Up on the northern edge or Chicago, wedged between the Clayton F. Smith Forest Preserves and Niles, there’s a little three-square-block area called the Wildwood micro-neighborhood. It’s part of Edgebrook, which in turn belongs to the Forest Glen Community Area. And on Tonty Avenue, one of a short set between Caldwell and Lehigh Avenues, there’s a house on the market that’s remarkably faithful to the late-1930s Art Deco and Bauhaus architectural styles.
Local architect Alfred F. Schimek designed it with a light touch, beginning with a waterfall-like stone accent pouring down the façade from a porthole window. Inside, the three-bedroom home, there are lots of little accents throughout: cubbies for stashing trinkets or magazines; tiny shelves and mantelpieces; a pistachio-colored half wall; glass blocks; and a rare cupboard-style pink refrigerator.
The home is also being sold with midcentury modern light fixtures in the dining room and master bedroom, which, taken together, value several thousand dollars. Added by the original owners in the 1950s, they stand as great design complements. The living room’s splendid Art Deco fireplace is also a nice touch.
It isn’t huge—including the garage-top addition and a basement hangout, you’re still talking under 2,000 square feet. And there’s just one bathroom. Listing agents Cam Benson and her daughter Jill Cunningham of @properties suggest a buyer could push the house out into the backyard—a its large wooded space with crushed stone paths and a patio—while preserving its architectural stature on the block.
The city gave the house an “orange” rating in its 1995 Historical Resources Survey, meaning it “possesses some architectural feature or historical association that made it potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community.” Close to 10,000 properties in the city of Chicago are orange-rated. Homeowners are mostly free to modify under this designation, but proposed alterations to the façade can come under community review.
For the price of $484,900, you could take your picke of a few homes in Wildwood, some with more space and an extra bathroom or two. But this one has no architectural equal. On a visit to the home at the start of a Sunday open house—less than an hour before Germany and Argentina played at the World Cup final—the little place was packed with house hunters.
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