List Price: $1.250 million
The Property: This extensively renovated Lake View house, which dates to 1887, has one foot in the past and one in the present. A four-year rehab earlier this decade opened up the floor plan to enhance the kind of casual flow preferred today while carefully maintaining the feeling of a vintage home. Only a freestanding fireplace, for instance, separates the living room from the dining room, but soffitted ceiling beams and carpentry-finished support pillars retain the suggestion of a separate enclosure around each space.
“I don’t like to have the disconnect of having a historical home on the outside, but inside there’s this massive, open contemporary floor plan,” says David Smith, who is selling the home with his partner, Anthony Swanke. “People sometimes walk through the house and say, ‘Oh, it’s all been preserved so well,’” when in fact the entire interior is new.
The renovation happened in part because of a missing foot: the lot, on a quiet block close to the dining and entertainment venues around Belmont and Sheffield avenues, is just 24 feet wide, compared to the city norm of 25. Because of that, says Smith, “it wasn’t a good candidate for a teardown.”
In their renovation, the couple brightened the interior considerably, adding windows and skylights that bring daylight into all three aboveground floors. They created a nice but not large kitchen and a family room in the rear of the first floor, where there had formerly been an enclosed porch. Two bedroom suites share the second floor with a home office and a kitchenette (where another bedroom might have been). In total, the house has five bedrooms and four-plus baths.
The small balcony off the master bedroom affords a view of the vintage homes and big trees along the street. But the preferred view is from a larger balcony, a room-size terrace off the rear of the top-floor bedroom. From there you can look down on the crisp geometry of the landscaped rear yard and the alley garage, made up with French doors so that it looks like an old guest cottage.
Price Points: Smith and Swanke are building a new house in Highland Park. They initially listed this Lake View house in early March at $1.349 million but cut the asking price by $99,000 a month later.