The Time-Traveler’s Life, Lincoln Park

List Price: $1.99 million
The Property: Two distinct eras in Lincoln Park’s history—its late-1870s boom years and its 1970s revival—coexist beautifully in this row house. The façade’s decorative cornice and carved window coping are hallmarks of the first era, while inside, the gracefully curved hanging staircase and piano-shaped ceiling of the master bedroom are signs of the second era’s inventiveness…


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List Price: $1.99 million
The Property: Two distinct eras in Lincoln Park’s history—its late-1870s boom years and its 1970s revival—coexist beautifully in this row house. The façade’s decorative cornice and carved window coping are hallmarks of the first era, while inside, the gracefully curved hanging staircase and piano-shaped ceiling of the master bedroom are signs of the second era’s inventiveness.

The building has three units: each of the first two floors is a separate rental, and the top three floors belong to the homeowner. (Exterior photos make it appear to be just four floors high; the fifth-floor addition is only in the rear, to preserve the historic look.)

The owner’s main floor—the building’s third—retains its tall Italianate windows overlooking the street, but everything from there back was redone in the renovation. You will see in the video that the showpiece on this level is the staircase, which seems to curve down from the sky, thanks to sunlight pouring down from two flights above. Both it and the floors and other woodwork in the home were further updated with a dark, almost-black finish by Maria Rodriguez and Brad Cole, the sellers, when they bought the home in 2006.

“The curve was here, the drama was here, but [Rodriguez] really took it up a notch when she ebonized the floors,” said Emily Sachs Wong, the agent who listed the property in February. She also pointed out a smart, nearly imperceptible change that Rodriguez made: on the big white sidewall of the interior, she did a two-tone paint treatment of flat and semi-gloss paint that enhances the impact of the sunlight coming in.

The sellers had a similarly deft touch when updating the kitchen, retaining the white 1980s cabinetry and a mirrored backsplash while bringing in stainless steel appliances and new granite. The kitchen opens to a family room at the back of the house and a terrace beyond that.

On the owner’s second level (the fourth floor of the house), the master bedroom, with its distinctive ceiling, is at the front, with a curved wall leading to the dressing and bathroom areas. The sellers updated the master bath with contemporary fixtures and cabinetry. Two more bedrooms are at the other end of this floor. Should the new owner desire more space, Sachs Wong suggested that the second-floor rental could be easily combined into this home.

The top floor is a combination of office and family room with a kitchenette and a built-in banquette that keeps that 1970s vibe going (in a good way). Behind it is a rooftop terrace that faces north to a view that includes the Belden-Stratford.

Price Points: The two rentals go for a combined $3,600 a month, enough to pay off the $26,918 tax bill and still cover more than $1,000 of the monthly mortgage payment. 

Listing Agent: Emily Sachs Wong of Koenig & Strey Real Living; 312 286 0800 or Emily@eswchicago.com

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