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On Location | Chicago: Inventive Renter Expands on Personal Space in Chicago – On Location

Posted Feb 02 2013 10:05pm

“It’s all about atmosphere,” he explained. “There’s zero improved than a residence full of engaging people.”

That’s because Mr. Hopkins chooses to spend his income on interesting and decorating rather than rent. The 32-year-old interior engineer has come adult with an radical arrangement to make that possible: He sublets both of his one-bedroom apartments.

Where does he sleep? In a closet.

To be fair, it’s a 36-square-foot cloak closet, with (barely) adequate space for a twin bed. And Mr. Hopkins has lonesome a walls and ceilings in selected paneling he found on Craigslist and has lacquered a dim gray. The outcome is that of a warm, dim cocoon.

Some competence find it claustrophobic, though as distant as Mr. Hopkins is concerned, a smaller a space, a better. “If a roof were a integrate of feet lower, I’d be happier,” he said. “I cite a arrange of enclosed feeling of confidence during night.”

Mr. Hopkins, who works for Interior Elements, a Chicago organisation that does high-end residential design, has taken a likewise bespoke proceed to decorating a rest of a vital space, that includes not only a dual apartments, though partial of a groundwork in this yard building median between Wrigley Field and a Boystown district.

Since he rented a initial unit in 2007, Mr. Hopkins said, he has spent thousands of dollars on decorating and renovations, many recently installing a 1,200-pound blurb operation in one kitchen, that compulsory constructing a wall in a groundwork to support a additional weight. On paint and wall coverings alone, Mr. Hopkins estimated, he has spent some-more than $11,000 so far. “It’s a compulsion,” he said. (By comparison, his monthly let costs come to about $2,100.)

Aaron Brown, 29, who works for a informal coffee sequence and changed into one of a apartments in 2009, pronounced that when it comes to a pattern of a common areas, Mr. Hopkins calls a shots. “There’s unequivocally a relinquishing of control,” Mr. Brown said. “When we compensate my apportionment of a rent, I’m unequivocally profitable for my room. That’s where I’m authorised giveaway rein.”

But even there, Mr. Hopkins’s ambience customarily prevails. When William Sullivan Cooper, 23, a personal stylist for J. Crew who changed into a other unit early final year, told Mr. Hopkins he indispensable a side table, Mr. Hopkins went down into what Mr. Cooper calls “his hoarder’s storage room” and returned with an finish table, a flare and a square of artwork.

“Since I’ve lived there, we’ve had new wall colors, new wallpaper, new carpets and new artwork,” Mr. Cooper said. “It’s a continual rotation.”

How does a landlord feel about this?

Jim Bishop, a executive operations manager during Krenger Company, that owns and manages a building, described Mr. Hopkins as a one-of-a-kind tenant. “The peculiarity of a materials that he has used is distant above what we would do on a normal basis,” Mr. Bishop said. “If we were to franchise those apartments as they are now, a monthly franchise would be most higher.”

Mr. Hopkins has his possess ideas about that. “If we were to move, we would take a kitchens with me, withdrawal a building with a creatively drywalled white box,” he said. “The paint falls into a difficulty of personal indulgence.”

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