Living Outside the Box in Northbrook
List Price: $875,000
Sale Price: $840,000
The Property: “Northbrook is a subdivision town,” says Nancy Gibson. “Almost everything is boxes. I live in one.”
Gibson is the agent who listed and quickly sold this distinctly unboxy Northbrook house. Built in 1998 for Thomas and Marcia Fritz, the home combines a Prairie-style and Arts and Crafts aesthetic on the exterior, while the interior was laid out with the principles of feng shui in mind. Trees slightly obscure my photo of the home’s façade; click on the listing for a shot taken earlier in the year that shows more clearly the charming combination of a steep chalet roof on one side and a projecting bay on the other. A photo of the back of the house shows large porches on the first and second floors.
Inside, there’s a library, a screen porch, transom windows above interior doors, a staircase with a Prairie-style handrail, and, in the kitchen, a distinctive detail: a window in place of a backsplash between lower and upper cabinets. “There was a lot of attention paid to building this house,” Gibson says. “It’s a unique design for this area.”
And a lot of attention when it went on the market. Gibson says that she lost count of the calls from people who just wanted to see inside because they had always loved the house when driving by. Only serious home-shoppers were shown the inside, but that amounted to 30 potential buyers—and five offers on the house. The house went under contract March 14, just ten days after going on the market. The sale closed June 7, to buyers not yet identified in public records. The Fritzes, who were planning a move into the city, did not return my call.
Price Points: Gibson says that, just after she did a price estimate for the Fritzes, “we started seeing an uptick in the market around here.” That meant she didn’t have to prepare her clients to see the house sell for an amount down around $800,000, as she had fretted she would have to. “That was great, after four years of downticking,” she says, and it resulted in a sale at 96 percent of what the sellers were asking. The Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no information on what the Fritzes paid for the lot, and Gibson did not say what they spent to build the house.