July 3, 2022


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My Sweeten Story: A Fixer-Higher Rework of a Chicago Condominium

Reworking in a Chicago greystone constructing, a pair remakes an house entrance and two loos

Entryway with dark wood room partition

“After” photographs by John Laning for Sweeten

  • Owners: A professor and an accountant put up their Chicago apartment transform on Sweeten
  • The place: Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood
  • Major renovation: A relocation of the apartment’s entrance door, plus rip-and-replace remodels of two dated loos
  • Sweeten basic contractor
  • Home-owner quote:We’ve renovated earlier than, and we all know: The incorrect contractor can add pointless stress, delays, and value. The fitting contractor could make the method comparatively painless.”
  • Sweeten’s function: Sweeten matches dwelling renovation tasks with vetted basic contractors, providing recommendation, help, and as much as $50,000 in renovation monetary safety—without cost.

Written in partnership with the owners

Touchdown a historic fixer-upper in Chicago

Our house, which we purchased in 2019, is in a historic greystone constructing in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. A 3-bedroom fixer-upper, we selected it figuring out we may renovate it to our actual specs. The unit had, curiously, two entrance doorways, neither of which was in a logical location, and we needed to discover a resolution to that downside. We wanted to renovate the 2 loos, which had been largely untouched for many years. And eventually, we needed to redo the living-room fire façade as a of completion to our renovation.







Living area with window alcove and fireplace

The house is a full-floor unit in a three-flat constructing; it’s round 1,575 sq. toes and has a 160-square-foot rear deck. We’ve two French bulldogs and needed the condominium for its beneficiant measurement, however we additionally appreciated its historic standing and unique character. We’d observed that historic properties usually had their interval facets stripped out. We needed to convey fashionable updates to the house, preserve its classic options, and incorporate mid-century touches into our design.

We’d not too long ago accomplished a difficult transform of the condominium’s kitchen, and felt we would have liked a brand new contractor to sort out the subsequent section. We posted our venture on Sweeten, fielded responses, and shortly discovered a contractor we believed was well-matched to the job.

Fixing an odd downside: two entrance doorways

Transferring our dwelling’s entrance door was maybe the change that required probably the most thought. Initially, the house had two entrance doorways! One went into the lounge, and the opposite opened into the smallest of our three bedrooms, which we expect was the housekeeper’s room in some unspecified time in the future. Door No. 1 restricted the wall house in our stress-free and entertaining room. Door No. 2 made that tiny bed room even smaller and fewer practical. 

Entryway leading into the dining area

Initially, we’d determined to make the door to the small bed room our major entrance door, changing that room to a lobby. We’d tear out the door resulting in the lounge and drywall over it. This method would have required solely a slight enlargement of the width of that door opening to the bed room, and changing trim in a few spots. However ultimately, we determined the short repair wasn’t the best choice.

Reworking a brand new house entry

After discussing it with our Sweeten contractor, we selected a plan to create but a 3rd door. We’d shut off the 2 unique entry doorways and transfer the house’s entrance door to a brand new location within the eating room. These adjustments would give us full partitions in each rooms. Closing Door No. 1 in the end allowed for a friendlier, extra practical furnishings association in the lounge. Eliminating Door No. 2 created house for us to put in a big storage system comprising a Murphy mattress and a desk within the former housekeeper’s room. Two absolute wins.

Gif of the murphy bed closing and transforming into a desk

Now our house wanted a completely new entry. For the brand new opening, we selected a contemporary entrance door that contrasts with the classic character of the eating and residing rooms inside. We’re significantly glad in regards to the distinction between “new and outdated” as you enter our dwelling.

Two black-and-white toilet upgrades

Subsequent, we moved on to updating the 2 small loos. We needed to replace the plumbing, tiling, and fixtures, plus add exhaust followers to each baths. We deliberate to supply and supply all fixtures, together with a tub, taps, lighting, followers, and extra. To remain on finances, we requested our contractor to offer solely the tough supplies and labor. 

Bathroom with white tiles, black tiled floor, and glass paneled shower

We’ve renovated earlier than, and we all know: The incorrect contractor can add pointless stress, delays, and value. The fitting contractor could make the method comparatively painless.

Aiming for a clear aesthetic according to our just-completed kitchen, we selected to tile each wall floor from ground to ceiling with white subway tile. We’re happy with the best way this brings consideration to our 10-foot ceilings! We selected equally timeless black marble hex tile for the flooring, hoping it might conceal grime, hair, and different buildup between common cleanings. Lastly, we indulged our love of mid-century furnishings, integrating matching toilet vanities of that period’s fashion.

Bathroom with white subway tile and matte black fixtures

Bathroom with white subway tile and small wooden vanity

Reaching a modern subway tile fire

The final concept we needed to implement was in the lounge, the place we’d determined so as to add ornamental subway tile across the unique fire. Once we bought the house, the partitions across the firebox have been drywalled; we needed to reclaim the hearth’s function as a focus for the residing house. We selected a shiny white subway tile for the brand new fire façade to brighten the house. 

The important thing to discovering the proper basic contractor in Chicago

Every thing went remarkably clean with the string of tasks. Our Sweeten contractor was skilled and offered clear recommendation on points massive and small, together with the location of fixtures, the colour of the grout, and extra. We leaned closely on our contractor’s experience. We skilled no actual challenges—this was in distinction to our expertise throughout different phases of our broader renovation, with completely different contractors. We’ve renovated earlier than, and we all know: The incorrect contractor can add pointless stress, delays, and value. The fitting contractor could make the method comparatively painless.

White tiled fireplace with decorative clock above

Exterior of the home in Chicago

We discovered Sweeten’s detailed contractor critiques useful, and credit score these partially for our profitable rent. We appreciated the extra insurance coverage—and assurance—Sweeten offered. The fitting assets helped us to largely keep on finances, too. We had no main price overruns. A number of of our fixtures arrived broken, however we have been in a position to shortly supply replacements and keep on schedule.

The top end result has made us very glad. We’re happy with our design selections, and the best way our contractor’s work and craftsmanship aligned with our imaginative and prescient. It’s all about discovering the proper companion for the venture.

Due to the owners for sharing your Lakeview, Chicago apartment transform story with us.

Renovation Supplies


BATHROOM RESOURCES: Restore 3 in. x 6 in. shiny white ceramic subway wall tile: Daltile. Nero Marquina 2″ black honed marble mosaic hexagon ground tile: The Builder Depot. Small twin flush one-piece bathroom with mushy closing seat and 12” rough-in: Horow. Nicoli 1.2 GPM single gap toilet faucet with pop-up drain meeting and matte black one-handle bathtub and bathe faucet with valve: Delta. Encore chrome 44-48” x 76” semi-frameless bypass bathe door: DreamLine. Franca 24” single-sink self-importance: Pottery Barn. PL collection 15-1/4″ mirrored single-door cupboard: Robern. Mena two-light globed wall sconce with 6” globes: Illuminate Classic

Sweeten handpicks the perfect basic contractors to match every venture’s location, finances, scope, and magnificence. Comply with the weblog, Sweeten Tales, for renovation concepts and inspiration and if you’re able to renovate, begin your renovation with Sweeten.