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List Price: $5.8 million
The Property: When this Gold Coast mansion belonged to the surgeon George Isham and his wife, Katherine, its palatial ballroom hosted Theodore Roosevelt and Admiral Robert Peary. But past presidents and polar explorers fade in comparison to the home’s most notorious denizen, Hugh Hefner, who lived and played in the house between 1959 and 1974.
Few Hefner relics remain in today’s property, the largest of seven condos created in the building in the early 1990s. But the condo’s magnificent—57 feet long, 27 feet wide, 28 feet tall—original ballroom remains intact, though it’s been repurposed. “It’s the most spectacular living room I’ve ever seen in the city of Chicago,” says the condo’s listing agent, Katherine Chez Malkin.
As you will see in today’s video, the room features carved pillars, sumptuous paneling, and painted ceiling beams. Acknowledging that some people might find the decor a little overpowering, Chez Malkin had an interior designer create a rendering of what the room could look like with its dark wood trim redone in lighter tones (you can see that in the video too).
This is the only full-floor condo in the mansion. (Designed for the Ishams by James Gamble Rogers, the house, at 1340 North State Parkway, dates to 1899.) With nearly 7,500 square feet, the condo spreads out like a large single-family home. A central area holds the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, an office, and a library; there are three bedrooms and a family room in the west wing; and the east wing contains the master suite. The only room where the original wood has been painted—with a white-and-cream palette that enhances the natural light streaming in through south and east windows—is the master bedroom. A large master bath and a wood-paneled study with a fireplace complete the suite.
The dining room, about 15 feet by 20 feet, is on the condo’s south side, with built-in bookcases and tall windows overlooking a shared garden. (The garden appeared in a tour I did last year of another condo in the mansion; that condo hasn’t sold, but it’s now off the market.) The kitchen, though big and finished with glass upper cabinet doors and a large island, is somewhat isolated for current tastes. Chez Malkin suggests that a buyer could open it up to the adjacent family room. Both the kitchen and the family room look onto a sheltered porch big enough for eating and sitting areas; opening the two rooms to one another would create a large indoor-outdoor family gathering area.
Next to the kitchen, in what was one a bridge space between the Ishams’ home and one they built next door for relatives, is a television and reading room. Formerly Hefner’s bedroom, it’s trimmed in stone lion heads and curvaceous wooden fruit.
Price Points: The condo first went on the market in July, with an asking price of $6.7 million.