In Our LivingRoom: Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Buttons

Meet Christen Carter of Busy Beaver Button Company

Busy Beaver Button Company, a thriving small business, was looking to grow their space, open a museum, and stay close to their original location on Armitage in Logan Square. With the help of Annie Coleman, Managing Broker of LivingRoom Realty, they purchased the perfect empty building sitting on a double wide lot a few blocks west of their original location on Armitage.

We asked them a few questions about their journey to expanding their headquarters.

LivingRoom Realty (LRR): Tell us about yourself?

Christen Carter (CC): I am a small business owner - Busy Beaver Button Co., and co-curator of the Button Museum. Right now, my life is mostly around buttons since I’m also working on a book about cultural history told through buttons.

I do love fixing up old buildings that need love and kinda like having property - it’s part of my retirement plan. I also like decorating and nesting into places, this has become a hobby of mine.

LRR: Tell us about your property?

CC: It’s a double-wide storefront with two apartments above. When I bought the building, it was just a blighted shell that suffered a couple of fires. But the beautiful yellow brick and personality were there! Plus, it has “good bones” as they say. The location is 3407 W Armitage, just west of Kimball. There’s also a big backyard and 3 car garage.

LRR: What were the deciding factors when choosing your area and property?

CC: We knew that we needed a place to expand, since I’m hoping this will be a 10+ year place for my company, Busy Beaver Button Co. And the big back yard will let us build out when we need to.It’s also walking distance from my house and close to the homes of many people who work here. And only a block away from our old location, so we wouldn’t lose any employees because of the distance. Being only a block away was very handy during construction - we could meet a tradesperson on a dime, since it took 2 minutes to walk from our previous location. 

The two apartments above help pay the mortgage and give us a cheaper property tax rate, those two things really help! Plus, for security sake, it’s nice that people are here during the day and at night, too.

I feel connected to Logan Square having lived and worked here since 2004, so I wanted to stay nearby. Plus, I remember when this building had two separate fires, the building was empty for years and it needed some serious love.

LRR: What’s your favorite thing about your property?

CC: The feel is just so nice. It’s pretty spacious and can display the Button Museum and accommodate the visitors. My brother, Joel found all this beautiful salvaged doors and interior windows, people can hardly believe that this place was a burned shell before we got it. You can really tell in all the details that a lot of love and consideration was put into it - this is mostly because of my brother!

LRR: What would you tell someone who is embarking on the buying process for your type of building?

CC:I always tell people to expect the project to cost at least 50% more than quoted by a GC and also about twice as long. The city can take awhile and things always come up.

We had to re-zone but that was the easiest thing - we had a good lawyer. That’s the other big thing - the professionals that you work with must honestly respect you and what you’re doing - trust is key. Some of the people we worked with were great, but some really made our lives more difficult than it needed to be. I learned a lot and now have developed what a “trusted partner” is, this helps us recognize red flags to change course. Have a good idea of what's important to you in terms of property characteristics, but also keep an open mind about what's going to work realistically, and be honest about your lifestyle needs. Obviously, finding the right agent is also crucial!

LRR: Tell us about any improvements you made or plan to make and why?

CC: I’d love to expand out the back to make more space for the button production. I also want to fix up the garage, not exciting, but we ran out of money with everything being over budget. Hopefully all of this within the next 3 years!

Thanks to Christen and Busy Beaver Button Co.  for letting LRR into their living room! Visit Busy Beaver Button Co. where you can order custom button, magnets and more. Do you have a button fan on your gift list? Consider picking up the Button Box  which contains one hundred colorful postcards featuring over three hundred buttons from the collection of the Busy Beaver Button Museum.

Ash, Bone and Fire - Exhibition from artists Christopher Michael Hefner, Jessica Joslin, and Jared Joslin

Join us at LivingRoom Realty  Friday November 2, 7 pm - 10 pm for the opening of "Ash, Bone and Fire" an exhibition from artists, Christopher Michael HefnerJessica JoslinJared Joslin

 

Chris, Jessica and Jared are Chicago based "creeps" with their respective specialties being divination through charcoal, resurrection of the dead, and the capturing of spirits within oil. Halloween costumes are welcome at the opening, and appreciated!!!

SHOW DATES: November 2 – November 24, 2018. VIEWING HOURS: Saturdays 12-5 pm. To receive a collector's preview, with images & prices before the opening, or schedule a visit during the show please email jessica@jessicajoslin.com

Christopher Michael Hefner

Christopher Michael Hefner is a visual artist working predominantly in charcoal.  By employing some of the most elemental means for image-making, he addresses themes of Mortality, Desire and the mirage of Control.   Hefner has also directed two feature films, “THE POISONER” (2014) and “THE PINK HOTEL” (2010), and hosts a radio show on Lumpen Radio called NIGHT TIME WITH CHRIS HEFNER, which airs on Wednesday nights.

Jessica Joslin

The creatures that populate Jessica Joslin’s world are intricate fusions of bone, brass, antique hardware and other scavenged treasures. Infused with the Victorian era’s passion for natural history and arcane technology, these creatures reflect both the real and the imagined animal, the living and the dead. Through careful observation and intricate construction, they re-imagine the animal kingdom, bolt by bolt, beast by beast. Inspired by the beauty of skeletal architecture, and a passion for assemblage sculpture, Jessica Joslin began building her menagerie of mechanical animals in 1992. A monograph of her work, “Strange Nature” was published in 2008, and her work has been featured in numerous books, magazines and exhibitions worldwide.

Jared Joslin

Jared Joslin is a figurative painter who has been devoted to his craft for over 30 years. His paintings are exquisitely realistic, with a mysterious, and slightly eerie quality. He is a clever storyteller, whose symbolic scenes are flooded with luscious colors and rich details, which can easily distract the viewer from darker undercurrents of each tale. Recurring fascinations are surreal circus themes, nostalgic glamorous portraiture, and opulent floral still lives creeping with hidden creatures. Timeless yet immediate, simultaneously mysterious and direct, his portraits and still lives seem to have been painted by the feverish hand of a lucid dreamer!  If open to receive, they welcome us into a world to dream.

Home Ownership Outside the Box

How to Buy Property Cooperatively 

To Save Money and Build Community

Are you ready to own your own home, but concerned about rising real estate costs? Do you want to plan for the future or have a built in community by sharing your home with friends or family? Want to buy a commercial building and share resources? Are you interested in combining the financial, environmental, and/or community/social benefits of communal living with the security of property ownership?

If so, LivingRoom Realty's co-operative living Info sessions are for you! This new series of informal meet-ups is for anyone interested in learning more about how to successfully purchase, manage, and occupy co-operative real estate in Chicago. Join LivingRoom Realty brokers Annie Coleman & Susannah Ribstein, and co-op development consultant, Corrigan Nadon-Nichols, for this informative event. Join us for our first meet-up

Thursday Nov 1st from 6:30-8:30pm

 LivingRoom Realty 1530 W. Superior St.

Refreshments provided!

Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com

Landscape of the Market for Buyers Class is Back! Wednesday Sept 5th!

 

 

Join us Wednesday, September 5th from 6:30-8:30pm at LivingRoom Realty as Real Estate Broker Susannah Ribstein, Mortgage Broker Ben DeBoer, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb help guide you through the landscape of home purchasing.  Whether you are planning to buy a home this fall or in 2 years this class will help you get prepared.  Topics to be discussed are:

– The pre-approval process and preparing your finances – Step by step overview of home buying process – Loan products available in today’s market – What are closing costs incl. a detailed breakdown – How to decide on what type of property to buy – What to expect from a home inspection – What to look for in a building – Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

New Listing! 2737 N. Kimball Ave. #2

Sunny open floor plan one bedroom condo right in the heart of Logan Square. An extra-wide living room with large bay windows flows into the light-filled multipurpose dining area.

The open kitchen has granite countertops, peninsula bar, and stainless appliances.

Bathroom has ceramic tile and rain shower. The quality finishes are well-maintained throughout.

This is a great home base for exploring all that Logan Square has to offer, right outside the door: Unity Playlot, Elastic Arts, Aloft, Dill Pickle Food Co-Op, The Logan Theater, Blue Line, buses, and much more. Self-managed and well-maintained building.

Offered at $229,500. For questions or more information, contact Annie Coleman at (312) 371-9293 or annie@livingroomrealty.com.

Listing #09889684

New Listing & Open House This Weekend! 1754 W. Ohio

Rarely available spacious and sunny 4 bedroom/2.1 bath home in Ukrainian Village. Main level features an open floor plan living room and dining room with wood burning fireplace and newly refinished maple floors.

Eat in kitchen with island, hardwood cabinets, and stainless appliances flows to a large back deck perfect for entertaining.

Second floor features three bedrooms and a luxurious bathroom with glass surround shower, deep soaking tub, and double basin infinity sink. Listen to music from built in speakers in bathroom and/or in the large master bedroom.

The lower level has a family room, fourth bedroom, full bath and extra kitchen. The lower level can be closed off easily with side entrance for a private in-law quarters. Yard and 2 car garage round out this beautiful home. Awesome location 1/2 block to Talcott School, Easy walk to shopping and restaurants on Chicago Avenue and everything that West Town has to offer.

Offered at $740,000. For questions or more information, contact Sarah Frier at 773-860-3452 or sarah@livingroomrealty.com.

Open House this Weekend Saturday (3/17) from 12pm - 2pm Please RSVP to sarah@livingroomrealty.com

Listing #09882093

New Listing! 2507 N Sacramento

Gorgeous 5 bedroom/4 bathroom greystone on an oversized lot in the heart of Logan Square. This lovingly cared-for home has a wide floor plan and is a beautiful blend of original craftsmanship with modern amenities. The main level has a large foyer, sunny living room with wood burning fireplace, dining room with original stained glass built-in hutch, large bedroom or office, full bath, and sunny eat-in chef's kitchen.

The kitchen features include an abundance of cherry cabinets, high-end stainless appliances, wine fridge, pot filler, extra prep sink and granite counters. The upper level has total of 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths, including a master suite with private balcony, an open den area, and laundry. Original unpainted trim and hardwood floors throughout adds to this home’s charm.

The lower level features radiant floors, a large family room/playroom, wet bar, bathroom, laundry and a large storage area that could be converted into a guest bedroom if desired. The wide yard is professionally landscaped with native perennials and raised beds for growing vegetables. A central location in Logan Square makes for an easy walk to shopping, restaurants, farmers market and public transportation. This is truly a beautiful home.

Offered at $1,099,000. For questions or more information contact Annie Coleman at 312-371-9293 or Susannah Ribstein at 708-207-6590. 

Open House this Weekend Saturday (3/10) from 1pm - 3pm Sunday (3/11) from 12pm - 2pm   Please RSVP to Susannah@livingroomrealty.com

Listing #09873880

Landscape of the Housing Market for Buyers Thursday, February 15th

Landscape of the Market for Buyers LogoLandscape of the Housing Market for BuyersThursday, February 15th, 6:30pm-8pm

It's time for another buyers class! Now is the perfect time to learn about the housing market if you're planning to buy in the spring. Join us at LivingRoom Realty from 6:30-8:00 pm on February 15th as Real Estate Broker Liz Dudek, Mortgage Broker Ben DeBoer, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing.

Topics to be covered will be:

- The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Step by step overview of home buying process - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - How to decide on what type of property to buy - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

Liz Dudek, LivingRoom Realty Ben DeBoer, Molitor Financial Mike Lamb, Inspection Connection Inc.

Conventional Loan Limits Have Increased for 2018

On November 29, 2017, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac officially announced they would be increasing the conventional loan limits for 2018. We turned to mortgage broker Ben Deboer from Molitor Financial Group to find out a little more: LRR: Can you tell us a little more about the specifics of this change?

Ben: The loan limit for conventional loans has been increased from $424,100 to $453,100 for single family home and condo purchases. This means that if you were on the cusp of needing a JUMBO loan that required a higher down payment, you now may be able to use a regular conventional loan allowing for a smaller down payment. Also, if you are thinking about purchasing a multi-unit building, the loan limits on those have also increased. The loan limit for two unit buildings are now $580,150, three unit buildings are $701,250, and four unit buildings are $871,450.

LRR: How does this benefit buyers?

Ben: Before this change, if you needed to take a home loan out that was above $424,100, you would be forced to do so with a JUMBO loan. JUMBO loans characteristically have higher interest rates, higher down payment requirements, and more stringent underwriting guidelines. The minimum down payment for most JUMBO loans is 10%. With this increase in the conventional loan limit to $453,100, buyers will now have more flexibility to take advantage of the benefits of a conventional loan. With a conventional loan, buyers can put down as little as 3% and take advantage of conventional loans lower interest rates.

If you have further questions you can contact Ben at bend@molitorfinancial.com or (219) 308-5687.

Closing Tea: Living in Chicago - Dmitry Samarov - Sunday March 2nd 1-4pm

Stop by LivingRoom Realty on Sunday March 2nd from 1-4pm for a cup of tea and a cookie or two. It's your last chance to see Dmitry Samarov's Living In Chicago. We'd love to see you! mess

"I've lived in Chicago for over 20 years. For all that time I've drawn and painted inside and outside the places I've lived. Oil paintings, watercolors, charcoals and inks document what I see out windows and what I choose to bring home. I never start any of these pictures with any particular meaning in mind but the better ones are able to talk back to the viewer. They remind people of moments from their own experience. Books, chairs, dishes and such are what we all have in common. They connect us. By painting what I see every day, I'm trying to have a conversation with all the others who wake to similar views every day in this city."

 

Landscape of the Market for Buyers • Tuesday October 22nd 6:30-8pm

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Tuesday October 22nd from 6:30-8:00 pm as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Broker Elizabeth Dudek, and Home Inspector Mike Lamb guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing. homes_for_sale_in_bronzeville_chicago_illinois_349_000_98599419655054161

Whether you are a first time buyer, thinking about buying in a year from now, or a seasoned home owner, this will be an informative talk on the unique dynamics of the current real estate market. You will leave the seminar fully informed on how you will need to prepare for your home search.

Topics to be covered will be: - The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - Benefits of home ownership and review of TaxSmart incentive program - How to decide on what type of property to buy - Overview of buying a foreclosure or short sale - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building when looking at properties - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and Drinks will be Provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

Emma Butler, Guaranteed Rate Elizabeth Dudek, LivingRoom Realty Mike Lamb, Inspection Connection Inc.

Landscape of the Market for Buyers • Wednesday April 10th 6:30pm

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Wednesday April 10th 6:30-8:00 pm as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Brokers Sarah Frier & Annie Coleman and Home Inspector Jeffrey Wadsworth guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing. greenconstruction3-large

Whether you are a first time buyer, thinking about buying in a year from now, or a seasoned home owner, this will be an informative talk on the unique dynamics of the current real estate market. You will leave the seminar fully informed on how you will need to prepare for your home search.

Topics to be covered will be: - The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - Benefits of home ownership and review of TaxSmart incentive program - How to decide on what type of property to buy - Overview of buying a foreclosure or short sale - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building when looking at properties - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and Drinks will be Provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you! Sarah Frier, LivingRoom Realty Annie Coleman, LivingRoom Realty Emma Butler, Guaranteed Rate Jeffrey Wadsworth, RCIS LLC

TimeOut Chicago asks Realtors to weigh in on Chicago's next hip neighborhoods

LivingRoom was recently asked, along with other Realtors, by Lauren Viera at TimeOut to discuss what we thought will be "The New Logan Square" in a decade or so. 420.ac.ft.frontiers.Bridgeport.parkxSS

Our very own Liz Dudek weighs in on our pick... Bridgeport!

Check out the article and what we and some other realtors around town have to say.

(photo credit : McGuane Park : Braden Nisen)

Checking in With The Newest C3 Prefab!

The C3Prefab in West Town is quickly taking shape! The SIPs wall panels and structural framing are installed with an insulation rating of R30 (walls) and R60 (roof). These ratings are well above EnergyStar's zone 5 recommendations and we expect top insulation performance. SIPs panels are constructed in the factory, therefore precision and quality control are much higher than what can be achieved with on-site construction.  

 

Currently the interior framing and stairs are being constructed. Here are a few pictures of the open living room, dining room, and kitchen. In these pictures you can see the double height ceiling, which is an optional feature.

  

 

Below are a few shots of the second floor stairwell and hallway. The hallway looks over the double height ceiling of the main living space and leads to the master bedroom and bath. The large window in the hallway looks over the courtyard.

   

 

What's Next...

Furring strips will be installed at the exterior walls which will form an air space between the exterior SIP surface and the finished siding. The outside face of the SIP panels will then be treated with a product called Enviro-Dri that acts as a breathable building membrane (in place of Tyvek). So stay tuned for more exciting updates!

LivingRoom Realty is the exclusive sales team for C3, if you are interested in learning more about the possibility of building your own prefab home please contact us.

New Class! Landscape of The Market for Sellers January 16th from 6:30-8pm.

With rates at record lows and market data pointing towards some recovery in the housing market, is it the right time for you to think about selling?  Please join Real Estate Brokers Elizabeth Dudek and Annie Coleman o Wednesday January 16th at 6:30 as they discuss the landscape of selling your home in the current market.

Whether you want to sell now or are thinking about it for a year from now, this talk will help prepare you for the realities of this market and help you position yourself to make the best possible choices.

Topics to be covered will be: - A quick history from boom to bust and how that effects the market today - Where is the market today, with neighborhood and property type examples - Who are today's buyers - Is it the right time for you to sell - Alternatives to a traditional sale - What do you need to do to prepare to sell - Pricing your home - The process and timelines

Food and Drinks will be Provided.  Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately.  The talk will be at LivingRoom Realty 1530 W Superior, Chicago IL.  We look forward to seeing you!

Landscape of The Market for Buyers • Wednesday January 9th 6:30pm

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on Wednesday January 9th 6:30-8:00 pm as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Broker Annie Coleman, and Home Inspector Jeffrey Wadsworth guide you through the current landscape of home purchasing.

Whether you are a first time buyer, thinking about buying in a year from now, or a seasoned home owner, this will be an informative talk on the unique dynamics of the current real estate market. You will leave the seminar fully informed on how you will need to prepare for your home search.

Topics to be covered will be: - The pre-approval process and preparing your finances - Loan products available in today’s market - What are closing costs and detailed breakdown - Benefits of home ownership and review of TaxSmart incentive program - How to decide on what type of property to buy - Overview of buying a foreclosure or short sale - What to expect from a home inspection - What to look for in a building when looking at properties - Tips for saving for home improvements

Food and Drinks will be Provided. Please RSVP at contact@livingroomrealty.com, so we can plan appropriately. We look forward to seeing you!

Emma Butler, Guaranteed Rate Annie Coleman, LivingRoom Realty Jeffrey Wadsworth, RCIS LLC

Rare Sunny River North 2 Bedroom and 2 Bath Corner Unit with Large Private Terrace.

Rarely available corner unit with 400 sq ft terrace at 330 West Grand Avenue! Incredible views, downtown oasis. Two bed/two bath with built in storage throughout the unit. Great River North location. Modern unit layout with all the bells and whistles. Building amenities include door person, work out room, and business center. Rent INCLUDES heat, a/c, & water. Large, indoor parking space available for $200/mo. Possible pre-Christmas move in.  

 

Call Elizabeth at 312.498.7378 for a showing.

RX Made Launches Product Line and Kickstarter Campaign

It's no secret that all of us here at LivingRoom love the peeps over at the Rebuilding Exchange! Which is why we are so excited to share the news about RX Made and tell you how you can be a part and maybe even knock a couple of items off your holiday shopping list! Founded in 2011 by Chicago Non-Profit Rebuilding Exchange, RX Made evolved out of what was originally a job training program to create skilled workers. Eventually Strand Design also got involved and well...just look at the results!

The RX Made Kickstarter ends on December 13th and they are over 60% funded!

Way to go!

 

Don't miss out! Great deals at the Rebuilding Exchange Garage Sale!

The Rebuilding Exchange is moving to a new and better location at the end of the month and is looking to lighten the load...which means EVERYTHING IS ON SALE! Visit them from October 19th-21st to take advantage of clearance prices and support a really wonderful feature of our community. The Rebuilding Exchange is currently located at 2160 North Ashland and is open from 10am to 4pm. Happy Hunting!

 

Prefab really is Prefabulous!

LivingRoom Realty is proud to announce that the C3 Prefab has been included in the new book by Sheri Koones "Prefabulous + Almost Off The Grid" . Designed by Jeffery Sommers the awesome C3 Prefab home was built in Chicago's Noble Square neighborhood.  The C3 was featured in numerous reviews on the book....click here to read more!

LivingRoom Realty is the exclusive sales team for C3, so if you are interested in learning more about the very real possibility of building your own prefab home please contact us.