Merry Olde Evanston
List Price: $2.59 million
The Property: From its large turret to its leaded-glass windows and beamed ceilings, this well-kept home from 1893 (with a 1930s addition) contains many attractive Tudor details. There are also assorted niches, both out in the open—the living-room inglenook overlooking the terrace—and tucked away: the little step-down space off a bedroom that one of the sellers’ agents calls “the Harry Potter room.”
Situated near Northwestern University, the three-story home faces Sheridan Road in Evanston from behind a brick garden wall. Only the kitchen and two of the six bedrooms are exposed to noise from the road, which isn’t that bad to begin with. Most of the other rooms, oriented toward the back of the house, have views across a cluster of homes toward Lake Michigan, about 40 yards to the east. (This house and the other seven homes in the cluster share rights to the lakefront, but they do not have a beach, only the low rocky bluff.) There is also an attached, rentable one-bedroom coach house at the residence’s north end.
The sellers, Dan and Kathy Bird, bought the house in 1996 for a price they would not disclose (and that is not clear in Cook County records). The place was in good shape then, said Dan Bird; all he and his wife had to do was rebuild the chimneys, update the kitchen appliances, and transform the unfinished basement into a livable space.
As you will see in the video, the house has many of the comforts of the old homes I loved visiting in England. The large living room has a big fireplace, as well as an adjacent library (with great lake views) and a slate-floored sunroom that open onto the raised back terrace. Extending off the other end of the living room is a large dining room with a beamed ceiling and another fireplace. The dining room and the bedroom above it are set at a diagonal to the rest of the house. “They’re surrounded by trees, and you feel like you’re out in the country,” Dan Bird pointed out.
The route to the two upper floors run through the turret, where a broad staircase landing seems the ideal place to sit and enjoy the sun coming in through the tall windows. The master suite has a very large bedroom (with another lake view), a bathroom, an office, and a dressing room that may originally have been a nursery. There are two other bedrooms (including the angled one) on the same floor, and two bedrooms and a large bath, with an antique double sink, on the top floor.
Price Points: The Birds first listed the house for sale in May 2010 at $2.7 million; they reduced the asking price last fall. A house in the same lakefront cluster is on the market for $2.795 million; a Georgian revival–style home from 1927 that was designed by the architects Tallmadge & Watson, that house is nearer to Lake Michigan than today’s property.