The Move - Part II

Initial Updates

When we decided we were going to move back to Crystal Lake, back in October, I started working with a realtor to get an idea of the houses that were on the market. 

I will also say, I move fast. Joel wasn't even in Illinois when I did the first sweep of houses, and when I finally found the one I was pretty positive we could work with, he came for a walk through, and that was it. We put an offer on it that day. 

Joel and I are always like that, for good and for bad. We just don't really hesitate, and it worked out in our favor. 

The seller was willing to take a 90 day close so we could wrap up life in California and get through the holidays. And as luck would have it, Joel wrapped up his old job in California and was able to have a 3 week gap before going to his new job, so he has been around 100% to help us survive.

The house is big, bright, and relatively new, but it was built in 2004 and hadn't been touched since. 

I loved the bones of the house, the property, the layout, and the curb appeal..but the interior left something to be desired. 

Before we moved in we had the floors done (wood stained, carpets cleaned), the banister and door painted (the outside will be painted black come the spring), and every room painted as well.

The day we closed on the house, the floors were the first thing done. Here is a before, during, and after shot of the floors and new kitchen lighting. 


 The floors were a very bright oak, and we had them buffed, sanded, and then stained in a walnut finish.

Having the banister done was one of my favorite jobs - it warmed the entire house up.


I was a little scared to go bold with the front door, but it was worth the risk.

Image result for 1170 Lakeview Crystal Lake 60014 
The outside of the door will be painted black come the spring as well.

We painted almost every room Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray, but with the dining room, we went with Steely Gray on top and stark white on the bottom.

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The other project our contractor did while he was working here was mount the TV above the fireplace. He was able to drill two holes on the side of the brick to keep the wires from showing.

While they had the 2 floor scaffold we had them update the recessed lighting, put in new bulbs in the chandelier, and clean the fan and windows that probably won't be touched again for years!

I really didn't want to spend the money to get our carpets cleaned because we are thinking about putting hardwood everywhere down the line, but we were persuaded by a "vacancy discount" and decided to just go for it and I'm so glad we did.

It made a huge difference - and I didn't even think the carpets were bad! Eek! 

We had people filing in and out of the house constantly for a week between, locksmiths, HVAC cleaners, security systems, and painters....it was a sight to be seen! But we made it in time and all of the initial updates were wrapped up on Friday (prior to our stuff arriving that Sunday), so my mom and I had two full days to deep clean. 

As eager as we were for our stuff to arrive, it was an enormous blessing to have the house unfurnished (along with having my parents as a place for us to stay), so that we could get so much work done before having to even think about unpacking!


  1. Love the look of the updates! We are gearing up to buy a house as well and you made it sound so easy! Hope we get just as lucky.

  2. I love the updates, especially the dark floors and the black front door. We found our house on our first outing with the realtor and I'm so glad we went for it. Hope you're settling in well!

  3. I love the updates! The grey color and darker floors are gorgeous! Jess at Just Jess

  4. Do you mind sharing the info on the drum light/shade above your table? We've been living with the 90s style light since we moved almost a year and a half ago she it's time for it to go!

    1. Not at all! I found it at Home Depot and would absolutely recommend it. It's a burlap shade, 3-bulb drum light with an adjustable cord (and it's really inexpensive!).

  5. I love your new home and all of the updates you have already made! That fireplace and family room is absolutely gorgeous! You are going to have so many happy memories there!

  6. Good grief y'all did a ton!!! The banister is a huge change!

  7. It all looks beautiful! Love the updates!

  8. Wow your new home is beautiful!!! I can't wait to see more. Congratulations!

  9. Thanks! The closest HD that had it in stock is Algonquin which isn't too far but a little more than I want to drive just for a light! Found it on ebay! Thanks for the info :)

  10. Gorgeous Tess and so much space!!! This has to be crazy to go from an LA condo to that huge house. You will love it even more once Leo gets older and needs space to run around!