Decorating Ideas and Landscaping Tips – June 2013

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Retirement Relocation Checklist


What’s important to you in moving to your retirement home?

Are you thinking about buying your “empty-nester” home but you don’t know how to decide where to go?

Retirement Relocation Checklist

Prioritize and decide where to go!

The recent article by Dave Bernard in US News and World Report‘s Retirement section lists the following categories that seniors should consider:

  • Hospitals and Doctors

Should you live near an expert in a particular health field? Or simply, where can you rely on a quick response time from the EMT, taking you to a nearby trauma facility?

  • Local Amenities

Big cities offer symphony, museums, restaurants. and theater, however college towns are booming – many seniors are finding them to have the perfect mix of smaller town while offering terrific cultural options.

  • Good Neighbors

Fellow Drake trustee and Newton, Iowa native, Don Byers, answered my husband’s question about retirement this way:  “Why would I leave the friends and neighbors I’ve enjoyed my whole life?” To Don, good neighbors were his primary criteria for staying local in retirement.

  • Climate

Milder climates have been the goal for many seniors – if you relax in warmer weather, then your move south won’t be unique!

  • Public Transportation

How are you going to get to the doctor, the store, or your friends when you no longer want to drive?

  • Cost of Living

Obviously, it makes sense to live where it’s cheaper – when seniors retire and they don’t have to live where their job is (they’re retired!), it makes sense to go where homes, food, and taxes are cheaper.

  • Proximity to What you Like Best

If you revel in sunrise at the beach, you wake up invigorated to hike mountain trails, or scenic mountain views inspire the artist in you — then go there!

  • Your new “digs”

Do you want maintenance-free condo life or is tinkering in the garden your heart’s desire? Would you prefer to live in a sprawling ranch or a cozy bungalow?

Obviously, the answers to these questions vary for all seniors. As you consider where you’re going, answer these maytag cheesequestions, then weight each one as to how important that question is to the overall picture.

Don Byers obviously preferred neighbors to warm climates and public transportation. Others might place greater emphasis on beaches and warm weather.

Whatever you choose – if you are true to yourself, you’ll make the right decision!

What Retirement Area are you Interested in?

Let Anne Rossley put you in touch with the best real estate agent – wherever that is!

Find professionals to answer your questions about local amenities, housing options, and lifestyle…

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner
Anne is a Senior Real Estate Specialist who loves helping 50+ buyers and sellers!

Dave Bernard’s article

Wildlife in Chicago – Your Other Neighbors


Nextdoor Online communityI’m a member of NextDoor, that great neighborhood website where residents nearby can raise questions to their trusted neighbors and get important answers. Usually, someone is announcing online that they’ve moved into the neighborhood, and we all welcome them. Other times, someone asks for referrals for a cleaning person, window washer, landscaper, or babysitter.

Tonight, a new neighbor asked about wildlife. It was an amusing exchange, and the conversation offers great insights into what a Chicagoan can expect to see in a neighborhood outside the Gold Coast/South Loop – type interior neighborhoods. I’m in Edgewater – and except for mentioning rats or the recent coyote sighting, this conversation will help you prepare to live outside of a Chicago high-rise building:

 22 Apr From the New Neighbor:

This is our second Spring in this neighborhood. Last night, there was a large Possum in our backyard and then tonight two LARGE raccoons passing through our backyard. Is this normal? What city deparment should I call? And will they do anything about it? Any advice out there?

Neighbor #1:
This time of year as it is lighter later, you will see what has been sneaking in the winter darkness!
Neighbor #2:  Possums and raccoons are the main two animals you will see in the neighborhood. Two years ago, we had a possum going through our back yard on a regular basis and a couple of times our little dog faced it while doing her things in the back yard. We called an exterminator who quickly caught a possum, but we were never sure if it was the same one or not because we saw another one (or the same one) two weeks later. We just gave up, since it has never been out of control. This is unfortunately one of the downsides of living in a neighborhood with large back yards and lots of trees. Wild animals like it too!
Neighbor # 3:
We’ve lived here for 15 years. It is entirely normal to see possums and raccoons in the hood. The first couple of years we had a family of raccoons living in the cottonwood tree between us and the neighbor’s house. We regularly have possums traipse thru the yard. There’s nothing that can be done about it and nothing should be done either. It’s the normal fauna that goes with the territory. On the other hand, we have an inordinate number of squirrels that regularly dig up our yard in the spring. To prevent them from digging up freshly planted flowers, bulbs and other items I use a live animal trap, take them to the Radio Shack parking lot, and let them go there. It’s a constant battle, which I’ll never win. But it’s better than having our entire yard turned into a gopher field!
More from Neighbor #3 Oh, we sometimes have rabbits in the early morning as well. Plus, there are a large number of feral cats here. I’ve never lived in any city where there weren’t feral cats. They keep the rat population down. There’s one other thing you should be aware of. If you’re walking the sidewalks in the hood and you come across the freshly cleaned carcass of a pigeon or other bird, be aware that its from falcons. Once a year a family of them also occupying the cottonwood tree. They stay as long as their food source is plentiful, then they move on.
From New Neighbor:  Thank you everyone for your input. Knowing these creatures usually hang around makes me feel a little better. I have also learned that I should expect to see Falcons, feral cats and maybe a deer or two if I am lucky ;). Even though I grew up in the country in Michigan with creatures — these give me the willies!
Chicago WildlifeFrom Neighbor #4, past president of the neighbors association:  Opossum are calm and clean creatures, and although unattractive, tend to cause little harm. They do not carry rabies and will literally “play possum” when they feel threatened.Raccoons, while cute and cuddly looking, are a whole different story: they can transmit rabies, roundworm, and leptospirosis; they will attack pets if they feel provoked; they can cause severe damage to your property.Raccoons raise their young babies in trees, rooflines, or garages. After several months they move to a ground location and spend almost a year living together as a family. This is where they can become dangerous for you and your pet. Roundworm is transmitted through their poop, which can be inhaled when it dries.Raccoons are very territorial. It is estimated that up to 50 can live on a city block and they will not venture beyond a few blocks during their lifetime. At one time the city had funds to help with their removal, but those resources have been cut. If they are a nuisance on your property, you must contact a private company to have them removed. Because they carry rabies and roundworm, the state of Illinois requires that they be euthanized.Since these animals are among us, it’s best that they don’t take up residence on your property, and you can help prevent that by sealing access to your garage and underneath your deck or porch. Keep in mind that raccoons can crawl into very, very, very small spaces.There is a ton of information on the internet and these are just a few of the highlights, but the bottom line is that you don’t want them living anywhere near your property especially if you have pets or children.

Are you in a neighborhood that offers NextDoor? If not, I encourage you to start your own community by selecting this link. It’s a closed group opportunity that allows you to share important information, build a community, and Live Well in Chicago!

I want to give a “Shout Out” to Kate Welborn of my neighborhood, who started our NextDoor group. It’s a great service to all of us, and I’m so glad I have her as one of my neighbors!

Before I moved to Chicago, I thought it was an enormous anonymous city. Wow, was I wrong!

The communities of this city are vibrant, strong, and personal. It’s more of a small town than I ever dreamed, and I’m blessed to live in one of the greatest neighborhoods in Chicago!

(And …  I’ve never minded our wildlife — it’s just fine!)

Links and Resources:

Chicago Animal Control and Rescue

Chicago Wildlife- Chicago Forest Preserve Article

Chicago Historic Landmark – The Bedford

The Bedford

Chicago’s historic landmark – the Bedford Restaurant and Bar was on my “To Do” list —

It’s a restaurant and bar in Wicker Park – a renovated 1925 bank  that I discovered while reading the spring issue of Preservation Magazine.

Chicago Historic Landmark-the Bedford

The developers salvaged and incorporated countless elements of the original building, creating a striking decor:

  • black marble from the teller counters
  • the bank’s vault
  • banking tables
  • nickel-plated safe deposit boxes
  • copper-faced boxes inside the vault
  • glorious crown moldings
  • and more!

Chicago Historic Landmark - the Bedford

I tried the “Dark and Stormier” cocktail, although I was tempted by the “Cucumber Cooler”.  We noshed on mussels and oysters – yum! Then, instead of choosing one of the entrees, we instead chose to linger over the charcuterie and cheese trays.

It was a wonderful night in a charming historic venue. I definitely recommend you give it a whirl!




“The Villa” – Chicago’s Secret Historic Neighborhood Treasure


“The Villa” – a pocket of homes built in the early 1900’s – is one of Chicago’s historic neighborhood treasures.

The neighborhood is a small section within the Irving Park Community (named after writer Washington Irving), and is bounded by Addison, Hamlin, Avondale, and Pulaski. Haentze and Wheeler developed the neighborhood, building the first home in 1907. They named the community “The Villa”, asserting, “A home in a park can be made a reality by purchasing in ‘The Villa.’ ” They promoted it as the “most beautiful, attractive and artistic home spot in the City of Chicago today.”*

Between 1907 and 1925, Prairie and Craftsman-style homes were built in The Villa, with overhanging porches and slightly sloping gable roofs. Lots are usually 50′ wide, providing lots of landscape and separation between homes. There are 2 boulevards in the neighborhood – Avers and Harding – these make the neighborhood feel even more open and welcoming.

Location of The Villa

View The Villa in a larger map

The Villa’s incredibly well-located- jump on the Kennedy and you can get where you need to be in 10-15 minutes – downtown, O’Hare, the North Shore…. there’s great shopping nearby, too!

The Villa’s and History Historic Designations

The neighborhood association, The Villa Improvement League, has achieved success in maintaining the integrity of the community, gaining acceptance in the National Register of Historic Places and attaining Chicago Landmark Status. The book, Villa – 90th Anniversary Book, published in 1997, is an absolutely stunning compilation of this neighborhood and its history. Compiled by the Villa Historic Committee, it includes information on all the homes, the history of the neighborhood, the developers, the architects, and how The Villa attained its historic designations.

For those who love history and bungalows, the book and the neighborhood are very exciting. Kudos to all residents in the neighborhood for supporting the Historic Committee’s efforts, but particularly to Roy Diez, Darcie Wadycki, Carol Brice, Gene Hartmann, Kin Waldack, and Wally Wadycki for creating this irreplaceable tome.

Recent Home Sales in The Villa

3637 N Avers - California Bungalow in The Villa3637 N Avers


3663 N Avers - The Villa

3663 N Avers


3647 N Harding - The Villa

3647 N Harding

$ 465,000

As of April 1, there are no homes for sale in The Villa.

If you’d like to get alerts when homes become available, select this link.

chicago real estate Anne Rossley Baird & Warner
Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS
Baird & Warner


* Information about the neighborhood is based on The Villa 1907-1997



3623 N Ashland – Lakeview 2 Flat For Sale

3623 N Ashland

Lakeview Brick Two Flat


3623 Exterior 1April2013 web

Great opportunity to own a 2-flat in Lakeview!

Each of the 2 bedroom units has 2 bedrooms, hardwood floors, separate heat/air, and enclosed rear porches.

The full basement includes washer and dryer for laundry, and the detached 2 car garage provides additional income.

The property will be listed in the MLS beginning April 5, 2013.

For an appointment, please call Anne Rossley, Baird & Warner.

Anne Rossley
Baird & Warner

Lakewood Balmoral Real Estate Update – March 2013

Lakewood Balmoral – the historic Andersonville historic district in Chicago’s Edgewater Community, has 3 properties for sale today — 2 are on Bryn Mawr. There’s only one for sale in the heart of the district – 5313 N Lakewood.
5313 lakewood - single family home for sale in historic Lakewood Balmoral

5313 N Lakewood


5224 n wayne lakewood balmoral

5224 N Wayne

Pending – $ 1,150,000

5316 n wayne - lakewood balmoral

5316 N Wayne

Sold – $985,000

Take a tour of these properties by selecting this link

see photos and get more information by checking out this virtual tour!

Lakewood Balmoral Virtual Tour March 2013

ACTV1244Bryn Mawr$1,049,00016243.1$10,624.00320026.5 X 139.5
ACTV1226Bryn Mawr$829,0003033.1$13,332.00319021X84
A/I1310Bryn Mawr$1,650,0003364.1$14,115.09085 X 125
CLSD5245Wayne11/16/12$500,000$465,00014041$9,942.42032 X 123
CLSD5345Magnolia1/13/13$899,900$845,00048754$12,731.69037.5 X 123
CLSD5316Wayne12/19/12$989,000$985,0004053.1$8,876.00037.5 X 123

For more information about this historic neighborhood, or to view properties for sale, contact Anne Rossley of Baird & Warner.

Search Properties in Lakewood BalmoralSelect this link and register to get home search alerts  – find out when a new listing is available in this neighborhood!

Links for and about Lakewood Balmoral

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner


Chicago Spring – Street Cleaning Schedules are up!

Street Cleaning and Sweeping is about to begin!

The signs will be posted next week, as April 1 will be the first day for street cleaning in Chicago.

I just downloaded my ward’s map – each ward has a posted schedule and map to show boundaries – the 48th ward looks like this:

The boundaries and dates (below)                                        And the section map for the ward (below)

48th ward street sweeping schedule48th Ward Street Sweeping Map










All Chicago ward maps and schedules can be found on the Chicago webpage by selecting this link.

Chicago Street Sweeping Mobile App


Chicago street sweeping mobile appThere is also a mobile app for both iphones and android phones – I have downloaded it and I’ll be testing it out, but I have to say that on my first visit, I was given incorrect information.

I picked out an address in my neighborhood, and compared it to the schedules above. The mobile app tells me street cleaning will be on April 10/11 while the city has April 9/10 scheduled for the same location. Perhaps it’s just not up to date, since this ward map was just posted this week.

chicago street cleaning mobile app


Alas, I tried a location in the 42nd ward – the city has April 2/3 scheduled for Section 1 while the mobile app has April 3/4 planned. Again — mismatched dates!

It’s a great idea, and I had high hopes for using it…  For now, I recommend you download the maps from the city!

If in doubt, check with your alderman’s office for the latest information, or call 311.

Wishing you clean streets and a ticket – free 2013 in Chicago this year!

Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner

401 E Ontario – Chicago Condo Building of the Week

401 E Ontario is a terrific East Streeterville building, and I saw a terrific loft-like condo there last week that sold (twice) almost immediately.

The building was built in 1989, and 394 studios, 1,2, and 3 bedroom units are found on the 50 floors. It’s a full amenity building – get information on the amenities by selecting the links toward the bottom of this post.

It’s a gorgeous building in a fabulous location – views from units can be wonderful, however that wasn’t the point of this condo – it was the flexibility of space and high ceilings/windows that aren’t found in most Streeterville condos, combined with the beautiful finishes that make it a very special property.

This unit (note – it’s not my listing – I was representing the buyer) isn’t like most of the units in the building, but it enjoys the same amenities! My buyer passed on it, reluctantly, for personal reasons. We both loved it, though, and we aren’t surprised it was snapped up immediately.

Check out some of the photos here:

401 Ontario Streeterville condos

401 Ontario Streeterville condo for sale401 Ontario - Streeterville condos for sale


  • In this market, make sure you work with an agent who’s constantly on the prowl to find units that meet your needs.
  • Sign up for search alerts on agent websites so you have instant access to new listings the moment they become available.
  • Often, it’s not how much off the listing price that matters- it’s the value compared to other similar properties that have SOLD and how the property compares to your individual needs.
  • The appraisal must be high enough in price qualify for your loan, but that number isn’t derived from the listing price, either.

401 E Ontario Amenities:

Bike Storage
Club Room
Fitness Center, Sauna and Showers
June’s Dry Cleaning, Laundry and Package Service
Laundry Center
Other Retail Establishments In 401 East Ontario
Parking Garage
Storage Lockers
Sun Decks
Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi

Special Streeterville Condo Searches

Streeterville One Bedrooms for Sale – Select this link to find Streeterville 1 Bedrooms for sale TODAY!

Streeterville Two Bedrooms for Sale – Select this link to find Streeterville 2 Bedrooms for sale TODAY!

To have a special search created just for you, select this link and include your search parameters.

401 E Ontario Sales Analysis

Note:  some units include parking while others do not — check with your real estate agent or call Anne Rossley to get more information on sales at 401 E Ontario.
ACTV2503$275,000800$343.752/10/133011N E
NEW303$375,0001200$312.503/4/13211N S
NEW1309$434,9001200$362.423/2/13722N E
Pend4302$649,9001800$361.062/25/1314732S W
Pend3501$275,000900$305.562/17/131911N W
CLSD2403$219,000$208,00004/23/12711N W
CLSD2401$269,000$289,000875$330.296/1/1227611N W
CLSD601$235,000$241,250900$268.066/19/1231811N W
CLSD4202$649,000$615,0001800$341.678/17/1216232N W
CLSD2603$239,000$255,000800$318.759/12/121611N E
CLSD606$230,000$230,000010/8/1215111S E W
CLSD506$200,000$199,000700$284.2911/19/1219311S E W
CLSD3201$274,500$267,000900$296.6712/20/12711N W


Kitchen Renovation – Chicago Historic Homes

Kitchen renovation – it’s time for me to begin thinking of how I’m going to redo my kitchen.

Granted, it’s more of “making” a kitchen, since we currently live with one lower cabinet and assorted Metro shelving. There won’t be much to demolish!

I ran across this great guide by Houzz today — I’m going to start collecting ideas and visiting showrooms soon. This article has inspired me!


Our Foursquare is traditional 1908 – not exactly Craftsman – not MacIntosh –it’s considered “Transitional”, according to Thom Green of Greene & Proppe. Our highest priority is to make the kitchen as “historic” as the rest of the house, so it should include  traditional style – inset cabinets. We have to work within a 14 x 13′ space, so we’re limited in our options.

Cabinet Options


kitchens in chicago historic houses


The Southampton Kitchen with antique white stain looks more like a butler’s pantry – I’m a big fan of this one (forget the island – that’s NOT part of the look I’m going for!)




chicago historic home kitchen ideas


The Oak Park Cabinet is too stylized for us.





chicago historic properties kitchen renovations


I think the Craftsman kitchen is too stylized, too.





chicago historic homes-kitchen renovations


The traditional cabinet doesn’t look right, either.





Tom and I have been fans of this cabinet for a long time! We started our journey by touting the quartersawn cabinet, but I think it’s not “soft” enough for us.

chicago historic homes- kitchen renovations

These kitchens are just gorgeous!





chicago historic home-kennebec kitchen




The cherry cabinet just might be the way to go…



chicago historic homes - kitchen renovation ideas



I just love this Kennebec White Cabinet!






What’s your favorite historic kitchen renovation?

What cabinets are in your kitchen?


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