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Buy This Renovated Bucktown Cottage with Garage-Top Deck for $570,000

The three-bedroom home has vaulted ceilings, modern amenities, and a huge garage-top deck.

This wood-frame worker’s cottage is on a mesmerizingly calm Bucktown block.   Photo: Ian Spula

In the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, serious buyers outnumber window shoppers, so what better time to list a seductive 1920 Bucktown cottage one block from non-stop bustle of North, Damen, and Milwaukee Avenues? The market for an updated, compact three-bedroom home on a secluded laneway in this part of town is guaranteed, so crowd control is a broker’s concern. The other reason this listing is in good shape is that, for $569,900, this is a plausible condo or town home alternative. Believe it or not, that’s the price point for a lot of three-bed condos around here, too, even some two-beds.

The 1,120-square-foot home listed last Wednesday and had 14 showings by Saturday. Sunday’s open house probably turned out at least that again. The early 1990s interior build-out was so smartly imagined and nicely renovated that it stands a great chance of avoiding teardown status. Also, important amenities are in place for today’s discerning young family: a two-car garage; high-end custom kitchen; lofted second level with a master suite; and a 440-square-foot garage-top deck and pergola, attached to the master. Sellers Jonathan Zielinski and his wife built the new kitchen and the deck. “The ivy I planted five years ago blocks out the alley,” says Zielinski. “And we started hosting movie nights where we’d project onto the side of the neighboring house.”

A monster fireplace frames up the vaulted living area, and the kitchen huddles beneath the loft’s office space. The open staircase is built with reclaimed timber from the former Wilson basketball factory across the street. Beside the kitchen is a utilitarian dining area and behind that two smaller bedrooms. Supplementing the back deck’s crucial outdoor space is a small front patio, actually usable on a block as quiet as this.

The block was considerably less serene 10 years ago, when the sellers purchased the place. “There used to be bro bars at the end of the block, and empties would pile up on our sidewalk on the weekends,” says Zielinski. “Now there’s a Nike Store and a bunch of gourmet doughnut shops. When you want it, you can still find a rowdier scene on Milwaukee without much trouble.” The sellers have two energetic kids and are eyeing something a little more spacious and affordable on the Northwest Side.

Price Points: The sellers paid $465,000 for the house in 2004, and, considering the updates and maintenance executed under their watch, $569,900 is a fair mark-up. As well as being priced competitively with condos, the property is also a standout among its fellow nearby cottages, most of which are priced similarly and lacking in improvements. I did find two close comps on Wabansia Avenue near Wood Street and on Honore Street just south of North Avenue.

Jack Farioli of @properties has the listing.

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