The Tour (kind of) – Part 1

Picture time!

So imagine for a moment that you’re touring the house with us and the inspector… and the people living in the house are just hanging around in the living room. Slightly awkward, right? Not as awkward as when they walked around with us the first time we saw it, but still… odd. So I don’t have pictures of everything yet, but I have something for you guys to see as a starting point. I’ll be sure to bring my camera to closing and we’ll get more then.

First, a floor plan. So you can see all the places in the house that didn’t make it into the photos.

(Edited to add… as someone (ahem, Dave) pointed out, there’s apparently no door to the downstairs bathroom. Rest assured, we will not be climbing through the window in order to get in there;  the doorway is actually in the wall that is shared by both the pantry and the bathroom. I just forgot to put it in.)

floorplan from memory

The downstairs layout is pretty good; other than blowing out the kitchen in 5 or 10 years, we’ll probably make some cosmetic changes but otherwise leave it well enough alone. The upstairs? It’s a strange layout, and I have big plans. Probably not for several years, but I think we may consider reconfiguring the whole layout to get a master suite up there at some point. Dave might not know that yet.

Now for the fun part: photos!

These are the stairs opposite the front door. For some reason, I didn’t take one of the area by the door itself, but aren’t the stairs pretty? Original wood, all the way up.


(The white on the post is actually glare, not white paint.)

This is one of the original listing images of the living room (you’ll see why the house didn’t get a ton of traffic before we came along… Everything looks tiny and dark, and it’s really not that tiny. The house faces south, so the front rooms aren’t sunshiny, but the side windows are open to the empty part of the lot and light pours in on that side).


Here’s my picture; this is taken from the dining room (which is adjacent):


The guy who looks like a zombie coming for you is Jeff, our inspector. He was amazing — if you’re in the market for an inspector around Chicago, let me know and I’ll send you his contact info (huge thanks to Beth and Brandy, who recommended him!). He made sure to explain the stuff we clearly didn’t understand in layman’s terms, and took a ton of time to walk us through everything he found and what it meant in terms of repair options and general cost. For a couple of total newbies buying an old house, he made the inspection process a lot easier.

On a side note — notice the position of the smoke detector? Play a game in these pictures and spot the smoke detector locations. They’re hilariously bizarre.

But back to the photos. Notice how much bigger the living room looks in the second picture… And why would you have left out that arch? Surely that’s a selling point?

On to the dining/jungle room. (This is another image from the listing.)


I don’t get the glass block; there are two big windows in the house that were at some point replaced with it. Dave and I are in negotiations as to what’s going to happen to it in the long run. (Maybe we can commission Moonie to make us some stained glass?)

At the back of the dining room is a french door that leads to the ktichen. First, the listing image (the french door is directly to the right of the stove at this angle, just out of frame):


The yellow hurts my head.

These are the two that I took:


The fridge is your standard giant white 2-door fridge. It sits just out of frame, on the left of this image. The door that’s open at the back left leads to the mudroom; you can just see the super-awesome, olive green vinyl flooring in there in this picture. The rugs are runners,  and not permanent.


We aren’t sure if that’s parquet flooring or vinyl tiles that look like wood. Neither Dave nor I looked closely enough at the time. But it is nice and light and neutral, which works for now. The counters are formica and fairly unattractive (at least they’re neutral); the cupboards are solid wood, the stove is relatively new, and the fridge and dishwasher are in reasonable shape. We want to get a microwave with a fan/vent for over the stove; there’s room for it (and I’m hoping it will hide the truly weird spot where they didn’t finish the tile up to the cupboard…).

Speaking of the tile, it’s definitely vintage. The grey grout is unfortunate, but the tile’s not terrible. It’s got a kind of quirky, late 50’s/early 60’s motif dotted around randomly. We may replace it in the long run — Dave’s all gung-ho for subway tile; since he’s the cook, I may just go along with that unless I come up with something much cooler.

Going back to the dining room (at least, I think the entrance is from the dining room… little fuzzy on this), there’s a small bedroom off to the side that we are going to make into the library. I considered making it the guest room, but figured no guest would really want to hear us making coffee at the crack of dawn.


It will be cozy with lots of books and our wing back chairs, I think. That’s the same flooring as the kitchen; I think it might be a weird wood/tile hybrid. Makes me wonder what happened to the hardwood…

See the thing in the wall next to the radiator? Prime example of why we’re doing the wiring first. That’s the only electrical outlet in the room.

Next door to this room is the downstairs bath and a pantry that’s currently being used as a coat closet. We’re planning to build in shelving and make it into a real pantry. I don’t have a photo of the soon-to-be-pantry, but here’s the listing image of the bathroom:


The things you can’t tell from the photo:

  1. The shower head was originally installed by an idiot, and it sprays directly at the window. As a result, the window in the shower is totally rotted and has to be replaced, along with (we assume) the better part of that wall.
  2. The green tile accents are amazing — they probably date from the 40’s and have a vaguely deco-ish motif. Tony insists that I can’t save them, so I’m determined to chip them off the wall, clean off the mortar and re-use them. Mostly because he said I couldn’t. But also because I love it.

And last but not least, behold the mudroom:


The door on the right leads out to a flight of steps down to the back yard. There are 3 windows in this relatively small room, so you can see it’s nice and bright. There’s also a tiny built-in closet (basically right behind my back as I took this photo), with this doorknob:


I’m hoping we’ll find some more of those in the basement.

So that’s the tour of the first floor! I’ll put the upstairs tour in a separate post since this is getting a little long.


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