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.
After living in an Avondale apartment for a year, multimedia producer and roving DJ Kevin Hsia decided that he wanted to give highrise living a shot. After searching around, he found a one bedroom apartment on Lake Shore Drive that overlooks the Lakeview neighborhood and had plenty of room for his record collection. Located in a mid-century building with Brutalist leanings, Kevin's apartment is not just a place to eat and sleep, but it's a place where music is the main focus. No television can be found in Kevin's apartment, but three turntables, hundreds of records and old film cameras fill his shelves. It makes sense, as Kevin regularly plays DJ sets at some of the city's most popular bars and is the founder of the monthly listening party series Wine & Vinyl. Kevin's nautical-themed decor hints at his taste for the smooth sounds of yacht rock, but also an appreciation for being near the lakefront.
How long have you lived here?
Just over a year. Before moving here, I lived in an apartment in Avondale next to Kuma's Corner.
What do you like about living in a highrise?
I enjoy the convenience, security, building amenities, and of course, the community aspect. I'm active with our building's board and am helping organize an upcoming party for residents.
What thing do you like most about your place?
I really like the floor-to-ceiling windows—there's so much natural light during the day. I face west, so the sunsets can be breathtaking.
What thing do you like least about it?
The kitchen is on the smaller side, with just a little bit of counter space. But, it does help me stay on top of dishes and try to keep a clutter-free surface.
How many records do you own?
I've honestly never counted, but I could estimate maybe around 500 or so.
Can you tell us more about your music projects?
I DJ at several favorite spots of mine all over Chicago. Silk & Soul is one of the regular nights I play at Punch House—the music centers around top shelf smoothness of all varieties in the coziest basement bar. Did I mention that it's candlelit? I also run a monthly record listening series called Wine & Vinyl—it's held in a different location each month. I often collaborate with friends, local businesses, startups, and record labels to make it a fun, laidback, and positive time for everyone.
Teddy Pendergrass or Michael McDonald?
As much as I enjoy a Michael McDonald ballad, TP is the man. His 1979 Teddy album oozes class—just look at the white satin suit he's rocking on the cover!
What do you like about living in Lakeview?
I enjoy how walkable Lakeview is—there are plenty of coffee and tea shops, restaurants, and independent businesses that are so close to one another. Location-wise, the Lakefront Trail is easy to get to and there are also several bus routes that run in every direction for getting around the city. It definitely feels more "neighborhoody" and less like a tourist pit stop. And of course, Reckless is right around the corner to me!
You have a lot of ship/nautical-themed decor. Can you tell us a little more about this theme?
I wasn't by the water or anything growing up, but I've always enjoyed the lifestyle and feeling of being around it. Being near the lake, I'm often reminded of summer and tranquil moments. I was at the YMCA pool a lot as a kid, and fondly remember my first LEGO set was the original Skull's Eye Schooner from the Pirates collection. In college, I got into club rowing. It was natural for me to end up close to the lake in Chicago. I also have an affinity for vintage and retro things—there's a warmth found in the mix of brass and wood of nautical decor that I really like.