Just in time for the holidays, I thought I’d share a wonderful article Traditional Home magazine wrote about my home in the Gold Coast of Chicago. In 2010 my husband and I spent several months renovating a late 1800s Victorian and every year we deck it out for the holidays. Feel free to be inspired!
It was 2010, and the family was moving to Chicago from California, where they had lived for about five years. Randy and Steve, who own a residential and commercial development business, were completing one project in Los Angeles and launching new ones in Chicago. Although most families with school-age kids and multiple pets opt for the suburbs, Randy set her sights on Chicago’s Gold Coast. The several-block neighborhood near Lake Michigan is where many late-19th-century business tycoons built homes after the Chicago fire in 1871.
“This is a prestigious area, but it also has the walkability factor that was important to me,” Randy says. “Now my kids can walk to school. I can walk to the grocery story. We’re a block from the lake, a block from the zoo. We’re right in the heart of it all.”
During the Christmas holidays, the family walks to the annual Chicago Festival of Lights Parade on Michigan Avenue and to Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
While the walkable location was a draw, so was the house itself. Built by an up-and-coming Chicago advertising executive, the interiors are elegantly appointed with quarter-sawn oak floors, solid-wood pocket doors, oak-paneled walls, ornate plaster moldings, Tiffany leaded-glass windows, and all the gingerbread trim of the era. Ceilings are 11 feet high on all three levels.
“It was a unique house before the renovation, with a very whimsical exterior. I hadn’t laid my eyes on anything this old and in such good condition in a long time,” says Randy. The house wasn’t without issues, however—a crumbling facade being the most obvious. The dark-stained paneled walls and trim made the house seem dreary and claustrophobic, and a previous owner had added some architecturally inappropriate and out-of-scale fireplace mantels, shelves, and other built-in details. Click here to read the full article.