Why we love: West Loop #3

Stats: 1 bed, 1 bath timber loft

When Caitlin and Sam first stepped into their apartment, they wondered what "no wall living" would be like. A year and a half in, they say they can never go back to a traditional apartment, especially with drywall ceilings: "Something about the exposed beams makes our space feel so big." 

Their building, which was originally a bra factory/warehouse, is now home to a group of neighbors that have formed a sort of family. Caitlin and Sam say they love their building's Facebook group, and that it almost feels like they live in the adult version of a dorm. When they're not hanging out with neighbors at home, you can find these two hanging at their favorite local hangs. 

How long have you lived in your home?
Fourteen months. We moved from just down the street. 

Why did you originally move here?
We originally came to the area because Sam's parents bought a condo across the street, and we were living there to save on rent. We totally fell in love with the area so when it came time to move out, we knew we didn't want to go far. 

How long do you plan to live here?
We wanted to live here as long as possible, but unfortunately our land lord wants to move back in, so we'll find somewhere else in the West Loop. 

What is your favorite part of your home?
We love timber lofts. There's something about drywall ceilings that makes rooms feel so small. We also love our outdoor space. 

What is your least favorite part of your home?
The bathroom doors are literally paper thin--as in they are Japanese sliding doors made out of rice paper. You can hear everything on either side. 

What is your favorite part of your neighborhood?
We hang out around Madison and Randolph all the time--the bars and restaurants around there are a total slam dunk. We go out, eat way too much and then walk home. It's such a neighborhood-feel around here even though we're so close to the city. We honestly see the same faces on the street all the time--it kind of feels like a bubble. 

What is your least favorite part of your neighborhood?
If you go a few blocks west, it's a quick transition. We never really go past Racine, and wish there was something west to walk to. 

The other big thing about our neighborhood is everything is changing so fast, and you can feel it. Rent has definitely hiked up, but we still think it's worth it to live here. There's also a lot of contention between the old time residents and all of the new renters moving to the area. In order to keep up with demand, rental buildings are constantly under construction, but a lot of them don't have parking. One of the things we love about the neighborhood now is that there is so much free, unlimited parking. This might be one of the things that changes. 

What are you favorite local establishments?
Jak's Tap: Our home base
Morgan Street Cafe: Cute sandwich shop with great coffee and baked goods
The Beer Bistro: A great neighborhood bar
Girl & The Goat: We are beyond regulars, we've easily been there 60-70 times
Madison Vine Wines:  Little wine store with good selection
Perman Wines: They have a small selection with unique wines
Au Cheval: Don't even try going during peak hours
Mary Bartelme Park: You have to walk through no matter where you're going

How do you get to work?
We will either walk or Divvy in the nice months, and take the train in the winter. 

How long is your commute?
20-25 minutes to downtown. 

Where do you grocery shop?
Mariano's and Target, and we always walk to either. 

How often do you walk around your neighborhood?
We're always walking somewhere: to work, the gym, yoga, the park, or for coffee. 

Are you friends with your neighbors?
Yes! When we first moved in, our neighbors gave us a housewarming gift of a framed old photo of our building. It was so nice! We also have a Facebook group with everyone. Sometimes it feels like the adult version of college, where you can bang on your friend's dorm room door at any time. 

Does your neighborhood feel safe?
Yes, absolutely. 

What is the general vibe of your neighborhood?
A community of neighbors and friends: familiar and comfortable.

Are some areas of your neighborhood more favorable than others? 
We like being east of Racine. The further west you go, the less there is. The most favorable area is probably around Mary Bartelme Park. You're one minute from the highway, the best restaurants in the city, and the River. 

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