Walk through the four-bedroom Oak Park home with Dennis.
List Price: $990,000
The Property: Eben Ezra Roberts, who designed some 200 buildings in Oak Park, was the architect of this 100-year-old residence (known as the Charles Schwerin House), as well as its neighbor (the Charles F. Lorenzen House). Roberts fronted this house with a broad, shading porch and an enlarged, round-topped dormer. Inside, the main floor is filled with fine original craftwork, including vintage glass light fixtures, a tile mosaic floor, lots of handsome woodwork, and four different patterns of art glass that ornament the windows and interior doors.
Three of the patterns came from Roberts, while the fourth was added in the past 20 years, when the present seller, Bill McMahon, enclosed the open front porch (all four patterns appear in the video tour). Roberts’s three patterns are a cascading floral motif, another that is more abstract and angular, and, for the south-facing dining room, a grid pattern that bathes the room in light. On the porch, McMahon used a pattern that is much less dramatic—as if to emphasize that he wasn’t trying to compete with the spectacular originals, says the house’s listing agent Alice McMahon, who is related to Bill McMahon.
There is more appeal here than the 50 art glass panels. On the second floor there are five original bedrooms, three of them large, a sizable bathroom, and a space off the back stairs, where a servant’s room is now, that could be used for another bathroom. The top floor has been turned into a spacious master suite, nicely integrated into the home with a new extension to the original staircase. The kitchen is pleasant but could be remade into more of a contemporary gathering area using some of the space from an enclosed porch next to it. The garage (formerly a carriage barn) is the only reminder that this house was built in tandem with its neighbor: a single large structure bridges the property line, although each house owns its half of the garage outright.
Bill McMahon, a doctor, has owned the house for 23 years, during which time he did extensive renovation and maintenance—though as Alice McMahon says, he was lucky that the house’s original glass and wood, as well as its main level floor plan, were still intact when he bought the place.
Price Points: McMahon first listed the house for sale in December, at $1.6 million. Price cuts have taken it down to $990,000—quite a bargain for a fan of Prairie architecture or of Oak Park’s collection of historic homes. Another house in town sold for the same price last month: it was slightly bigger and more recently renovated, but it is a standard frame house lacking this one’s Oak Park look.
Listing Agent: Alice McMahon, RE/Max in the Village, 708-386-1400; email@example.com
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