This is the sixth 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!
Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.
I live in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood, with my teenaged son and our two cats.
What’s keeping you busy these days?
Work is keeping me busy these days. I’ve been working from home full-time for 11 months now, due to COVID, and I really do appreciate having this lovely home to work in.
What brought you to East Lansing?
I’ve always loved East Lansing, ever since I first came to the Lansing area three decades ago. About four and a half years ago, when it felt like the right time to make a move from my previous home in Lansing, I immediately began looking at homes in East Lansing. I love being near a college campus (despite being a Wolverine myself, I have several family members who are Spartans, and I really appreciate the beauty of the campus), and I love the older neighborhoods surrounding downtown East Lansing and the MSU campus.
How long have you lived in your home?
I lived here in this home or about four and a half years (I can’t believe that – time is flying!)
What drew you to this house? Did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?
I had made an offer on a different home, but was outbid. As I looked at other listings, this one caught my eye. I thought it was worth seeing. My son fell in love with it instantly, but I did not immediately have a “this is the one” feeling. I wanted a home with a little bit more space than our previous home, but this one seemed too large for us. My son was very enthusiastically planning the layout of all of our furniture the first time we went through, which was pretty amusing. I didn’t make an offer right away, but thought hard about it. The things that really convinced me were the lovely view from the backyard of a ravine that runs behind the homes on my street, the kitchen with a six-burner Viking range and SubZero refrigerator, the beautiful sunroom with a tin ceiling on the first floor, the sunroom (which I use as a home office) directly above the downstairs sunroom on the second floor, and a very cool curved staircase that runs from one of the bedrooms up to the finished attic.
What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in?
Have you done it – why or why not?
One project that I thought I’d do, but haven’t really tackled yet, is a somewhat superficial update of the bathroom in the finished attic. The only thing I’ve done is pull the old animal-print wallpaper off the walls (I started out of boredom one day early in the COVID stay-at-home time). I’ve been very lazy about it though, and didn’t even finish pulling all of the wallpaper off. We do not use that bathroom regularly, so it’s sort of “out of sight, out of mind.” When I bought the house, I thought maybe my son would want that attic space as his own bedroom and bath, but he seems content to share the second floor bathroom with me. I also need to do some work on the bathroom off of the kitchen. That part of the home is an addition to the original home, and whoever put in the plumbing did not do it correctly. It’s going to be a bigger project, involving tearing up tiling and moving a toilet, and I’ve been procrastinating on that because of expense and inconvenience.
What has been your favorite project so far?
I haven’t really done any major projects so far. We painted two rooms before we moved in. That’s all!
How has the pandemic affected your daily routines?
Due to the pandemic, is there anything you wish you could change about your home or where you live?
The pandemic affected my daily routine to the extent that I’ve been working from home every day (which I love). I very much appreciate how warm and sunny my home is. It feels like a really good place to work.
What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat/hang out in East Lansing?
I love to walk around the MSU campus. Mackerel Sky was one of my favorite places to shop for gifts; they always had such unique and gorgeous items. I’m very sad that it closed at the end of 2019. I very much appreciate having Fresh Thyme market for grocery shopping, especially now during the pandemic – everyone there (staff and customers) seems very good about masking up and the quality of the produce is invariably great. As far as restaurants go, I love Georgio’s Pizza, Woody’s Oasis, Taste of Thai, and Swagath. My son is also a huge fan of Crunchy’s.
How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?
On a typical Saturday, I make a nice breakfast (usually pancakes, French toast, or omelettes) and then spent a few hours doing household chores. An ideal Saturday would be one in which the cleaning was done pretty quickly, and I could fit in time for some type of exercise (whether a walk outside, yoga, or a HIIT workout), spend some time relaxing with a crossword puzzle or the New York Times Spelling Bee game, watching good tv shows or movies, and (something I do too rarely now) reading a good book.
How many TVs do you have and what are you currently binging?
We have one television. My son and I are currently binge-watching three shows together: M*A*S*H, WandaVision, and IronFist. On my own, I’ve been binging Madame Secretary lately. I’m planning to start Bridgerton soon. I loved The Queen’s Gambit and the most recent season of the The Crown.
Are you handy, crafty, hostess, or cook?
I’m slightly handy – I can follow directions to build things, but it’s not like I have a workshop in the basement or anything. I’m definitely not crafty. I’d say I’m a guest more often than a hostess (though really neither one in the past year with the pandemic). I like to cook– sometimes I think think that I’m a pretty good cook, sometimes I’m mediocre, and sometimes I outright fail. I’ve been making my own bagels during the pandemic. It’s pretty fun, and there’s nothing better than a bagel fresh out of the oven!
What’s a favorite simple or inexpensive treat?
My favorite simple treats are either dark chocolate, or a sliced up apple or pear with some almond butter and cinnamon.
Do you have an organizing hack to share?
I have no organizing hacks. If anyone has good organizing hacks, please share them with me!
When I say hygge, you say…. I say flannel pajamas, a cup of hot coffee, and a fire.
What do you want to know about your neighbors?
I’d like to know what East Lansing gems my neighbors love, that I might be unaware of — great little stores, for example.
Thank you, Amy! 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!