Seasonal Check up for Your Home

Maintaining the health of your home is as important as your own.  Regular home health care not only helps to prevent disasters like a broken sump pump, or clogged sewer lines, unclean gutters, which could lead to flooding or ice damming.  A regular seasonal check up is an easy way to avoid problems that might end up costing a lot more than regular maintenance. Generally these problems come at an inopportune time! It is a good rule of thumb to prepare your house as the seasons change.

Just like collecting a list of doctors to attend to your health care needs, Collecting a list of Service Contractors is also worthwhile- preferably before you are faced with an emergency.

Below is a general list to help you prepare your home for the Fall/Winter Season.



Check for any loose shingles or tiles. Check for any cracks in tar, rubber and metal roofs. Have your roof cleaned. Replace any loose or missing tiles or shingles.  Repair any cracks and reseal around flashing as needed.


Gutters are an important element of your house and serve to direct the water away from your home. Have your gutters cleaned after the leaves have fallen. Full clogged gutters can lead to ice damming and other water damage to the house as the water looks for alternate routes.  Investing in leaf guards is a great idea, and installing heaters in your gutters can also provide added protection to avoid ice damming and other winter build up.


Be sure that all exterior exhaust and vent pipe covers are intact.  Replace and damaged or missing covers.


Change any outside light bulbs.


Check to ensure that all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational- In a perfect world this should be done monthly, But at the very least seasonally.

Change out the batteries in all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.


Repair or replace all cracked, loose or broken stone.  This is important not only aesthetically, but an important safety precaution. Any loose stone will likely become looser over the winter months as the freezing and thawing loosen the stones.  As the stones break away, they are at risk of providing a tripping or slipping hazard. Check for loose deck material, secure all loose decking.


Have your AC and Furnace serviced. Change your filters for your HVAC system. It is a good idea to change your filter monthly especially if any family members have allergies or you have pets at home.


Check the weather stripping to ensure it is still in-tact, replace it as necessary. Check for cracked windows, replace the glass as needed.

Check silicone/caulk and replace where it is breaking away from the trim- this can lead to water infiltrations as well as air seapage, and often leads to decay.


Clean out your window wells.  Be sure that the wells are clear of debris and leaves in order to prevent any back up and allow for easy drainage away from your house.


Touch up paint on the exterior of your house can prevent rot on siding as well as other decay, as well as protect your home from the elements.


Rod your sewer line.  This will prevent any unnecessary back-ups- Often tree roots will infiltrate the line and cause back-ups. This should be done annually.


It is always a good idea to have a battery back up for your pumps.  The useful life for a SUMP and EJECTOR pump is 3-5 years.  It is always a good precaution to replace it before it breaks.


Turn off all exterior water lines to prevent burst pipes. Be sure to check that all pipes that feed exterior lines have proper insulation.


Have your chimneys cleaned before the fire season begins.  It is a good idea to install a stainless steel liner to ensure a safer healthier chimney in older homes.


Service your appliances and have them cleaned annually.

OVENS- It’s a good idea to have the gas lines and burners cleaned and checked.

WASHERS, DRYERS AND DISHWASHERS: Run a cleaning cycle monthly. There are several tablets designed to clean these appliances. It is a good idea to purchase these tablets and use them monthly to avoid build up that will prevent your clothes from being clean and smelling nice as well as clean dishes.

REFRIGERATORS: Many refrigerators have filters etc.  A Sub Zero can last as long as 20 years with the proper maintenance.


Cut back appropriate shrubs and roses and cover the bases with dirt or mulch to ensure proper hibernation.

Remove/ clean yard of fall leaves and branches.  Trim trees and remove dead branches.  They are likely to brake off during the winter months and could cause damage.

A Chicago NorthShore Attic Retreat

If you are looking for more living space in your home consider going “up”

attic remodel

We recently completed this attic remodel taking it from a raw space to a wonderful retreat.

It features beautiful dark hardwood floors and three built-in beds with custom Amish cabinetry for under bed storage. A gorgeous reading nook is enhanced by a dreamy chandelier and more custom built-ins.


We addressed everything from heating,cooling and insulation to make the space comfortable all year long.

Spring is the time for outdoor projects

After the horrendous winter we have had here in Chicago this year, the arrival of Spring is to be celebrated a little more than usual. What better way than to get outside, enjoy your garden and maybe plan an outdoor project.

Our master carpenter is an expert at building anything you can dream of for your garden.

From chicken coops


to traditional picket white fencing

Vegetable Garden fencing

What would be the perfect addition to your outdoor space?

An Open Concept Kitchen

Breathing life into an old space is tremendously satisfying and we relish the challenge particularly when it comes to kitchen remodeling.

One of our latest projects, a 1920’s Chicago home, had a tight, dark kitchen – the perfect canvas for a dramatic transformation.

Here is the before.

kitchen before

And here is the after

For more photos of this open concept kitchen check out our portfolio

Restore North Shore: An Interview with Illinois Homes

Margaret Spaan, president of Restore North Shore, was recently interviewed by Read her full interview “Why To Invest In Your Kitchen: An Interview with Restore North Shore” and learn about the best investments you can make in your home.


Illinois Homes is the one of the top sites for Illinois Real Estate, including Chicago IL Homes For Sale, condos, multi families, and townhouses for sale. Illinois Homes also services Michigan Homes For Sale and California Homes For Sale.

Your House Your Soul

I believe there is an inherent chemistry between a house and its’ owners.  From the beginning of my career selling Real Estate I have told my clients their house needs to have that chemistry – that thing that speaks to their soul – I called it the “magic”.  You know it when you walk into a house.  It has all the features you want, in the location you want.  But sometimes there is still something missing.  And that’s because it doesn’t yet reflect your soul.

I knew that when we walked into our house in Winnetka and Northfield.  Both homes had the same owners for 25 years.  Clearly times had changed and the needs of my young family greatly differed from those who were ready to downsize.  These homes were looking for someone to breathe new life into them – my favorite thing to do!

So after 15 years selling Real Estate and finding that chemistry for others, and then remodeling three homes to reflect our family soul,  I decided to expand my career and start Restore North Shore, a design and general contracting firm.  Our mission is to help our clients reflect their soul in their home.  So ask yourself – Does your house reflect your soul?