List Price: $1.185 million
The Property: Thoroughly renovated and loaded with great finishes, this century-old greystone in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood is half a block from Bell Elementary, one of the city’s finest public grade schools, and three blocks from Lane Technical High School.
The home was formerly a two-flat—like many in the neighborhood—but it was converted into a single-family home in 2003 by the Wilcox Company, which installed, among other things, a wide suburban-style kitchen-breakfast-family room that you don’t often get in an older city home. The couple who bought it from Wilcox, Michael and Andrea Piraino—he’s the Michael Anthony of the four Michael Anthony Salons—significantly upgraded many of the finishes, adding a wine cellar and entirely redoing the kitchen. “I thought we had done a pretty good job in here, but they went us one better,” says Howard Wilcox, whose son, Joe, showed me around in today’s video.
Why did they buy a brand-new place only to redo it? “They wanted to be in this area,” he says. “The Bell School is a major draw.” So is the very walkable neighborhood, which has an old-time unified look that comes from its numerous classic brick two-flats. It’s also within easy reach of major transportation routes, either by car or by CTA.
As you will see in the video, the kitchen that the Pirainos installed is lovely, and thanks to the lot’s extra width—it’s 30 feet by 125 feet; the city standard is 25 by 125—the kitchen is beside the family room instead of the two being front to back, which can make a big difference in the flow of daily living. The home has large living and dining rooms, a skylight over the stairs, and a cozy nook near the front bedroom, one of three bedrooms on the second floor. The big master bedroom has a large bath and is outfitted with contemporary fixtures, double closets, and a balcony that overlooks the backyard. In the high-ceilinged basement are the wine room, a large guest room and bathroom, and a media room whose rear half the Pirainos converted into a home gym. A two-car garage sits out back on the alley.
Price Points: The Pirainos—who, Wilcox says, have another home they’re moving into—paid $820,000 for this house in 2003, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Their upgrades included (along with those mentioned above) landscaping the backyard—including a spacious two-level deck with a remote-controlled sun shade overhead—new flooring on the main floor, and custom stairs, stair rails, and interior doors. “They’re not asking for anything more than they’ve spent on it,” Wilcox says. In addition, they are offering to throw in all of the outdoor furniture, as well as the exercise equipment in the basement. I can’t estimate what that is worth, but there’s a lot of it, and it’s premium equipment.