From Warehouse to Their House, in Bucktown
List Price: $3.275 million
The Property: An old triangular brick warehouse, last used as a distributorship for Polish folklore items, became a stylish home in the hands of the developers Bob and Karen Ranquist. The mix of original wood beams and brick with new wooden stairs, steel beams in the kitchen addition, and funky custom light fixtures by Toronto’s Castor design gives the home a warm, hand-honed feeling. The transformation is so extraordinary that the home appears in the September issue of Chicago’s sister publication, Chicago Home + Garden and the current Crate & Barrel catalog.
Today's real estate tour was also featured in the September issue of Chicago Home + Garden.
Working with the Seattle-based architectural firm Miller Hull Partnership, the Ranquists—who have built many contemporary homes in Bucktown and other Chicago neighborhoods—designed the place with the outdoors in mind (as you will see in the video). A glass wall in the kitchen slides open to a large terrace and the backyard, which contains, among other things, a sauna installed in part of an old shipping container. There is a large terrace off the second level and another very large terrace one flight up, adjacent to the master suite.
There is even outdoor space indoors, sort of: at the narrowest corner of the triangle, the design called for leaving out windows and roof to create an open atrium. From the street, this looks like a windowless urban ruin, but from inside, it leaves room for ample daylight to penetrate the living spaces. On the east side of the house, where a line of truck bays once stood, the house now has a wall of windows.
The primary space on the main floor is the sleek kitchen, outfitted with Arclinea cabinets and high-end industrial-look appliances. The second floor has a large open loft space and three bedrooms, one of which overlooks the atrium; the other two share a playful child-scaled bathroom. The master suite is a top-floor haven, with a mini kitchen, an egg-shaped bathtub in the sleeping room, and that big outdoor terrace.
Next door to the home is a defunct elevated rail line that is (slowly) being converted into the Bloomingdale Trail, a greenway or linear park. The city owns a lot next to the house and is planning to build access to the trail there, Karen Ranquist says. She describes her husband as an inveterate builder who wants to move on to another project, perhaps one that would put their home and work spaces in one building. “This is the fifth home that my eight-year-old has lived in,” she says.
Price Points: The last house I know of that sold at or over $3 million in Bucktown is the one that the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tracy Letts bought in May 2009, around the corner from the Ranquists’ house. At 6,873 square feet, that one went for about $436 a square foot; the Ranquists are asking $380 a square foot.
Listing Agent: Karen Ranquist of RCR Realty; 312-948-9700 or email@example.com.