Welcome to House Calls, a new feature in which Curbed tours the lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes of regular Chicagoans. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line with a few photos and details about your place.
[photos by Nick Fochtman]
Tucked away on Spaulding Avenue lies a greystone that looks very much like many others that line Logan Square's streets, however this particular home has a few surprises inside. Musician Mikey Russell has called the building home for the last seven years and has transformed the flat into a unique and creative apartment complete with a basement practice and show space that has hosted a rotating cast of bands throughout the years. Russell currently occupies the apartment with four other people, two dogs and the ghost of a fireman. In addition to its living and not-quite-living occupants, the apartment is also filled with art, vintage toys, bicycles and lots of music gear. Russell explains, "People who have come here a lot always say to me, 'I just want to be here when you have to move all of this stuff out of here, I wanna see how the hell you're going to do that!' I'm sure it'll take some extra time but I like all this weird crap so its time I'm happy to spend."
Who lives here?
Myself, Jess, Anders, Kelly, Kody and our dogs Juice and Big Girl.
What's the skinny?
Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two floors, finished basement, full backyard and garage.
How long have you lived here?
I've lived here since summer 2008, so almost seven years.
What's your favorite thing about your house?
The ability to play live music without anyone being angry is a very big perk.
What thing do you like the least about it?
Its just old. There are small plumbing things that come up and electrical things. Its kind of a labor of love living here because all the core elements are a little rickety from being over 100 years old.
Have your neighbors ever complained about the music?
The guy who used to live upstairs called the cops once or twice but that was years ago. Everyone on the block is pretty cool with it and excited about music. They always ask when the next show is.
Are there any particularly crazy stories about your place?
There are many. There has been a lot of wild times here throughout the years. We definitely have a ghost who has been felt and/or seen by almost everyone that comes in the house. We did some research and figured out that it's a fireman that died here in the '40s when the house caught fire. That hunch was later confirmed when we had the bathroom renovated (the area where the ghost is felt mostly) and underneath the walls and floors the wood was all burnt and charred. Very creepy. Total strangers will say, "Who keeps going from that bathroom to the bedroom? Is there someone else home?" The rest of us are just like, "Uhhhh, thats a long story."
What brought you to Logan Square?
Cheap rent pretty much. Easy public transportation too. When I came to Logan Square there wasn't a lot of reason to move here, it was very different back then.
How do you feel about Logan Square from when you first moved in to today?
I moved here in 2004 so it's very, very different now. When I moved to Logan Square the only spots at California and Milwaukee were the Subway, the pantry, the liquor store and Cozy Corner. Now its like a whole new Wicker Park. I feel really lucky that it kind of built up around where I lived. We used to have to take the train into Wicker Park to get cool books or records and now its all right here. We even have a Chicago Diner now which is real wild.
[Juice, Mikey, Jess and Big Girl]