Oak Park Apartments | Blogs & Articles

Unity Temple Restoration Complete In Time For FLW’s 150th

Today, more than other day, Oak Park is celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright.  Frank was born on this day, June 8th, 150 years ago. Wright has given the world, not only Oak Park, architecture that is still relevant, still contemporary, still inspirational. And now, more then ever, the world is intent on restoring and preserving the works of Frank Lloyd Wright for many years to come.

One such restoration project, said to be Frank’s favorite commission, is Oak Park’s own Unity Temple.

Wright’s Unity Temple is an architectural masterpiece, described by Wright himself as his “contribution to modern architecture.”  With its’ exposed concrete exterior and bipartite interior, Unity Temple has influenced many aspiring architects with its’ experimental and innovative style.

It is because of these innovative concepts that Unity Temple has earned much recognition.  In 1971 Unity temple was awarded United States National Historic Landmark status.  Architectural Record magazine conducted a poll in 1991 where Unity Temple was ranked sixth out of the 100 of the most significant buildings in the United States. Then, in 2014, the US Department of the Interior authorized the nomination of Unity Temple, along with ten other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But with innovation and experimentation comes a price.  The 16 modern flat roofs were not designed with winter weather in mind.  The roofs, over time, leaked causing much interior damage.  Repairs were needed and the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation  (UTRF) began planning for the care, preservation and restoration of this architectural icon seventeen years ago. After two years and 25 million dollars the extensive, environmentally sensitive Unity Temple restoration is complete.  And timing couldn’t be more perfect to wish Wright a happy 150th!

A formal ribbon-cutting and open house are scheduled for June 17. Tours specifically about the restoration efforts will be a feature starting this July, 2017.


Day In Our Village, A Cherished Oak Park Tradition

Oak Park is celebrating its’ 44th annual Day in Our Village festival this Sunday, June 4th. The purpose of this cherished Oak Park event is to celebrate “the vitality and the rich advantages of our diverse community, and provide the opportunity for all residents, their families, and friends to come learn about the myriad of organizations and share in this Oak Park experience.”

This annual festival kicks off summer by providing fun filled activities at several locations throughout the Village for all ages to enjoy.

Rehm Park and the Oak Park Conservatory will host a variety of activities including unlimited carnival games, inflatables, face painting, “train” rides  and more with the purchase of a $5 wristband. Rehm Pool will offer an opportunity to swim the day away, weather permitting, at half the usual entrance price.

At Scoville Park there are over 150 booths that represent Oak Park’s civic, cultural, social service, educational, religious and business organizations.  At the booths you can also find a variety of activities that include games, demonstrations, plant-your-own vegetable or flower to take home, art activities and charity dunk tank to name a few.

Local entertainers will be providing live performances throughout the day on the Scoville Park stage for all to appreciate.  Oh, and pray for sun so you can get a taste of the not-to-be missed solar chocolate chip cookies freshly baked by our favorite Rotarians – yum!

Solar cookies are not the only food option at Day In Our Village. The Scoville Park food court (by the main library) has many yummy food offerings from many local restaurants to choose from and we’d be remiss if we neglected to mention the crowd favorite and Day In Our Village tradition of delicious roasted corn drenched in melted butter. A true sign summer is here!

As an fyi – there is a free shuttle that can take you and your family & friends back and forth between Scoville Park and Rehm Park (operating from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) so you and yours can enjoy the fun at both parks and be “green” while you’re at it!

Day in Our Village is a definite fun must do this weekend as well as showcasing what an incredible village Oak Park truly is!


Frank Lloyd Wright – Celebrating 150

Frank Lloyd Wright is turning 150 years old on June 8th and Oak Park, home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings, is looking to celebrate!

Wright, though born and bred in Wisconsin, not only made Oak Park his home but is where he established his architectural firm and where his work set in motion a major shift in architectural style that still strongly resonates today.

The broad, sweeping Midwest landscape became the driving influence for Wrights’ very distinctive designs. Marked by horizontal lines, flat or hipped roofs, wide eaves, lengths of banded windows, quality craftsmanship and simple interior decor. The Prairie school design elements of the early 20th century are incorporated into many of today’s current architectural projects, their qualities are timeless and modern over 100 years later.

The fact that FLW’s designs have endured the test of time and still remain the pinnacle of architectural excellence would surely be one of the best gifts that Frank could receive for his birthday, but we would suspect that FLW would even hope (expect, maybe?) that his architectural significance would continue to live on for at least another 150 more.

So take a moment to appreciate Wright’s local Oak Park masterpieces, wish him well on this his 150th milestone and support the preservation of Frank’s achievements for many more years to come.




Farmers Market Donuts

Oak Park’s 42nd annual Farmer’s Market starts this Saturday.

Yes, Oak Park Apartments loves the locally grown fruits and veggies, the specialty cheeses, the wide assortment of jams and honey, the beautiful fresh cut flowers and perennials that can be planted in your own backyard… but the # 1 reason, in our humble opinion, to go to the Farmer’s Market is for a freshly made, melt in your mouth donuts!

Cinnamon, powdered sugar or plain.  Each holds its own appeal.  These donuts are made fresh at Pilgrim Church in the wee morning hours.  You can purchase one or a dozen but get there early because they sell out fast.

A good strategy to employ in order to make sure you are not shut out of a delectable donut is to head to the back corner of the church next to the kiddie playground. The line can be long, sometimes circling the entire width of the church, but the wait is worth it.  Buy a few.  Or a dozen. Then, with donut and coffee in hand you can meander the market and make some other delicious and healthy purchases.

The added bonus is that various local non-profit organizations make the donuts week to week, earning money for Pilgrim Church as well as their organizations so, not only are you enjoying the best donut around but you are being philanthropic as well!

Oak Park’s Sculpture Walk Comes to Harrison Street

The Oak Park Area Arts Council (OPAAC) is at it again. Bringing art to the people of Oak Park and beyond.

Returning for its’ sixth season is the Oak Park Sculpture Walk and what better place to locate this years’ works of art but on Harrison Street, the heart of Oak Park’s Arts District.  The sculptures are presently being installed between Austin Boulevard and Ridgeland Avenue – so nine blocks of artistic vibe to help support and showcase this years twelve new sculptures.

All the installations are scheduled to be completed by May 12th, right in time for the annual “What’s Blooming on Harrison” street festival, happening on May 20th. The festival features an art fair, loads of family fun, including a kids carnival, musicians, dancers, art demonstrations, not to mention food, drinks and now 12 amazing sculptural works of art to appreciate, analyze, discuss and enjoy!

This year technology also comes into play with the sculptures.  You can download your mobile audio guide app through Otocast (app available after the opening on May 19th) and get artistic insights right on your phone.



Oak Park Apartments – Vintage Craftsmanship

Oak Park 
Apartments loves its’ vintage courtyard apartments because these buildings have character, both inside and out, that can not be found in new construction. 

Built between the early 1900’s through the 1920’s, these properties hearken back to a day and time when craftsmanship was about the details.  From crown molding, built-in bookcases and decorative fireplaces on an apartments interior to the exteriors impressive stonework, stained glass and grand entryways, each building was distinctive.  

Appreciating the quality and craftsmanship of these historic buildings, Oak Park Apartments has made restoration of these properties a priority.  Getting rid of questionable design choices that happened over the decades, updating utilities while adding in the necessary 21st century upgrades has always been the goal. 

One Lightbulb Can Make An Eco – Difference


Earth Day 2017 has just passed and as a tenant of a rental property you may ask yourself, “What can I possibly do to be eco-conscious in my apartment?

Oak Park Aparments has one very easy green fix to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Switch out your standard incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL – the curly bulbs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. This simple switch can dramatically reduce how much energy you use. The technology behind the CFL and LED light bulbs has greatly increased energy efficiency, will lessen your carbon footprint and will decrease your electic bill to boot.

But how do you know what type of bulb to purchase?

Here’s just a little bulb knowledge to help shed some light on the subject….

The standard incandescent bulb not only produces light but it also gives off heat.  It is the heat emitted from the incandescent bulb that “eats up” electrical energy.

CFL bulbs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), use 75% less energy, produce 75% less heat and last up to 10 x’s longer  than an average incandescent bulb.  These bulbs are readily available at most stores for around $4 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by hundreds of pounds. The major con to CFL bulbs is that they contain mercury, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment if not handled properly.

LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours (amazing!) – 8x’s longer then even the CFL bulbs. They contain no hazardous materials so they can either be thrown out or recycled, last around 15 years and stop over a half ton of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the environment.  The major drawback to LED’s is that the initial cost can range in price from around $7 up through $50+ for a bulb (but remember to factor in over a 15 year life span you’d be saving $$ long term as well as being Earth friendly.).

So by simply replacing a light bulb or two every month you can make the world a “brighter” place (and greener, too!)

Just as an FYI: Home Depot and Lowes offer recycling sites for CFL bulbs.

Removable Designs For Your Apartment

Today design shows are everywhere.  Color is in.  But if you are a renter your walls are generally beige. (Okay, Oak Park Apartments is liking grey paint these days so we’re a little more design trendy.)

Painting yourself is a lot of time, effort and money. Plus, painting may not even be allowed and, generally, if it is you must agree to re-paint your place the apartment management approved color before you move.  So more time, effort and money.

So what options does a tenant have when you have a flair for design or just want to personalize your place a bit?

A couple of easy options to help put some style into your place are wall decals or removable wall paper.

Both are simple to install, relatively inexpensive depending on your personal preference and can be removed and taken with you when you move.



There’s More to Oak Park Architecture than Just Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright has put Oak Park on the architectural map, making our village a destination for those who love both architecture and history.

FLW may be the most famous of Oak Park craftsmen but there are other notable architects that have left their mark on homes, churches and yes, apartments, throughout Oak Park that are worth a look.

Tallmadge & Watson, George Washington Maher and E.E. Roberts are all noteworthy designers whose architectural impact justifies some attention.

Tallmadge & Watson – Widely know for over thirty churches designed during their partnership, the architectural duo of Thomas Eddy Tallmadge and Vernon S. Watson also put their mark on many numerous private homes.

First United Methodist Church of Oak Park is one such example of a Tallmadge and Watson ecclesiastical project.


George W. Maher – The John Farson house or Pleasant Home, built in 1847, is an Oak Park landmark and masterpiece designed by Maher.  Known for both prairie and arts and crafts styles of architecture, Maher’s other notable Oak Park designs include Unity Church of Oak Park as well as many stately residences.


E.E. Roberts –  Roberts established his architectural practice in Oak Park, designing well over 200 homes and apartments. His practice grew to be the largest in Oak Park, even larger then the famed Frank Lloyd Wright. Though his architectural styles varied, Roberts largely favored the Prairie Style and its’ horizontal lines.

Oak Park Apartments very own Park Manor Apartments at 173 – 186 North Grove Avenue is a unique E.E. Roberts design featuring whimsical gargoyles on a beautiful Tudor-revival building.


People & Pets – Occupancy Rules Apply

Both the Village of Oak Park and Oak Park Apartments have specific occupancy rules that regulate how many people can legally live in studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.

Oak Park Apartments occupancy rules include:
  • Only the individuals listed on your lease may live in your apartment.
  • Only members of your household, as identified on your lease, may use your apartment.
  • If you need to add or remove someone from your lease at any point during the term of your lease please notify Oak Park Apartments Leasing Department.  This change may necessitate a need to re-apply and re-qualify as a tenant.
  • You may have a guest stay with you in your apartment for a maximum of 21 days. Any guest remaining in your apartment longer than 21 days is considered an unauthorized occupant, which violates your lease agreement and could be grounds for eviction.

Not only does Oak Park have occupancy rules for people but there are rules that apply to pets as well.  Oak Park allows 1 dog or 2 cats per apartment.  Along with the Villages rules Oak Park Apartments has a few pet-specific requirements as well.

  • Let Oak Park Apartments know if you have a pet or are planning on getting a pet when you sign your lease. If you are already living with us and decide to make a pet purchase, let us know as soon as you have cemented your decision.
  • Certain breed restrictions apply.
  • Chicago buildings do not allow dogs.
  • Pet owners are charged a 1 time $100 fee by Oak Park Apartments.
  • Pet owners must abide by the Village’s animal licensing, pet inoculation, neutering and/or spaying regulations.

The rules put in place by both the Village of Oak Park and Oak Park Apartments are designed to ensure a pleasant living environment for all.