Welcome to House Calls, a 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.
Similar to Chicago's famous comedy culture, the city's maker scene and gaming community are helping put the Second City back on the map when it comes to creativity and innovation. And while the homegrown Cards Against Humanity card game may be the city's best known export, Chicagoans throughout the city are coming together to create and play games. Logan Square residents Peggy and Levi have turned their two bedroom apartment into the unofficial headquarters of Game Night Chicago, a weekly meet up for board game lovers. And with 100 titles on hand, there's no time to be bored at home.
Who lives here?
Peggy and Levi.
What's the skinny?
Levi: It's a 1,500 square foot, two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in the Adidam building in Logan Square, with access to a shared rooftop patio.
Peggy: This will probably be the biggest apartment I will ever live in.
How long have you lived here?
Peggy: I'm an eight year Logan Square resident, but moved in to this apartment last July. We'll be signing the lease for another year.
Levi: I've been in this apartment since July 2013.
What's your favorite thing about your place?
Levi: I love how conducive it is for hosting groups. The space is large enough that we've had over 15 people sitting comfortably at one time. I originally moved in so my old roommate and I could host our game nights here. Now both Peggy and I use it for a variety of small group events. Sometimes it's just social, like a birthday party or ping pong night. Other gatherings have a purpose behind them, like a work group or a discussion on race. Game nights are still a regular happening too. Oh and the included heat!
Peggy: The warm morning sun illuminates the living room through four sets of windows and fills the whole apartment with warmth for most of the day. It can make the coldest of winter days seem bearable.
What thing do you like least about it?
Peggy: Some guests find Fullerton to be a a bit noisy when staying in our living room, but I can't imagine living in Chicago without the city soundtrack.
Levi: The noise of Fullerton Avenue, even though it's not too bad up on the third floor.
What's the deal with the building?
Levi: The building is in great shape because it's been so well maintained by the owners, a religious group called Adidam. They share the large building with a handful of renters and have kept a lot of the classic style, like wood trim and old lighting sconces. At first people look at me weird when I say I live here because they don't know what the building is or who the owners are, but they're the best landlords I've ever had!
Peggy: Adidam Midwest purchased the building—an 86 year old funeral home—in the mid-'90s. They are the kindest and most thoughtful landlords I have ever had. They go to great lengths to preserve the historic character of the building by having a special handyman on staff who hangs items on our walls and provides us with special light bulbs for our fragile light fixtures.
Do you have any particularly wild stories about your place?
Peggy: The building is a pretty serene sanctuary for me. We are able to utilize our unique space to collaborate with our groups in a more private way than meeting at a coffee shop. I'm very thankful to have a place that can serve so many people for different purposes. From baby showers, game nights, writing groups, and entrepreneurial support groups, this space is regularly modified to meet our needs.
Levi: Nothing too wild. For my birthday in 2014 I had a lot people over for a party and kept having to turn the music down and asking people not to dance too hard. I'm sure the downstairs neighbors felt that was pretty wild!
How has gaming changed the way you interact with your space?
Levi: The Chicago board game community has been one of the ways that we regularly bring people in to share our space. I've been an organizer for a group called Game Night Chicago that now has over 250 online members and a core group that gets together every other week to play, often here. Gaming is a perfect example of the type of fun, purposeful, and community-driven activities we like to host. It's about connecting with the people who share a common interest or goal with you. And although it doesn't compare to others who share the hobby, with a board game collection of around 100 titles, you can't help but recognize the nerdiness as soon as you come through the door!
What's your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
Peggy: Living in this piece of historic Logan Square has inspired me to research more about the many layers of the neighborhood's history. I love supporting the local, diverse family-owned establishments throughout our neighborhood and am so thankful they continue to share their culture.
Levi: I love Logan Square for its small-town feel. I grew up in a tiny city where (cue the Cheers theme) everybody knew your name. I enjoy finding some of that here. Having your bartender or barista know you makes me feel like it's possible to find familiarity in the hustle and bustle of Chicago. One of the many great things about summer is biking around the neighborhood waving at friends who are eating on a patio or lounging on the boulevard.