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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Green Tips - Recycle App

A group of environmental advocates from Lake Forest and Lake Bluff developed an app that will help residents better use local recycling resources. The group is called Green Minds LFLB.
Green Minds LFLB has created a free downloadable app--Recycle LFLB -- to help residents find solutions for how to recycle.   Learn more at

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Years ago I was buying a condo in Chicago.   After several months of searching, I finally found one I really liked in a vintage building on Chestnut Street.   I loved the layout of the apartment, and one room in particular stood out for me: the dining room.   Around the room were these gorgeous alabaster sconces that gave the room a warm glow.  I was smitten and made an offer for the apartment.   

The sellers accepted my offer and I arranged for the inspection.  When I went back in with the inspector, the dining room sconces were gone and had been replaced with less distinctive fixtures.   I was so annoyed and it really bugged me that those lights were gone -- it felt like a bate and switch.   It had never occured to me to ask for those specific fixtures - I just assumed they were staying with the unit.  While there were some inspection issues and some building requirements I disliked,  I was still annoyed about the lights.  I withdrew my offer.   If I'm really honest with myself, it was the sconces, that were probably the thing I loved best about the apartment.  My agent kept telling me I could buy new ones... but crazy as it sounds, once those lights were gone, I lost interest in the place.  

Exclusions can be a real sticking point during negotiations.   Being very clear upfront what is staying and what is going with the house needs to be spelled out early in the process.  Frankly, I think it needs to presented in the listing information sheet.   Exclusions can even destroy the sale of a house -- my clients almost failed to close on their property because of a contentious garden statue!   

The contract lists things like: light fixtures, shelves, window treatments, fireplace grills, etc.  In general, anything that is affixed to the wall is considered a fixture and remains with the property.  But what does that actually mean?   Televisions?  Mirrors?  Given my own personal experience, it's my opinion, that the buyers should never even see the things the sellers definitely want to take with them.    Light fixtures in particular can be a really sticking point.  I always advise my clients to replace grandmother's chandelier before they list the house, so there is no misunderstanding or negotiating about it!

Back to my story... I kept looking and eventually bought another place on Pearson Street.   It was a wonderful condo, that I gutted and remodeled.  Every fixture, tile, wallpaper, fabric, etc.  I picked out carefully and intentionally.   One of my favorite selections were the hall chandelier and some sconces for the living room and bedroom.  I found a person who repped for dozens of lighting companies and pored over her catalogs for hours.  I finally found the light fixtures I wanted - they were handmade in Italy.   Little did I know that it would take over a year for them to arrive .... apparently the Italian craftsmen worked to their own schedule which included summers off.   Once they finally arrived and were installed, I so admired and loved the fixtures.  As you might suspect, when I moved to Lake Forest I brought them with me.  I often get compliments on them.    

As many of you know, I'm selling my beloved house on Deerpath this year -- I want to downsize and move into something smaller that is maintenance free.   Going through the years of things that have accumulated has been quite an ordeal -- I ended up with my parents' stuff and they ended up with their parents' stuff, so it has been a year long process of clearing things out and getting the house ready for the market.  

This week the handyman came to help me with the final touches... my sconces and chandeliers came down and were replaced with something not quite so special.  I think it's best that they are packed up not shown with the house.  I don't want anyone to fall in love with my light fixtures, the way I fell in love with the alabaster sconces on Chestnut Street.  The replaced fixtures have actually changed the way the rooms look -- odd how special lights can be.  

My lights coming down is almost like a metaphor for the sale of the home.   I've taken "my light(s)" out of the house... so now it's time for someone to bring their light(s) in!

p.s. If you someone looking for a wonderful, gracious ranch home in Meadowood, tell them to give me a call.  It will officially be on the market in May, but I'm showing to interested parties now.