Hooked on the Classics, in Oak Park
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List Price: $1.048 million
The Property: From its green tile roof to the frieze over the front windows and entry, this Oak Park house offers a classic welcome. Its Mediterranean exterior speaks of the 1930s, but inside, where the grace of that era is still intact in the large rooms, walnut doors, and vintage features, the home has been entirely updated in the past eight years—that is, since the interior designer Amy Calain moved in.
“You can tell the home was originally built for entertaining,” says Patsy Bonniwell, the agent for the home, “and the updating has just made it better for that.” The living and dining rooms have crown moldings, big windows, and generous proportions. A stellar kitchen and a family room that were both remodeled down to the studs by Calain complement those rooms.
You will see in our video that these main rooms, as well as the broad main hallway and staircase, are exquisite, but that the kitchen is a standout. Handsome custom cabinetry—some of it smartly concealing the refrigerators, microwave oven, and dishwasher—surrounds the room, and the silver trough sink is a good, unusual companion for the stainless steel appliances.
On the second floor are four bedrooms and three baths, among them a master bath outfitted with a glass booth shower and a mirrored wall of cabinets that help the bath straddle the line between antique and contemporary. Next door, the master bedroom is very big and sunny, with a pretty view across the street to the vast lawns of Taylor Park. At the back of the bedroom floor is a large flat rooftop space over the family room that could be developed into a terrace or additional indoor space, such as a second-floor family room.
The basement has a big family room and office area, as well as a laundry room I envy. Behind the house is a small, formal garden organized into lounging and dining spaces, as well as a three-car garage.
While Calain did a lot of visually pleasing updates and decorating, she also tended to the practicalities. She installed air conditioning, but perhaps more important, she had interior storm windows custom-designed to preserve the look of the exterior while also dramatically reducing the wintertime heat loss and year-round drafts associated with the old metal-frame windows. In all, Bonniwell says, “this house is in extraordinarily good condition.”
Price Points: Calain bought the house in 2003 for $885,000. Factoring in the ample sum she spent on updating the house, Calian’s asking price is “considerably” below her total investment, Bonniwell says (though she would not divulge that amount). The house originally went on the market in September listed at $1.098 million.