The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Seven Twenty Eight and a Half

Friday, April 4th, 2003 in Illinois
Seven Twenty Eight and a Half

I look at these pictures and I think, why would I ever want to move from this place? But then reality sets in. I jot down a list of reasons I want to move. A stream of consciousness kind of thing. Here goes.

The back alley chaos, the nearby Nissan dealership, the wretched plumbing, the clanking radiators, the cold draft that whips under the kitchen door in wintertime, the smell of pot that seeps up through the floorboards every evening from the neighbors below, the myopic homeowners association, the fire in the condo above that forced me out of my home for three months, the smoke damage to my belongings, the late night echoes of the neighbor’s television that keep me from sleeping, the hideous parking arrangements, the old windows, the thick gooey layers of paint on the trim work, the gradual decay of the neighborhood, the insanity at the local grocery stores, the traffic on Dempster Street.

The list is long and I get tired writing it all down, I give up. The important thing to realize is that yes: I am really really READY TO MOVE.

The view from outside the front door …
and the view from inside the front door …

So I take pictures of the various angles of my condo. There are few rooms but many angles from which to view them. The pictures I include here make the place look more vast than it really is. In reality, it is surprisingly small—cozy I used to say. Lately, it just feels stifling. There you go, I wasn’t looking but there’s another reason to move.

One thing I will say is that the rehabbed kitchen really lifts this little place. When I bought it, one of the things the seller stressed was that the kitchen had been redone and was designed by a firm called de Giulio Kitchen Design. Whatever. I didn’t really care if Coco Chanel or Louis Vuitton or Bob the Builder designed it. But after living in this condo for these five years, I realize the kitchen is very thoughtfully designed. It’s interesting to look at from every angle. And although it’s only a tiny galley, it has always been comfortable to work in. I have never had any quarrels with the kitchen and I suspect I will sorely miss it.

The breakfast bar.

There is only one bathroom in the condo, which can sometimes pose its challenges for easily imaginable reasons. Though compact in nature, the bathroom is abundantly cute and entirely usable. I have always loved the Chicago tiles on the floor and the fact that it has a window. Too many bathrooms these days are damp interior rooms that rely on artificial light. This one is bright, cheerful, and naturally lit (at least during the day). I also replaced the sink and toilet which were looking a bit tired when I moved in. This refreshened the room just enough to make it feel all new, all mine.

The kitchen …
and the bathroom …

The one room that I always struggle with is the dining room. It’s pretty much just the room that you walk through to get to other more important places: the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or bathroom. The dining room never served a purpose of its own until I started working from home, at which time I converted every scrap of it’s square footage into my home office. It hasn’t been a great office—I’ve never figured out where the table was best situated and the bright windows always caused a glare no matter where I positioned my monitor. After years of trying to make this room function in some way, I’m convinced it’s just a very wide and generously windowed hallway.

My dining room which doubled as my office, and the computer on which the very first version of this little website was born. In those days it was called Electrosketch!

Speaking of hallways, I do have quite a charming little hallway, though one might see it more as a clumsy leftover scrap of space. The condo, which is situated at the corner of the building, has a somewhat compromised layout. The most obvious fumble is the placement of the bathroom which is squeezed in to the space between my bedroom and the adjacent condo. This arrangement results in a quirky dark corridor that is more a waste of space than a feat of architectural cunning.

Different views of the little back hall that led to the bathroom.

I mitigated the downsides of the layout as best as I knew how: with a coat of robin’s egg colored paint and a few cheerful pictures. The hallway always remained a little dark, but these simple improvements made it interesting and provided a reassuring vibe of solitude in the lo. A valuable vibe, I’d say, in a small living space.

Finally, there was the bedroom, a room of ample size and relative calm. The only qualms I had with the room was that it tended to be noisy. It was located at the rear corner of the building so each night I was treated to a nonstop assortment of noises from the back alley. As is true for many things in life, this little condo has its upsides and its downsides. But for much of the time I’ve lived here, I’ve been quite content. It’s just time to go.

The one and only bedroom.
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