We Bought a house!!

Most of you reading this already know that Mick and I just bought our first home. We are so very excited to be sharing this adventure with everyone but before we take you on our renovation/improvement journey we thought it best to tell everyone how it happened that we got this particular house!

Mick and I with the help of my Mom, Katy, have been looking at houses since late March. We toyed with the idea of getting a 2 or 3 flat and renting out the other units but settled on the fact that that would hardly be an improvement on where/what we were currently living in. Condos were appealing with all their shiny new appliances and granite counters but for the money were just not enough space and again there is the issue of having neighbors on the other side of a wall! Nope, Mick and I knew we wanted a house...so we searched...and searched.... Mom came down around Easter and looked with us...we saw some okay ones...but most were bad...one house we saw we really liked on Lowell Street in Chicago's Mayfair area, a great neighborhood, the house was huge, had a newer garage and was a Bungalow! It needed a lot..and I mean a lot of work on the inside...Mom suggested that we think about it...the market was in our favor so we had ample time to think, plus we were waiting for our funds to be secured...weeks went by and Mick and I were busy with tying up loose ends at work...we really liked the House on Lowell but to our chagrin one day it was listed as "under contract". We were devastated...we didn't want to look anymore but on the advice from my Mom we started over, marking houses on the MLS that appealed to us and hit the road again...I should also mention at this point that we had an AMAZING agent, Colleen, who happens to also be a friend of ours who showed extreme knowledge and patience with us as we toured through these places. By this point we knew that the house we wanted was a Chicago Bungalow, a style of house we fell in love with years ago while dropping someone off after a gig. We knew that while the market was in our favor finding a Bungalow in our price range that hadn't been destroyed by years of neglect or flipping would be hard but we also knew that it was out there waiting for us. We just had to be patient and willing to keep opening up doors to the unknown. While looking at the many pictures and over exaggerated descriptions of homes I came across one that caught my eye, a Bungalow on Eddy... it had no garage, something that was mandatory, and it was over 45 minute walk from the train (we had a mandatory less than 20 clause!) but a picture of it's cute kitchen with it's green tile caught my eye none the less and some how

I knew this one was special...I added it to our list of homes to tour on Friday, May 22nd.

That morning I distinctly remember Mick complaining that he didn't want to look at more houses...we were both upset that we hadn't found the one. Everyone kept saying, "don't worry when it's the one you'll know" but 37 houses in and we were starting to loose faith. I think we looked at 3 houses that morning before we ended up at Eddy. Colleen got to the house before us and met us on the side of the house, she had a huge smile and said "this one is nice guys!". We had to enter through the back of the house, the front door wouldn't open, we later learned that is because the front door key was still the old skeleton key and lock and the large key wouldn't probably fit into the lock box. Mick and I walked into the enclosed porch/addition on the house that so many Bungalows have and we just knew that this was the one. Every step into the house confirmed it...it was clean, the moldings were all still wood, it oozed charm and Arts and Crafts elements which is what we love about these houses. We immediately saw the potential and knew. The attic ran the span of the house, it was unfinished and clean..perfect for our plans of finishing it and making it a master suite or studio, the basement also unfinished was a full walk out, open, clean and completely usable as is...we were in heaven and that is when I made the call to Mom and said that with out a doubt all three of us, Colleen, Mick and I had found the "ONE". The rest of the day is a blur.. We still had a few more showings and Mom wanted us to see them as well...Mick was a giant ball of nerves, he knew that this was our house and that we needed to act on it now! BUT Mom still had to see the pictures and agree, after all she too was investing in this! We ran through the other showing, ran back to our apartment, uploaded the photos...Mom said okay...and this is when everything really started to fall into place. I started to get a little itchy that it didn't have a garage and it was so far from the train, I asked Colleen if we could go and see it again that same after noon...she had two meetings but she could squeeze us in between...we went back to the place and every time I walked into the house it just felt like home...so that was it...Colleen made a joke about how there were signs that this was our house, for one the Realty Company that listed the property, name was "Michael", her client she meet right before meeting us again at the house name was Eddy, and thankfully her last client had canceled enabling her time to get the contracts together to make an offer should we decide to do that...after walking through the whole house again we decided that yes we wanted to make an offer! The time was about 4:45ish...Friday, May 22nd, the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend and we all knew we should get this offer in pronto, after calling Michael Realty and confirming that they would be open until 6pm we started frantically filling out the paper work. We decided to offer them full price (it was priced really great) and asked for a few pieces of furniture as well (we actually thought the old lady who lived there had died). Colleen ran home, emailed the contract with Mick and My's signatures on it to my Mom in Alaska to sign, she scanned and emailed it back and our quick thinking agent sent the contract to the Realty company as well as the Realtors personal email....at 5 minutes to 6pm all the paper work had been filed and we just had to wait! Early the next morning (Saturday) Colleen called us with some great news, unknown to us, the house was not going to take offers past 6pm on Friday, we had barely made the cut off, in fact the there were 13 other offers already on the house and the family was going to look over them all over the Memorial Day weekend and decide...apparently no one had offered the asking price and they were going to go back to the highest offers and say to raise them...until ours came in! Their agent said he wouldn't have even looked at our offer except that it was written so neatly that he knew we meant business. (This is probably funny to only us, as both Mick and I commented on Colleen's handwriting as she was filling out the contract, so neath and pretty). Once they saw that our offer was for full price they verbally accepted it and said that we would have a sign contract by Sunday morning (the next day). In addition to the news that our contract was accepted we learned that the little old lady actually was still alive and living with her daughter in the northwest suburbs and headed to a new retirement facility, she couldn't take all her furniture and would we be interested in any more furniture other than the pieces we asked for!! We said we would take whatever they wanted to leave!!! Can you believe it! Alot of it isn't our taste perse however, this woman kept everything in great condition and some pieces we are using and other we are selling to pay for new pieces...it really worked out well for everyone. By Sunday we had a signed contract and Monday (Memorial Day) we were meeting with the family in the house to go through the furniture they were planning on leaving...there's too much to list but it included, 2 lazy boy recliners, a dining set with 3 leaves and 6 chairs, 3 other less formal dining sets through out the house. A solid wood bookcase, dresser, full size bed, headboard, frame, and mattress set...a lawnmower....and tons of cooking utensils, dishes and tools!!!

To make this already LONG story short. We closed on the house July 8, 2009 (07/08/09) and moved in that night! We are learning new things about the house and the neighborhood, Chicago's Historic Portage Park, everyday. We personally find it exciting to own such an old home. Built in 1926 it has only had 2 owners before us. What work had been done was done well and the house overall was kept in immaculate condition. It has modern features such as Central and Forced Air throughout both the main floor and the basement but has the old sash/weighted windows and skeleton locks and keys that are still in working order throughout. We have a lot of ideas, big and small, on how to improve the property while embracing it's Arts and Craft roots. We hope this site and blog will let us share with you our progress and act as a time capsule for us of the work and love we have put into the house!


  1. Oh! I remember hearing about this experience from Mick at gigs... It is so cool to read about it here. i wish I had a house and looking at your lovely pics and reading your love for this place makes me so... full of longing... Congratulations. I totally get the attachment and magnitude of this experience. No one deserves it more!!


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