would be fun to have a low-key place to chat with all of you, right here, on the blog! Let’s get informal, friends.

Pretty Cool Ice Cream in Logan Square, Chicago // via Yellow Brick Home

Ice Cream, please.

Chicago locals, have you been to Pretty Cool yet? One day last year, I went to pick up mail from our PO Box, only to find out that the building was under renovation. Although I was annoyed at the time (um, I didn’t even get a letter, because where would they have sent it? Ha!), we were over the moon when the super cute Pretty Cool popped up in its place a few weeks ago! It’s an ice cream bar – like, literally, bars – and chances are that if you’ve been, you’ve seen us there, too. Logan Square was lacking ice cream in a bad way, and all our dreams have now been fulfilled. In true Logan Square fashion, the interior is so clever and sweet. Welcome to the neighborhood, PC! (Get the Natalie Bar. Also? Dinosaurs.)

Bits + Pieces

  • Everyone’s favorite Trading Spaces designer, Genevieve, is the lead in the new Netflix series, Stay Here. Have you watched it? The episodes are 30 minutes long, and each one follows the story of a homeowner who wants to turn their place into a short-term rental. We love it for the ideas we can implement down the road for Tree House, even if some of the designs are, we think, a bit much? Even still, it’s worth a watch just for the Palm Springs episode alone. That bedroom. Here’s the trailer:

  • After having Lucy, I’ve been bouncing around to find a great skin care routine. (Currently, I’ve hopped on the ACV bandwagon with decent results!) And after watching an embarrassing amount of videos, I broke down and finally treated myself to this Clarisonic. For those of you that swear by them, do you have any tips or favorite cleansers?
  • Not long ago, we had a family photo session to celebrate Lucy turning 6 months old, and last week, we made some huge prints and added them to our dining room gallery wall! The newest additions make us smile so. hard. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but you will never regret investing in a casual photoshoot with a true professional. We wore our everyday jeans and favorite muted V-necks (basically, the same clothes we wear every day), but we dressed Lucy in yellow! If you’re looking for a photographer in the Chicago area, our friend Renee at Gooch Too Photo is a magician.

Gooch Too family photos

photo by Gooch Too | porch swing | outdoor rug | plaid throw

  • And since we’re on the topic of our sweet goose, we’ve been viewing our home through different eyes. I cannot shake the idea of switching things up in the living room, and when I start to get an idea, it consumes me. (Who’s with me?) I’ve been collecting fabric samples for a new sofa, and Interior Define or Article (who is having a big Labor Day sale right now!) are topping our list in terms of size, style and comfort. Basically, we want to lighten things up, layer in new textures (maybe a leather arm chair?), and make it the coziest, cushiest place on the planet. Our newest motto is to scale back, and it’s as if we can’t make our home physically light enough. Is this a new-parent thing? Talk to us.
  • #PSL is back. Too soon? (Gimme all the fall!)
  • We got a tandem for Tree House! Scott saw that a family friend was selling this guy, and he called dibs immediately. While all I can talk about is sofas, this bicycle is always on the tip of his tongue:

Find Us Elsewhere

We hope you have a happy long weekend, and we’ll see you in September!

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  • El8.31.18 - 7:43 AM

    I find the show Stay Here really distressing, actually. The episodes I’ve seen have focused on purchasing properties in markets like Seattle, where there’s already an ongoing housing crisis, and taking what were previously affordable homes and flipping them into luxury AirBnbs. This whole process makes houses less accessible to people who live and work and make a life in these cities and make sure that cities are just for visitors who can afford a $250 a night, Instagrammable short term rental. I hate the idea of promoting that process as a reasonable means of earning a second income. It’s bad for the folks who live there, it’s bad for the neighbors who have to share their community spaces with a constant parade of strangers in and out, who don’t have a stake in the community, and it’s bad for cities.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 8:51 AM

      We love hearing those perspectives and can agree for the most part, with the exception that it’s bad for cities. Tourism is likely embraced by the cities being featured in the show, as it’s a boost to support infrastructure such as transportation, roads, etc. Even still, our biggest takeaways were some of the fun ways the show display ‘things to do’, and it gave us some fun ideas for our own future occasional Airbnb! (To be fair, our eyes rolled out of our heads every time they used the term ‘social media moment,’ haha!)ReplyCancel

      • Jen8.31.18 - 11:43 PM

        It IS bad for cities with a scarcity of long-term housing, though. Anything that contributes to housing scarcity hurts small businesses that can’t afford to pay employees enough money so that they can live near to where they work. It’s hard to find people willing to commute hours to workr a retail job. It hurts schools because teachers can no longer afford to live where they work. It stresses local government resources when the number of people facing housing insecurity or homelessness increases. That’s why so many cities are trying to regulate short-term rentals to some degree.ReplyCancel

    • Jacki8.31.18 - 1:12 PM

      I’ve stayed in AirBnbs because I love how enmeshed they are with the city, not located in some touristy area like hotels. I feel like it gives me a better feel for the city. That being said, now that I’ve read about the impact they were playing on increasing rent prices in cities that are struggling under the burden of homelessness, I just can’t fully support the idea any more. I would love to see something in between. Folks that are fixing up falling down houses and using them as their personal vacation homes and renting when they are not there feel a lot different than people who are stocking up on apartments they manage rather than live in themselves.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa Hayward8.31.18 - 1:52 PM

      As a Seattleite I have to second this. NOT good for our city. We need more affordable housing options, not more ways for those who already own their homes to profit. I’d rather see people creating low-cost long-term housing options than short-term rentals. And I say that as someone who has owned my home here for 20+ years and could easily profit from creating a short-term rental unit on my property. But I won’t because I love my community and hate the way my friends who are scientists and teachers and other public servants are being priced out by investors who give nothing back.ReplyCancel

    • martina8.31.18 - 4:52 PM

      I totally agree. If you are able to purchase a home in those markets you are already very well off. You hardly need all of the money that Netflix is shoveling your way to fix it up so you can turn a PROFIT PROFIT PROFIT! It’s really sad actually and feels borderline unethical.ReplyCancel

      • Kim8.31.18 - 5:50 PM

        There are certainly great sides to Airbnb and some not so great, but the pocket of those who are hoping to rake in the dough are not the highlight of this show in the least. (In fact most of them have refused to raise their rates, as one client put it, it’s a working class rate in a working class neighborhood.) We appreciate reading about both sides of the coin!ReplyCancel

    • Jen8.31.18 - 11:36 PM

      Thank you for this comment, El. I live in the Bay Area, and it’s the same here. Even regulating short-term rentals is not helping a ton because enforcement is limited and it’s easy to get away with doing it illegally. The number of long-term rentals being lost to short-term use is distressing in a market where a scarcity of long-term housing means a two-bedroom apartment can run you as much as $5700 or more a month :(ReplyCancel

      • Laura9.1.18 - 1:13 PM

        I recently read an article about how SF teachers can’t afford live in the city, and how they basically float near the poverty line just so they don’t waste 2+ hours to a commute. The long term effects of this are that SF schools can’t attract the best teachers even with competitive salary so the whole school system suffers and becomes subpar (and of course the city suffers from low quality education). So now, even if YOU can afford to live in the city you really don’t want send your kids to public schools. We should all learn from this and realize what contributes to this so other cities don’t suffer from this problem. Its easy to brush this off and assume most air bnb-ers are like you guys, but what happens if Chicago starts to go this way, will you care more when Lucy’s preschool sets you back more than college?ReplyCancel

    • aussiebushgirl9.1.18 - 12:16 AM

      I agree with EL and many others here. Luxury AirBnbs in Hobart (Tasmania) for example, have created homelessness in this city for the first time in living memory. Cashed-up mainlanders from Melbourne and Sydney have been purchasing low cost affordable housing in and around Hobart, doing them up and then renting them out to tourists. As tourism continues to boom in Tasmania, the homeless and those on low to average incomes are suffering, as more properties move to Airbnb-style listings. Tasmania has the highest unemployment rate in Australia, and they’re now seeing young Tasmanians taking to the street because they cannot get a foot in the rental market, let alone afford to get into home ownership! The knock-off from flipping for profit is that this trend is affecting our major cities and small country towns. The downside is that community spirit is dwindling as a result. My two cents’ worth. ;-)ReplyCancel

      • Kim9.1.18 - 8:52 AM

        Thank you for all the feedback. Regulation for short term rentals is getting stronger – there are already systems in place in the area where Tree House is, which we love and appreciate. I do think it’s important to completely differentiate between those flipping for a profit and quick money with short term rentals, versus those that are supplementing income in return for the hard work they’ve put into income properties – whether that’s a vacation home or something similar.

        Going back to the original topic of the Netflix show, not all episodes are glorifying flip for big profit! Of course the show won’t be for everyone, but they do a decent job of covering the homeowners’ different needs. On the other hand, I think they’re hoping to highlight the different types of rentals – such as a firehouse, a Palm Springs time capsule, etc.

        Thank you all for giving us a lot to think about!ReplyCancel

    • EL9.1.18 - 1:51 PM

      Original commenter here: Honestly I’m always a little afraid to come back and see reactions to any comments that aren’t full endorsements of the blog topic, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the conversation happening here. Thanks, Scott and Kim, for maintaining a space where people can have these conversations without it getting ugly.ReplyCancel

  • Rylie8.31.18 - 8:14 AM

    I have been on a huge scaling back kick recently! We are moving soon, and being totally inspired by your treehouse, I gave away six many gadgets and extras from my kitchen. It’s made my whole house feel lighterReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 8:51 AM

      Hooray! So I take it you don’t own the infamous avocado tool? ?ReplyCancel

  • Amanda8.31.18 - 8:35 AM

    What a fun idea!

    I also recently jumped on the ACV skincare train, and am loving it thus far!

    Having a baby about a month younger than Lucy, it has been so fun to watch her grow and hear little spinets of what is to come for us.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 8:52 AM

      Thank you, Amanda! Congrats to you on your sweet bundle!ReplyCancel

  • lak8.31.18 - 8:58 AM

    I did the “art of tidying up” last year to get rid of a lot of items, and felt great afterward, lightening up has been in the process in my home for over a year now. Recently I had company stay and after a few days one of them remarked “it looks like a minimalist lives here”. I felt I had accomplished my goal. While I am not a minimalist, what I find as I get older is that I may own stuff, but some “stuff owns me”. Its nice to let go sometimes. Thats why I enjoy your blog, your homes are so light and airy in appearance. You have beautiful and quirky taste (dinosaurs), very very refreshing! Have a great holiday!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 9:13 AM

      Someone asked us last week if we were minimalists, which made me pause. We’re not, but we do try to only live with what we need and love! We were worried that after Lucy was born, we’d have even more stuff, but in reality, it kick started us to scale back EVEN MORE. It’s been so refreshing! We know there are people that live muuuuch more minimally than we do, but we strive for a good balance. Maybe this is why we’re always itching to switch things up as well, with fewer items, we’re looking at these things with a more critical eye.

      In any case, thank you for letting me ramble and for the kind words! #mariekondoforeverReplyCancel

  • Kaylan8.31.18 - 9:34 AM

    I found The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up when my son was an infant four years ago… I’ve always leaned towards a “less is more” philosophy, but I cleaned out again and again, rearranged things, swapped out furniture. Between keeping a baby alive, trying to be a half way decent wife, and still valuing my career our house could not demand any more of my energy. If anything was fussy or delicate it was GONE. No regrets! We love having less to maintain and pick up.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl8.31.18 - 9:45 AM

    I jumped on the clean beauty train a few years ago, but my skin is super sensitive, and ACV is a huge no no for me. Samantha in SATC after her acide peel kind of bad. BUT, if you’re looking for some fantastic, affordable products, I have to give a shout out to Ursa Major. Their products are so great and uni sex. Same for Josh Rosebrook, whose cleansers are the stuff of dreams. If you ever want to dive down that particular rabbit hole, message me. Skincare has really become my self care.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 11:12 AM

      We’ve used the Ursa Major deodorant and loved it! What other products of theirs have you used?ReplyCancel

      • jenn aka the picky girl8.31.18 - 12:23 PM

        The first product from UM I used was the Face Balm, which is amazing – more gel like and soaks right in (even my hubs uses it). And I will be forever grateful to them – after Tropical Storm Harvey last year, I mentioned how awesome it was to use their face wipes and put that stuff on my face when we were without water, and they sent me a lovely care package. The Golden Hour cream and flash mask are awesome too. Fantastic folks and great products.ReplyCancel

        • Ellen8.31.18 - 2:31 PM

          I was given a few of the face wipes and packed them in my hospital bag when I had a baby. So nice!ReplyCancel

        • Kim8.31.18 - 4:38 PM

          Wow, what a great company! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Lib8.31.18 - 10:35 AM

    I lived in Logan Square from 2006-2010 and I loved it so much. I am an east coast girl and moved back to be closer to family but I left a huge part of my heart in Chicago. I love seeing you guys posting about such a cool neighborhood, it brings me back. Every time I visit Chicago, Logan Square is the first place I go. I lived on the corner of Mozart and Logan Blvd, right behind a big church. Lula is still my favorite brunch place of all time. Lucy is adorable and so is your house!ReplyCancel

  • Brian Behrens8.31.18 - 10:57 AM

    So, for future reference… When you bring a new bike into the family, especially a mint condition red Schwinn Tandem, you tell me in person or via FaceTime. That’s like me finding out you now have a child via a blog post. Which reminds me, who is this “Lucy” I keep seeing on Instagram?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 11:08 AM

      ? LOL Uncle Brain, we love and miss you! To be fair, the tandem purchase is as fresh as this post.ReplyCancel

  • Dave9.1.18 - 4:36 PM

    Shout out to my college roommate, Dan and his wife Barb, for selling the tandem to Scott and Kim. Dan also sold Scott his first car, “The Hoop-tee”.
    Scott Vargo, please tell us about this fine ride!ReplyCancel

  • Rosalynde Welch9.4.18 - 9:40 AM

    Minimalism, or “scaling back,” is about BUYING LESS, not about getting rid of all the things you bought a few years ago and buying new things to sit in the exact same place. It’s about reducing consumption, not pointlessly multiplying consumption. Sorry to be a scold, but you have a big platform here, and I think it’s worth noting the environmental and social costs of the consumerism-disguised-as-minimalism trope on so many blogs.ReplyCancel

  • Aileen9.4.18 - 1:29 PM

    What sofa at Interior Design or Article are you eyeing? We are in the market for a new sofa too (two kids under three) and want something comfy, durable, and attractive (is that even possible?). I’ve been waiting all year for the Interior Design sale, but now that it’s here, I’m not sure which one to buy.ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.4.18 - 2:53 PM

      We are loving the Jasper from ID and the Gaba from Article. We think either could work, but we’re still in research mode! We’ll have to stop by our local ID store to sit on a few more couches in person. :)ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa9.5.18 - 8:31 AM

    Totally into scaling back the living spaces with a now toddler. Even more when the toys come out (and we’re big on the simple toys, like wooden trucks/trains, duplo (which is scaled and can fit with LEGO *mindblown*), books). closed storage/seating is a dream for rotating toy interests plus allowing running around space.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa9.8.18 - 11:44 PM

    A different Vanessa here . . . I have been wondering who Miss Lucy looks like. It’s Scott! What a couple of cuties!ReplyCancel

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