Redefining Retirement: Real Estate for the Birds

Redefining Retirement
James and Linda Paskiewicz

After retiring from CPS in 2006 following more than 30 years of teaching, James Paskiewicz and his wife, Linda (herself a retired teacher from a parochial school), began a second career in small-scale real estate: building and selling birdhouses.

The husband and wife team always had a fondness for vintage items and enjoyed scouring flea markets for fun and unique finds. Once retirement provided them with more free time it seemed a natural progression to start turning their recovered treasures into something new, which led to using their found items as elements in handmade birdhouses.

Linda does the house designs, then sends James to the lumber store to get the supplies they need. Then they both get down to business in their workshop making the miniature visions come to life. Their birdhouses all have whimsical themes, and past creations have included rustic camping cabins, a posh London rowhome, a tiny tugboat, and a replica of the classic Pac-Man arcade game.

Out on a Whim BirdhousesTheir birdhouse building hobby eventually turned into a business venture, called Out on a Whim Birdhouses, which they bring to art and craft fairs and shows all around the Chicago area and its suburbs. No two birdhouses are the same, so James and Linda always have a new assortment to show, and their designs are so distinctive that they’ve even begun to get repeat customers: once of their first customers from 2016 recently purchased her fifth birdhouse.

James and Linda love coming up with ideas of how to repurpose items they find into birdhouse architecture, and seeing people’s delighted reactions at the shows they attend is just the icing on the cake. To learn more about Out on a Whim Birdhouses, check out their feature in the May 2018 edition of McHenry County Magazine (pages 18-20), and visit their Facebook page to see photos of their works and to learn about upcoming shows they’ll be attending. Maybe they have the perfect place for the feathered family in your life.

Are you Redefining Retirement? CTPF wants to know! Email us what you’ve been up to at and we may contact you for a feature.