Interiors

Five Apartments and 4 Chicago Neighborhoods in 6 Years

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Yesterday marked 6 years in Chicago, so I thought I’d post a recap of the 5 apartments I’ve lived in over the past 6 years.

I went from River North to the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, to West Town, and back up to Lakeview. Here’s a look at what I liked and disliked about each apartment and neighborhood.

River North High-Rise

Let’s start with my first apartment in River North. I lived in a small, almost 600 square foot high-rise by Erie Park. I liked the neighborhood and would actually consider living there again, and moved because I wanted more space and less expensive rent. Public transit wasn’t the most convenient, so I walked a lot. It was near a park and away from the craziness of the River North bar scene. And while it was less neighborhoody than I’d like, it was conveniently located which I’ve learned makes life a lot easier.

Positives

It was bright, clean, quiet, and brand new. The doorman and being in a high rise made me feel safe. The amenities (gym, dog run, hot tub, and storage room) were an added bonus. I was always running into neighbors in the hall or lobby and became friends with a few of them. This was a huge perk for someone who was new to the city and didn’t know anyone.

Negatives

Not near great public transit but very walkable. More modern than what I would have thought I wanted, too small for a dining table, very little closet space, and the rent was way too expensive.

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Lincoln Park/Lakeview Walk-up

This apartment was off Clark, just north of Diversey, on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview. I don’t think I’d like to live north of Diversey again since getting downtown was a pain. I lived in this place almost 2 years, and moved out to share a larger home/Everygirl HQ with my cofounder.

Positives

It was quiet, had tons of character, and was on the top floor of a small walk-up, just a few minutes from the lake. A 5 minute walk to coffee shops, Trader Joe’s, and tons of shops. A quick walk to a few major bus lines, too.

Negatives

Parking would have been terrible but I didn’t have a car. Not near the train, but close to busses. Short of being a farther north from downtown than I’d like, I loved this apartment.

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West Town Coach House

My 3rd home in Chicago was a huge 2 story, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath coach house in West Town that I shared with my Everygirl cofounder. We went into this place knowing we’d only live there for one year. This would give us a shared office space, and she had plans to move in with her now soon to be husband when our lease was up.

Positives

Free street parking, cheap rent considering the size of the apartment, outdoor space, and very centrally located. It’s a short drive to River North, West Loop, and Bucktown.

Negatives

Not near great public transit. I lasted about a week or two before caving and leasing a car, because I found myself cabbing way too often. The streets looked a bit run down and weren’t very charming.

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West Town no. 2

Our lease ended, and I ended up staying inWest Town, moving just a few blocks south from our place. Free parking and reasonable rent kept me in the neighborhood, but I didn’t stay in this place very long since my current apartment fell into my lap. I have very few photos of this one–just ones we shot for stories on The Everygirl. I’d recommend looking at Ukranian Village over West Town. The streets are a bit more charming, it’s close to everything, and was walking distance to some great restaurants. I’ve learned that in the end, while location is key, liking the area outside your home matters if you don’t like getting in a car or cab when you want to grab a quick bite.

Positives

This apartment was clean, affordable, and had a tiny little second bedroom, perfect for that home office I always wanted. Being centrally located to the people and places I see most was so convenient, but I never really felt at home there. The biggest perks were that Conor lived around the corner in Ukranian Village, which was literally a 5 minute drive from my place, and that it only took a few minutes to get to Soho House.

Negatives

It lacked the charm and character I was looking for and was on the 1st floor which always made me a little nervous. And this was my first apartment without any outdoor space, which would have been awful, but Conor and I were dating while I lived there and he had a deck.

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The dream apartment in Lakeview/the suburbs

Then there’s my most recent apartment which is straight out of Pinterest, but way too far north for me. I love the neighborhood, but see everyone a bit less than I used to, and there are days I’d love to go to Soho to co-work with friends, but don’t want to waste 25 min in the car each way. My next place will be much closer to downtown.

Positives

Great neighborhood and hands-down the prettiest apartment I’ve ever lived in. It’s huge, rent is reasonable, the apartment and streets are so charming, parking is pretty easy unless there’s a Cubs game, and I have a deck. Ultimately, even though living up here is a pain, I have loved this place. It really feels like home.

Negatives

I’ve never lived this far north and as the months and weeks go by, like being up north less and less. It’s still worth it, but I wouldn’t want to do this commute long-term. It’s rare that friends will make the hike up here and it takes me at least 25 minutes to get anywhere. I’m one of those people that usually runs a little late and feel like there are never enough hours in the day, so spending almost an hour (back and forth) to get downtown has been a pain.

But come on. Just look at this place!

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I’ve quite literally been all over the place and realize that moving 5x in 6 years isn’t practical. But moving has given me a chance to experience different areas of the city and to learn what I do and don’t want in a home and neighborhood. My advice would be to look at neighborhood and location first, and to feel really comfortable and safe (i.e. not on a first floor). And don’t compromise on the things that are really important to you.

Shop some of my favorite items below

 

Have any questions about any of my apartments or the neighborhoods I’ve lived in? Leave them in the comments below!

Photos of my River North, Lincoln Park, and first West Town apartment by Stoffer Photography
Photos of my second West Town and Lakeview homes by me
  • I would literally die to be in any of your places, but I agree on location. You want to feel safe and comfortable walking out your front door, and convenience to things is key. Lakeview/wrigley was too north for me too, Getting in a cab EvErYWhere makes everything a hassle. Your places are beautiful. Thanks for the tip on uK vs west town, I’ve been looking between there and wicker for months!

    • Danielle Moss

      Convenience is SO important. Definitely look at Ukranian Village! West Town isn’t bad, but Ukranian Village is a lot more walkable which I really appreciate. And you’ll be near Mak Thai (my favorite) 🙂

  • Grace Niu

    haha I love how you referred to the last place as lakeview/the suburbs 🙂
    I lived in quite a few neighborhoods as well – the Loop, Bucktown/West Lakeview, and then Ravenswood, which is a good deal farther north but I actually liked it a lot. The neighborhood was pretty quiet and charming and parking was only hard to find on Cubs game days 🙂

    • Danielle Moss

      It’s so charming and I know it’s not that far, but it feels like Pleasantville/the suburbs. And I only call it that because my friends joke that I live in the burbs. I like it, but as someone who is always late, it’s a pain. 🙂

  • Kristina

    I am always amazed when I read how many times you have already moved since moving to Chicago. I have lived in my current apartment for 3 years and even though I would love to move due to wanting to be closer to work I just can’t get myself to do it knowing that I will likely move to a new city in two years anyway. How do you do it?

    • Danielle Moss

      I have no idea. Ha. I keep itching to experience something new. Feeling ready to find a place downtown and stay put for a while though.

      • Kristina

        Ha! I can’t wait to see what that place will look like. I’m sure it’ll he as amazing as all of your other apartments though 😉

  • As the first commenter said, I would die for any of these apartments! I love them, plain and simple.

    • Danielle Moss

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Dottie

    They are all beautiful! I love the wood floor lamp from your first apartment. Where was that from?

    • Danielle Moss

      I have no idea! It was a craigslist find!

  • Chanel

    I actually resent that you called Lakeview the suburbs. Born and raised in Chicago my entire life, I actually live further up northwest in Irving Park and since i own my home and pay Chicago property taxes, I consider it Chicago. Some people like living farther away from the craziness of other trendy neighborhoods in Chicago (which weren’t that trendy 10-15 years ago) and are willing to use public transportation to commute to all the diverse and richly cultured neighborhoods such as Logan Square, Hyde Park, Ravenswood, Edgewater, Edison Park, Pilsen, South Shore, Bridgeport, etc…

    • Danielle Moss

      Well, I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone and it wasn’t an insult to Lakeview or any area outside of the city. I still consider all surrounding areas part of Chicago, but Lakeview IS very suburban. I love both Pilsen and Logan but wouldn’t say that either feel that way.

      • Kath

        As someone who has lived in Lincoln Park and Lakeview for the past 6 years and also grew up in the suburbs, referring to Lakeview as a suburb/suburban is actually quite shocking to me. Safe to say I’ve never heard that one before. I certainly think that analogy should be taken with a grain of salt for those not familiar with the Chicago neighborhoods outside of downtown/the loop 🙂

        • Mel

          I agree @kath –
          The suburbs comment sounds kind of, I don’t know, elitist. I thought a lot of content on the blog was about embracing city life… Lakeview is super walk-able, a suburb usually isn’t, so it’s a little misleading for any newbies.

          • Al

            I have to agree with Kath and Mel here. While Lakeview is not the Loop or downtown Michigan Ave, it’s misleading to any non-Chicago readers to say living in that neighborhood is the same as living in the suburbs. Maybe try to sound a little less elitist to people who embrace the neighborhood for its distance from downtown but the fact that city living is very much accessible if they choose to live here. Lakeview, as someone who has spent time in the suburbs, is not as close to that experience as you lead on.

          • Danielle Moss

            I’m sorry if either of you took offense to this, but you’re assuming I’m saying the suburbs are a bad thing. My point was simply that Lakeview feels more suburban, and that it’s out of the way / harder to get friends to come over. Both true statements. Lots of families, strollers, pretty tree-lined streets. I live here and DO like it because it feels like pleasantville in the city. I’ve spent time in the suburbs too, and Lakeview reminds me of more than one downtown suburb. Hopefully that clears things up a bit!

          • Amy

            To be honest, the majority of the lifestyle presented on these blogs is probably not an experience close to what most women, especially single women, are able to have. It’s all from a very specific viewpoint, lifestyle, and (frankly) class. But I get that it’s all well-intended and an opinion that you can take or leave.

            Saying areas like Lakeview are more like a neighborhood is probably more accurate. I consider a suburb as somewhere you need a car so you can get from place to place because everything’s so spread out and there aren’t a ton of options. But again -now I’m just sharing my opinion.

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  • Taylor Martin

    Loved seeing the continuity of your styles through all your homes! I just moved to Lakeview (heart of Boystown off Roscoe) from Lincoln Park with two of my closest friends. All three of us moved to the city together after graduating college in May 2014 and LP was the place to be. We loved the location and our apartment but soon realized the other neighborhoods have so much more to offer and realized we might have jumped the gun on picking a neighborhood to live in. I would love to live in the West Loop or Wicker Park but that might have to be a a couple years down the line. Now wishing that my Lakeview apartment looked like yours! Soo many #goals hah. Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo -Taylor

    • Danielle Moss

      Thanks, Taylor! I hear you on Lakeview. It’s so nice and charming up here, but feels a bit less like the “city”. West loop would be so convenient, but not as budget-friendly.

  • Caroline

    Hi! I LOVE the “West Town No. 2” living room! Where did you get your sofa, coffee table, and rug? Love the combination!

    • Danielle Moss

      Hi Caroline! Sofa is interior define, rug is home decorators, and coffee table is Crate and Barrel! Hope that helps!

  • Loved this, thank you for sharing! I used to live in East Lakeview and made the move down the LP a few months ago. Both are great areas of town! I think I’ll stay in LP for a while- I just love it here.

  • Anna

    I was curious if you have any recommendations for selling lightly used higher end furniture? I’ve moved often like you:) and have furniture that is currently in storage which I would like to sell. Any platforms you’ve used or suggest as opposed to craigslist? I’m guessing my crate & barrel furniture may not go fast there…
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Danielle Moss

      Hi Anna! I always used Craigslist until about 2 years ago when I promoted through instagram. I realize that might not be an option for everyone but it worked well for me.

  • Julie

    It’s so funny to hear Lakeview called the suburbs! I’ve been in Ravenswood for two years now after living on the edge of Bucktown and Logan Square for five and I absolutely love the neighborhood. There are a ton of great breweries, restaurants, and shops within walking distance and I can hop on a bus, the brown line or metra to get to the Loop or other areas. A great thing about Chicago is that there’s so many unique neighborhoods so you can get what you want out of the city!

    • I know, I know. I grew up in LA where we don’t really have “suburbs” so anything that feels charming and looks like pleasantville feels more suburban. I was basing this off the fact that it’s toward the edge of what feels like downtown, and that the Chicago cutoff was actually a few blocks north of me in the past. It’s SO charming but tough to get around from up here. Ravenswood is awesome, too. I have a friend over there and love her place. You get so much more for your money, and it’s a slower, more mellow area. So many great areas in the city.

  • Molly

    My roommate and I just resigned our lease but we love Lakeview and your apartment! Do your current apartment owners have a waiting list? Or are they not planning on renting again?

  • Hayley

    Danielle- I absolutely love all of your places, but especially the last one. Dream apartment! I’m moving into a one bed next year (I’m also in Chicago)- any apartment search tips, or recommendations for an agent or service? You always seem to find such gems!

    • Thanks, Hayley! I’ve found ALL of my places on Craigslist except for the one I’m in now, which I found through a friend.

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