Realtor: Deviree Vallejo with Kentwood City Properties

Years Selling: 11 years

Location: Highland

Purchased: Thanksgiving 2013

She Loved: The neighborhood. Vallejo was pregnant with her second child when she realized her floorplan wouldn’t work for her family’s future; she wanted her kids’ bedrooms to be on the same level as hers for quick access. Yet she also wanted to stay in her neighborhood, so Vallejo moved only four blocks away to her modern, open, four-bedroom, four-bath home. It didn’t hurt that the house came with a 900-square-foot rooftop deck and space for a playroom.

She Loathed: The powder room off the kitchen. Since she had input while the house was being redone, Vallejo was able to move the room farther away to create more privacy. She also walled off what was supposed to be an open loft on the second floor, turning it into a nursery for her one-year-old daughter, Diella. In an ideal world, Vallejo says she would have a bigger backyard, too, but she tends to take a more positive approach to housing. “It’s like dating,” she says. “No one’s ever 100 percent, but you figure out what you can live with and what you can’t.”

To Fix: The walls by the dining room table. Vallejo and her decorator recently decided to hang wallpaper on one wall of her dining area to give the space more color.

To Keep: By adding a wall, some cabinets, and a row of hooks to the back of her house, Vallejo created a mudroom—a space all her future houses must have, she says now. She’s also a big fan of her steam shower; its existence means her husband spends more time at home since he doesn’t have to use the steam shower at the gym. “It has definitely upped the quality time I spend with my husband,” she says. “At first, I was like, ‘Oh, come on, this is so unnecessary,’ but he uses that thing every day, so it was totally worth it.”

Sage Advice: “As long as you can actually move into it and function, the cosmetics don’t matter as much,” she says. “You will never be able to change the location.”

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—Photos by JC Buck, Black Bike Productions, LLC.