From Party Pad to Family Place, in Bucktown

List Price: $1.999 million
The Property: Bucktown has matured nicely over the past decade, as has this neighborhood house—though en route from party pad to high-end family home, it took a detour into foreclosure…

List Price: $1.999 million
The Property: Bucktown has matured nicely over the past decade, as has this neighborhood house—though en route from party pad to high-end family home, it took a detour into foreclosure. As I explain in today’s video, the renovations aren’t complete yet—the house officially hits the market in early February—but the developer Tomasz Litwicki, who bought the house out of foreclosure, and his interior designer, Patrycia Wierzba, helped me envision how the place will look when it’s finished.

The living room is the first place where the big corner windows appear, and although covered with paper while we were there, they will let in lots of daylight to complement the dark-stained wood floors and a wall of geometrical oak panels. Also coming is a wood-topped glass barrier around the opening to the basement stairs. Beyond that are an elevator and, up a few stairs, a large open kitchen.

Litwicki tells me the old kitchen had been a fire engine red that “burst out at you.” He was afforded the chance to start over because somebody had ripped it all out while the property was in distress. He’s planning an Italian-design contemporary kitchen, with tactile ribbed-front cabinets and quartz countertops. The kitchen opens to a big family room from which you can go either down to the ground-level yard or up to the expansive space atop the garage.

Still inside, you can also go ascend to a loft space above the family room. It’s part of the master suite, but open with a view over the family room and kitchen. The rest of the master floor includes a big master bath—not yet complete when I was there—finished with a large soaking tub and extensive cabinetry. The bedroom is at the front of the house, with a private balcony that looks into the neighborhood’s trees.

One flight up are the three family bedrooms. The front bedroom was a lavishly equipped movie room, which is a bit puzzling for two reasons. One: It has big corner windows that would have to be covered during showtime. Two: The basement—set up, says Litwicki, “almost like a Playboy mansion,” with a big Jacuzzi and stone arches—might have made a better in-house theatre. (The basement has been redone to be more family friendly, with a spa bathroom and a large room that could accommodate countless toys for kids and adults.) Now the former movie room is one of three bedrooms. It and another bedroom are at the front of this level, and the third is far enough removed that it could be cordoned off for a private in-law or nanny suite.

On the fourth floor are another bedroom, a full bath, and a large penthouse room that opens onto yet another outdoor space. Its views take in everything from the nearby Bucktown tower (officially the Northwest Tower) to downtown’s Trump Tower. This top floor is a great space for parties or families—or for both, because after all, families do throw parties.

Price Points: Prior to foreclosure, the house had been listed for as high as $2.649 million. Litwicki’s company got it for $780,500 in August; he and the listing agent, Tony Zaskowski, say much of the interior finishes and appliances were gone by then. The renovations have included putting in all new utilities and mechanicals—including tankless water heaters, six high-efficiency furnaces, and other green amenities. The two staircases have been rebuilt (using recycled materials), the elevator put back in working order, and the kitchen and baths completely updated. Down the street, a home with two fewer aboveground levels than this one and a more traditional look sold for $1.612 million earlier this month.

Listing Agent: Tony Zaskowski of Chicago Ultimate Properties; 773-328-7686 or tony@chicagoultimateproperties.com

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2 years ago
Posted by bdickus2001

"Bucktown has matured nicely over the past decade..." Seriously!?

You make it sound as if the neighborhood was not already long-established has no history.

Just because yuppies and hipsters have gentrified the neighborhood does not mean that it has "matured" only just recently.

I know your job is to write about real estate so as to promote Chicago Mag sales in affluent neighborhoods and secure F.I.R.E. industry advertising, but c'mon, get serious.

2 years ago
Posted by Dennis Rodkin

I agree, BDICKUS2001, Bucktown has definitely been on the upswing for far longer than a decade. It was already pretty great back in 1992, when Hillary Clinton was interviewed outside the Busy Bee and said, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies." I've been covering Bucktown--as well as Chicago's other neighborhoods, both affluent and not--since about that time and have watched its changes.

I wasn't suggesting that the neighborhood had no prior history. My point with that statement was to parallel the house and the neighborhood. The house is about a decade old, so for this particular report I was referencing that timeframe.

1 year ago
Posted by Dennis Rodkin

This one sold June 13 for $2 million. Two months after we ran the story above, when the house was complete and the market was popping, the asking price was increased to $2.199 million. Even so, at sale time it settled back down very near the January asking price of $1.999 million.

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