Finished photos only provide a hint of the actual work involved in rehabilitating homes. In this case the two homes had been modified many times since the late 1870’s. Extra porches, exterior stairs, aluminum and vinyl siding were all removed first, before any interior work was done. The original exterior wooden siding was stripped and either repaired or replaced as needed. Then came the herculean task of lifting both houses to provide access for basement construction, as the original homes were built on wooden pilings! The resulting exterior photos give the appearance that the homes have been sitting quietly on this site for 130+ years.
the clients were very clear about the way in which the “workspace” relates to the house – a separate and distinct commute was desired, so that the work space is apart from the living space. An old neighboring coach house was incorporated into the project. The west facade was altered to provide french doors and connect with the common green space. The upper floor can be used to accommodate guests overnight. A large masonry wall was built to screen the parking garage behind the house, and all utilities were put below grade. View to the house from the studio.
The Master bedroom is provided with a door that leads across the connector to the childrens’ bedrooms. The two houses are connected by a glass link fabricated from steel and glass to contrast with the wooden structures and to minimize the appearance of the structure. There are two bedroom that share a bath in the west building. Each room is uniquely designed to provide interest and variety for the children.
The elliptical stair leads up to an adult sitting room, at the front of the house. The room is meant to serve as a quiet retreat, or an intimate place to sit with friends and family. Continuing up the stairs is the entry to the master suite. The bathroom is bright and gives the feeling of being outdoors by means of a large skylight. The master bedroom is small and cozy, and faces the backyard garden.
The first floor of the west house contains the dining room and kitchen, accessed from the living room through a glass link. The clients have guests that sometimes stay for extended periods in Chicago. At the front of the west house, a small guest apartment is provided with a separate entry from the street as well as a lockable door to the hallway adjacent to the kitchen.
The Owners and Architects worked together to design the Living Room to be the center of the home. Two areas separated by stairs create two sitting areas. The backyard and plantings become integrated with the interior by means of large windows. The connection to the adjacent building is defined by a large framed opening.
A young couple purchased two run down, post-fire homes in the Old Town District of Chicago and expressed a desire to combine the two properties into a single-family home. The homes were in an extreme state of disrepair. We worked closely with clients who were in love with the idea of living an historical home, but did not want to be confined to the aesthetics of the 1870’s – and besides, the original trim and plaster had long been removed. Here are some shots of the exterior – before and after. More on the interior next week
The stairs were completely reworked, using profiles of the original balusters to make the handrail code-compliant. Large oak veneer panels were sized to compliment the stairs in the hall.
The Conservatory is perched on the third floor, located over the guest room. Designed by Eifler & Associates, the glass house is fabricated from South African Mahogany and clad in copper in glass. The conservatory was manufactured in England, shipped to the site and installed by carpenters from the manufacturer near Oxford. The flooring is mosaic marble.