(I’m going to pretend a lot of people are reading this, even though it’s probably just my mom).
It’s time for me to tell you a little about my life. Have I ever mentioned that I’ve been living with my parents for 25 consecutive years? To be fair, it’s a pretty normal thing to do during the first 18 years of life, but once you enter college times, well most people actually “go off” to college but I just “drove off” to college- every morning. And even more (or less) remarkable than that, I managed to stick around for two more years after I graduated because of a fateful job opportunity (receptionist extraordinaire). Now, I’m not knocking the whole living at home thing. My parents are lovely people to live with, and they have never made me feel like I’m in the way by sticking around. But I’ve been ready to spread my wings for quite a while. Can you tell where this is leading? Yes, I am finally moving out!
Since this is my first big move, I decided to make it as difficult as possible by picking a city 8 hours away and choosing to move up before I actually have a job there. Where am I moving?
Does, this look familiar?
How about this?
Last weekend my parents and my co-blogger/lil’ sis’ Carly went up with me to check out apartments. I had made appointments with two apartment finding services in the hopes that they could at the very least give me some insight into the Chicago apartment scene, and at the very best help me find a decent studio apartment in my budget. I made a solid effort not to get my hopes up too high, and it’s a good thing too because after the first day, things were looking pretty grim. I was shown 3 apartments:
was affordable, but VERY small. I always thought it would be fun to live in a tiny apartment and find clever ways to manage space and storage. There are so many cute video tours of tiny spaces that I love to watch on YouTube, but after actually standing in such a small space with four other people, I quickly realized that I would not be able to handle a shoebox as my primary residence.
was a bit better. And by better I mean big enough for a few pieces of furniture, but otherwise very lackluster. It had carpet. It had kitchen cabinets a fridge. It had walls. It had a bathroom. It had a window. It was livable. it was boring. Nevertheless, this was the best of the day because…
was a garden apartment under renovation. It was the scariest looking of the three. Part of that was because it was all ripped up for the renovation, but it also had a back door that led into a creepy looking alley, and a window with no protective bars that led right into “courtyard” outside. In general, I’m a fan of basements and underground buildings, and I could see some potential in the space, but it was definitely not the safest place for a single lady.
I wasn’t really sold on any of these apartments, and neither was my family. But thankfully the man who was showing us the spaces was honest with us and mentioned that if I gave it a little more time, I should be able to find nicer places than these in my price range.
Well, I did give it a little more time- about half a day.
We met with the other apartment finding service the next morning and were lucky enough to be paired with a nice guy again who seemed to understand my needs. The first place he took us to was an open house where several people were already waiting in the lobby for a viewing. We didn’t really like our chances and moved on to the next place. On our way there he told us he really felt like this would be a good place for me. And even before we entered the building, I knew he was on to something. It was located in a quieter, more residential area a little farther away from the city, but close to public transportation. The building was vintage, well kept, and a cute yellow color. Before our trip I just assumed I would end up in a boring building with a boring looking room that I could spruce up on my own, but when I saw this place I remembered something- I really like cuteness. It makes me happy, and being happy is important- especially when you live alone. The inside was just as cute as the outside. Hardwood floors, french doors separating the living space from the closet/bathroom area, and the best part: a separate kitchen with actual dining space (what?!). The fact that this kind of place was available in my budget (although, of course at the very top end) was amazing to me. I could tell by my mom’s face that she was thinking the same thing. So I stopped the viewing process right there and put in an application on this miracle apartment. I didn’t hear anything for a few days afterward, but finally after faxing and emailing a bunch of financial statements and junk, I was sent a lease! I wish I had taken better pictures while we were there, but I was so mesmerized that I only got a couple of shots of each room. Here’s what I can show you:
French doors leading to closet and bathroom
built in shallow shelves
kitchen with lots of cabinets
Since those are bad quality photos, I will leave you with some pictures from the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise we took later that day in much better lighting conditions: