I've lived in several apartments since spreading my wings and flying away from home in 2007. I've decided to highlight a few of my favorite apartments and some of the interesting things that came along with them.
Harper Ave- My first apt
When I moved to Chicago for design school, I was kinda broke. I lived in a teeny one room apartment that I loved. It was in the awesome Hyde Park neighborhood not far from the Obama’s home. The neighborhood was beautiful and I spent many afternoons dragging my dog around looking at all the cool houses. My apartment had high ceilings, classic wall molding, and an old clanky radiator.
*Story in a story- I had a neighbor right below me that was…different. He did not appreciate me walking in the apartment and doing disruptive things like studying quietly (or existing apparently). He would yell at me from his apartment quite often, but avoid me like the plague in the lobby. I remember waking up one morning to the sound of him stomping, singing about Jesus and cursing me out. He even called the police on me 3 or 4 times. (Once at 2 a.m. smh) I learned from the building manager that he was in some government program and that they couldn't remove him from the building unless he physically harmed someone. That was comforting!
Winthrop Ave- Roommate fun
Although I wanted a larger apartment, I would have stayed in Hyde Park. I just couldn’t afford the rent after getting laid off. I ended up working at a dog boutique inside of Macy’s. Yeah. A dog boutique. But that worked out because I met an awesome girl (Nikki) who became my roommate.
Along with her cousin, I moved into Nikki’s apartment in the Edgewater neighborhood. It was a 3 bedroom apartment on the first floor of an awesome Chicago Greystone. It had a nice bay window, wood floors and a large living/dining area. Our landlords were a couple that lived on the top floor. They were great and kept the backyard nice. We hung out back there for Nikki’s bday and just because.
*Story in a story- Our 3rd roommate for a time (Nikki’s cousin) accidentally set the garbage dumpster on fire when she unknowingly put hot BBQ coals in it. Our landlords noticed and put it out. I don’t think they were amused. We thought it was Hilarious. Good times.
Bonus Story- Nikki's cousin moved out after a while and we got a new roommate. He was a great guy and excellent artist. He contributed good vibes, yummy curry, and a 7' tall bacon sculpture. Once my dog and Nikki's dog crept into his room and obliterated his take out. He. Was. Pissed. Understandably so!
The Winthrop apt was awesome. We were blocks from the beach and I took advantage often. We could see the Red line train from our front window and there was a lot of diversity in the area. High ceilings, hardwood, plenty of space, and vintage feeling…If I could have a Greystone in Houston, I definitely would.
Greenview- Grown Up apartment
After 1-1/2 years. I moved to my own apartment in Rogers Park. It was kind of a dump, but it was huge! It was a third floor walkup with hardwoods (kind of redundant because most Chicago apartments have them) and lots of windows! The building was old and not so great, but I appreciated my time there. I bought thrift store furniture and made it as comfortable as I could. Greenview is where I really started feeling like an adult.
*Story in a story- Once, I accidentally flooded my downstairs neighbor’s kitchen. I was doing dishes and forgot I left the water on and got caught up watching tv. They knocked on my door and weren’t exactly happy, but they didn't make me pay for anything. Seeing them in the halls was a little awkward after that.
Sad Story- Another one of my neighbors actually attempted suicide on their back porch. I was in my kitchen (by my back door) and heard the gunshot and mayhem that ensued. VERY SCARY. Thankfully he survived and wasn’t injured too terribly. That goes to show that you never really know what people are going through behind closed doors.
Piedmont Ave- Midtown Atl
After I finished school, I moved to Atlanta for a change. After a short stint staying with family, I moved to Midtown. Again, I had high ceilings, hardwood floors (not everywhere in Atl) and vintage charm. During this time, I was searching for a design job and was in a very creative headspace. Still broke, I managed to decorate a bit. I painted my walls and trim grey, installed super long Ikea drapes in the bedroom and painted a wall in the kitchen with black chalkboard paint. It was a fun place. The neighborhood was walkable (just ask the early morning street walkers). There was a great Cuban-Caribbean restaurant around the corner with the best Maduros and Piedmont Park was just up the street.
I’ve lived in some great apartments that only fueled my love for where we lay our heads. Interior design is not curing cancer, that’s for sure. But there is something to be said for the feeling you get in your favorite room, chair, or apartment. The feeling is more important than the actual thing. It’s about the experience. Whether I was on a ramen diet or balling at Trader Joe's with $40/week, I can say that I've truly enjoyed the experiences.