Our Home Tour – The Before, First Floor

As I mentioned in the welcome post, this blog exists largely because of our new house, affectionately dubbed #schmiedskigreystone on Instagram. I know you’ve seen a lot of progress on insta and in my insta stories (I basically treat that platform like it’s a blog) but I have thousands of process photos to sort through on everything from replacing our stair runner to changing out light fixtures, and of course the design process…. so this will serve as a more permanent document and design resource for myself and all of you!

Long story short, we had every intention of staying in our old one-bedroom, Wicker Park apartment for at least another year. But when a year-long gas leak was discovered around Christmas–after a string of other incidents signified that place wasn’t up to code–we decided it was time to move.

I was doubtful we’d find any place I would love as much as I loved that apartment. It had vintage detail and boatloads of natural light (two musts for me) but with snazzy upgrades like a remodeled kitchen and bath and in-unit laundry.

As soon as we found out we had a gas leak, I started scouring Craigslist. Nothing was showing up in our budget in the neighborhoods we wanted to live in. The couple of hopefuls I saw ended up being much tinier in person. We decided to increase our price cap by $100 and wouldn’t you know… this gem showed up.

I fell in love immediately just by looking at the photos, recognizing it as a two-story greystone, not unlike my two most favorite Brooklyn brownstones–those of Ali Cayne and Jenna Lyons. Minus the 12″ ornate crown moldings and custom kitchens.

Still–I saw the potential. That staircase! Those high ceilings! That NATURAL LIGHT! I emailed the realtor, explained my excitement, and Dan and I quickly met him to tour the place.

Despite my enthusiasm and eagerness (I literally had a dream about the place just from looking at the listing), we weren’t sold after seeing it. A few things left us uncertain of whether it would be the right fit for us…

But let’s take a tour, shall we?

The Entryway


The Living Room


The Dining Room

The Kitchen (/ Laundry Room?)


The Powder Room

Why we almost didn’t take the house:

  • the kitchen is not only dated, it has an awkward configuration of appliances, little storage, and has a large washer/dryer unit in it so no matter how much I try to pretty up the space, it is essentially hopeless without a full remodel–that we will not be taking on as renters.
  • the bathrooms are also in decently bad shape. cracked floor tile in both the powder room and upstairs bath.
  • the two guest bedrooms had carpet that needed to be changed, and again, we were not going to cover the cost to replace it.
  • the stair runner was in really bad shape. This was potentially a project we could tackle.
  • all of the overhead lighting needed to be changed. Another thing we were willing to take on since we’d sign a long lease and take all the lighting we installed with us and put back up the owner’s original pieces when we moved out.
  • the whole place needed to be painted and cleaned. And then probably cleaned once more.

Why we ultimately did:

  • the living room
  • the dining room
  • the oversized master bedroom
  • the 120″ tall windows
  • the 3 fireplaces
  • the location
  • the ceiling height
  • the back “yard”
  • having two extra rooms to use as an office and guest bedroom
  • having two bathrooms
  • the landlord agreed to paint the whole place and change out the upstairs carpets before we moved in–two BIGGIES for us–and I got to choose the colors for both. Thank you, landlord!! This was the final deciding factor.
  • it’s a greystone! i.e. my dream city home!

So the week of Christmas was stressful. (But also magical, because, duh, Christmas.) We started packing up our old place the day after the holiday and moved a few days later.

A full tour of the upstairs coming next!



Oh… you didn’t see that coming, did ya? Yea–Elizabeth Street Post is going to have a bit of video action. Stay tuned.