After living in a 1-bedroom apartment for a year in River North, then spending three months with my boyfriend in a South Loop studio, it was time to move on to a larger apartment another in a different area of Chicago – the West Loop.
The West Loop has grown exponentially over the past decade, and now it’s a mecca of desirable eateries and newly-built or newly-renovated apartments. It’s the perfect spot in the city, as you can live in a fairly quiet residential section of the West Loop, but still be only a short walk away from some of the hottest restaurants and bars in town. It’s extremely dog-friendly and, from what I’ve experienced so far, is mostly comprised of young professionals in their late 20s to 30s.
As for the apartment we ultimately chose, it’s an 1,100-SF, 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit with an outdoor terrace, in a secured building. The unit has nice designer touches like soft-close doors and drawers, crown molding, and wood floors, which set this unit apart over most of the apartments we viewed beforehand. We went over our original rental budget for this space, but with COVID-influenced changes in our lives causing us to spend a lot of time at home both working and socially, it’s worth the extra cost for this year to have a comfortable living situation.
Entryway & Hallway
This floorplan has the longest hallway I’ve ever seen in an apartment, and it’s been a bit of a struggle to figure out how to decorate this area without making it feel cluttered. For now, there’s an 8′ runner that leads to a small shoe storage bench with a large piece of artwork above it.
Farther down the hallway is a console table that acts as a mail station and an area to drop keys or anything you might need when heading out the door.
Master Bedroom & Bath
The master bedroom is about 11′ square, which is a tight space when you have a king-sized bed, but we got lucky that everything fit just perfectly and we still have enough space to move comfortably around all of the furniture.
I’ve gone through the tedious process of painting every wall of an apartment in the past, then having to repaint it before I’ve left, and refused to go through that again in this space. Instead, I opted for removable wallpaper as an accent wall, which wasn’t very hard to hang and is quick and easy to take down later.
I was very excited when I saw the walk-in closet, but unfortunately, it actually doesn’t have very much hanging space, so I had to get creative with how I organized the space. There’s also a second smaller closet in the master bedroom, used mainly for storage of things that don’t fit anywhere else.
I love the finishes in the master bathroom, and am happy to finally have a shower with a glass door instead of having to deal with a shower curtain. It’s just so much cleaner of a look and no having to worry about replacing a liner. The double sinks and linen cabinet in the bathroom are also appreciated, and it’s been nice to have an ample amount of storage there.
Guest Bedroom & Bath
The guest bedroom has a queen bed, armoire, tv and a desk area. The room is larger than the master bedroom, which allows it to do double-duty as a guest room and office space for my boyfriend, as we both need separate work-from-home areas in the apartment. The room also features a surprisingly large closet along one wall.
There’s not much to say about the guest bath, except that it’s fantastic to have a second bathroom. The same sleek finishes from the master bath were used here, and there is a tub/shower combination in this bathroom, which is nice for a girl that loves a bubble bath every now and then!
The living room, kitchen, and dining area are all in one big space, which has been ideal for entertaining. The sofa and entertainment center just barely fit in the space. Ideally, I’d like a sleeker sofa that’s about two feet shorter to allow more space to walk by the sofa, but it’s not worth the purchase at the moment.
The finishes in the kitchen are consistent with the bathroom finishes, and I am extremely happy with how it looks. I prefer white kitchens and the light granite and tile the developer used in the unit look modern and clean. The only minor complaint I have about this area is the chrome faucet when all of the hardware in the kitchen is satin nickel.
The dining area has a nice bar where we’ve put 3 barstools, with the 4th being used as my desk chair. I hung more wallpaper here to make the space more interesting since I spend the majority of my day in this space.
The dining table acts as my desk for the foreseeable future in which I’m working from home. But, since the barstools we have are adjustable height, we are able to use them for dining on the counter-height desk if we want to use it for a dinner party instead of sitting at the bar. This area also houses my plants and the plant-stand-turned bar cart.
The outdoor terrace we have is the largest I’ve seen in Chicago – essentially the size of our living and dining room combined! We have enough space for an outdoor sectional with two chairs and a firepit, plus two other smaller seating areas and a grill, with plenty of room to walk around them all. It’s all topped off with a nice set of string lights that we have on a dusk-to-dawn timer.
It’s been nice to have that area for entertaining especially, but also to work outside and get a change of pace from being stuck indoors while it’s still warm outside.
Overall Thoughts on the Apartment
Though I wish we had been able to get a better price on this apartment, it’s been great so far for us and I’m happy at how well it suits our current situation. While this area isn’t as lively as it was pre-COVID, there are still plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants open and it’s been fun to explore and find some new favorite places!
Shameless plug – we found this apartment thanks to local real estate broker, Ricardo Zamarron with @properties. I’ve previously had only mediocre to bad experiences with brokers in Chicago, but he was absolutely fantastic! He worked to understand exactly what we were looking for, and we were able to find our apartment extremely quickly with his help when our efforts to look on our own weren’t working and took up too much time. I highly recommend him if you need some help looking for a place to rent or buy in the city, no matter what the price point!