Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our First Place: Condo Home Tour

My first place, shared with my husband, was a small city condo downtown Chicago.  The best aspect of our condo was its location.  We were on Southport Avenue, which was a few blocks west of Wrigley Field and it had a ton of shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance, and easy access to public transportation.

But, at my ripe old age of 28 (ha!) I decided I had enough.  I did not like sharing walls with freshly graduated college students!!!  I was discussing - ok, more like complaining about - these shared walls with my husband one night when he surprisingly said - after only about three years in the space - "let's move!"  This was in 2008 and the housing market was starting its swift descent.  Rather than chase the market down, we wanted to make sure the space was priced right and staged to sell. 

Our strategy worked; we had a contract in less than ten days for near asking price and closed on the place within a month!  Good news: we were out.  Bad news: we had no place to go!  But that is a story for another day........

These are the pictures I took for the listing on the MLS.

You entered the condo into a hallway.  Straight ahead of you was the little nook in the picture above with the book shelves. 

We added the shelves, which were from Ikea, so that we could display travel pictures, added bowls for keys and change, and baskets for hats, scarves, dog leash, etc.  Off to the right was the "great room."  The first think that struck me about this condo when we were house hunting was the wall of windows and crown molding:

We didn't want furniture competing with the windows, so we chose the couch because of its low profile and used a glass coffee table to keep the space light and bright. 

The TV stand, which we still have, is from Room and Board.  Actually, we still have and use a LOT of the stuff from our first place.

We had to keep our china cabinet in the "living room space" because, as you will see, there wasn't enough room in the dining area. 

That didn't matter much to me so long as I had a space to display our china and crystal (I was a newly wed after all) and my grandma's silver platter, which was a wedding gift.

I still have the same display in my china cabinet today.  I always go back to this arrangement because I can't help it - I like simplicity.

Behind the living area was the dining space and kitchen:

The kitchen was my least favorite part of the condo.  Since we were only there three years, it didn't make much sense monetarily to make any changes.  We added modern hardware and under the cabinet lighting.

I did love the dining area, though.  It was small, but I just loved having dinner there and observing what was happening on the streets below.  I liked staring out those windows.  I liked it so much, in fact, that I decided to add not one, but two mirrors to reflect the outdoors and windows.

When we first moved in, we hung a large Chicago print that my husband owned behind the table.  Here is the space set for Mothers Day:

...and here it is all set up for my sisters bachelorette party:

I think the change to the mirrors was a wise one.  In fact, the people who bought our place wrote the mirrors into the contract!  My husband, who was also my real estate agent, said ok!!!  To this day, I still remind him how much I want those mirrors back - we purchased them at Bombay but the company was already out of business by the time we sold our condo!!

...moving onto the office.... was a nice size second bedroom by city standards....

 I liked to use our vacation photos in our spaces.  These are from our honeymoon in Hawaii.....

In the back of the condo, down a long long hallway, was our master: 

I always have and always will like white bedding so that I can change the accent color and accessories as I please...

Looking back, there are definitely changes I would make to these spaces.  However, this was my first home that I had the opportunity to decorate and I learned a lot in the process!  I wouldn't pass on the opportunity to live in the city if I had to do it all again! 

What do you miss about your first place?

Thanks for stopping by!  In the next few days, I will also be adding a home tour of our existing home, so stop back on over.

If you like what you see here, I'd love to hear about it or have you follow along with me!


  1. When I moved to Austin, I moved in to Peyton's house thinking I'd be there temporarily until I found the area that called me. Then we ended up getting married and I inherited a house in the matter! I'm learning to love it but really want the whole buying a house together experience.

    I really miss my last apartment which was a 1920s apartment building in a great area of Baltimore city. Hardwoord floors, old molding, lots of windows, little courtyard out my window. It was just SO me and that's what I hope to find again!!

  2. What a great location for your first place:) The mirrors were a great idea! I like the drapes and the tassels .. very pretty! Your bedroom looks so soft and cozy. Love the wall color and linens.

    I've moved many times and there are things and do and don't like about every place (perfection is tough to attain). Decor seems to evolve over the years. When I had small children, things were "kid friendly" and as they get older, I want to simplify and create a different more adult feel to my home. It's so fun and there are so many options!


  3. Your first home was beautiful! I love the windows and those mirrors are gorgeous. I would remind my husband daily about them too. ;-)

    I'm having a TWITTER Social hop. I'd love for you to hop on over, grab a button and link up your Twitter. If you don't have Twitter it's ok, come link up your blog or favorite post.

    I'm also looking for Pinterest Pinners to feature every week. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in being featured come link up! Who knows you might meet some other great pinners and gain a few great ideas.

  4. Hi there! Just found you and stopped on over to say Hi from a post on It's Overflowing. Love your blog...will be following.

  5. Those windows were fantastic! The placement of those mirrors behind the table was genius! I miss my first place too, it's hard to leave the first place you called home!

  6. Hi Dawn! I just found you via Its Overflowing and wanted to tell you that your home renovation is so beautiful! You have wonderful taste and your home looks so polished yet still warm and inviting. Love it!

  7. so gorgeous, dawn!

    the mirrors you put in the dining room are absolutely genius. i want to steal that brilliance. and your wedding china looks like ours!

    the bungalow we owned (near you!) was the first place we owned, and we adored it. i miss all the tumbledownlovely of it. i decorated with lots of color at first then went subdued and monochromatic except for the boys' room. i changed it up all the time and miss being able to do that.

    looking forward to saturday!


  8. Such a cute condo! I love how you added the shelves so you could display some items. It looks so great. I'm glad you sold it so quickly! That must have been exciting. But having nowhere to go was stressful, I'm sure!

    I really miss our first home. It was built in 1914 and had such charm and character. Beautiful hardwood floors, arched doorways, wooden beamed ceilings...but it was on a tiny lot in the city. As much as I miss it, I'm glad we live in the country now :)

  9. Stopping by from It's Overflowing and so glad she shared your blog with us! Your home is beautiful!!

  10. Just took your home tour at It's Overflowing - so beautiful!!! You have made amazing progress, it doesn't even look like the same space. Love your kitchen especially.
    PS We used to live on Cornelia right by Wrigley, such a fun time but SOOO glad to be out of the city :)

  11. Very nice set up! Y'all are on ur way.