This wood-filled mansion could easily house a family of 11.
Published Feb. 12, 2020, at 12:40 p.m.
Text by Alison Goldman
Mike Cohen and Jo Ellen Davey Cohen are well steeped in the history of their Oak Park home, a 10-bedroom (yes, 10) Arts and Crafts–style residence at 333 North Euclid Avenue. They know all about how, 130 years ago, wealthy businessman Paul Blatchford and his wife, Frances, purchased a house on this lot — but not this house. Seven years in, the Blatchfords had the original structure, a much smaller Italianate number, picked up and plopped a block away so that they could build something of their own creation. For that, they hired the architectural firm of Pond & Pond, best known for designing the Hull House Dining Hall and the Northwestern University Settlement House.
The Cohens, attracted by the lore as much as the look, purchased the house in the early ’90s and raised three kids there. “We’ve restored it twice,” Mike says. They took special care with the vintage oak woodwork throughout, stripping paint that previous owners had added. Now the Cohens, who are swapping Chicago winters for California sun, have put the 5,745-square-foot home on the market, listing it for $1.05 million.
The commanding ceiling beams in the foyer and sitting room, the expansive main staircase, and the wide front doors are all original. You’ll find six wood-burning fireplaces, including one in the living room that was “some two-by-fours, really nothing” when the Cohens moved in. In keeping with their restoration efforts, and to add some extra beauty (and more wood) to the room, the couple commissioned an artist to craft an intricate mantel modeled after the one in the dining room.
Of course, since it is a 19th-century house, there are some tradeoffs. There is no central air, for one. But the Cohens have updated the kitchen: In 2017, they opened it up so it could fit two islands and a large table, with the butler’s pantry off to one side.
The couple hope for new owners who will appreciate and maintain the home in much the same way they have. “We’ve always thought of ourselves as custodians of the house, as well as owners,” Mike says. “We feel that one of our legacies will be that we enhanced the historical value of the house.”