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.

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 & 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

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.