A Roomy Beauty in the Villa
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List Price: $1.19 million
The Property: In the early 20th century, the Villa neighborhood was advertised as “The Beauty Spot of the Northwest Side.” Its Arts and Crafts houses are still there, as are the landscaped parkways and the stone light posts (although those are now used as planters), and only a few out-of-character buildings have been added.
This stucco-and-shingle home, one of the Villa’s biggest houses, sits on its largest lot: 105 feet by 120 feet (about as wide as four standard 25 by 125 city lots). Built in 1909, the residence has been in the family of Laurie Bryan, the seller, for 35 years; she grew up there and later took it over from her parents. (Bryan is an acquaintance of mine, the friend of a former coworker, but to avoid any conflict of interest, I dealt only with her agents.)
From its broad front porch through to its two stories of screened back porches and its bay windows overlooking a huge side yard, the house typifies the Arts and Crafts ideal of weaving a home into its natural setting. As you will see in the video, that theme carries through to the interior, with its oak trim, built-ins, and ceiling beams. With a pocket door between the living and dining rooms, a brick fireplace with an oak mantel, and a built-in bench beneath a leaded-glass window in the foyer, the home has all the warm domesticity of its vintage.
But this is not strictly a period piece; it has been updated in some important ways. There’s the ceiling-mounted air conditioning, and in three sections of the house, the small original compartmentalized rooms have been combined into larger spaces more suited for modern living. The deep living room is a combination of what would have been two separate parlors. The kitchen is a large space that contains a big informal dining area—not to mention nice oak cabinetry that echoes the home’s original character. And the master suite combines what would have been at least three rooms, so that it now has a private bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a sitting room.
There are two more bedrooms (and a bathroom) on the second floor, and an 800-square-foot third floor that is now used as a single bedroom but could be divided into multiple rooms, transformed into a new master suite, or used as a family room. There’s also a nicely finished basement, a den off the kitchen, and those great rear porches.
The very large yard, billowy with ornamental grasses when we shot our video, has an aboveground pool, both intimate and sprawling garden spaces, and a two-car garage.
Price Points: The listing agent, John Calkins, notes that the big lot has four Parcel Identification Numbers registered with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds; with city approval, a large chunk of the side yard could be subdivided off and a new home built on it. Though a few years ago the yard might have been listed separately to attract a builder, “we think that nowadays it’s more likely that a big family that wants a lot of yard for the kids will take it,” Calkins says.
Listing Agent: John Calkins (773-259-1598; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kieran Conlon (773-474-1755; email@example.com) of Conlon: A Real Estate Company. More images of the home are here.