Welcome to our brand new (insta)blog following our journey covering all things design, style, travel and more! Instead of saving the best for last, we decided to start with it right off the bat :-). To say we are in love with our new loft is an understatement. When we first stepped foot inside of it 6 months ago, we immediately knew we had to have it. It was tucked away in an inconspicuous corner of Lincoln Park. We never imagined such a unique loft could be located on a block with such a neighborhood feel between beautiful single family homes and brand new 3 flats. Not to mention almost everything we could possibly need is within walking distance – the El, Starbucks, Trader Joes, 7-11, high end retail, & so much more. It was perfect (well almost perfect). It was perfect in our eyes because we immediately could picture everything we wanted to do it. The bones of the place were AMAZING, it just needed our love to feel like home.
Our biggest issue with our new loft was how DARK it was at all times of the day. It was amazing how dark it felt when it was such an open and airy space. We have 3 huge sky lights coming from the ceiling and windows surrounding the entire unit. The previous owners installed dark hardwood floors, dark granite & slate throughout, and painted the walls in very muted colors. Right off the bat, we knew we had to change ALL of that! Here are some of the before pictures to give you the visual:
Now let’s start with our second favorite part of the makeover – the KITCHEN. The previous kitchen was beautiful in it’s own right, it just wasn’t for us. The previous owners didn’t spare any expense when they designed it, it just didn’t feel like home to us. The backsplash was a dark grey slate, the countertops were a dark tan granite & the cabinets were your standard cherry wood cabinets you see from the early 2000 makeovers. The first order of business was to take this dark and semi gothic feeling kitchen and brighten it up. We kept the layout exactly the same and didn’t have to touch the cabinets (huge money saver). All the cabinets needed were a fresh coat of white paint and brand new gold hardware from Rejuvenation (links below). Next order of business was replacing the countertops and backsplash. This was one of the most fun parts of the project for us. We knew we wanted a white marble feel to both, but without the price tag or the worry of marble. During our research, we found the perfect product: quartz! It’s a man made stone meant to take a beating, but still looks beautiful. The best part about it is it’s MUCH cheaper than your natural stones. We loved it so much that instead of doing a separate backsplash we extended the countertop directly up the wall for double duty. We are in love with the result.
Here are the links to some of our favorite parts of the remodel:
Gold Faucet – We bought this beauty directly from China. We went shopping for a new gold faucet and we were blown away by how expensive they all seemed to be. That’s when we decided to get creative and take a flyer on this faucet. We LOVE it. It looks beautiful and has worked great.
We bought the super cool Gold light fixture on clearance from West Elm. It’s no longer available, but they have awesome similar products on sale all the time.
Next in line were the hardwood floors. We have always been in love with the Scandinavian whitewashed look on hardwood floors, but our hopes of achieving that look appeared dashed when we realized that our floors were red oak with your traditional dark finish. The dark finish was not a problem as that is easily sanded away, it was the fact that the floors were red oak and not white oak. During all our research, it was said over and over again that you could not achieve the desired look on red oak. We then found this blog post which gave us hope: https://www.remodelista.com/posts/scandi-whitewashed-floors-before-and-after/ . We took a few big gulps and decided to do the unthinkable – we told our contractor we wanted him to go ahead and BLEACH our floors. We saw numerous other horror stories online to this tactic, but decided to go for it anyway! Needless to say, he thought we were insane. Regardless, we handed him the detailed instructions and he got started right away. All things seemed to be going perfect and as planned throughout the whole process- then disaster struck. The day after he completed the job, the floors turned COMPLETELY yellow. Unfortunately, he used the wrong finish during the final step and it had a chemical reaction to the bleach. Instead of using the water based finish, he used oil based. DO NOT MAKE THIS SAME MISTAKE! We were in panic mode waiting for him to meet us at the condo when we first saw the floors. Luckily, he did not panic and promised us he would fix it. Thankfully, a few days later and after much anxiety from us, he was able to get the floors exactly as planned. He had to start the process over completely and re-do every step (minus using an oil based finish). A few days later our dark red oak floors were a beautiful Scandinavian whitewashed floor! Check it out below.
Now to our absolute FAVORITE part of the entire project: the master bedroom. When we moved into the condo, it was considered a 2 bedroom and 2 bath unit. However, both bedrooms were upstairs in the lofted part of the condo. Neither had any privacy and were completely open to the rest of the condo. Immediately, we knew we wanted a space on the first level for a true master bedroom, but at the same time we didn’t want to lose the openness that we love. The first level had 2 closets in the back corners between a beautiful wood burning fireplace. This was the perfect spot to create a new bedroom (at least that’s what I told Jenna). She was skeptical at first, but I got to measuring and popped open photoshop to show her how we could make it work. I had seen some beautiful glass walls on Houzz and showed her a vision of creating a wall that extended across the entire first level that was 75% glass and 25% drywall. The drywall would double as a perfect privacy wall and spot for the family room and bedroom Tv’s. The glass wall would also have french doors to open up to the fireplace. On one side of the fireplace would be our bedroom and the other side would be a dream closet. The end result turned out PERFECT! The glass wall is our statement piece and the main talking point of almost every guest that visits. Now we have a 3 bedroom and 2 bath unit with a huge master closet. Take a look at our pride and joy below. We used Sliding Door Co. in Chicago to create this custom wall. We built our closet with IKEA Pax wardrobes. We will do a more detailed post on that later.
Now to the second level! It’s so unique and cool that we were in love at first sight. The natural wood, the bridge connecting both sides, the extremely high ceilings, all of it was perfect. We did very little to the second level since moving in. The biggest area of improvement was to the bathroom. It didn’t fit our style, but we also didn’t want to spend the money to rip it up completely. This lead to a compromise :-). We have always been in love with shiplap, so decided to add an accent wall to the bathroom, paint the cabinet and walls white, and match the countertop to the kitchen. We went with Benjamin Moore Tranquility (light green /grey) on the Shiplap. We are super happy with how it turned out:
The last and final order of business was a fresh coat of paint on all the walls, ceiling, & doors. We went with Benjamin Moore Super White and love how bright the entire unit looks now. Between the white white walls, cabinets, & floors we feel like we took this loft from the dungeon to the penthouse! Here are a few more pictures of the final product. We are in love with decorating it, so you will surely see A LOT more design posts in the future. Thanks so much for joining us on this journey.
Jenna & Ryan