The Property: The elaborately carved façade of this 104-year-old, 8,500-square-foot Drexel Boulevard graystone only hints at the impressive workmanship inside—and provides even less information about the amount of work that will be required to update some parts of the house. First, a look at the place’s strong points, beginning in the entry hall, which, with its walnut wainscoting, beams, newel posts, and benches, resembles a chapel. The living and dining rooms are similarly impressive, while the library is a jaw-dropping composition of cherry-stained cabinets, paneling, and beams—with a mosaic tile mantel thrown in for good measure.
“This woodwork is unmatched anywhere in the city now, but it was probably typical for the neighborhood” when the house was built in 1903, says Malki Brown, the selling agent. His client, Tracy Epps, bought the house in 2006 intending to install a Montessori school there, but that plan did not work out.
Next to the library is the kitchen, a dingy little room with cheap cabinets and appliances. “This is where your work starts,” Brown says. The second and third floors are spacious and retain a few of their original details (some floor parquetry here, a bay window there), their impact diminished by previous owners who had a number of disastrous ideas, such as installing a third-floor catwalk that overlooks the second floor. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms is irrelevant: a buyer will most likely rearrange everything while renovating. The rear coach house has a six-car garage and a rentable apartment—and that still leaves room for a sizable backyard.
Price Points: Brown estimates that bringing the rest of the house up to par with the main rooms would approximately equal the price of the house as is, meaning a total investment of about $2.3 million. That’s a rare price for Kenwood. Nevertheless, the chance to preserve and live among the house’s antique finishes might appeal to someone who could afford it. And this South Side neighborhood is improving all the time, with a cluster of new shops and restaurants popping up recently along Cottage Grove Avenue to the west.
Listing Agent: Malki Brown, Coldwell Banker, (312) 545-5034