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Vlog: Welcome to the (New and Improved) Garden Apartment!

In case you missed it, you’ll want to watch the vlog that kicked off this entire renovation-that-could. Catch up right here

We’ve spent the last 3+ months overhauling the garden apartment, sacrificing nights, weekends and a whole lot of sleep to bring this dated unit back to life. As two people that like to take their time with renovations, this has been the fastest whole-home renovation we’ve ever done, and our bodies are feeling it. What we thought might be a small-ish job escalated into something quite larger, but in the end, we think it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears (and boy, did the garden see all of that)! Easy to say now that’s finally complete, huh?

If you’re just joining us or have somehow stumbled across this page (hey, hello!), here’s a quick recap: We live in a Chicago two-flat and rent the lower level apartment – our lovely little garden – to tenants. After four years, our former tenants have moved on, and their farewell was the push we needed to whip the place into shape before handing over the keys to future tenants! Over the course of this summer, we’ve flipped that little apartment on its head, and for the first time since living in this home, we feel that we’re giving our future tenants a peaceful, functional, welcoming slice of the city to call their own.

In this video tour, we’re sharing the full reveal of the garden apartment, feeling giddy and sleepy and excited and so, so happy to stick a fork in this one. Let’s go!

Video Notes

You can find even more background on the garden apartment, starting with this introduction from four years ago, the progress we made back then, and our (round one) before and after. To see our starting point this year, make sure you check out the full tour in this vlog!

What we use to film:
Our camera + stabilizer

Music is Spring Clapping by Tiny Music, and this vlog was filmed and edited by us, Kim + Scott. It’d sure make our day if you subscribed to our YouTube channel!

The complete monster list of our garden projects is listed below. Simply click on any thumbnail to take you to the original post (and if you’re viewing this in a reader, you may need to click over to view the images):

And finally, a source list!

MAIN LIVING SPACES: wall color is Sherwin Williams Basalt Powder | tile floors | motorized solar shades | entryway hooks | LED recessed lighting | ceiling fixtures (bases spray painted matte black) | door knobs // KITCHEN: wall color is Sherwin Williams Basalt Powder | cabinets | refrigerator | dishwasher | range | range hood | sink | pull-down faucet | countertops | subway tile | drawer pulls | finger pulls | sconce | LED Edison bulb // BATH: wall color is Valspar Ultra White | Faucet | Vanity + bin pulls | Mirror | Sconce | Marble shelf | Shower curtain | Vintage towel hooks // LAUNDRY: wall color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt | cabinet | finger pulls | shelf  | sconce

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  • Amanda8.29.17 - 8:13 AM

    But where is the microwave?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.29.17 - 8:36 AM

      We touched on that in the kitchen post (and in the comments), but we opted to nix it in favor of a powerful range hood instead. We got mixed needs from friends who rent – whether they cared if there was a microwave or not, so of course someone can certainly still plug one in from the countertop and leave it out or stash it away in one of the several deep drawers!ReplyCancel

    • Alison8.31.17 - 6:16 PM

      Microwaves are bad for your health.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Taylor8.29.17 - 9:58 AM

    I love it so much! The way you did the kitchen is really inspiring the changes I want to make in my own kitchen and I would definitely be all over renting that beauty if I lived in Chicago :)ReplyCancel

  • Holly8.29.17 - 11:15 AM

    Looks so good! You guys are the cutest!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah8.29.17 - 11:36 AM

    The beginning and end of this video made me smile so hard. You guys and your dogs (and kitty!) are just the cutest! And I hope you rent this soon because you but so much heart into that little apt and someone is going to be incredibly lucky to live there. :)ReplyCancel

  • Paige Flamm8.29.17 - 12:54 PM

    So excited for you guys! It looks amazing!


  • Tim8.29.17 - 1:54 PM

    Holy smokes! Well done and congrats on the completion of the project.ReplyCancel

  • susan8.29.17 - 2:02 PM

    the apartment looks lovely! and it made me smile to see someone else makes sure the screw slots in switch and outlet covers all line up… : DReplyCancel

    • Kim8.29.17 - 2:05 PM

      Haha, we call that ‘hot dogs’ or ‘hamburgers’ depending on which way the screw is facing!ReplyCancel

  • melbajo8.29.17 - 2:30 PM

    i love this all so much, it’s gorgeous! thank you for sharing your journey with us – i learned a lot and it’s really helping me make decisions for a guest house remodel i’m about to start (like, any day now, the ikea cabinets are waiting in their boxes on the back porch!)

    one question – could you share with us how you dealt with the exterior wall when you closed up that window in the kitchen? you obviously did a fantastic job on the inside, but on the outside i’m wondering if you hired that out or patched it up yourselves…

    again, thank you for all of your detailed posts, you guys are true resources and inspirations!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.29.17 - 2:34 PM

      Ooh, good question. It was framed out from the inside using 2x4s, and on the outside, the window was removed and the same cinder blocks (used in our foundation) was patched in with cement/mortar. Our house is SO close to our neighbor’s house, so it’s not even something you can see unless you’re squeezing between our house and the fence. But it was still important for us to match it up as close as possible.

      Good luck on your IKEA kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa8.30.17 - 3:03 AM

    Brilliant you two! Very well done. I think I actually got most of the layout from the photos along the way, except for the bedrooms off the living room, those I did not have in my head.ReplyCancel

  • Emma P8.30.17 - 12:04 PM

    The place looks amazing!!! All the changes were done with such care and forethought about future tenants — you guys nailed it!ReplyCancel

  • lsaspacey9.2.17 - 9:45 AM

    It’s so gorgeous! I looked at the earlier house tour and was reminded of that 1st floor bathroom, are you still going to try to finish it by the end of the year or wait until after the baby (Congrats!!!) is born?ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.2.17 - 1:09 PM

      Oof – definitely not this year, ha! Hopefully next? Thank goodness for closed doors :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah9.5.17 - 9:09 AM

    Love this entire transformation! The video is pretty perfect too- you guys belong in front of the camera! xoReplyCancel

  • Sara Gillis9.5.17 - 9:16 AM

    Such an unbelievable change – well done, guys!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie9.19.17 - 10:27 AM

    I love everything about it! Will you share the budget details? I’m also very curious about how much more you will be able to rent it for now.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Endean7.29.21 - 8:35 PM

    What brand washer and dryer did you get?  I’m a landlord and got a stackable like that for our rental and have had problems with it

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Our Pen Pals have direct access to first looks, a peek behind-the-scenes, and exclusive interviews showcasing members of the #YBHDIY community. We can’t wait to connect with you!

Kim and Scott

We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

Join us as we renovate and nurture vintage homes across Chicago + SW Michigan!

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