Clever Storage Solutions and a Shifted Layout Revive This 1950s Chicago Home

Clever Storage Solutions and a Shifted Layout Revive This 1950s Chicago Home

By Paige Alexus
When Carly and Brad Moeller were searching for a new home in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood of Chicago, they came across a classic split-level house that needed some serious work done—but was screaming with potential.

Though they already submitted an offer for another house nearby, they dropped their former plans and signed on to revive their new discovery. With the possibility of starting a family, this 1,800-square-foot house was dated, but was laid out efficiently and had just the right amount of space. As a couple that’s both architecturally trained, the Moellers encouraged the former homeowner to abandon his intentions of renovating it so that they could do it themselves. They began by making plans to open up the main floor and to design custom storage elements that would provide some much needed organization and character. 

Carly and Brad rearranged the former entry closet area to create a small vestibule that would block the direct view to the kitchen upon arrival. Instead of covering it with wallpaper, they created a custom stencil and painted it themselves on Christmas Eve. They used the colors that can be found throughout the house, while the triangles take cues from the carvings on the original door. 

Though the two met while studying architecture, Carly now runs her own interior design practice called Unpatterned, while Brad moved into real estate development. For this project, they brought both their design skills together, and started by rearranging the floor plan to create a smoother, more livable connection between the kitchen, living, and dining areas. Take a look at the images below to see how the two revamped the cozy home that they now share with their two-year-old daughter. 

From the dining room, you can see the connected living room and a section of the custom storage wall that's made out a white oak veneer.  

By stealing 15 inches from the kitchen, they were able to add a dry bar to the living room side of the space. The two first decided to do this over beers and trace paper in their favorite local bar. 

The dining room hosts a table that they found on Craig’s List, which Carly painted bright blue in the basement of her old apartment. 

The living room houses Carly’s grandmother’s chair, which she had recovered and reupholstered in a rainbow houndstooth fabric. 

The installation of the dry bar made them realize they had a full wall that they could utilize for built-in cabinetry. Thus, they designed a three-sided built-in storage wall that they now use to hold wine, cookbooks, and vintage glassware that Carly collects.  

To create a better flow, they took out the wall between the kitchen and dining rooms and added a peninsula where they could put bar stools for people to hang out while they’re cooking. They also moved the range closer to the peninsula to create a better layout for entertaining. Finally, they installed new quartz countertops and fresh cabinets. They salvaged some of the old cabinets and repurposed them in the laundry room downstairs. 

Located on the other side of the master bedroom (not seen here), is an extra closet they installed to house Carly’s vintage clothing collection. There are two other bedrooms on this upper floor. 

They gutted the bathroom on the second floor—which used to be filled with everything pink—and removed the existing linen closet in order to extend the vanity to fit two sinks.  

Though they made these changes to the vanity area, they preserved the depth behind the medicine cabinets for linen storage. 

Carly uses one of the bedrooms upstairs as her office, which is furnished with movable Ikea desk tops that fit the extent of the wall. 

Like they thought may be a possibility, the couple now shares their home with their two-year-old daughter, whose room can be found on the upper floor, along with the master bedroom and the office.


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