Before & After: A Unique Homestead Coach House Makeover

Share It

When a family of four city dwellers fell in love with the original horse stables and sprawling backyard of a historic home in Lake Forest, IL, it felt, to them, like being in the country so near to Chicago. They enlisted Claire Rose Staszak, an interior designer and blogger at Centered By Design, to help set up a 700-square-foot coach house as their own homestead during renovations of the main house. The 1919 structure, which will function as a guest house in the future, was built over a large garage, and includes a first-floor entry with a second-level porch, small kitchen, lounge, bathroom, and two bedrooms. Claire, who worked her magic in another Before & After: A Logan Square Stunner for the Color-Averse, used local vendors and vintage finds to meet her tight, eight-week deadline. “The look we were trying to achieve was one part bohemian and one part modern,” she says, “With a dash of campy (think Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom).”

Claire went the semi-custom route by choosing several key pieces from MegMade‘s extensive warehouse of antique furniture, which were then altered to her specifications. She also commissioned reclaimed wood open kitchen shelving and a new bathroom cabinet from Foundre Made, which served to update the existing IKEA kitchen, for the time being. Finding appropriate lighting at the correct scale for the small coach house with its low ceilings proved to be a challenge, but sourcing from a mix of retail stores, Chairish vendors, and the Randolph Street Market turned up just the right fixtures. The custom kilim rug runner in the entry, the home’s most unique decorative feature, makes a bold statement about the relaxed retreat ahead as guests enter the space. Sourced from Alapash New Home, Claire had two very large rugs cut, and their edges serged and pieced together during installation, to create the look. “It was a bit of [a] giant puzzle,” she admits, “But everyone loves the results!” —Annie

Photography by Everyday Charming

  1. Jay says:

    is it weird that i like the before better than the after? It just looks more natural and lived in.

    1. Cristine says:

      Seriously Jay? The before looks like a sad grad student room. I love the transformation! But then, I lean bohemian, so I would.

  2. Marco says:

    Stunning transformation. Love being part of this project.
    Claire is such a talented lady and her attention to details blows my mind every time!

  3. Beth says:

    This is an amazing space, Claire! You’ve done a fantastic job! You always deliver such gorgeous results! Congrats.

  4. Carly says:

    This looks absolutely gorgeous! Dream home for sure!

  5. Nicole Emily says:

    Absolutely adore this transformation!!

  6. vanessa says:

    I love what you did with the stairs and the bedroom looks very calming. It must be an american thing but I cringe every time I see towels sitting over a toilet. We don’t do it here in Australia but see it done so often on styled shoots. Can anyone tell me do people actually use the towels? lol.

  7. M says:

    I like the record area. For a while I’ve wished for a way to take a good record player and vintage-ize it to look like a Crossley, but without the record damage. A vibrant, vintage table might be the more practical option. :)

  8. Kim says:

    I am so curious about the source for the rugs in the adult bedroom!

  9. KGF says:

    People are quick to remove those ugly ceiling fans (as well as other features that now seem dated, like awnings). But in Lake Forest it’s going to be hot and muggy in the summer. Ceiling fans will make it a lot more comfortable without resorting to air conditioning; awnings keep the hot sun out and have the same effect. So, a challenge for designers in the face of global warming is to figure out how to cool houses and keep down electricity use if choosing to get rid of features like fans, which people don’t like.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.