Extreme Home Makeover: Oak Park Edition

Extreme-Home-MakeoverJennifer:  I want to hire you!
Ann:  Okay, um, are you sure?
Jennifer:  Yes!  {simultaneously emailing me her home redesign wish list}
Ann:  Bring it!
Jennifer:  When can you start?
Ann:  Today.

This was essentially the conversation that took place in mid January when a colleague-turned-friend asked me to redesign her incredible Oak Park home.  I remember that Sunday afternoon as I drove excitedly to her home in Oak Park I was thinking, “this is going to be fuuuunnnn!”  And fun it was!

Jennifer and Chris moved into their home roughly five years ago and basically just put their belongings into this home without changing a thing.  When I walked into the space, I instantly could see the potential.  It’s a quintessential Chicago-esque home with old hardwood floors, amazing crown molding, original fireplaces and more.  No major renovations were needed…just some updating, personalizing and highlighting the character the home already had.

We decided instead of tackling her whole house (which, is, ahem, four levels), we would start with her first priority…the first floor.  The first floor consists of an entryway, a front room/den, a family room, a powder room, a dining room, a kitchen and an office.  Yes, that is seven rooms.

And it doesn’t stop there.  While doing my second walkthrough of her house back in early February,  Jennifer says to me, “I wish you could just come in while we aren’t home, do it all and I can walk into a new home!”  My response?  Are you planning a vacation anytime soon?  (I am sure you get where this is going.)

And the idea was born.  Spring Break 2013 for the Hamilton family turns into Extreme Home Makeover, Oak Park Edition for Ann Ueno!  I had about 45 days to achieve the vision, plan, shop, buy, prep and design.  And then I had less than seven days to go into the home and transform their space in time for when they came back from Mexico in mid March, sans Ty Pennington.  Despite not having Ty around, I did have Avdo, the best handyman/painter/carpenter/everything guy in Chicago!  He clearly played a critical role in the project as he came in early to start the painting, among other things.

Oh and did I mention I have a full-time job?  Yep, I do.  But as luck would have it, the week the Hamilton’s were on vacation, Rick (my husband for any new reader reading), was going to be on a golf trip AND it was Easter weekend which meant early dismissal from work.  I took most of the weekend and a few post work evenings at the Hamilton Home (accompanied by their cat and some wine, of course) to design, decorate and style.

The project consisted of new paint in every room, reupholstery, some new furniture, new rugs, backsplash in the kitchen, wallpaper, new curtains, some functional elements and a whole lot of visual transformation with some new and old pieces.  Yeah, no big deal.  I got this.

My primary vision for the whole house was focused on personalization.  I truly believe what makes a house a home are the personal elements.  Those elements could be translated through colors and patterns, photography and books, bringing in old vintage family pieces or pieces from one room into another.  It could be just making a space more comfortable, more functional.  It could mean fresh flowers and a lit candle.  It could mean finding the right place to hang that one picture that matters.

My secondary vision was blending old with new.  Some call this modern vintage.  Either way you put it, I wanted to highlight the incredibly gorgeous structure and foundation of the home (as well as some of their amazing furniture) but also bring in some new design elements creating an overall new look and feel.

And, ladies and gentleman, just like on the T.V. show, I finished in time and fortunately, Jennifer and Chris loved their new space!  Here’s a sneak peek at one of their initial responses:  “Now we have to figure out how to get rid of the kids because the house is so nice…”  {insert sarcasm}.

And here’s a visual sneak peak of their new bar cart.  In case you were wondering, that is a 1937 Johnny Walker ad from The Stage Magazine.  #justsayin’


Over the next week or so, I will be revealing one room at a time and sharing my vision, any funny stories that accompany the room and the sources.  Get excited!

{Photo Credit 1:  Ann Ueno Designs…made just for Jennifer and Chris’s home!}


4 responses

  1. That is so cool Ann!!! Can’t wait to see photos of the project and hear stories. Did I tell you that I get excited when I see Annwrittennotes hit my inbox? xoxo

  2. Pingback: {Reveal} Entryway Before and After « Ann Written Notes

  3. Pingback: {Reveal} Front Room Before and After « Ann Written Notes

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