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In a Modernist Mood—Oak Park

List Price: $650,000
The Property: On an Oak Park block of mostly traditional, two-story homes, this low, linear modernist house looks like the shy one. It has a long, almost blank brick façade; the only visible breaks are for the entry courtyard and the carport. (There is also a single set of windows, but landscaping hides them from view.)
But that street-front reticence disappears when you get inside, where the house…

List Price: $650,000
The Property: On an Oak Park block of mostly traditional, two-story homes, this low, linear modernist house looks like the shy one. It has a long, almost blank brick façade; the only visible breaks are for the entry courtyard and the carport. (There is also a single set of windows, but landscaping hides them from view.)

But that street-front reticence disappears when you get inside, where the house embraces the backyard. Thanks to the 70-foot expanse of floor-to-ceiling glass doors across the main living and dining area, outdoors and indoors mingle comfortably. “You don’t see much out front, but then you come in and see how it all opens up to the yard,” says Ed Panschar, who has lived here since 1995 with his wife, Kathleen. “The backyard is the number-one feature for us.”

That backyard is more an open-air extension of the home’s interior. Kathleen Panschar notes that with the glass doors open, circulation through the indoor and outdoor spaces becomes more fluid. “Entertaining here is very nice,” she says.

The house was built in 1962, designed by the architect Albert R. Belrose, who also designed the Malibu East condo tower on Sheridan Road and this home (whose owner doesn’t identify the location). The Panschars have configured this place as a two-bedroom house with an office, which could become a third bedroom. The residence might even become a four-bedroom home: a very large children’s bedroom has a movable accordion wall that can divide the space in half; a buyer could replace that with a permanent wall (each half of the room has its own closets and windows.)

As you can see in the video, the interior has a simple, unified look that comes from its horizontally laid red cedar paneling (any unpaneled walls are either brick or glass). The paneling lends a tone of nature-inspired calm that is enhanced by the many skylights and the feeling of being completely removed from the surrounding neighborhood.

Fourteen years ago, when they were new empty-nesters, the Panschars—he’s a retired marketing executive who is now on the management team at Oak Park’s Wednesday Journal—chose the house for its single-story floor plan and adjoining backyard. Now they plan to move to Alaska to live closer to the two granddaughters who helped them show me around the house.

Price Points: The Panschars bought the house in 1995 for $277,000, according to information at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Home values in Oak Park are about 150 percent higher now—even after the recent declines—according to information from Midwest Real Estate Data. That would put this home’s present value at around $692,00, without even accounting for the renovations the couple did over the years (in particular, to the kitchen). That means the Panschars’ asking price is likely 9.3 percent below the home’s approximate present value.

Listing Agent: The Panschars are selling without a real-estate agent. Contact them at 708-383-4947 or egpoakpark@msn.com.

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