A Bargain in Beverly
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List Price: $479,000
The Property: On a block in Beverly where no two houses look alike, one of the most intriguing is this Tudor, whose brick pattern sometimes goes a little crazy. That gives the façade a hand-built look, which is helped along by the weeping mortar between the bricks and the occasional stone protruding from the chimney.
Somebody—we don’t know who—built it that way in the early 1920s, and successive owners have carried on the handmade look inside. As you will see in today’s video, a variety of stained-glass windows adorn the living room, the dining room, and the office, all of them crafted by a former owner (the father of 19th Ward alderman Matt O’Shea). The wrought-iron stair spindles, the kitchen cabinet finishes, and other details are the handiwork of Megan Riordan, who has owned the house since 2006 with her husband, Brian. Those hand-done details elevate the home’s existing charms: a hefty stone fireplace, big crown moldings in the living room, and articulated arches around some interior doorways.
There has also been a lot of large-scale work done on the house by professionals. Since moving in, the Riordans have finished the basement into a very large family room and pub and opened up the kitchen to the dining room via an arch that complements the home’s original interior doorways. (See Price Points, below, for the couple’s other improvements.)
The Riordans moved into the house with one child; they now have four and have outgrown the place. That’s not to say it’s a small residence: there’s ample living and storage space in the home. There are three bedrooms on the second floor (one of them originally the master) and a large bedroom above that in what was the attic. As their family has grown, the Riordans have moved family members around to various rooms like chess pieces. The big bedroom on the second floor has been their master bedroom, a playroom, and now a room for two daughters; the third-floor bedroom became the master after upgrades to the bathroom and closets there.
The family has outgrown the house, but not Beverly, one of my favorite Chicago communities. The Riordans will move within the neighborhood because, aside from all the nearby relatives, they also have easy access to the shopping and dining on 95th Street and Western Avenue, the walkable hills in the neighborhood’s northern section, and the lovely Dan Ryan Woods.
Price Points: The couple paid $529,000 for the house in April 2006. Since then, they have spent about $108,000 on renovations. The list they provided is extensive. The biggest items are $40,000 on the basement, $16,000 on the kitchen, and $15,000 on landscaping (including significant improvements to the front entry area). They also upgraded the home’s electrical wiring and all light fixtures, installed new windows throughout, and air-conditioned the third floor. Thus, the couple has $637,000 in the home. Their asking price is 24.8 percent below that. That means they are asking 9 percent below what they paid six years ago—and throwing in all those improvements for free. “We’ve done our market research,” Megan Riordan says. “We know we’re going to lose money, but we think we’ll make it up when we buy something else.”