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Inside Kelly's Calm and Quiet Lakeshore East Nest

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Take in the views from 33 stories above the city

Kelly's corner unit
Kelly's corner unit
Photos: Barry Brecheisen

Lakeshore East resident Kelly was looking for a change from her previous living situation in Wicker Park when she chanced upon this one bedroom in the New East Side. The apartment was exactly what she was looking for, considering it needs little else with the stunning views of both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Located high above the hustle and bustle of the busy downtown district, Kelly’s quiet getaway is the perfect place for her to relax and study after a long hard day of working in the Loop.

Who lives here?

Just myself, a young architecture professional, currently studying for licensure.

What are the specs?

The apartment is an 800-square-foot, single bedroom, single bath located on the 33rd floor of a residential high-rise in the Lakeshore East community.

How long have you lived here?

Just shy of a year — I moved into the building in April 2015.

Where were you moving from?

I lived in Wicker Park for six years in various houses with various roommates and I was looking for something new. I am working on my ARE’s (Architect Registration Examinations) right now so I really needed a place close to work where I could focus and study without distraction. I love Wicker Park for what it is but this place is perfect for me at this point in my life.

So how did you find this place?

The unit next door is actually owned by family friends who were gracious enough to let me and my parents stay at their place one weekend — I slept like a baby that night. Even though we are right in the middle of the city, this neighborhood and these units are peaceful and quiet. When I started looking through rentals, I just happened to see this one listed online. The listing didn’t have any pictures of the place, which isn’t usually a great sign, but I knew exactly where it was so I pursued it and here we are.

And how is it living in Lakeshore East? That’s quite a transition from Wicker Park.

I’ve worked in this neighborhood for nine years so I knew it pretty well before moving here. My office is just on the other side of the park (about a ten minute walk away), which is great. I can leave the office at 5:00 p.m. and be home and studying just fifteen minutes later. The residents are mostly of retirement age or have families with young children so it’s very quiet (also great for studying), but everyone is extraordinarily polite and friendly — we talk to each other in the elevators and smile at each other on the street. It is certainly different than other Chicago neighborhoods but I really do enjoy living here.

So, what do you like most about your apartment?

Definitely the view, it’s incredible and I get to come home to it everyday. The apartment focuses on the city but I get a view of the lake through the southern facing windows too. In the summer I set up a table and chairs on the patio and from there, you can see everything all at once.

What thing do you like least about your apartment?

I know I’ve really lauded my place for its quietness but in the summer people race their cars and motorcycles along Lower Wacker and that can be incredibly loud and annoying. It’s obviously not constant, but it really can really interrupt whatever you’re doing.

Car racing aside, it’s a great spot — how’d you go about making it your own?

My (clearly fantastic) parents came up from Ohio with a pickup truck and helped me move everything one weekend. It seemed to take a million trips. In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t just hire professionals, but next time I will. My parents also helped me paint because when I got the place there was a lot of mint green paint and one odd dark purple wall. The bathroom was a terrible brown color. We lightened it up but didn’t have to do much else otherwise.

What about furnishing it?

I’ve amassed most of this furniture piece by piece over the years. When I was in college my aunt loved collecting antiques so she’d take me with her to all sorts of auctions and estate sales. My mom and my aunt are always finding pieces for me. I love midcentury modern furniture so that’s what I always looked for — and still do!

So are you staying forever?

At the moment, I’m planning on staying at least another year. The lot next door is the site for the new Vista Tower designed by Studio Gang Architects. Construction is supposed to start this spring. The design steps up and away from my building, but I fear I may soon lose this view. For now though, I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

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