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List Price: $1,999,000
The Property: No matter what the temperature is outside, it’s always the fifties inside this Glencoe home. Built in 1955, the house has one entire side of glass, facing the steep ravine at the edge of the lot.
That may come as a surprise to people who see or approach the house from the side facing the road, because from there, it looks low and obscure. The house’s architect, Henry L. Newhouse II, saved the drama for the window side. But he got visitors to the door via a nice paved courtyard between the house and garage and fan-shaped front steps.
Then inside the door, pow: A wall of glass runs along the entire dining, living, and family rooms and frames the lawn, trees, and slope. With travertine marble floors, white walls, and low furniture, the home has most of its 1950s elegance intact, especially visible in the double fireplace that separates the living and family rooms. On the more formal living room side, the mantel is a sleek aperture of marble, while in the informal room next door, it’s a big, comfy composition that includes a built-in fireside bench, a cooking grill, and a sizable metal chimneypiece. It’s easy to imagine the lettermen’s sweaters that the original occupants of the home wore while gathered here.
The home has a preserved 1950s-to-1970s comfort because it has had only two owners in its 57 years. Gerald and Adrienne Frankel bought the house from its original owners in 1977 and made few changes. But they maintained the house and updated mechanicals meticulously, says Judy Sklare, the agent who is now selling the house for the estate of Adrienne, who died earlier this year. Gerald died in 1995.
The house feels much as it must have in 1955. In the kitchen, there’s an original light fixture, a classic old fridge (still working, complete with stainless steel trim on its white front and a sky blue interior), and a gigantic picture window from which you might watch the milk man deliver, or Dad come whistling home from work. It looks so right for its original period that Sklare says it fools some buyers: “They walk in and think it must all be obsolete and have to be redone right away, but it was all updated in the 1990s. They just stayed close to the original look.”
Also in the 1990s, the Frankels expanded the original master suite. There are now two separate walk-in dressing rooms, each with its own bath. The bedroom itself is big, too, and on one side, continues the home’s main wall of glass. The view is more intimate here, as the ravine creeps closer to the house.
Upstairs are two bedrooms—in one of which, as you’ll see in our video, I think I found the furniture from my boyhood bedroom. Between them is a playroom area. Because these bedrooms sit higher than the rest of the house, the view is of treetops and the ravine to Lake Michigan, one lot away from this home.
There is another bedroom adjacent to the kitchen, most likely intended for a housekeeper. It could become a study or workout room. The basement has a genuine 1950s-style rumpus room, complete with wood paneling. There’s also a large section of the basement used for storage that could be converted to family use.
Price Points: The 3,680-square-foot home stands on slightly more than an acre on a secluded street in Glencoe. According to Sklare, in June the township assessor pegged the home’s value at $2.873 million, or within the range of $2.126 million to $3.620 million. Whichever you prefer—the single number or the range—the assessor believes the home is worth more than the sellers are asking for it.