List Price: $1.499 million
The Property: Built in 1919 on a corner lot in Chicago’s Ravenswood Manor neighborhood, this house impresses on the outside with its brick construction and clay tile roof—and the spacious interior, with its many vintage details, is just as striking. So who cares if Charlie Chaplin or Rod Blagojevich never called the place home?
As you will see in the video, the front door opens onto a broad foyer with an extrawide staircase. Beyond the foyer, the living and dining rooms both have big windows, some of them with original leaded glass. The focal point of the very large living room is a hefty stone mantel that frames one of the home’s four fireplaces. Beyond the living room is a crescent-shaped sitting room with a wall of windows. A modern kitchen and a library—whose river-rock mantel and dark wall and ceiling paneling give the room a north woods feel—are also on the main floor. Elsewhere, there is an enormous knotty pine–paneled rec room adjacent to a wine cellar in the basement; an enclosed second-floor sun porch shared by two children’s bedrooms; a modern-size master bath and two outdoor terraces off the master bedroom; and a series of rooms on the third floor. Throughout the house, the wood trim appears, almost miraculously, never to have been painted.
Because the house is among Ravenswood Manor’s biggest and most prominently sited (it’s across the street from a little park in the center of the neighborhood), the seller’s agent, Katie Anderson, says that it is frequently mistaken for the home of the former governor Rod Blagojevich (the Blagojevich residence is actually about three blocks away). Instead, this house belongs to Bobby Burleson, the owner of several North Side restaurants and bars, including Kelsey’s, Kincade’s, and the Twisted Lizard.
“I can’t brag on [the house] enough,” Burleson told me five years ago when he bought the place. “It gets winter sunlight no matter what room you’re in.” Since then, he has renovated and updated some parts of the home. Burleson is selling the house because he is now divorced.
Anderson says that the house is believed to have been owned by someone associated with Essanay Studios, but the rumor that Charlie Chaplin lived there can’t be true: Chaplin lived in Chicago only briefly—five years before the house was built. In the 1980s, the home was owned by a religious order, the Diakonian Society.
Price Points: Burleson bought the house in December 2004, paying $1.25 million to the bank that had foreclosed on prior owners. That was the second time in less than a decade that the house had been taken back by lenders. The Diakonians sold it in 1990 to a buyer who was foreclosed in 1997, and the buyer in the ensuing bank sale was foreclosed in 2003.
Listing Agents: Katie Anderson and Stacy Braack of Sudler Sotheby’s International. Anderson: 773-412-8214; firstname.lastname@example.org. Braack: 773-405-4431