List Price: $1.23 million
The Property: This 112-year-old home in Wheaton once served as a golf getaway for the Chicago engineer Charles Strobel, a pioneer in the development of the steel-frame skyscraper. Jarvis Hunt, who designed the house for Strobel and his first wife, Henrietta, was also the architect of the clubhouse at the nearby Chicago Golf Club, where Strobel was a founding member.
The house’s grounds originally encompassed 40 acres, including an elm-lined drive to the clubhouse. Later owners sold off most of that land, so that by the time Jeff Dean, the current owner, bought the house in 1994, the lot was just three-fourths of an acre. That’s still big for the neighborhood, and Dean has an ample lawn and pretty gardens surrounding his huge screened porch. (Some of Dean’s summertime photos of the yard are below.)
That porch is an integral part of the main section of the house, along with the large living room and dining room, with their beamed ceilings and other period finishes. Upstairs, his-and-hers bedrooms originally faced one another across a sitting room. The three rooms are now separate from one another but span the front of the upper floor, which overlooks the hilly neighborhood.
Dean and previous owners reconfigured what used to be the servants’ wing, the other piece of the L-shaped house. Downstairs, there is a large family room, a kitchen, and a breakfast room. The new owners might opt to combine these into a great room layout that is more in keeping with today’s lifestyles, but they would not have to mess with the lovely main rooms to do so. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a bath where once there was a maze of servants’ spaces.
Dean, a retired Ameritech executive now working as a real-estate agent, has done much of the restoration work himself. One of his best moves was opening up the staircase so that the interior of the home’s turret has greater visibility. Now planning to move to a smaller residence, Dean put the house on the market in autumn 2008.
Price Points: Dean paid $619,000 for the house 16 years ago and spent a lot on restoring the property, as well as on the new three-car garage and other upgrades. He initially listed the place for sale at $1.349 million, but he has reduced the price to $1.23 million. Dean notes that 25 of the 29 Wheaton homes currently listed for sale at $1 million or more are either new or of recent vintage. The other four (including Dean’s house) are situated near the Chicago Golf Club. Like Dean’s, two of those houses were designed by Jarvis Hunt. “Both are being marketed as teardowns,” says Dean. His is decidedly not.
Listing Agent: Jeff Dean (the owner of the home) of Baird & Warner; 630-942-6948 or email@example.com