List Price: $2.6 million
The Property: Beginning in the late 1920s, Sol Kogen and Edgar Miller, two former classmates at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, transformed a faded Victorian mansion in Lincoln Park into what Kogen originally hoped would become an artists’ compound like those he had seen in Paris’s Montmartre district. Unable to rein in their urge to ornament, the pair (joined by some of their artist friends) created a building—called Carl Street Studios (its address today is 155 West Burton Street)—that overflowed with intricate carvings, elaborate tile floor patterns, and other sui generis finishes.
In the mid-1980s, Kogen’s daughter sold the all-rental property to Mark Mamolen, who did an extensive renovation, even bringing Edgar Miller back from California to create some new decorative finishes. Mamolen combined two of the larger studios to make his own home; he later sold his place to Bob Shapiro and Ginger Farley, who bought and incorporated a third unit into the mix.
The result is a 5,500-square-foot home that overlooks a semiprivate courtyard on the building’s west side. There are enough artful details in the home to fill an exhibit catalog, but to me, the standouts are in the main living room: a soaring set of diamond-patterned leaded glass windows seated above a handsome mural of animals that enwraps a seating nook. (I’m also smitten with a family room wall that has a grid of bottle-bottom windows—just because you don’t see that often enough.)
Elsewhere there are numerous carved animals, patterned windows, and unexpected bits of handicraft, all set off by creamy plaster walls. Some of Miller’s second-round work is in this home, and his signature can be seen in one window. (We got as much of the detail as we could into today’s video tour.) The property has 12 rooms, but they are arrayed over such a jigsaw puzzle of floor levels that it feels as if they go on forever. The building’s west courtyard, complete with a fishpond, is open to all the building’s residents, but because only this condo opens onto it, it’s a de facto front yard. There is also a nice rooftop deck.
Price Points: Shapiro and Farley first listed the property with an asking price of $3.1 million; they have since reduced it by 16 percent. (They would not comment on the listing.) There is also a 1,600-square-foot two-bedroom unit for sale in the building, priced at $649,000.
Listing Agent: Millie Rosenbloom of Baird & Warner, 312-980-1517; email@example.com
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