List Price: $739,000
The Property: In March 2010, the developer Sa Schloff bought somebody else’s botched attempt to turn a two-flat into a single-family home. The first floor had been gutted, the second was a mess, and the work needed to make the place habitable would be extensive. But Schloff saw the proverbial “great bones”: the building was a classic Chicago brick front-bay structure on an extra-wide lot in a good location.
“It seemed like it could become the perfect home for a family,” Schloff says. “You just had to get past the condition it was in then.” With large, open rooms that blend formal and informal, a bright and spacious kitchen, and little extras like a second-floor loft space for studying, the home now feels like a family magnet.
Schloff, an artist and photographer, has rehabbed some multifamily properties in Edgewater and West Rogers Park in partnership with her father. While they were larger buildings, they were smaller projects than this one, which entailed everything from creating the interior floor plan to relandscaping the lot. From the new front porch all the way through to the new alley garage, there’s hardly anything that hasn’t been changed other than the solid brick exterior of the building.
Working with the architect Mindy Wilkin of Wieland & Wilkin and the contractor Daniel Gurau of Above & Beyond, Schloff created a lovely home. One touch that sets it apart from most city residences is the side entrance through a mud room and laundry room—a good place to deal with all the mess of family living while allowing unimpeded access from the rear of the house to the deck and yard.
While the crown moldings and big wooden window and doorframes are rooted in the home’s past, the kitchen and bathrooms bring it forward with contemporary finishes. The three second-floor bedrooms are nice and bright, and both the master bath and the hall bath have heated floors (most often, I see that only in the master bath). The basement contains a large family room and an additional bedroom, but they were under construction when I visited the property. (There is also space for a bathroom if a buyer wants one there.)
Schloff attended to all the important details such as tuck pointing and installing new plumbing and electrical systems, but she’s especially excited to show off the more visible touches. That includes a bench built outside the side-entrance door as a place to rest groceries while unlocking the door, and the fun, up-to-the-minute light fixtures she chose for some rooms. “I think it turned out really cute,” she says.
Price Points: Schloff paid $240,000 for the property in March 2010. It was a bank-sanctioned short sale, but not yet a foreclosure sale (although the bank had initiated foreclosure proceedings in June 2008, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds). The sellers had paid $500,000 for it in June 2006; that means Schloff got it at a 67 percent discount, because of its gutted and rundown state. Putting in nearly another $500,000 to get it into its present condition would not have been wise if she’d bought it at market rate. “That discount is what puts the [finished] home at such a good price,” says her agent, Mike Hobin.