Chicago Renovation (Part 1)

It was May of 2005, and I was half thrilled and half terrified. I was buying my first place on my own, and leaving the comforts of living with 4 friends for the past 5 years. I found this amazing spot east of Clark on Deming and Lakeview in the coveted Marlborough Building.

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The lobby was so charming, and I fell in love with the location right away.

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My husband and I went Bananas to see that Fred Savage and Judge Rhinehold lived in The Marlborough Building in the 80's movie "Vice Versa". (I found this out after the fact, it wasn't a deciding factor in the purchase.)

I'd pretty much made up my mind about living in this building before even walking in the door of the tiny 750 square foot space. While the condo was vintage, and had seriously great bones, it definitely needed some help. This was what it looked like on the cold rainy day I came to see it. The color was hard to look past, and what I cannot believe I did not document was the swirling deep gold ceiling in this dining room. There is a tiny bit of the trim in gold showing at the top left corner, but all I could think about were these great triple hung windows, and how great this room could look.

I will eventually take you on a room by room tour of the renovation of this condo. Today I am  starting with the dining room. All of the spaces went through a couple of phases before the very clean, much more sophisticated final product.

First up, you guessed it, the infamous "French Country" look. I didn't love the red, but I hadn't ever painted a room before. Of course I thought it was going to be a quick project, but had to enlist the help of my friend Holly to get it done.

Boy did I learn a lot on this day. It's all about the prep work, cutting in, and taking your time. None of these things are my strong suits The ceiling was my job to finish in the evening.  On the FOURTH impatient coat, I learned a very hard lesson: You really should wrap everything very tightly in plastic in between use. The roller had gotten very gummy and bumpy, but I was determined to finish that night. I was pressing so hard looking up at the ceiling that the broomstick I'd used as an extender snapped in half and the wet roller landed on my head. I always hoped that someone in another unit outside saw the whole thing happen.

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After I swallowed my pride, I got a brand new crystal chandelier and was quite proud. This round table somehow fit 14 on several occasions, and this was always one of my favorite spots. If you stood on a ladder, you could actually see Lake Michigan out of the right hand side!

Of course, after a couple of years, I began to want to update things again. This time, no more "french country". I still loved my antiques, but wanted to modernize the space. While I loved entertaining for dinner parties, I didn't love that the best room in the house wasn't used more often. I finally picked one color for the entire living space to make the space feel much larger and airy.  Here is the final product that I created in the space.

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It was light, modern, but still had touches of my past. I spent many an afternoon reading here, and entertaining in this lighted filled heaven of a room. One last look here:

 

Stay tuned for reveals of each room from my past, where you can see my passion for interior design unfold.