Lantern Hill: Elizabeth’s Reno

This is the second in a series of interviews with homeowners in the East Lansing area. The purpose of this series is to learn more about our neighbors and create a sense of community that can exist both online and out in the world!

Today’s house is one that I pass on my daily walk. Over the past few years, I have watched this place transform — first with exterior paint, then a bright front door, and most recently, the pergola and ornamental grasses that shield the front of the house from the road and make it more private.

When a “For Sale” sign popped up this fall, I was eager to see the interior. It is even better than I expected! The homeowner, Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, shares her thoughts with us.

Now to the interview….

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.
I live on Knoll Road in the Lantern Hill neighborhood in East Lansing with my husband, our dog Lexi, and our toothless cat Luna. I am a professor at Michigan State University. 

What brought you to East Lansing?
We moved here for my job at Michigan State University but have always been fans of the area as my sister has lived in Laingsburg for over 20 years. 

How long have you lived in your home?
We have lived in our house for 3 years and 5 months.

Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie features the Lantern Hill neighborhood.

What drew you to this house – did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?
We actually never saw the house in person before we moved in! We were house hunting from Utah so we had only seen it on a video call. When I found out the neighborhood was featured in Mid-Michigan Modern by Susan Bandes (which I owned, even though we lived in Utah), I knew it was something special. The house was mostly original from 1951 when we moved in including the kitchen and bathrooms. We had a LOT of work to do but were excited to get started. 

Old, tiny kitchen on the left. Expanded kitchen that is lighter and brighter on right.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?
We knew we’d be updating the whole house, and we did! The kitchen was the project with the biggest impact. Going from a tiny cramped 1950s kitchen to a bright, airy, modern kitchen made a huge difference in the feel of the house. 

New hardwood floors + floor to ceiling windows facing the back yard.

What has been your favorite project (or purchase) so far?
A project that has surprised me was refinishing our original hardwood floors. I knew this needed to be done but I had no idea how much I would love the outcome. The floor is like a piece of art! Our house has unusually thin strips of wood that make it special. 

How has “Stay Safe at Home” affected your daily routines? Now that we have been home
for over half a year, is there anything you wish you could change about your home?

I have come to appreciate the floor to ceiling windows even more during Stay Safe at Home as it has allowed us to be entertained by nature and watch the seasons change from at home. 

What are some of your EL favorites?
1006 Lantern Hill is an absolute fav – the asymmetrical roofline, especially with holiday lights on, is magical. 

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?
Doing house projects! Painting, building, or reorganizing. 

Updated lower level with windows facing the backyard.

Lightning Round:
Which would you say you are: handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? Crafty
Can you fold a fitted sheet?
Absolutely not
Favorite simple treat? Roasted chickpeas
Best organizing hack? If you haven’t touched it in a year, get rid of it
When I say hygge, you say…. candles


Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your home with us, and good luck to you in your new home out in the country! To see more photos of this house – both as it looks now and how it looked before the renovation, check out the Zillow listing here.

If you would like to be featured on the Real Houses of East Lansing, please send an email to the editor, Carrie Sampson, at mrscarrsamp (at) gmail (dot) com with “Real Houses of EL” in the subject line. Thx for reading!

Published by eastlansinghome

Carrie Sampson is a longtime resident of East Lansing, Michigan. She has worked in nonprofit communications for over 20 years and in the last decade has become increasingly interested in interior design and issues related to the built environment. Carrie has served as a commissioner on the East Lansing Historic District Commission since 2018. She has written the Eye Candy and Eye for Design columns in the Lansing City Pulse since 2019. To learn more or to work with her, send an email to mrscarrsamp AT gmail DOT com.

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