Coming to the Venue at Daystar Center: Duo Tandem (guitar duo) with Live Art by Zach Lehner

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Duo Tandem is an instrumental guitar duo with world and folk music leanings. Called “magical” by guitarist Marc Teicholz, Duo Tandem performances are distinguished by Necati & Mark’s ability to communicate the core feeling of every piece. Visit Duo Tandem’s website at www.duotandem.com.

***Don’t miss this unique performance, featuring Live Art by Zach Lehner!***

Zach is a cartoonist and a designer.  Often referred to as whimsical, his work is characterized by bold brushstrokes and a stark aesthetic, with the hope of arresting the viewers attention and exhilarating their senses.  Lehner is as much focused on telling a story as he is on technical skill, and tries to create work that will please and entertain.  You can find more of Zach’s work at www.minisaurusrex.net.

Thursday, April 17 at 7pm
Saturday, April 19 at 7pm

1550 S. State Street

General admission is $20 including complimentary appetizers and BYOB.

Doors opening at 6:30pm to view art while enjoying appetizers. You can bring wine or beer, or purchase a beverage from Overflow Coffee Bar.

Enter through Overflow Coffee Bar. The box office table will be to your right.  Please call (312) 674-0001 for questions and to purchase tickets over the phone.

The Venue at Daystar Center is a community space dedicated to gathering culture-lovers together and to connecting audiences with local artists.  The Venue hosted its first concert in 2012 and currently hosts theatre, musical, and film events multiple times per month.  Overflow Coffee Bar is located in the same building and provides tasty food and beverage options for audiences.  Event details can be found at http://www.daystarcenter.org/events.html.  Questions and tickets by phone at (312) 674-0001.


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Adventures in Bathroom Updating

After living in our one bedroom condo for a few years we have replaced all the appliances, updated the outlets, light switches, and door handles, added an easy to clean backsplash to the kitchen, dressed up the built-in-desk, organized the closets, and painted all of the walls. Only two things remained untouched, the cabinets and the bathroom fixtures.

This spring I decided to update the fixtures in the bathroom. The ones we had were over 14 years old and not my style to begin with.

 

I’ve never been a fan of gold and silver together. The sink was stained, not just discolored, but there was some permanent grime by the faucets. Eww!

You can imagine my excitement when my husband and I finally budgeted for this project. I figured it should be pretty simple. Measure the sink, find a prettier top to the vanity, pick out some matching faucets for the shower and sink, hire someone to install, and voila! An updated bathroom.

Shopping around was certainly fun. I created a private board on Pinterest to collect images of everything I was considering. I showed my favorite choices to my husband, he agreed, and we ordered them. So far, so good.

I expected all the material to arrive in about a week, so I called Home Depot to schedule someone to install the items. I ordered the sink and faucets from them, so I hoped I could get someone to install the shower faucets as well. They referred me to a local handyman shop. I explained to them my simple job and they said, the sink will be simple for sure. “We can do it for XXX dollars. The shower, however, will cost at least XXXX dollars and you will have to replace the tile. Unless we can cut through the back wall.”

What!?

Here is a picture of the faucet I was hoping to install.

Three pieces, just like I had. I was shocked to learn that it is not plug and play. The man on the phone even informed me that not only do Kohler and Delta not fit the same, Delta and Delta might not fit the same either. He said with fixtures that are 14 years old I would probably have a 30% chance of finding a Delta that fit what I had.

Saddened, but not broken, I decided to call the maintenance guy in my building to see if he had any advice. He agreed that I could not install the Kohler fixtures without breaking through the wall, and that would be very expensive. He did, however, show me what pieces I could easily remove and suggested that I take those pieces to a store in Chicago that specializes in Delta. He thought they might be able to help me find the same fixtures, but in silver, with no gold.

Searching for Delta dealers in Chicago lead me right back to Home Depot. There is also a Delta showroom in the Merchandise Mart, but I thought that would be my second stop, if I didn’t find a solution.

I managed to find some universal pieces. I didn’t bring in enough of the faucet handle, but I was able to buy this spout (not a big improvement) and planned to come back with more of the handle later.

Meanwhile I called another company, Intercity Maintenance, for a quote on installing all of this stuff. They wanted to come out and measure everything before quoting a price. The sink arrived before they showed up, which was a very good thing! We found another problem.

This is the glass sink with the collar that came with the new faucet sitting in it. See the raw edge of unpolished glass around the top edge? This collar is too small. Also the sink does not have overflow holes. He told me that I should buy a push up drain. They are designed for these sinks. It will keep the water from overflowing when filling the sink and it is large enough to cover the raw glass.

I also asked him about the spout I bought for the bath. He said it would fit, but he suggested I first go to a store called The Faucet Shoppe on Elston. He couldn’t guarantee that they would have what I was looking for, for the shower, but he was sure they would know what my best option would be. They would also have the drain I need.

I disconnected everything I could from the bathtub. I had just the gold handle of the faucet, the hot/cold directional plate, and the spout. I brought that, pictures, and the collar that came with the new faucet to The Faucet Shoppe.

The Faucet Shoppe is a tiny storefront on Elston between Addison and Irving Park. It reminded me of a dusty antique shop, but of plumbing supplies. They even mentioned that a few pieces they had were over 100 years old! I did my best to explain my dilemmas. They knew just what I needed! Suddenly on the counter appeared a push up drain, the same spout I had, but in silver, the newer version of the faucet I had, and the newer hot/cold directional plate. Done!

They were patient and friendly in explaining what everything was and how it fit together. Eureka! I didn’t have to break through walls to update the shower! Now it looks much better.

After my success at the Faucet Shop I called Intercity Maintenance back to schedule the installation of the sink. I couldn’t wait! We scheduled it for a week from that day.

Finally the day came. Things were going smoothly, but two hours into the job the installer came to find that the pipes didn’t match.

The pipe to the hot water shut off needed to be longer and the J pipe needed to be further out from the wall. He left to go to the store to buy the right size pipes. I don’t know how much longer it took, because I had to leave while he was gone, but finally the project came to a close.

The shower looks great, the new sink looks great and I didn’t have to break through any walls!

Next up, painting the cabinets. Then I think our improvements on this home will be done.

What home improvement projects have you done that turned out to be much bigger than you expected?


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Market Update March 2014

In the video above we looked at recent sales, prices, and inventory levels across the country. But how do these numbers look locally, in Chicago?

Screenshot_032014_030635_PM

The city of Chicago is right on par with the rest of the country. Distressed sales are down by close to 30% and traditional sales are up by 24.3%. In the Loop distressed sales are almost non-existent. There were 0 short sales in this period and bank owned sales were down by 9.1%. Traditional sales were up 25.9%.

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Prices in the city of Chicago have not been increasing as quickly as in the state, but they are up 2.2% on average. Digging in a little closer though we can see how dramatically this number can change from neighborhood to neighborhood. Prices in the Loop are up 29.2%! Send us an email through the contact form below to learn about prices in your neighborhood.

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Unlike the rest of the country inventory in Chicago is very low. Citywide there is only 3.5 months of inventory available. The Loop is a little more balanced with 4 months of inventory, but 1-5 months of inventory is considered a seller’s market. This is when prices are on the rise and multiple offer situations become rampant.

If you are thinking of selling this might be the time to get the best price for your home, before your competition lists. Let us know if you would like an analysis on the current value of your home, fill out the contact form below.

Monthly Inventory


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Overflow Coffee Three Years of Making Memories in the South Loop

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Help Overflow celebrate their three year anniversary on Saturday, March 29. Details here.

Some people mistakenly think of the city as a lonely place. A place where neighbors never get to know each other and the opportunity to make new friends is small. These people live in a different Chicago than I do. If I could give anyone with that mindset one piece of advice it would be to frequent Overflow Coffee.

At Overflow their eyes will be opened to a city full of opportunity, friends, family, and neighbors. Since its inception Brandon and Amanda, the owners of Overflow, brazenly threw their arms around the South Loop and gave it and Chicago a warm welcoming hug. Their mission statement says it all:

Changing the world one cup at a time

Changing the world one cup at a time

Hard working, but social creatures Amanda once explained to me that she wanted the shop to be a third place for people. A place where one can come and relax with old friends and make new ones and where neighbors would gather to further the community.

In that goal they have more than succeeded.

From live, local entertainment

To exhibitions of local artists

To assisting with community meetings

And hosting eye-opening documentary nights

Overflow is located in Daystar Center, the South Loop’s community center, making it an even more natural place for neighbors to gather.

Ambiance aside, Overflow also offers a great variety of beverages, sandwiches, and pastries.

My favorite coffee drink is the Nutella Mocha. In the summertime I ask for an iced one, but it can be dangerous. If I’m not careful I could drink the whole thing in one gulp!

The lemon poppy seed muffin is perfectly moist

And of course you can always take your coffee to go.

Don’t forget to tip!

Help Overflow celebrate their three year anniversary on Saturday, March 29. Details here.


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Art and Real Estate as an Investment

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Robert Spencer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last night I enjoyed a panel discussion about collecting art as an investment. The panelists were experts from Christie’s and an economist who manages a public art collection. Of course the big question on everyone’s mind was how can one navigate such a subjective industry with the confidence that he will come out on top, monetarily, with the art work he has purchased.

This way of thinking is parallel to how many consider their real estate transaction.

If I buy this home will it be a good investment? Will I make money when I’m ready to sell? Should I get the condo with a balcony or city views? I don’t have a particular want for a balcony, but other people do. Will that help my value?

The problem with this kind of thinking is that we can’t see the future. You may think you have found the next Warhol, but what if you buy a piece from that artist solely for the expectation that it will increase in value and a year or two down the line that artist chooses another career and his fame never takes off?

What if you move into an up and coming neighborhood only because you think the home values will rise and you want to get in at the bottom, but 15 years down the road, when you are ready to move again, Starbucks still hasn’t moved in and the neighborhood is still called “up and coming”?

Neither of those cases are likely to give you a good ROI. So what does work?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First and foremost in art buying and home shopping you should go with what you love. You have to live with it after all. In both cases your ROI is never a sure thing, but you can feel more confident about it by looking for quality. If the art was well constructed and has been well preserved it is more likely to hold its value. If the home was constructed with quality materials and the space is well utilized it is more likely to hold its value. Keeping your home up to date in style and in good repair is another way to protect your investment.


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March Events in Chicago

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15 DAYS AND COUNTING!

This is quite possibly the fullest winter I have ever experienced. It officially began on December 21 and I think we have had snow on the ground the whole time! The first day of spring is March 20 and my fingers are crossed that we will see flowers blooming before we know it!

In the meantime the city is full of activities to help us bide our time while we wait for the thaw.

 Clock We will see more sun soon when daylight savings time begins this Sunday, March 9.
 Clover Next weekend see the river dyed green and enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day parade along Columbus Drive on March 15.
 Flower Welcome spring from March 15-23 at the Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier.
 Race Close out the month at the Shamrock Shuffle, claimed to be the world’s largest timed 8k race, on Sunday, March 30.

For more information about these and other events in March visit Chicago’s page on Events12.com.


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*Images from freedigitalphotos.net

Ravinia Summer 2014 Schedule is Released

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Sick of the cold? Why not spend this weekend planning your summer?

Ravinia has released its lineup for the 2014 season “Summer of Love”

Ravinia 2014 season summer of love

courtesy of Ravinia Festival

With a line up including popular musicians such as Sarah McLachlan, Willie Nelson, Umphrey’s McGee, Tony Bennett, Buddy Guy, the Beach Boys, and the classical concerts for which Ravinia is best known this is sure to be a season that sparks love! See the full line up and buy tickets at Ravinia.org. Donor sales begin March 5 and public sales begin April 24.


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Is it Time to Buy or Should You Still Rent?

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Whether the time is right for you to buy a home is a personal matter that depends heavily on your finances and foreseeable future lifestyle. For example, if you can afford to buy, but might relocated in a year or two renting might be a better option. However, if you are feeling pretty stable, like you can live in your next home for 5-7 years and you have the finances in order to buy a place you would enjoy for that long then the time might be right for you to buy.

If your concern is the cost then be sure to consider the trend that rental rates have been following.

Graph of rising median asking rent 1988-2013

This graph shows the national trends of rental rates. Overall since 1988 they have been rising pretty steadily and are showing no signs of slowing. A report by rentjungle.com shows the same trend in Chicago. The average rental rate in Chicago for two-bedroom apartments in 2009 was $1614, by 2013 that number increased to $2006, a nearly $400 difference in only four years.

Most loans will let you lock in a rate for over five to thirty years, depending on the loan. By locking in a rate your monthly payments will remain the same throughout that time.

Keep this in mind if the finances are what are keeping you on the fence. It just might be the time to make that leap.


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It’s All About Location, Location in This Lincoln Park Hi-Rise

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View current inventory of condominium homes in Lincoln Park.

Listing Details 

Well Located Condo with East and West Exposure in Lincoln Park

1850 N Clark #409, Chicago 60614

Price: $259,000

MLS number: 08538339 

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 2

Square Footage: 1100

 

Call Terri Buseman at 312-208-5166 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

A Full Amenity Building Directly Across from the Park

Enjoy views of the Farm at Lincoln Park Zoo and a cross breeze from your brand new east and west facing windows. This full amenity building has on-site management, a doorman, lounge, and pool.

1850 Clark Exterior 1Living 4

Click here to see additional images of this Lincoln Park condo.

The Best Location Puts the City at Your Fingertips

Enjoy expansive Lincoln Park and all it has to offer year-round. Located across the street from the Farm at Lincoln Park Zoo a visit to the animals is a breeze. At the north end of the zoo enjoy colorful foliage everyday at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Plus the shopping and nightlife of Old Town are just around the corner.

Have it All in Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park neighborhood was aptly named after the 1,208 acre park that runs the length of the neighborhood along the Lake. Home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, parkland, recreational areas, and beaches, Lincoln Park is the second most visited park in the United States. The Lincoln Park neighborhood is one of the wealthiest in Chicago. It is home to DePaul University, the largest Catholic University in the Nation and it also houses some of the top rated public schools in the city.

Find Similar Homes in the Area


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ActYourAge! with Beth Urech

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Following sold-out runs in Chicago, NYC and Ireland, Beth Urech is bringing her solo show ActYourAge to her home neighborhood, the South Loop.

See Beth perform at the Venue at Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street.

Thursday, February 20th at 7pm

Saturday, February 22 at 7pm
General admission is $20 including complimentary appetizers and BYOB.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Beth is a warm and dynamic performer whose solo show is hilarious and moving.” Andy Eninger, The Second City

“By the end of ActYourAge! the audience will want to follow their own dreams. I am looking forward to my 70′s – I’ll have what she’s having!”  Francesca Peppiatt, Chicago Theater Examiner.com

WHAT TO EXPECT

ActingYourAge! is a 55 minute theatrical solo performance with an interactive portion afterward.

MORE ABOUT THE VENUE

The Venue at Daystar Center is a community space dedicated to gathering culture-lovers together and to connecting audiences with local artists.  The Venue hosted its first concert in 2012 and currently hosts theatre, musical, and film events multiple times per month.  Overflow Coffee Bar is located in the same building and provides tasty food and beverage options for audiences.  Event details can be found at http://www.daystarcenter.org/events.html.


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