First Floor Design Plans for the #HerrmannitoHouse

It feels like I’ve waited forever to create design plans for the #HerrmannitoHouse.  Now that it’s finally here, time is flying!  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a little imposter syndrome over it.  Why am I qualified to do this?  Shouldn’t I just hire a designer?  But my gut tells me to go with it.  Luckily, I had Kira David Design come with me to the inspection to bounce my ideas off of her.  It made me feel so much better!

While I’m still planning the precise details of each room (except the first-floor bath!), I have an idea of what I want to do with each room.

Living Room 

Currently, the living room space is not well defined.  It feels a little ‘fratastic’ to me with the number of couches and a TV randomly next to a coat closet.

chicago cottage home

I struggled with the design of this room more than any other in the house.  Matt with The Matts Construction really helped me here as did Kira.  I debated on flipping the room to properly define a foyer or leaving it as-is.  Ultimately, I decided to leave the layout as-is, but better define the space.

girl meets party - design plans

We’re going to frame the space with built-ins.  By covering up the one window, we can create symmetrical built-ins.  We’ll have cabinets flanking either side.  The left side (by the front door) will act as a coat closet and the right side will be for toys (yessss hidden storage, which we don’t have in our condo today).  The TV will go in the center with open shelves surrounding it giving the space that ‘built-in’ feel.

Perpendicular the built-in wall is an open space.  It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the house.  I’m planning to create a fun gallery wall with frames here and potentially add a bench underneath it that doubles as decor and additional seating for guests when we entertain.  I’m a big fan of mindful decor.

girl meets party-design plans

Life on Cedar Lane has a stunning space and it’s given me tons of inspiration for the #HerrmannitoHouse.  We’ll be keeping our current couch, which we got from West Elm when we baby prepped our condo before Emmie arrived.  I want light hardwood floors and a few more statement pieces.


The kitchen has soooo much potential.  It’s not a huge space, but it’s certainly not small either.  There’s a sliding door that lets in an unbelievable amount of light.  It needs to be updated, but the space is perfect!

kitchen remodel

We’re planning to keep the layout the exact same to minimize the budgetary impact of the renovation with the exception of moving the fridge to the other side of the room.

kitchen remodel

By the way, do you see that wall next to where the fridge currently sits?  We’re knocking it down to pull more light into the house and give it a more open, airy feel.

kitchen remodel

I’m planning on a greige cabinet, which I quickly discovered is nearly impossible to find.  I’d venture to say finding greige cabinets has been the most stressful part of the process so far.  Maybe that’s a good thing because it’s small in the grand scheme?  Either way, it’s been hard to find the right color!


I’m planning on leaning into a brushed gold throughout the house, which will be perfect with the greige cabinets.  For appliances, we’re strongly considering GE Café.  Although the jury is still out on Matte White or Stainless Steel.

Lastly, I want to carry the countertop up the wall as our backsplash to minimize the number of lines in the kitchen.  This will keep it feeling light, open and larger than it actually is.  Using stone as the backsplash will add some cost to the budget, but it shouldn’t be more than $500, which I think is worth it!

Dining Room

The dining room may be the most simple space of them all.  We’re removing the carpet and adding hardwood floors.  While I initially wanted to add wainscotting to the room, I wasn’t positive on the design choice and we were tight on budget.

chicago dining room

We are going to square off the arch leading into the living room.  So long 80’s arch!  I want to add some fun vintage trim because the home lacks all character, which kills me because it was built in 1881!  Why do people strip out charm?  I will never understand.  However, we discovered an old chimney stack, and I’m planning to expose the brick assuming we can afford it!

I think the brick column will add great character and give a nod to the home’s 1881 roots.  Onto the guest bedroom hiding behind where the buffet currently is. Also, I’m keeping our dining room table because we searched forever to find it!  However, I want to mix up the chairs a bit and make it more interesting.  I’m toying with the idea of white chairs to break up the heavy wood.

Guest Room

The current guest room is petite to put it kindly.  It’s a typical, narrow Chicago room measuring 7′ x 12′, which is tough to design.  We want the guest room to be super comfortable, which means we’re going with a queen bed over a full bed.  However, we don’t have guests all the time.  With it being a Chicago home, I want to use the room when guests aren’t there as well.  Hello murphy bed & double door opening!

We’ll be doing a swinging french door, so a bit different than this, but you get the general idea.  The thought is when guests aren’t over, I’ll keep the doors open and use it as a play space for Emmie!  When we do have guests, they can close the door and lower curtains for privacy.

In the room, we’re planning to add a murphy bed with a fold-down desk.  Matt works from home frequently and we need separate spaces.  One of us is very loud on the phone.  That person is also not writing this post – I’ll let you guess who.  At any rate, it’ll keep the space open when we are guest-free.  Although my Sicilian mother might be moving in once we’re all set up because it’s so accommodating… joking, but if you have an Italian mom, you may know what I mean.

The murphy bed presented tons of design challenges when we were planning because they’re so long… 8 feet long to be exact.  So we are going to move the doorway to properly accommodate.  I’ll show you once I provide demo progress updates!

Soon, I’ll share the second-floor design plans.  Did you catch the virtual tour?  If not, find it at the bottom of this post here.

Meet Jen

I’ve always had a love affair with creation. Since I was a child, I handmade my gifts or combined toys to design something new. Fast forward twenty years, and I’m still making my gifts every holiday and designing new ways to do things.


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