apartment hunting

Monday, June 17, 2013

Apartment Hunting

Let me tell you, the rental market is an… interesting game. Over the past two weeks, I somewhat drastically made the decision to end my current lease a month early, post my apartment on Craigslist, find new renters, and search for a new apartment for myself, as well. I saw at least 15 or so one-bedrooms around Chicago-and I mean all over the city, from Ravenswood to Logan Square to West Town-and am so so excited with the apartment I ended up getting, I jumped for joy when they called and told me my application was approved.

But before I reveal the new space, which don’t get too excited because it’s currently inhabited by very messy folks and the photos don’t do it justice, I want to walk you through some of the BETTER options of what I saw the past two weeks…

Overall impression? Apparently 90% of the world lives like slobs. I’m no neat kitten but come on, people…

APARTMENT 1 – Lakeview at the corner of Belmont and Clark 
the good 
– amazing open space w/ bay windows 
– great location 
– tons of natural light 
– cheap rent 
– charming details: fireplace mantel, high ceilings and windows, entryway 

the bad 
– those are crayon renderings on the kitchen walls 
– kitchen was way too tiny 
– not a full-size sink, fridge, or oven 
– no grass outside to run the pups out when it’s lake at night, freezing, raining, etc. 
– no easy parking

APARTMENT 2 – Wrigleyville/Buena Park at Irving Park Road and Clarendon 

 the good 

– loved it, wanted it, would have signed. it’s a great building w/ gated parking, amenities

the bad

– it is around the corner from my current apartment and I wanted a CHANGE.

– I’d have to move out in a year due to property updates and the thought of having to pack up and move again in 12 months exhausts me.

APARTMENT 3 – Logan Square 

the good 

– heart of Logan Square

– great natural light

– fun layout where bedroom and living room are open to one another

– claw-foot tub

the bad

– no dishwasher

– Logan Square is far

– no easy parking

APARTMENT 4 – Logan Square 

the good

– not much compared to the other Logan Square apartment

the bad

– way too small

APARTMENT 5 – The Runner Up at Halsted and Barry in Lakeview 
the good
– huuuge living space 
– top floor
– lots of light 
– kitchen floor tile 
– small outdoor space 
– walking distance to Danielle 

the bad 
   I’d have to walk down three flights of stairs outside to do laundry. That is no fun in the winter.
   no dishwasher
– kind of a crappy bathroom
– not a ton of closet space

APARTMENT 6 – The Winner! Armitage and Halsted and Lincoln Park 
the good
 – LOCATION! short walk to both the brown line and red line, heart of Lincoln Park, so much closer to downtown than anywhere else I looked
– lots of light 
– charming separation of rooms: arched doorways, two doors to bedroom, small hallway and entryway
– eat-in kitchen 
– laundry and extra storage space in building 
– two huge closets 
– spacious rooms 
– built-in closet in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom 

the bad
– no dishwasher

Hopefully I’ll have some better before photos to show you once the apartment is vacated. This week I am in South Carolina with my family-follow along on Instagram!-so when I get back it’s going to be A LOT of packing in preparation for the big move! Wish me luck!


Blondie's Journal

Hurray for you! I used to live in Lincoln Park…2100 North. You will love it!



Yay! Are you planning on getting a portable dishwasher…or living without one?

I am moving to Evanston in the next month, and I looked at apartments in May. I had the same thoughts as you — wow people are slobs. I mean, I'm somewhat messy, but not like apparently the majority of tenants!

I toured one that literally made me cringe. I nearly went running. It was that bad.

Can't wait to see you start decorating your new place!


It's like your own version of House Hunters! IT looks like you've made a great choice. I can't wait to see what it looks like when you're all moved in. 🙂

Suzy Smith

Wow, I had a minor anxiety attack looking at those messy apartments, but then again I am an organization freak. Congrats on the new apartment!

From Foothills to Fog

This was such a fun post! I love looking at open houses and seeing the different layouts and design of homes. I can't wait to see what you do with your new home, I know it will be beautiful and make for some impressive before and after photos! Congrats on the new digs!


I seriously can't believe how some people are living! I mean come on!?
Anyways congrats on the new place, I can't wait to see how you're going to 'transform' it. 🙂
xo Andrea
Wonderful and Marvelous

Katie Watts

Your Runner Up is right around the corner from my place and so similar it's weird! I have to deal with the three flights down and outside to do laundry and IT STINKS so you made a good choice! My parents live in the burbs and I more often drag it all the way to their place when I visit than paying to do it at mine. BLEH! Can't wait to see what you do with your new place!


i'm going to go ahead and say 99% of the world lives like slobs. it's really sad. when we looked at the place we live now, it was the grossest place. we had to scrub and sand the walls to paint, had to rip out the kitchen and replace all the floors. i bleached my whole bathroom 4 times before i used it.
i like the place you picked the best. can't wait to see what you do with it. do you get to paint the kitchen cabinets?


Looks like you saw some great and some really not great options, but you didn't seem to have nearly as much trouble finding a place as you could have! Can't wait to see what you do with it-your style is wonderful.

Blonde in this City

Simply LKJ

Oh my. Some of those look like the duplex our daughter will be living in come fall at school. We walked in while the current tenants were still living there, and went, “huh??? you want to live here???” Her sorority sister's parents bought it and have since renovated (fresh paint, brand new carpet)…looks amazing. Good for you for seeing past the mess!


Congrats on the new place! Lincoln Park is such a fun neighborhood to live in.

katie @ team skelley

You are right about the slobs! I looked at those pics and felt so much better about not vacuuming this morning before going to work! I am excited for you!


I think this is my favorite post ever. I so don't have an eye for the potential an apartment has so I love hearing your thoughts on them and can't wait to see how it turns out! Hoping you provide updates along the way. 🙂

Also, would you mind letting us know how you found most of these? I'm in the middle of a Chicago apartment search as well!


We'll be neighbors! I'm Dayton and Armitage 🙂 Puppy date.


Congrats on finding your new apartment! It can definitely be a difficult thing to do, especially in Chicago. My brother used to live in Lincoln Park but just recently moved to Wrigelyville — opposite of you! Can't wait to see how you decorate it!


madison apartments

That is a nice home you got there! Congratulations! Glad you persevered in apartment hunting and I hope you'll have a blast decorating the place.

Christine DiCorcia

Congrats on your new place, can't wait to see what you do with it! Oh, and I simply don't understand how people can live like that?!

Ashley Rizzardo

Glad to see you found a place that you love! Aside from the (very logical) cons, Apartment 2 looks amazing. Have fun in SC!!



Congrats! I live in Logan Square, but it's much easier to find a REALLY nice two bedroom here. There are as many one bedrooms around.

dipped in yellow

yay! congrats on picking a winner! i am in the middle of finding a new place & it is SO exhausting!! x

dipped in yellow


Oh my! Why is everyone so messy?! If I knew that people were coming to look at my apartment I would definitely clean it up a little. Congratulations on the decision… we can't wait to see what you do with the space!

Chelsea & The City

Emily Gegner

I love the one you picked it seems like it has good bones and a lot of charm! I'm in Des Moines and just found THE apartment this last week as well I fell in love with the Hardwood floors, bay window, exposed beams, and a stained glass window. And I'm in the same boat- no dishwasher as well..what do you plan on doing-going without one? I was trying to decide whether I could handwash everything all the time. I can't wait to see how you decorate the space! 🙂

Roots & Wings

It most certainly is exhausting find a new place. We'll also be neighbors-ish. I'm moving to Cambridge and Diversey in September.


I'm in the process of looking for my new apartment too, and I have to say, I agree with you. People are quite messy, and Chicago apartments are not always the newest looking! But it will definitely make for some amazing transformation photos. I'm looking forward to it, Alaina! 🙂


Can't wait to see what you do with the space! I'm going to be moving to a new apartment in the fall, and love the inspiration you've given me.

hattie sparks

congrats on the new place! we just moved into a new house (rental) without a dishwasher and…it's an adjustment but not nearly as horrible as i thought it might be. cannot WAIT to see what you do with the place! xo

Nico Saich

I haven't had a dishwasher in my apartment for 5 years! I love to cook and it is a big time drain to wash your dishes but you get used to it I promise! So glad you have found a new lovely home!



Hello Lover…

Alaina, being a Chicagoan myself (especially a homeless one as we just sold our condo and our staying with my sister), I find it so crazy what rentals are like in Chicago – especially in the fun, young neighborhoods. I look at so many places and think – no way, so I absolutely cannot wait to see what you do with this – amazing location!

Erica Hartmann

ahh apartment hunting can be kind of scary!! People can be so messy! I loved this post. I am moving to Chicago in 6 months so this was really interesting 🙂


Caitlin Brown

YAYYY!!! AMAZINNNNGGG. Im so so so excited for you!