When Bret Rietow first toured the top-floor corner loft at 2001 West Wabansia in 2010, the two-bedroom unit checked off a number of boxes. Most importantly: it had a private two-car garage and a spacious rooftop deck with views of the downtown skyline. He wanted a place to store and work on his cars, but also a home where he could entertain guests.
“Even during the recession with people listing very nice homes for low prices, it was a challenge to find all of my requirements,” Rietow says.
Originally, Rietow was shopping in Lincoln Park and Lake View, but his agent, Berkshire Hathaway's Beth Gomez, suggested he take a look at one unit in the heart of Bucktown.
The place turned out to be a fit, and Rietow closed on the property for $650,000 in December 2010.
The only problem were the aesthetics. Built in the mid-’90s, the building was upscale for its time. But by 2010, the interior finishes looked dated, Rietow says. “The place had a very ’90s vibe with honeytone wood finishes and lots of browns, yellow, and green everywhere.”
After refinishing the floors and painting the interior, Rietow turned to the 650-square-foot deck. He first replaced the boards, then added a built-in coffee table and gas firepit. He also replaced the deck railing, opting for a glass solution so as not to obstruct the view. And finally, Rietow added an outdoor speaker system and accent lighting throughout.
Other improvements to the unit include an updated HVAC system, new water heater, and a walk-in closet for the master suite. Rietow installed smart home controls throughout, allowing for the home’s lighting, audio, and climate control to be adjusted remotely.
In terms of location, the building is steps away from the bustling intersection of North, Milwaukee, and Damen, as well as the 606 trail, making it a convenient choice for shoppers, partiers, runners, and cyclists.
While the unit suited Rietow for nearly a decade, he and his wife are looking to start a family, and have decided to relocate to Lake View — meaning that his entertainer’s dream home will go to someone else. The property listed this week for $850,000.