Some people go to the movies for date nights. Jeremy and I look at houses.
Well, we don’t look at houses on every date night, which is a good thing because Jeremy doesn’t look at houses unless he’s seriously interested in buying them, and that could get expensive. (As a real estate agent, showing houses is a job so it’s not really what he chooses to do for fun!)
But last October, we were intrigued by a particular property that was for sale, and ended up looking at that home plus a few others to see if there was anything that we might be interested in renovating to sell.
Enter The Gannon House: a 3-bedroom, ~1700 square foot home in Erindale Heights, near Academy and Dublin. This home was built in 1976 and was still occupied by the original owner. While it had been well-cared for, nary an update had been made in its forty-two years, except for the kitchen carpet being replaced with some bamboo flooring.
As with our own home that we’ve (mostly) renovated, after it’s done people will inevitably ask, “How did you find this house?” as if we might have insider knowledge on amazing houses that are secretly for sale.
The truth is that there are houses for sale that could be gems, but you have to be willing to look past what they currently are and see what they could become or be restored to. This house had good bones and an incredible location: a quiet, mature neighborhood right in the middle of town, but a setting that feels like the forest or the foothills.
The Gannon House had been on the market and in the MLS/on Zillow/etc. for about 12 days before we looked at it the first time. Not a secret; anyone could have bought it! But, most people would have looked at about three photos before ruling out even looking at it. Here’s the home as it looked when we first saw it:
The listing photos were better photography, but still (accurately) portrayed a very dated home with a choppy floorplan and lots of the homeowner’s stuff.
Additionally, elderly Mr. Gannon was not able to leave the home for all showings. He was very friendly and it was fun to hear some stories about his family’s life in this house, but it’s always uncomfortable for potential buyers to have the homeowner around, so that’s another reason why it hadn’t sold – it was hard to look at the home and discuss updates while trying to be courteous to the homeowner.
Long story short, we negotiated an offer and closed on The Gannon House in late January (a longer period than normal to accommodate the seller), and have been hard at work ever since!
(Psst: Keep reading! At the end, we’ll tell you how to see even more of the before photos and how you can see it when it’s finished.)
Where We’re Going with The Gannon House
Not to get too philosophical here, but we strongly believe that a great house has its own style, or at least a direction it wants to go. The most stunning home renovations embrace a home’s original lines, so “our” style doesn’t really come into play with The Gannon House: we based the design direction on the feel of the home itself. (And truly, sometimes it is just how the house “feels”, not a style checklist.)
The one-level floor plan, asymmetric roof line, and tall, narrow windows definitely take this house in a modern direction. (The roof line is hidden behind branches right now, but we’ll soon trim those and you will be able to see the roof better!)
The interior really had very little innate style – really the only architectural feature inside is the fireplace. But, even “features” like the 8-foot ceiling make this home fit into a clean, modern look with simple trim and not a lot of ornate dress-ups like crown molding, beams, and tall base trim.
So, we’re leaning into modern for The Gannon House, and while we haven’t quite landed on the exact style term, the best way to qualify it is something like “warm modern” or “modern with mid-century influence”. (We can’t quite call bring ourselves to call it mid-century modern because it doesn’t have a lot of MCM architectural features, but if you like the MCM aesthetic, you will love this house!)
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of our style selections to give you an idea of where we’re going:
What is Circa Forever Homes?
Circa Forever Homes is our concept for unique, not-so-big homes that we fully renovate to a finish level that you’d expect to find in custom luxury homes. While The Gannon House is the first home that we’ve done as Circa Forever, we’ve been working on the concept for years as we’ve renovated our own home and thought about how our homes shape our lives. (Just in case you’re curious: No, we don’t plan to do renovations for other people! Helping our clients buy or sell a home is our primary business, and we’re doing Circa Forever to give ourselves an opportunity to learn, be challenged, and be creative in another facet of the housing industry – goals that ultimately help us serve our clients even better.)
When will The Gannon House be for sale?
We anticipate that the The Gannon House will be on the market in early May. Naturally, any renovation has delays so that could change! When it’s done, we’re totally going to want to show it off, so we’ll have an open house so you can come in and see how it turned out.
Want to see more “before” and “after”?
If you’re not already, sign up for our email list below – the first email we send will be more “before” photos of The Gannon House and we’ll be sure to let you know about the open house when it’s finished!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Since we bought The Gannon House, we’ve spent our date nights working on it, so we haven’t looked at any more houses. 😉
See Extra Before Photos + Open House Invite
Sign up for email updates to get more behind-the-scenes from The Gannon House project, plus an announcement for our open house. Curious neighbors welcome! And don’t worry, we won’t pester you with endless emails – you can unsubscribe at any time if you get bored.