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.

New Listing! 3141 W Palmer Boulevard. Beautiful Home Across from Palmer Square Park in Logan

Come and see this 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo with a welcoming open floor plan, located right on beautiful Palmer Square Park in Logan Square. Professionally-managed and well-maintained classic brick and terracotta courtyard building. Warm cherry hardwood floors and quality finishes throughout. Living room with cozy gas fireplace and thoughtful built-in shelving open onto a dining area overlooking the peaceful landscaped courtyard. Bathrooms have granite counters and marble tile, with a whirlpool tub and shower in the en-suite master bath. Large closets and hardwood floors continue in the bedrooms. Convenient in-unit laundry. A charming haven on one of Logan Square's loveliest boulevards, with restaurants, parks, and public transportation right outside.

Offered at $300,000. Open House Saturday, September 15th, 2018 1 to 3 pm. Contact Susannah Ribstein at 708-207-6590 or susannah@livingroomrealty.com for questions and showing requests.

 

 

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! 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

New Listing! 1934 N Washtenaw #412

Sophisticated, urban Logan Square two bed, one bathroom true loft with soaring fifteen foot concrete ceilings. Wide views via northern floor-to-ceiling windows and large private balcony. The kitchen has 42" cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and an island/breakfast bar. The second bedroom is large enough for a guest bed AND office. Actual laundry room with shelving and storage.

Heated garage parking included. Common roof deck with stellar views of the Chicago skyline. Walk to everything: the 606, blue line, Michelin star restaurants, great neighborhood gems, pie! Sought after building in Logan!

Offered at $299,000. Contact Listing Agent Elizabeth Dudek at 312-498-7378 with any questions.

Listing #09790174

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

Consensus Building: Creating Your Own Cooperative • Wednesday March 20th

Save the Date!Consensus Building: Creating Your Own Cooperative Wednesday March 20th, 6:30-8:30

Have you ever dreamed about buying a building with friends and/or people with shared interests? Then join us at LivingRoom Realty on March 20th from 6:30-8:30pm, for a discussion on how to start your own housing cooperative (Co-Op). This is a viable and affordable option to owning your own home.

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We will discuss the difference between condos and Co-Ops, common benefits and risks, an overview of financing options, the fundamentals of consensus building, and an how to search for your property. We will also provide you with resources for taking the next steps in making your cooperative dream a reality. LivingRoom Realty is very pleased to have Mark Fick Senior Loan/Program Officer at Chicago Community Loan Fund, Lawyer Sarah Kaplan, and Sol House housing cooperative members Jessica Weisbach and Kevin Monahan join us for this talk. Food, drinks, and a fun time will be provided.

Please RSVP to: annie@livingroomrealty.com as soon as possible so we know attendance levels! We hope to see you there!

Landscape Of The Housing Market For Buyers • Wednesday May 2nd 6:30-8pm

Join us at LivingRoom Realty on May 2nd at 6:30 as Mortgage Broker Emma Butler, Real Estate Broker Elizabeth Dudek, 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

Pizza 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 Jeffrey Wadsworth, RCIS LLC

 

Spring in Chicago is Blooming-dale!

This Monday Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago has found the additional funding needed to officially bring to life the city's next world class park! Some are are already calling the Bloomingdale Trail the "Millennium Park of the West Side”...but no matter what you call it, we are all so excited for things to start. Just check out these renderings of what some of the stations will look like, let alone all the views we've been missing!  

The long awaited transformation of the abandoned railway to a linear park on Chicago’s Northwest Side is finally getting the funding it needs to begin construction. The 2.7 mile long trail will boast both bicycle and walking paths and is scheduled for completion in 2014. Sometimes, you just gotta love this town!

Become friends with The Bloomingdale Trail online to stay in touch!