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Making the Most of Your Time at Home

Making the Most of Your Time at Home

You’ve got all this time at home, and all these things to do. Work, leisure, child care, and possibly schooling are all happening in the same place — and probably for the first time. You’ve never spent less time commuting — and yet, maximizing your time amidst these priorities is a bigger challenge than ever. Here are some tips to stay on top of it all.

Optimize your work-from-home schedule

Start your workday with as much regular routine as possible. Whatever your regular morning timetable was — such as the normal times you would wake up, shower, eat breakfast, etc. — try to recreate that as closely as possible. It’s all to get you in the mindset of the workday. Dressing up should help too — the full business getup may not be necessary, but the idea is that it’s harder to take yourself seriously in pajamas.

If taking care of younger children, try to implement shifts for care/schooling with your partner. But ideally, your designated work time should remain as such, because if an hour-long task takes three times as long due to distractions, you’ll be shortchanged for your actual designated family time later.

Speaking of distractions, being home can make it tempting to get that quick home task over with — the dirty dishes are right there, why not just get them over with? Because you’re, again, subtracting from your own productivity and leisure time later, and perhaps more importantly, it’s a slippery slope. Don’t necessarily want to make that a habit.

Social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation

If there’s one skill we gain from this whole mess, perhaps it’ll be getting fully comfortable with video conferencing. While by no means a permanent replacement for face-to-face interaction, utilizing that webcam can enhance pickup of nonverbal cues, not to mention they typically feature better audio quality than a standard phone call. Social interaction can be very beneficial for well-being, and simulating at least some greater form of normalcy by seeing your friends and colleagues over a video call might improve your mood more than you’d expect.

This applies both with friends and family as well as for work purposes, where a routine 1-on-1 check-in call could be much more focused and coherent over video. Also, in a time where standard office water cooler talk has been rendered impossible, it could be worthwhile to allot the first few minutes of the team meeting agenda to restore that sense of camaraderie. “Kicking the meeting off, let’s have everyone report on the last TV show they watched.” What once may have seemed a tiresome icebreaker could now be a pleasant moment to reunite.

Tackle that home to-do list

With more time at home, you can finally tackle that list of projects you just seem to never get around to. That overflowing clutter that long ago wore out its welcome? Now’s the perfect time to get cracking. Thanks to our many WiFi-equipped devices, it’s easier than ever to keep yourself entertained while going through old documents or clothes. Or, perhaps you’ve long pondered rearranging the furniture in the living room but have never gotten around to it. Here’s your chance to rethink home choices, and find solutions that work better for everyone.

This also applies to a little DIY home improvement, which is especially pertinent if you were or will be looking to sell your home in the foreseeable future. Some examples of this could be fixing leaky faucets, trimming shrubs and trees, cleaning gutters, repainting doors and walls, or taking care of a ripped screen. With the weather improving, some of these are excellent excuses to get some fresh air while still adhering to social distancing principles. While Illinois’ shelter-in-place order allows for essential travel only, not to worry if something goes wrong — hardware stores are among the “essential businesses” that are allowed to remain open.

For fun, get creative

From Netflix to YouTube to all sorts of bizarre corners of the Internet, even now we’re at no loss for entertaining content, and there’s no reason you and your family shouldn’t indulge. To switch things up though, encourage yourself to think of entertainment modes you normally wouldn’t go through the trouble for, but would be a welcome change now. Perhaps there are some puzzles and board games in the basement you haven’t touched in years. Look up new card games to play or recipes to tackle. Have a bonfire out back and reinvent the s’more. Build the most epic blanket fort your kids have ever seen. You get the idea.

A Message From Steve Baird

A Message From Steve Baird

To our Chicagoland community,

During these unprecedented times, many of us will be developing a new appreciation for our home and all its four walls hold. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. And at Baird & Warner we get that, as Chicago has been our own home since 1855.

As our communities grapple with the difficult realities of the coronavirus, this is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, home, and the bonds that tie us together. Our agents, loan officers, and staff have always taken great pride in doing the right thing and supporting the communities where we live and work, and that have supported us over all these years. This is why the Baird & Warner Good Will Network, in partnership with the Stephen W. and Susan M. Baird Foundation, is contributing $150,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.

This moment in our city’s history underscores the foundation upon which our company was built 165 years ago. Our people have stood shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors through some of our hometown’s most challenging events — the Civil War, the Great Chicago Fire, two World Wars, the Great Depression, numerous recessions, and 9/11 — and each time, we were there to see this great city emerge tougher and smarter than before. Let’s face it, Chicagoans are a resilient bunch.

Navigating this time of uncertainty can feel daunting, but we’ve never been more confident in the future — of our people and those we serve, of our family-owned business, and of the communities we call home. We know from experience that, together, we can get through anything. While it’s hardly business as usual, our professionals at Baird & Warner, Key Mortgage, and Baird & Warner Title Services are here to help guide homebuyers and sellers through this extraordinary time with a calm and steady hand. The dream of homeownership has withstood the test of time, and will continue to do so.

Chicagoland, we’re by your side — no matter what.

Steve Baird
Fifth Generation President & CEO
Baird & Warner Real Estate


25+ Games to Play With the Whole Family

25+ Games to Play With the Whole Family

Spending time at home with friends and family is one of life’s biggest joys. Here are some games perfect for bringing the whole family together. What fun ideas would you add to the list? 

Board Games

A board game is a great way to get everyone together! Pick your favorite classic board game and teach it to the whole family. 

  • Monopoly
  • Scrabble
  • Connect Four
  • Candy Land
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Boggle
  • Apples to Apples

Video Games

If you have a video game console, party-style games can be a fun and interactive way to get people of all ages to play together. 

Party Games

These active, entertaining games are classics for a reason. What imaginative and playful party games do you love?

  • Charades
  • Pictionary
  • Two Truths and a Lie

Smartphone Games

There are plenty of smartphone games that let you work together with friends and family – without even having to be in the same room!


Perfect for quiet time, a puzzle is a great way to focus and unwind. Work together, or let everyone choose the style that they love. 

  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Word Searches

Card Games

Card games are fun and family-friendly – and all you need to get started is a classic deck. 

  • Spades 
  • Hearts
  • Go Fish
  • Rummy 
  • Crazy Eights


Tackle Your Deep Cleaning Goals: Sanitizing the Most Overlooked Spots in Your Home

Tackle Your Deep Cleaning Goals: Sanitizing the Most Overlooked Spots in Your Home

Changed your sheets? Check. Wiped down the stovetop? Check. You’ve taken care of your everyday cleaning routine… now what? This is a great time to focus on those easy-to-miss spots that may not be on your typical to-do list. 

Even for those of us who clean our homes on a regular basis, there are bound to be spots that we overlook. Over time, these little out-of-the-way or hard-to-reach areas can build up plenty of dust, mold, and bacteria. 

Feeling ready to take on a deep clean that goes beyond the basics? Let’s see if we can help make it easier! 

Here’s how to sanitize some of your home’s most commonly overlooked touch points:  (more…)

Your Competitive Edge: Leadership & Culture

Your Competitive Edge: Leadership & Culture

Episode 2 of our 12-part video series with Inman is live now and it features senior vice president of residential sales, Tripti Kasal. In this episode, Tripti talks about how taking your future to the next level is easier at Baird & Warner with ongoing coaching from a noncompeting managing broker and sales support manager, advanced tools to help you work on your own —  and a commission plan that gives you unlimited earning potential. Click below to watch the video now!

When it comes to setting agents up for success, we don’t just have the best tools and resources —  we have the best people. That’s why we’re highlighting leaders and experts within our company in a 12-part video series with Inman. Each video will feature individuals from our company covering everything from training, culture, technology to sales strategies and our one-stop-shop approach.

Work with people who can help you really succeed. Join us. It’s easier here.

Embracing Grandmillennial Style? These 10 Vintage Finishes Are More Popular Than Ever

Embracing Grandmillennial Style? These 10 Vintage Finishes Are More Popular Than Ever

The next big thing in interior design and decor might be hiding in your grandparents’ closet right now. 

Design experts are predicting that “grandmillennial” style will become a major trend in 2020 and beyond. Grandmillennial design is all about adopting retro, vintage, and antique elements, combining them with modern flourishes, and creating an aesthetic that is totally new. 

As Better Homes & Gardens puts it, grandmillennial style manages to feel “nostalgic and comfortable” without looking “kitschy.” It’s also a way for homeowners to showcase their individuality, as interior designer Kevin Isbell explains to Better Homes

“Each generation rebels against the one previous, so the millennials who are now furnishing homes are rebelling against their parents and their style… Raised during the mass market furniture explosion, they are rebelling against the monochromatic catalog looks that they were raised with and are looking to earlier generations for inspiration.”

Often, this means turning to decor ideas and furniture pieces that have previously been classified as “stuffy” or “outdated,” as writer Emma Bazilian explains in House Beautiful. Bazilian and House Beautiful are widely credited with first identifying and naming the “grandmillenial” trend.

As Architectural Digest has noted, grandmillennial style is just one part of a growing wave that looks back at the design elements of previous eras, in order to embrace them as part of something fresh and modern. Designers are even incorporating Victorian-style home furnishings and bright, maximalist patterns and colors in homes here in Chicagoland and around the country. 

With all this emphasis on looking back, it’s no surprise that some vintage and antique furnishings and finishes are having a major moment moving forward. Here are 10 retro home decor elements that are seeing a boom in popularity right now. What catches your eye? 

1.) Stone, Pottery, and Wood

Clean and modern are out; patina and natural wear are in. 

“One of the emerging design trends is an appreciation of patina and age,” interior designer Breeze Giannasio explains in Good Housekeeping. This may mean embracing clay, terracotta, and ceramic decorative items, as well as antiques made from stone and wood, like vases and Grecian-style busts. 

2.) Wicker and Rattan Furniture

Wicker and rattan furniture have seen ebbs and flows in popularity throughout the decades. As we move into the ‘20s, these natural-looking, earthy materials are poised to see another big upswing. Wicker and rattan are warm and comfortable, and can fit seamlessly into almost any aesthetic. Plus, many young homebuyers have a nostalgic attachment to wicker chairs, tables, and lighting, which have all “evolved in fresh and exciting ways,” as Nicole Fuller explains in Elle Decor

3.) Bright Prints and Colors

Many of the biggest paint companies in the world predicted that bold, eclectic colors would get their time to shine in 2020. In particular, vintage tones evoking the sophisticated glamor of the 1920s are seeing a comeback. Meanwhile, designers are cooling on neutral, monochromatic spaces, which can read as cold and impersonal, rather than lived-in and welcoming. 

4.) Patterns Everywhere

Bold, dramatic patterns can add life and color to a space — and many people are embracing their energy with floral wallpaper, loud prints and upholstery, and other dramatic design flourishes that highlight “analogous color combinations” and “a sense of juxtaposition,” as designer Stefani Stein explains in Better Homes & Gardens.

“What could be more simple, yet incite more drama and style, than a room covered in the same print from floor to ceiling?” says Scott Meacham Wood in Elle Decor.

5.) Topiaries and Indoor Plants

Houseplants are a surefire way to bring a pop of color and a welcome dash of nature into your home. Rather than relying on faux houseplants, more and more people are turning to the real thing. That includes popular standbys like ferns, succulents, and cacti, as well as more old school additions like olive trees and boxwood topiaries. 

6.) Fringe, Ruffles, and Scallops

Want to live life on the fringes? Many grandmillennial enthusiasts embrace off-kilter fabrics and textures — and definitely see the fun in fringed edges, ruffled accents, and scalloped borders on everything from blankets, to rugs, to table clothes, to furniture coverings. For a truly vintage touch, you may even want to experiment with skirted tables, heavy wall tapestries, or bold statement curtains. 

7.) Victorian Furniture

Looking to bring a sense of real, lived history into your home? Better Homes & Gardens recommends embracing “heirloom furniture crafted from dark stained woods like walnut and cherry.” Meanwhile, design expert Bria Hammel tells Good Housekeeping that she has observed “more of a nod to vintage and traditional detailing” that calls to mind the 1800s, including “spooled legs” and “spindles.” 

8.) Canopy Beds

Speaking of Victorian-era furniture, canopy beds are “making a comeback,” as interior designer Abbe Fenimore tells Good Housekeeping. While still looking regal and impressive, canopy beds are increasingly moving toward modernity with clean lines and sleek, lightweight materials. 

9.) Pleated Lampshades

Time to turn off minimalist lighting, in favor of something a little more old school. Better Homes & Gardens calls out “pleated lampshades” as a popular grandmillennial design element. These retro-looking finishes are fun and funky; modern and fresh while deeply indebted to the not-so-distant past. 

10.) Ornate, Colorful Rugs

Retro rugs in bright colors? Yes, please. Antique rugs are in demand right now, as are rugs made of eclectic materials that would have felt right at home in a mid-century modern masterpiece. 

Looking for the Home That Suits Your Style?

Ready to start the search for a home that helps you showcase your one-of-a-kind ideas? Looking for a place that comes with lots of charm and Chicagoland history baked right in? 

At Baird & Warner, we get you. And our team of specialized, hyperlocal agents knows just what it takes to help you find the Chicagoland home you’ve been looking for. 

Whether your goal is a mid-century modern with a view, a high-rise in the heart of the city, or a classic Chicago-style bungalow, we can help you find your ideal Chicagoland home. And with mortgage and title services available in-house, we’ll make the dream of homeownership easier at every step of the way — from the day you start envisioning your next home, to the day you’re handed the keys.

6 Simple Ways to Make a Home Entryway Pop

6 Simple Ways to Make a Home Entryway Pop

First impressions have a big impact, especially when it comes to real estate. In fact, studies have shown that people tend to make up their minds about new people and places within mere seconds. As a result, many people focus on making their home stand out from the crowd, inside and out. 

Beyond a property’s exterior curb appeal, a visitor’s first steps inside can make or break their opinion of the space. Whether you’re getting your home ready to sell or starting to prepare for the first dinner party at your new place, you may want to focus some time and attention on your home’s entryway.

Whether your front door leads to a small hallway, a grand foyer, a mudroom, or a living area, there are lots of ways you can leverage this important space to make a great impression on guests. Here are six simple ideas for creating a home entryway that positively pops:

1.) Add a Place to Sit

Have you ever entered a home and immediately found yourself struggling to take off your shoes or hang your coat? It’s an all-too-common experience. To make things easier on your guests — and add a functional, beautiful flourish to your entrance space — look for ways to incorporate simple seating, such as a small bench; an elegant chair or stool; or even a built-in wall seat. Embrace materials that go with your space, and decorate to your liking with chic throw pillows, simple cushions, or accent artwork. In addition to being welcoming and convenient, adding seating can help subdivide open concept spaces into more clearly established zones. 

2.) Keep Things Clean and Organized

Remember what we were saying about first impressions? Make sure that dust, dirt, and disorganization aren’t the first things visitors see when they set foot in your home. Your foyer or front hallway is one of the most important places to clean when company is coming over. Be on the lookout for footprints on carpets, floors, and rugs, and keep surfaces clean and free of dust. Polish mirrors and windows, and make sure that there’s space to store coats, shoes, toys, and other everyday items that may naturally end up living by the front door. 

3.) Make a Bold Statement

If you have a foyer or an entrance hall, this welcoming space can be a great canvas for all of your biggest and boldest design ideas. If you’re decorating your new home, the entranceway can be a great place to show off what makes you unique. You could create a gallery wall with your favorite artwork, lay down your most eye-catching rug, or showcase your favorite vintage pieces and antiques. Experiment with different colors and patterns, and find what makes you feel at home — and what will best give your visitors a preview of the personality to come in the rest of the house. 

4.) Create a Focal Point

What’s the first thing you notice when you walk through your front door? Odds are, your guests are finding their attention drawn to the exact same place. The eye needs somewhere to go. Help guide your visitors’ focus by creating a clear focal point for the entryway. You could add an attention-grabbing statement color or wallpaper pattern to a front wall; set up a gorgeous tablescape on a front desk with lamps, flowers, and plants; install an appealing light fixture; or hang up a large piece of artwork or a mirror — which has the added bonus of helping make small spaces feel larger. 

5.) Define the Space

If your home does not come with a clearly defined entryway, you may want to take some simple steps to create a more distinct, unified area. This can help break up your floor plan, while helping the space feel more welcoming and inviting to guests. To help your entrance area stand apart, consider adding a visual element that defines the space, such as a brightly colored door, or a runner that helps draw visitors in. A hanging light fixture, such as a chandelier or pendant light, can also help create a more distinctive reception area. Lightly colored ceilings and walls can help make an entryway feel larger, while experimenting with a different texture or pattern of flooring can create a clear division of spaces while looking chic, to boot. 

6.) Storage, Storage, Storage

Storage is an important element to consider for your foyer or entryway. A lot of household items tend to clutter up by the front door, and guests need somewhere to stash their coats and shoes. No coat closet? Consider adding a storage piece that can add visual flair with a healthy dose of functionality — such as a large chest or storage console. You can also create lots of storage with small elements, such as shoe holders, wicker baskets, or small crates. Or, you could add extra functionality by using your blank walls and mounting coat hooks, hanging baskets, or floating shelves in strategic spots. 

Want to Talk About Your Home Goals With a Chicagoland Expert?

Curious about how you can showcase your home in the best possible light? Want to talk about all things real estate with an experienced Chicagoland pro? Ready to start getting your home ready to sell? We’re here to help. 

For more than 160 years, Baird & Warner agents have helped buyers and sellers stay up-to-date on the latest trends shaping real estate in Chicagoland and beyond. As the largest independent and locally owned real estate brokerage in our area, Baird & Warner is home to thousands of highly skilled real estate professionals. Our agents are hyperlocal experts who know just what it takes to prepare, market, and sell your home, while helping you navigate the process with ease at every step of the way.

The Vanna Group Makes a Difference for First Responders

The Vanna Group Makes a Difference for First Responders

For the husband and wife team of Bob and Diane Vanna, the true power of real estate comes from making a difference in their clients’ lives. 

The Vanna Group is an active part of Baird & Warner’s First Responders program, which provides rebates and benefits for full-time police, firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics when they buy or sell a home in Chicagoland. Agents who are part of the First Responders program are also certified through U.S. Military on the Move®, our exclusive program that provides a rebate to active and retired veterans. (more…)

We Give You The Competitive Edge

We Give You The Competitive Edge

We’re excited to share the first episode of our 12-part video series with Inman,Your Competitive Edge with Baird & WarnerThis first episode features president of residential sales, Laura Ellis, as she dives into our vision for 2020 and how we’re setting our agents up for success in an ever-changing industry — from our empowering culture that helps you stay focused on success to the year of training opportunities no other brokerage is offering. Click below to watch the video now. 

When it comes to setting agents up for success, we don’t just have the best tools and resources —  we have the best people. That’s why we’re highlighting leaders and experts within our company in a 12-part video series with Inman. Each video will feature individuals from our company covering everything from training, culture, technology to sales strategies and our one-stop-shop approach.

Work with people who can help you really succeed. Join us. It’s easier here.



We Don’t Charge You For What You Need

We Don’t Charge You For What You Need

We’re fully invested in our agents success — that’s why we don’t charge you for the things you need to really succeed. When you join our team, you get everything they need right from the start. Whether its marketing, technology, or opportunities to learn —  we make sure you’re set up for success.

We offer award-winning marketing that can be delivered to you next day, so you always have the materials you need, when you need them. And when it comes to generating leads and nurturing relationships, we support our agents with industry-leading technology. Our powerful smart CRM, lead engine, and website management platform gives our agents a competitive edge with the most powerful behavioral automation and lead generation technology out there.

On top of that, we offer coaching and training opportunities for every part of your career. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to take your business to the next level, we provide you with the coaching and support you need to succeed. 

Whether its marketing, technology, or opportunities to learn — we don’t nickel and dime you for the things you need. 


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