In the summer of 2017, my boyfriend and I fell in love with a condo in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, IL. The space had it all: it was walking distance to the beach, very close to the city but out of the fray and boasted many unique attributes. We eagerly set up an appointment to view it, but by the time we called there were already multiple offers on the table. In the end, the home sold for much more than the sticker price.
Fast forward to last November when the two of us started poking around at real estate again. We weren’t in a hurry, but our rental’s drawbacks were finally proving to be too bothersome. Firstly, we had two broken windows that our landlords hadn’t fixed in four months. It sounds minor, but broken windows and chilly Chicago don’t mix well. Plus, our building hadn’t had gas for three months. There we were, paying out the wazoo for an apartment so broken we could only cook on a hot plate.
In an unbelievable twist, the mirror unit of the condo we had fallen in love with a year prior hit the market just as we began looking at places again. Originally it was out of our price range, but since it was winter in one of America’s coldest city’s, the seller eventually dropped the asking price to a number right in our budget. We quickly wrote up an offer, attached an appeal letter and pounced.
Image above: Never underestimate the power of an appeal letter. Ours helped us stand out amongst multiple offers and said, “Hi! Aaron and Garrett here, and we are buying our first home. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Double yes!! Admittedly, we are hard to please when it comes to potential spaces, but #10 is exactly what we’re looking for: architectural charm and room to spread out. We felt a rush of inspiration as we walked around too. You’ve made it truly one of a kind. Kudos! We may not be coming in the highest, but should you choose to move forward with our offer, we guarantee we will fill #10 with more love and fun than anyone else. We are just now getting back to normal after Garrett spent a year battling cancer, and a year and a half into remission, we are ready to dive head first into crafting a home where we can raise a puppy, a kiddo and live life to the fullest together. To give you an idea of all the potential we saw on our walk through, the next page features a mood board of what we imagine for the space. We can already hear lil puppy paws on that downstairs hallway. Thank you for considering us.”
Our new home sits in a building from the 1970s, and for decades the Transit Authority managed the electricity for Chicago’s subway system from within its walls. Luckily, during the 2008 renovation that turned the space into a collection of condos, the management company kept many of its industrial attributes. There is blonde brick on most of our walls, and if you look up in our kitchen you’ll see a truly striking feature: a giant metal crane used to move heavy machinery. (Side note: When the building was purchased in the early 2000s, one of the original plans was to turn it into a gay club with a penthouse above it. Um… what?!)
Image above: The large crane in our kitchen and metal ceiling.
Since moving in a month ago, my partner and I have done quite a bit of work on the space. Much to my chagrin, we are definitely in the stage of our rehab where we have to focus on the backdrop and getting the bones of the space right. I know this part of the process is important, so I’m trying to stay focused. Frankly, though, all I can think about are textiles, paint and furniture! Scroll down to see the start of what’s bound to be an extremely exciting, albeit challenging, project. Enjoy! —Garrett