Three suburban families enjoy their room makeover projects
Three Daily Herald readers received big upgrades in their homes over the winter, thanks to the generous sponsors of our fall Room For Living contest. All had written in and sent photos of "problem areas" within their homes and were ultimately chosen to win specific packages, valued at between $2,500 and $7,000.
Living room makeover
Claudia and Michael Fisher of Mundelein were the winners of the living room makeover package valued at more than $5,000 and provided by O'Reilly's Furniture and Amish Gallery of Libertyville and Acanthus Design Group of Barrington. They also received a $100 gift card for holiday decorations from Treetime Christmas creations in Lake Barrington.
The Fishers are the parents of four boys (ages 9 to 21), In their contest entry, they expressed their desperate need for a new couch on which to gather and enjoy each other and, of course, television.
"We have shared many special moments on our favorite couch, such as movie night, appetizer night and board games. Unfortunately, all this fun has taken its toll. We love our sectional couch because we can all be together, including our Oma. Please help us as the next step is duct tape!" they wrote.
Michael Walsh, owner of O'Reilly's Furniture, said the Fishers' story appealed to him.
"We were immediately drawn to their story. You could tell they had a sectional that was well loved, but had seen better days. Because Mary and I have seven kids and know how furniture can take a beating, we felt a connection to the Fishers' story," he explained.
The Fishers chose a J-shaped medium brown leather sectional with white stitching, Claudia said. The sectional came with cup holders and a deep storage bin at one end, as well as four built-in recliners.
"We love it! It is huge, but it fits perfectly in our room and all of us -- even my widowed mom who lives nearby -- can enjoy it together," Claudia said. "There is now a nice flow to the room and the way it is set up helps us separate the family room from the adjoining kitchen."
In addition, Debora Watson, interior designer with Acanthus Design Group, worked with Donna Webster of Web Decors in Algonquin to design a window treatment for the Fishers' family room. Previously, the windows had simply been covered with brown blinds.
"Debora suggested that we add side-panel, floor-length draperies to add definition to the windows and she and Donna helped me choose the perfect rods and fabric (which has touches of brown, beige and gray in it)," Claudia said. "Debora also advised me on the wall color since we plan to paint this summer. She suggested grayed beige to complement everything else, including the relatively new area rug and coffee table I had already purchased."
Watson elaborated further. "A simple plan was devised in which a new, larger sectional would replace the old family favorite. The existing rug remained the central cog in which the rest of the design would revolve. Warm, earthy tones of greige (grayish beige), cocoa and stone with a splash of cinnamon are the palette. Simple, ripple-fold-style drapery panels of gray, beige and tan linen weave were selected to frame the large windows, in front of which sits the deep chocolate leather sofa.
"The oil-rubbed bronze rods and finials, provided by Donna Webster of Web Decors, are a clean, yet artful way to draw the eye upward, giving the viewer an appreciation for the 9-foot ceilings and expansive windows," she continued. "Benjamin Moore's Smokey Taupe paint was selected for the room color to update, warm and unite the entire family and adjoining kitchen areas."
"I am so happy I went out on a limb to enter the Daily Herald contest on the spur of the moment," Claudia said. "Replacing that couch and finishing the windows so beautifully would have been very big expenses."
Michael is a family practice physician at Northwest Suburban Family Physicians in Niles and Claudia is a pediatric physical therapist at a clinic in Northbrook. They are the third owners of their home, which was built in 1999 and they have lived here for nine years.
Darice and Don Augustine of St. Charles and their two college-age daughters are now showering and bathing in luxury since Bath Planet of Chicago, based in Streamwood, replaced their old pink tub, pink wall tile, fixtures and shower curtain with a beautiful, modern bathing unit valued at more than $7,000.
The bathroom now features a white tub and beige-gray marble-look surround that goes all the way to the ceiling.
"This is our main bathroom with old, crumbling tiles," Darice wrote in her contest entry. "It's very outdated. Although it's been needing some work for awhile, we've been putting two daughters through college, which has a higher priority! Please make me proud to show off my bathroom!"
"This is one of two bathrooms in our 1970s-era tri-level home. There is also a small bath with a stall shower on the home's lower level," Darice said recently. "We bought the house in 1997; have painted the bathrooms several times; and put in a new floor a few years ago.
"When we first moved in, the tub had sliding doors. But they were cumbersome when we had small children. So we removed them," she recalled.
"Now we are at a different time in our lives and happy to have shower doors back -- with towel bars inside and out. They also knocked out the old broken tile and put in new green board drywall under the acrylic (wall) surround, which goes all the way to the ceiling. And we also got a five-shelf unit for storing soap and shampoo as well as a nice, up-to-date shower head," Darice said.
"We are so excited! It is beautiful and so easy to care for," she added. "I am thrilled all over again every time I walk into the bathroom."
Don is a salesman for an aviation software company and Darice works part-time as a waitress in a Batavia restaurant.
"I love to enter contests but I didn't even tell Don that I had entered this one because I didn't want him to make fun of me. He was shocked when I told him what we had won," she said.
"Bath Planet was wonderful. (Sales manager) Kevin (Gustafson) helped me narrow down my choices and then the installer was so quick and neat. There wasn't a bit of mess when he left," Darice said.
"We often go into homes and replace bathtubs with walk-in showers," Gustafson said. "But in this case, this was the only tub in the house and we always recommend that at least one bathtub be retained for the home's resale value.
"So we gave the Augustines a new premium tub and an acrylic surround that goes all the way to the ceiling so that they will no longer have to deal with paint above tile that is cracking, chipping and peeling from moisture," he added.
Bath Planet offers stylish, cost-effective, low-maintenance acrylic bath improvements which can even -- if the homeowner chooses -- install right over ugly or aging wall tile and chipped or faded bathtub and shower for maximum cost-effectiveness and minimum mess.
Retirees Donna and Bob Mitchell wrote an application letter which earned them $2,500 toward interior door replacements for their Roselle home, built in 1957. Their prize package was provided by HomeStory Chicago.
Talking about her doors, Donna wrote in her letter: "With all the fingerprints of family and friends, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren, they will be forever in my heart. But it is still time to update these old doors and start a new chapter."
And Donna got her wish. She was able to replace old, hollow, flat-profile sliding closet doors in her second bedroom with beautiful solid, six-panel, bi-fold doors. She also replaced a hollow, flat-panel bathroom door with a solid six-panel door. Both of the new doors are made of pine but finished with an oak stain and Donna says they are gorgeous.
"The new doors are so much nicer than the old ones and so much quieter," she said. "We are just thrilled and eventually plan to replace the rest of our interior doors. We also used our Treetime gift certificate to buy two reindeer, which we displayed next to our tree."
Door replacement is now the fastest and easiest way to make over your entire home, said Ron Wozny, general manager of HomeStory Chicago.
"We encourage people to update the look and feel of their home by replacing all the interior doors in their home. Our design experts can help you find the perfect door style to match your home's decor," he said. "So swap out ugly, flat-paneled doors for custom-fitted molded doors and transform the style of your house in one afternoon."
Wozny said HomeStory's door experts digitally measure your existing door frames and upload those measurements to a manufacturing facility, where new doors are custom milled to fit your doorways.
"Your doors are trimmed, sanded, primed and painted with professional grade paint for a factory finish. Doors are then shipped to the HomeStory Chicago store and installers transport them to your home and install them within just a few hours," he continued.
"The people from HomeStory were more than nice and when they left, you couldn't even tell they had been here because they were so neat. Thank you! We just love it," Mitchell said.