The news for today is ... drum roll please ... My writing space is FINISHED!!!! YAY!
As most of you know, I have been under construction for the past month. After eight years in my Chicago condo, I realized I desperately needed a writing space. Since condo living doesn't come with a plot of land to build on, condo owners are pretty much STUCK with the space they have ... but are they?
Yes, we are limited to the square footage, BUT space can be reconfigured. As an interior designer, I am well aware of this. And so, after going back and forth in my mind, I had decided to section off part of my oversized living room. When I bought this condo the main feature for me was to have an enormous living room. At the time I wanted to showcase a Parisian salon style decor. The expansive size and five windows overlooking Lincoln Park, North Pond, and downtown was the perfect space.
After three months I had created a stunning traditional 1920's room to match my vintage condo. It was perfect. I had booked several jobs from it, but as time went by and my business crashed in 2009, the pomp and majesty of the room wore thin. Who needed such a grand space, especially since I had to live of savings and the seldom job.
As I took up writing, the desire for an office grew more intense. I took up illustration again and needed a space that would function for my art. Paints are messy... who wants to ruin a hand-woven Persian rug... not me! That thing cost me the price of a new car! So, needless to say my space wasn't working for me anymore. I also got over fluffing the down sofa EVERY TIME someone sat on it. My formal days were coming to a close. It was/is time for more suitable space for my new lifestyle.
Two years ago, I ditched the overstuffed down sofa and chairs, and put the antique camel sofa in storage and replaced them with two low profile, clean lined, linen sofas. Very Modern... Took my Biedermeier knockoff drawing table out of storage and reconfigured my living room... I even bit the bullet and put a large screen TV over the fireplace ... something I SWORE I would never do. Had to keep the carpet though ... too huge to store. LOL. But still had to be careful with the paint... LOL.
For the past year I have been toying with the idea and dreaming of an office. Most people would just sell their place and buy another one... HA! Not with the real estate market the way it is. Yes, it is a GREAT buyers market, but try to sell... HA! again. I lot almost a $100,000 because of buying high and all the upgrades I put in. So I am totally stuck! And so are many others. That is why I decided to reconfigure.
I made up my mind and decided to GO FOR IT! I did a sketch and called a contractor I had worked with in the past. Hoping for a good quote, I was completely floored. "FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS! Just to throw up dry wall!" That wasn't even including materials OR the crown molding, which needed to be matched perfectly. Vintage living sports gorgeous details, but try matching them without paying a FORTUNE. I have nine inch PLASTER molding. "Who does plaster anymore? HELP! SOS!"
I escorted my FORMER contractor to the door and told him he was insane! It was time for Angie's List. I had never used them before but I had heard only good things about them. I joined and immediately contacted three contractors. Two called right away ...
The estimates were HALF of the smo I used to work with. Shop around guys! They are a LOT of overpriced contractors out there.
I decided on one. WITH the crown molding AND a closet I decided I had to have too, the bill with materials and two doors, one French, one heavy SOLID wood door, came to around $4000.00. Yes, the same as the other guy, BUT so much more. The crown molding alone was over a thousand. Remember I have two sides, two corners, and a jet out for the closet. This was no easy, put a few studs in the floor and voila a wall. I had pocked doors installed too plus ALL the thick baseboards and door moldings. Again... think vintage. LOTS of woodwork. Beautiful but costly and lots of work.
Now guys, this quote DID NOT INCLUDE painting. That would have been another $1500.00. Painters are INSANE here in Chicago. Thankfully painting is one of my talents ... I am BEYOND anal. I am more meticulous than ANY painter than I have ever encountered.
Okay... enough backstory... Here are the pics. It is amazing how just by putting up a wall it can change your whole space. It's a totally different condo now. AND I finally have THE office. YAY! Let me know what you think...
Here are the befores, I want to give you a good sense of the remodel...