Clearing the Cache

“Clearing the cache” refers to the process of deleting the data history in your internet browser. I am employing some poetic license to share the interesting links open in my tabs.

Elizabeth Cooper shot by Tom Grimes via Schumacher’s The Edit blog

The first story is “How to Properly Make Up A Bed” from Schumacher. One of the things I love about this is the variety of answers from ten very different designers about how to make a bed. The designer of the room pictured above and I share the same pet peeve –duvet inserts that lump up. Grrr!

via Hour Detroit

Heidi Przybyla is one of my favorite reporters on MSNBC and I was surprised to learn from this article that she is a not only a native of Detroit but studied at Michigan State University. Go Green!

This article talks about how crazy the Michigan real estate market is currently — prices are on average 13 percent higher in 2020 than the previous year, and in some random places, like the county where my parents live in northern Michigan, even higher than that.

The reason for it? From the article: “with travel restricted and people staying home more, people wanted to focus on their living space. Some chose to renovate existing homes. Others saw opportunities to take advantage of (remote work) and move to different locations”.

via Today with Hoda & Jenna

I turned on the Today Show with Hoda & Jenna yesterday to see my favorite designing couple, Nate Berkus & Jeremiah Brent, talking about their new home and the show they are competing on together on HGTV — Rock the Block. I haven’t started watching it yet, have you?

Down the Rabbit Hole: With Richard Neutra

Sometimes one thing leads to another, and before I know it I have done rather a lot of research on something that has piqued my interest. Today’s installation of this phenomenon is the architect Richard Neutra.

Easily one of my favorites of the mid-century modern architects is the Jewish Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra. Born on April 8, 1892, he came to America in the 1920s, working with Frank Lloyd Wright before setting out on his own in the 1930s. Neutra’s houses are generally characterized by long, sleek lines; big, floor-to-ceiling walls of windows; and natural materials inside like wood and stone, honed to perfection.

via Variety

This deep dive began with an article about the sale of one of Neutra’s houses in South Pasadena to the supermodel Elsa Hosk in December. According to this Variety article, the house was not considered special until earlier this century when it was discovered that the house is an exact replica of one of Neutra’s Case Study houses (read more about that here).

check out more photos of the home’s interior!
https://www.dirt.com/gallery/entertainers/influencers/elsa-hosk-house-south-pasadena-1203355016/

The only other existing Neutra Case Study House is the Bailey House (Case Study #20). It was built in 1948 in Los Angeles with the idea of being able to expand as the family, and its finances, grew. Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons, bought the property in 2004, restoring the Bailey House and, in 2010, built an LEED Gold-certified, 9,000 square foot modernist mansion behind it. The property went on the market last August and both houses come fully furnished. Check out those rad Shibori pillows!

via Dwell

The red base cabinets mixed with the natural wood toned uppers in the Bailey House kitchen are exciting. Feng shui principles would advise against using red in a south-facing kitchen (too much fire) but I love all of this. It feels fresh and exciting.

via Dwell

Back to Hosk’s house in South Pasadena, though. It first came to my attention last summer when it was listed for sale. The guest house had been listed on AirBnB. It’s doubtful that Hosk will preserve it as a vacation rental (can you imagine the creepers who would want to rent property adjoining that of a skinny-dipping Victoria Secret angel?!) but architecture lovers can always hope!

via AirBnB

The interior of the AirBnB was uniquely decorated and welcoming. I love the Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind print by the door among the many other special touches. It has a neutral base of white walls, but lots of fun color in the art and accessories.

via AirBnB

Who is Elsa Hosk? A 32-year-old Swedish supermodel whose partner is a Danish entrepreneur, they had their first child in February. She’s followed by The Conscious Kid on Instagram — and by me(!) in order to get a peek into how she’s decorating that Neutra. For example, I see that a lamp from her NYC loft is being used in the kitchen below, which is a totally different view of the kitchen from the listing photos (see above link). I imagine that’s not the focus that everyone has when viewing this photo, though. Architecture lovers unite!

via Instagram

If you can drag your eyes away from Hosk’s gorgeousness, note the lamp in her dressing area under the stairs in her SoHo loft (below) looks to be the same as the one beside her on the kitchen counter (above).

via Architectural Digest

That former home in New York City’s SoHo was featured last summer in Architectural Digest. Hosk decorated it herself, showing a real flair for interior design as well as an appreciation of mid-century modern décor. Check out those oversized Noguchi lanterns!

via Architectural Digest

Do you have a favorite Neutra? (I didn’t even begin to tell you about the Kaufmann Desert House, immortalized in the iconic Slim Aaron’s photo below. Read more here.)

Slim Aarons via Architectural Digest

Amy’s House

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.


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LIGHTNING ROUND
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. 

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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!

Fred & Irene

This is the fifth 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.

Fred and Irene Baker live in the Glencairn neighborhood, on Roxburgh Avenue. Fred is an attorney who does not seem to be able to retire, despite a couple of half-hearted attempts, and Irene as a nurse-practitioner in women’s health who seems to have succeeded quite nicely in doing so. Our Aussie, Scout, lives with us.

What brought you to East Lansing?

Originally, in 1986, the schools, for our daughters, but we actually returned to East Lansing in 2016 after living on ten acres in Williamstown Township for 16 years. The work and expense involved in maintaining a huge yard (we mowed about four acres) and flower and vegetable gardens, the 25-minute commute, the remoteness of our neighbors (it turns out that some people live on large tracts in the country because they prefer to be isolated and remote from their neighbors), the lack of nearby places to walk (walking on the road, especially with dogs, was too often dangerous, even though Barton Road is only two miles long and goes nowhere), and the completely automobile-dependent lifestyle finally decided us that it was time to return to the neighborhood where we had raised our daughters, Jessica and Jordan, who both attended East Lansing schools. So we watched for places in Glencairn and finally bought a house only four blocks from our former East Lansing home on the corner of Oakwood and Wildwood. We knew we loved this neighborhood and already had many friends and acquaintances here, so no adjustment was required. Suddenly we could walk downtown, and get wherever we wanted to be in only a few minutes.    

How long have you lived in your home? 

Since July 2016.

What drew you to this house – did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?

We wanted a house that was not as big as the ones we had in the Township and in our first East Lansing home, but that could still accommodate our children and their growing families when they come home. It also had to have a sizable fenced yard, because we are dog people, and Scout was giving up an invisibly-fenced domain that allowed him a lot of scope, so it was only fair that he at least have the run of a yard. We also wanted to avoid “upsizing” the amount invested in our home, because East Lansing’s home prices and property taxes are high, and we knew we would be retiring at some point. We chose this house because it was in our price/tax range, even though it meant sucking it up and investing substantially initially in plumbing, electrical, and remodeling, decorating, and landscaping upgrades. We knew it would be a bit of a money pit in the beginning, because the former owner had let it run to seed a bit, but in only a few years we have got it in a condition to our liking. We could see that the house had good bones, level floors, plumb doorways, and nice wood floors, and we like the huge windows in front and the window wall in the dining room looking into the screened porch that we have come to love. It has both good light and the privacy afforded by a high fenced-mature backyard and some elevation above street level. 

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?

Before and immediately after moving in we did extensive plumbing and electrical upgrades, a complete kitchen remodel, re-carpeted the two finished basement rooms, remodeled the laundry room, and corrected moisture problems in the basement. We also replaced all window treatments and most lighting fixtures, and, within the first year, redecorated both upstairs baths (the largest bath was like something out of a bordello).

Since then, we have redecorated all but two of the upstairs rooms, which were quite usable as they are, but which we also plan to repaint and make some changes to.  We have also made extensive changes to the landscaping, gradually reconfiguring the back yard, especially, and erecting about a hundred feet of six-foot privacy fencing. In the process, we discovered by survey that our yard was considerably larger than we supposed – it was a bit of a wilderness when we moved in. New storm windows, a hefty dose of attic insulation, and a new gas fireplace in the basement recreation room have all made the house more comfortable and efficient.

What has been your favorite project (or purchase) so far?

I think Irene and I both enjoy the kitchen remodel most of all. The kitchen was a bit of a horror show when we moved in, but it is now quite up to date. Irene does almost all of the cooking and I do the cleanup – that is our division of labor after 50 years of marriage – so we both enjoy the kitchen, for different reasons. We have never had a kitchen with so much cupboard space, even on Oakwood, where our house had a pantry and was about 4,000 square feet. Irene even has a sliding glass door cupboard in which to display the bone china teacups she has collected since she was a girl, which seems like an extravagant use of space. We still have some unused cupboard space.   

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 a cozy den where we can watch television together and that is probably the biggest change in our lives since the COVID epidemic began – we were both active outside of the house with activities that are now impossible. I especially miss the MAC – keeping fit is much more difficult now — on some days Scout runs away when I ask him if he wants a walk.

What are some of your EL favorites?

We miss El Az, the Aquatic Center, and the Hannah Community Center – what a jewel of an asset. I think the MAC is an amazing amenity, and cannot wait until it is safe to exercise with a building full of cheerful people sweating and grunting their way to better fitness. The Community book, culminating in meeting the author in the Hannah auditorium (though sometimes at Wharton, as with Ta-Nehisi Coates) is really enjoyable. One of the most moving moments was listening to John Lewis at Hannah – I am so glad I got to see him. The Wharton Season. Just living in a college town full of diversity and eternally young people, and hearing the roar of the stadium and the sound of the band practicing while outside in our yard. And most of all, having neighbors once again, nice people to meet when out for a stroll in our neighborhood, who remind you why it is called a neighborhood

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?

Owning a home is like owning the Mackinac Bridge:  You start at one end, work to the other end, and then start over at the beginning. There are always chores to do. But it is nice to begin with coffee on the porch, watching the critters in the yard – some days it looks like Bambi out there with all the rabbits, birds, and at least four types of squirrels. 

Which would you say you are: handy, crafty, hostess, or cook?

I am pretty handy, but Irene makes quilts and can cook. We both like to have friends in our home and look forward to when we can do so again. We have had a few nice parties in this house and it seems to be one that people feel comfortable in when it is full of noise and light and babble.

Lightning Round:

  1. Can you fold a fitted sheet?  I think so, but Irene disagrees.
  2. Favorite simple treat?  Irene makes a “crazy pancake,” and I make “the best pancakes in the universe,” popcorn with butter, and rice krispie treats with a special recipe that are always gone soon.  
  3. Best organizing hack? Remember to push in the ends of the Saran Wrap carton before using it.
  4. When I say hygge, you say…. I have no response to this.
  5. Your question.  Who has it better than us?

Thank you, Fred and Irene, 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!

Michelle’s House

This is the fourth 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!

Photo courtesy of Land Visions

Michelle is a friend that I got to know through having jury duty several years ago. There were a lot of us who knew each other, all gathered to do our civic duty, and it was so much fun! I was thrilled when I discovered that Michelle had purchased this house because it was, strangely enough, one that I had saved in my Zillow favorites. Michelle’s organization and attention to detail in making this house into a home is superb! I am so excited to share it here.

Now to the interview….

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.
I live at 432 Whitehills Drive, right behind the high school. I live with my husband Todd of 31 years, our two sons Daniel and Zach, and our dog Oscar.   

What brought you to East Lansing?
My husband and I both lived in Grand Rapids and met in high school. We both attended Michigan State University. Todd got a job offer from the City of East Lansing after college and we just stayed! We left for three years in the late 90’s but came back. East Lansing is our home and we have been here longer than anywhere else. We love the community and people.

The fabulous backyard

How long have you lived in your home? 
We closed on this house late November 2019 but we didn’t move in until mid February just a few weeks before the shut down! I wanted to have one last holiday season in our old house and wait to list it after the holidays. We lived in Shaw Estates for 17 years, it is where we raised our kids and made our lifelong friends. 

What drew you to this house – did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting? 
When this house came on the market, I was so excited. We knew the owners because we lived next door for three years before we moved to Shaw Estates! The first time I toured this house I cried when I left. It had all of the features I had been looking for over the past several YEARS, it was my ideal location, and it was way way over budget. I was so frustrated. It has a first floor master which is pretty unusual in East Lansing, especially so close to downtown. Our oldest son has a disability and it is a perfect spot for him in terms of independently getting around the city. Eventually the price started to come down and my interest grew. We finally got to the point of “what the heck let’s just make an offer and see what happens” and after a fairly long negotiation we got the house. I thought for sure at one point it was over and it wouldn’t happen. I think it was meant to be. 

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not? 
Delaying our move in allowed us to do some projects ahead of time. I knew the first thing I would do is remove the majority of the wallpaper in the house and paint. I know wallpaper is in style again but it is so specific to people and it didn’t fit us at all. So we had it removed in three rooms of our house and painted before we even moved in. Of course in one of the rooms the removal uncovered mold and bad drywall from a previous water problem so we had that fixed. Otherwise the other project on my mind is the kitchen which we are waiting for a bit. I like to live in the space before a big project to really know what I want to do. 

What has been your favorite project (or purchase) so far?
We haven’t done anything major yet but I will say my favorite redo so far is our half bathroom. It really illustrates that you don’t have to spend much money in order to get a big impact! We had the wallpaper removed and painted it a neutral color, Buff by Benjamin Moore. Early in quarantine I got antsy and decided to paint one wall a different color and I used Inkwell by BM, which was used in our dining room. I bought some shelves to style and then got stuck. Styling isn’t really my forte so I called in my friend Carrie Sampson [our editor here at RHofEL] to help. Before quarantine when you came over to tour the house you told me to let you know if I needed any shelves styled so I called you up. I’m just thrilled with the results. It was amazing to watch you shop my house and just make it pretty. Thank you again! [editor’s note: It was my pleasure!!!]


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? 
One thing this house didn’t have was an office space. When it became clear to me a lockdown was coming we decided to change our dining room into an office. It’s worked pretty well. It is not ideal because it is really in the center of our house but I’m glad we did it. We can always change it back if we change our mind, but really our dining room is used twice a year, so I didn’t feel like I was giving up too much. I still need  to get a rug for that space but we purchased a bookshelf, desk, and new light fixtures for the room. Because it is such a central space it has been great for keeping mail, bills, and files organized there. 

What are some of your EL favorites? 
I have two other EL favorites in terms of houses. 627 Harrison Road.  I went through it once after it was redone and it was a parade home. Also 1230 West Grand River. It was for sale when I was house hunting and it is just stunning. It wasn’t what we needed from a functional standpoint, but I appreciate everything the previous owner did to that house, it is just lovely. 

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home? 
Doing some Bikram Yoga, which is a local, woman-owned business, go support her! During quarantine, she live streamed classes, and I maintained four times a week and it saved me.

Organization Goals

Doing house projects and organizing! I have been organization-obsessed since we moved in here. I think that is also helping me maintain my sanity! I like to cook but we also love grabbing some local take out and supporting our restaurants.   

Which would you say you are: handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? 
I have aspects of all of these. I’m sort of a jack of all trades and master of none! I am willing to dive into a project, I can cook and sew, and we have people over often. I prefer to have people here because I’m a homebody! But we enjoy hosting friends and family. This year that was all outside and one thing this home has is an absolutely stunning backyard sanctuary that we have really enjoyed.

  1. Can you fold a fitted sheet? yes!  
  2. Favorite simple treat? pitted dates.  Love grabbing a few of these when a sweet tooth hits.
  3. Best organizing hack?  I started this before The Home Edit, but they fueled my fire.  It really helps if you have the proper storage because it makes it so much easier to maintain your organization.  Edit edit edit, then organize it.
  4. When I say hygge, you say…. I had to look this up. Our home! It is so charming, especially on the outside and we are working to make it comfortable and welcoming for us. I love having a fire going, lighting a candle, and cozying up. 

Thank you, Michelle, 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!

Alison in Lansing

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.

One of Alison’s beautiful landscape paintings. Check her out on Instagram.

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.

Before / After

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.

Lightning Round!
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

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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!



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

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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!

Glencairn: Erica’s House

This is the first 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! 

front-door

Erica and I became friends when we had children at Marble Elementary School. We formed a book group to share our interest in organizing (her) and decorating (me). Eventually, we began working together in her professional organizing business, Your Organized Space. Erica now owns and operates two creative businesses: an Etsy store called Eloominate Designs and The Little Fabric Shop. Her tagline is “A Modern Fabric Shop for Joyful Sewing”, which perfectly embodies my wonderful friend!

Now to the interview….

Tell me about yourself, where you live in East Lansing, and who you live with.
I live with my husband and two teenagers in the Glencairn neighborhood. My son is a freshman at the University of Michigan studying engineering and my daughter is a junior at East Lansing High School. We live in a 1947 brick house. This house has an addition that was built in 1980. When we purchased the house, everything from the 1947 part of the house was pretty much original and same with the 1980’s side. I remember laying on the floor of the living room looking up at the cracked plaster and painted green ceiling and saying to myself, “What did we just do?”

What brought you to East Lansing?
We moved to East Lansing for the school district and also we wanted to live close to the high school so the kids could/can walk to school. I grew up in East Lansing and went from kindergarten through high school and then graduated from Michigan State University, so coming back to my hometown was both familiar and comforting.

How long have you lived in your home?
We have lived in this home since 2011.

What drew you to this house – did you have the feeling of “this is the one” when you were house hunting?
Well, we really didn’t have many options. We made an offer on this house a few days before Christmas 2010. There were only two homes in this area in our price range. Both needed a ton of work, so we picked the one that we felt had the best bones. Some of the features – original plaster crown moulding, large-paned glass windows, original doors, and a traditional two-story layout really charmed us.

What’s one project you thought you would do before you moved in? Have you done it – why or why not?
We knew that we were going to remodel and update everything. Yes, everything. The biggest project that we expected we would have finished by now was the back patio. It was already cracked and starting to crumble when we purchased the house, but as with an old house, we have faced quite a number of “surprise” home projects. We had planned to replace the back patio last summer, but then our front porch started to break apart and we lost the front step, so we had a new front porch installed last summer and we have the back patio on the calendar for this coming spring.

erica_fireplace

What has been your favorite project (or purchase) so far?
My favorite finish is our living room fireplace and small hallway tile. We commissioned Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to create flooring and fireplace tile. It was such a fun experience. We met with a designer to discuss our space. After selecting the color and texture of the tiles, they handmade each one for our home. I love how the spaces turned out and the Michigan connection within our home.

Loomis Entry

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?
Having everyone at home is definitely different. My husband and I changed offices. He is on the phone all day long and needs a space with a door. I miss my cute little room in the back of the house, but it has been so nice to not listen to half a phone conversation all day long.
One thing I would love to change is our laundry room. It is a great size, but I would like to reconfigure it to utilize the space better, improve storage, and even add a folding island. This project is on my wish list for now.

What are some of your EL favorites?
There are so many things I love about East Lansing. Having Michigan State University in our backyard allows us to enjoy college sports, university programs, and of course, the beautiful campus just steps from our house. We love to do take-out from Crunchy’s, and Tasty Twist is a weekly visit.

eloominates-pillows

How do you spend an ideal Saturday at home?
My ideal Saturday is sewing. I love to make quilts and bags. Starting and finishing a project on the weekend is such a nice way to enjoy something I love in a space I enjoy.

Lightning Round!
Which would you say you are: handy, crafty, hostess, or cook? Crafty
Can you fold a fitted sheet? Yes
Favorite simple treat? Club Crackers
Best organizing hack? Box in the garage for donations. When it’s filled, we take it in.
When I say hygge* you say…. Huh? So, I had to look that one up. So, now I can say hot chocolate

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Thank you, Erica, for sharing your 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!

 


	

Decorating with Mid-Michigan Modern

A great resource for mid-century modern enthusiasts and history lovers is Susan Bandes’ 2016 book Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie.

It’s a big beautiful coffee table book, chock full of photos and history of homes and buildings from around the greater Lansing area, built between 1940 to 1970. {It does not, however, feature Daisy Lane – insert super sad face.}

I thought it would be fun to create a room design around the cover of Bandes’ book… Here we go!

The Wayfair rug was the jumping off point for the room design. It replicates the the teal ground of the cover as well as having geometric lines and pops of color (houses on the book, squares on the rug). It also comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, including the kidney shape above.

Then, I added in the art — all of which is available from One Kings Lane. [Need a podcast to listen to? Check out Debbie Propst’s interview on the Business of Home wherein she talks about leaving OKL for Design Within Reach.]

Susan Bandes, the author of the book that inspired our design, was the director of the Kresge Museum at Michigan State University from 1986 to 2010 – so it feels especially appropriate that our design based on her book would include some great art.

The first piece is Dawn Wolfe’s candy color origami collage. It measures 40″ long by 32″ wide. Again, we have the teal ground punctuated with pops of color. Buy it here for $695 or learn more about the Northern California artist here.

Next is Judy Gigliotti’s photographic fine art print of a rowboat, shot from an eagle’s eye vantage point. It’s available in four sizes — the largest is 40″ long by 60.5″ wide for $595. The frame is also available in black. Purchase it here or follow her on Instagram here.

Finally, there is the neon-framed Quadrilaterals abstract art by Linda Colletta. It is available in three sizes — the largest (I like big art, I cannot lie!) is 30″ long by 23″ wide and costs $525. Buy it here or visit the Connecticut artist’s website here.

All together, one more time…

With just a rug and some fresh art, you can totally redecorate a room. Do you want some help making choices to re-make your room? Get in touch. 🙂

Daisy Lane

My April-in-captivity refrain was Daisy Lane, Daisy Lane. As in, we should totally sell our house and move to 1057 Daisy Lane! It’s stunning! A 2,395-square-foot, mid-century modern ranch with full walkout basement in the Flowerpot neighborhood of East Lansing [for a great history of this diverse neighborhood, check out this article from ELi].

real estate photo

From what I understand, the house was built in 1958 for Michigan State University art professor William Gamble and his family. It has an internationalist flair as you can see from the historic photo below. This was about the same time that Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe was designing Lafayette Park in Detroit [more about that project here] and I’m sure his influence was felt here in East Lansing, ninety miles away.

from BSA

Gamble, who I did not know, was a remarkable guy. He started an arts education program at Jackson prison, traveled to Japan to collect art for the Kresge Museum (precursor to our Broad Art Museum), and was both an avid painter and collector of art. You can see several of his pieces in this estate sale.

Richard Hornaday Estate Sales

The home is ideal for displaying art, as seen above.

real estate listing

Here is a wider view of the same wood-paneled wall.

And now a word on the staging because it is phenomenal! Everything about the way this living room is decorated is inviting and perfectly fits the era of the house. The mix of tailored fabrics on the chair and sectional sofa paired with the leather on the Eames lounge chair and ottoman plus the fur throw equal great texture! The shape of the tables: the hexagonal glass-topped coffee table, the narrow end table with shelving, the console table (is that grasscloth?!) are visually interesting yet tonally soothing. And the books and magazines, the cup of coffee and the impromptu bar set up, the variety of throw blankets — all absolute perfection!

My photo

The current seller – Melissa Itsell – did a phenomenal job of renovating this house, putting in over $100,000 in updates. She did it smartly, though; honoring what was unique about this property. The texture of the above wall, seen in the living room and also the entry, is one example. It reminded me a little bit of Hildi’s wild idea on Trading Spaces to slap hay on the wall with wallpaper glue. I thought that was the weirdest thing then and am eating my words now. This is abstract and really, very cool.

There is so much more to this house that I intend to share it in more than one post so you, dear reader, don’t become overwhelmed. Stay tuned!