Why we love: Evanston

Kristen's Evanston home tour might be a new favorite. Not because of any fancy pillows or fixtures, but because I get to introduce you to Kristen, an officer in the U.S. Navy. I connected to Kristen via her blog, which she started while living on a ship as the only female. 

Kristen lives in an adorable and undeniably girly apartment in Evanston while her husband, also in the Navy, is based out of Washington State. I know I speak for us all when I thank Kristen for her service, and for opening her doors to us!

How long have you lived in your home?
Two years. 

Why did you originally move here?
The Navy stationed me up in Great Lakes, IL but I wanted to live closer to the city, so I settled on Evanston. It’s close enough to Chicago that it’s easy to visit on the weekends, but not too far of a commute for work.

How long do you plan to live here?
That’s actually a complicated answer! If everything goes as planned, I’ll be moving to Washington State in about a year and a half to live with my husband who is also in the Navy. However, I could be here as long as two more years...it all depends on whether the Navy can accommodate us.

What is your favorite part of your home?
That’s a hard thing to pick because I love several facets of my apartment! The first thing that caught my eye when I was apartment shopping was all the natural light.  I have a North-South exposure and lots of windows so every room is always flooded with sunshine. The next things I fell in love with were the charming little details like original hardwood floors, crystal doorknobs, crown moldings, and high ceilings.  

What is your least favorite part of your home?

The one thing I would change about my apartment is the amount of storage space.  The tough thing about these 100+-year-old buildings is that they have tiny closets, which is what prompted me to turn the dining room into an office/open closet.

What is your favorite part of your neighborhood?
I love all the gorgeous homes and brownstone buildings in my neighborhood; the architecture is phenomenal! I also love that Evanston is very family oriented with a good mix of singles, couples, and families, so it’s easy to meet new people.

What is your least favorite part of your neighborhood?
The one thing that can be tough is parking.  Street parking is free but if you don’t get home early enough, you could end up walking a few blocks after finding a spot.

What are you favorite local establishments?
There are SO many great places to choose from, especially in Downtown Evanston.  Plus, the one thing Evanston is great about is supporting its local small businesses!

How do you get to work?
I take the Metra to work because it saves me tons of money on gas and I live only five minutes from the Metra station.

How long is your commute?
It’s about 45 minutes long so I get a lot of reading done, which is nicer than sitting in traffic for an hour!

Where do you grocery shop?
There is a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, and Jewel Osco just a quick bike ride away from me, and they are all on the same corner so it’s easy to go from one to the other for specific items.

How often do you walk around your neighborhood?
Other than my daily walk to the train, I try to explore at least once every weekend. There are so many wonderful places to discover and gorgeous sites to see. I want to soak it all in while I have the chance!

Where do you plan to move next?
As long as I am in Evanston, I don’t plan on moving to another apartment.  But if all goes as planned, I’ll be in heading to Washington State in the near future. 

Are you friends with your neighbors?
I am friendly with my neighbors, but to be honest I don’t see them too much. I leave very early for work and spend my weekends out of the house, so it’s hard to become more than just acquaintances.

Does your neighborhood feel safe?
The whole city of Evanston feels safe. I have no problem walking around at night and even though I probably shouldn’t, and feel comfortable leaving my bike unlocked when I pop into a store for a few minutes.

What is the general vibe of your neighborhood?
In the summertime, there is always something fun going on, whether it be a festival, parade, or similar event--Evanston is an exciting place to live! I like to describe it as a combination of city and suburb: you’ve got the families and quiet neighborhoods, but you also don’t live far from all the action in Downtown Chicago. It’s a great mix.

Are some areas of your neighborhood more favorable than others?
It really depends on what you’re looking for.  If you want the convenience of being within walking distance of the main shops, restaurants, and all the action, I would recommend one of the high-rise apartments in the actual Downtown of Evanston.  If you want it to be a bit quieter with less traffic, head slightly south and towards the water or on the West side of the train.  No matter where you choose in this neighborhood, you can’t go wrong.


Editor's note: Thinking of buying or selling in Evanston? I'd love to help!