This is the third in a series of interviews with homeowners in the (East) Lansing area, and the first in Michigan’s capital city of Lansing. 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!
Alison and I have known each other for nearly 20 years. I remember when she bought her house and the careful, thoughtful restoration that ensued. In fact, I learned a lot about historic preservation just by watching how she and her husband approached the projects around their house.
And, when I was first dreaming up the idea of this blog years ago, Alison was one of the people I talked to about it — over a delicious lunch at one of the great BBQ joints in REO Town.
Now to the interview….
Tell me about yourself, where you live in Lansing, and who you live with.
I live with my husband Jim, and three daughters Zora, Stella, and Scarlett. We live in Lansing’s REO Town in Moores Park neighborhood. The girls attend East Lansing Public Schools and are involved in sports and music. Jim is a professional musician, recording engineer, and piano technician. I’m a fine artist (painter) and I work as a Realtor.
What brought you to Lansing?
I grew up in both north Lansing (Grand Ledge schools) and finished 7th-12th grade in East Lansing. Jim grew up in Mason. Since we were both from the area we settled on a diverse neighborhood. Mostly it was the style house (and price) that made our decision for us.
How long have you lived in your home?
Since 2003. It was built in 1909 and we were able to have a large portion of our renovations completed by its 100th birthday.
What drew you to this house – did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?
We looked and looked. Our goal was to get an old home with hardwood floors and pretty woodwork. At the time, it was the height of the market so in order to get something we could afford we had to buy a major fixer-upper. Oh, did we do that! Jim needed a room big enough in the basement to have a recording studio and rehearsal space. It was so ugly on the outside, but I knew it had potential. I just didn’t know how long we’d be digging out the diamond! It’s a large Craftsman Bungalow and if I do say, one of the prettiest homes in the neighborhood.
What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?
We didn’t do anything before we moved in but on day three Jim took a sledgehammer to the first-floor bath. The toilet leaked into the basement and we knew this when we bought it!
What has been your favorite project (or purchase) so far?
I love the tile floor I chose for the upstairs bath as well as the converted dresser-turned-vanity. The bathroom in general turned out just as planned. I do love the rolling shelves I had made for the kitchen pantry. I don’t know how I’d live without them.
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?
We have five people living, working, and schooling on top of each other. We are currently remodeling our bedroom too and it’s taken WAY longer than I had imagined. I’m feeling really cramped but overall I’ve enjoyed so much time with my family…especially my husband. He traveled so much for his job I rarely saw him. He’s home-bound now and I’m making good use of him!
What are some of your Lansing favorites?
We enjoy REO Town and frequent the restaurants and shops regularly. It’s so nice to be in a part of the city where you can walk to something. We also live steps away from the Lansing River Trail and across from Moores Park and the Grand River. I enjoy walking around our neighborhood. It’s really beautiful and all the houses are unique, plus there is an ice cream shop on the corner so that’s a summer staple. Also, I can’t forget to mention the Peanut Shop downtown. It is a family favorite!
How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?
From April-October I spend time outside working in my yard. Though my property is small I’ve created quite the project for myself.
Which would you say you are: handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? All of the above. I can tackle all sorts of home projects on my own, I’m very artistic, I love to throw parties, and I cook often. I also love to bake.
Can you fold a fitted sheet? Yes. I learned from watching Martha Stewart.
Favorite simple treat? Hot Cocoa
Best organizing hack? ? Using bread bag tags to label cords! We have so many electronics and the back of the TV is a tangle of gaming consoles. When I learned the trick to tag them, I was hooked!
When I say hygge* you say…. Cozy blanket on the couch, glass of wine and Netflix
Thank you, Alison, for sharing your beautiful home with us! 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!