List Price: $349,000
The Property: Even for Jackson Park Highlands, a South Side neighborhood where you can often find great older homes at a deep discount, this Tudor’s price is a grabber.
A handsome, well-maintained 4,000-square-footer on a double lot, it has many vintage details intact inside, including stained glass animals or heraldry in nearly every window, a gorgeous tile fireplace, and walnut trim all around. The neighborhood is sweet, like a suburban setting in the city, with a golf course at the end of the block, roads arranged so that cross-traffic doesn’t intrude, and blocks of ravishingly beautiful older homes.
If you’re already interested, maybe you should stop reading and go check out the house, because there are already a couple of offers in just nine days after it came on the market. Nothing’s been accepted yet, the home’s agents tell me. “You can definitely still get in and see if you want to make an offer,” said Sybil Martin, the Coldwell Banker agent who’s representing the house along with Paulette Edwards.
Built in 1927 in the very lovely Jackson Park Highlands section of South Shore, the house for the past 30-plus years was home to the family of Circuit Court judge George W. Cole. Cole died in 2003, and his widow, Vernita, recently relocated. (Thus the home is empty, making some of the photos look more barren than the house would be if still furnished.)
The Coles “maintained this house meticulously,” Martin says. The original slate roof looks to be in fine shape, the two porches and the driveway have recently been rebuilt, and the kitchen, while its cabinetry is dated, has new granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Those are all practical things a buyer can feel reassured about, but what really shines in this house is the historical character. It starts with a very large living room, 30 by 15 feet, with a stunning fireplace at one end that is decorated with ceramic peacocks, poppies, and grapevines. They’re complemented by the hardwood flooring, the walnut trim, and big, sunny windows with the stained-glass insets.
The dining room and a sunroom are similar in character, although in the sunroom the flooring changes to charming vintage tile. The kitchen is big enough to accommodate a breakfast area or a new island.
There are three bedrooms on the second floor. The master is as big as the living room, although it might shrink a bit if the new owners create bigger closets and/or a direct connection to what’s now a hallway bath. The other two bedrooms are sized to house two children each (if you’re still willing to do that), and one has a tandem attachment surrounded by windows that would make a pleasant homework room or playroom.
There’s room for expansion both up and down. The full-sized attic could become a new master suite, and the basement has two large rooms, both with heated floors, that could be a teen bedroom suite and a family room.
While there’s charming vintage tile in the kitchen and upstairs baths that would be fun to save, the basement bath is a festival of glass brick, and one of the older bathrooms is a somewhat lurid lavender that could go.
Those changes can come later—and should be easier to afford given the rock-bottom price. Of course, given the interest in the house, the ultimate buyer might pay more than the asking price.
Price Points: The house was on the market last fall at $499,999. it went off in November and came back January 14 at the present price. The sellers, Martin says, “don’t want to play around with the price. They just want it over with.” They intentionally “priced it below the market,” she says.
The house immediately behind this one—bigger by about 1,000 square feet—is asking $575,000. This sweetheart nearby sold for $413,000 in November. There’s also a much bigger and fancier home a few blocks away that I spotlighted here in September; it sold in December for $845,000.
3 years ago