List Price: $949,000
The Property: Lake Michigan may not resemble the Mediterranean Sea, but here and there along its shores, Chicagoans have built some Mediterranean-style homes—including charmers like this one, with its abundant gardens and its two-story tower reaching for the sun. Creamy orange-sherbet stucco, a clay tile roof, and round-edged window insets give the house the ambience of a miniature resort—and that’s what it might once have been.
The sellers, Phillip and Fran Huscher, and their agent, Adele Bensinger Curtis, wonder if the house was built as a summer home intended to be stuffed with guests. Built in Highland Park in 1924 and two blocks from Lake Michigan, the house has four bedrooms, three with their own attached bathroom. (The two downstairs bedrooms are currently used as offices.) People today are fond of their “en suite” bathrooms, but back then, this arrangement must have seemed quite posh.
It’s certainly a hospitable place, beginning with the brick-paved courtyard out front and continuing through the two-story foyer and into the sunken living room with its large windows and garden views. There is a big dining room, a small, informal kitchen, and a sitting room that the Huschers call their “garden room” because it leads out to the back patios and lush gardens. (My photos and video were shot on a rainy day last week, before everything popped to life. This listing shows summer shots of the garden.) The Mediterranean Revival touches extend from the small light sconces to the large-pattern clay tile floor in the hallway and kitchen. The carved limestone mantel, the tile in some bathrooms and the foyer, and some of the hefty interior doors are all original to the house.
For me, a southern Californian transplanted to Chicago, the house felt like many I’ve loved in such Pacific coast towns as La Jolla, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Newport Beach. Phil Huscher, the program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, agrees. He first saw the house in the early1990s, when he and his wife were plotting a move from a downtown condo to accommodate their two large dogs. As he recalls, “I looked out the garden door and said, ‘People don’t live like this in Chicago; they do this in California.’”
Price Points: Planning a return to city living, the Huschers initially put the house on the market in August 2008. At the time, they were asking $989,000, but they have since reduced the price by $40,000.
Listing Agent: Adele Bensinger Curtis of Prudential Preferred Properties, 847-460-5420; firstname.lastname@example.org