Walk past the sphinx and into this 1880’s Gold Coast home with Dennis.
List Price: $2.45 million
The Property: One of a pair of limestone homes built in the early 1880s, this nine-room, three-story Gold Coast house has a stately charm inside, from the columns that frame the open dining room to the Second Empire mantelpiece in the living room. Original details—such as the hefty wood front door and the herringbone-patterned wood privacy panels on the front of a window bay—mingle comfortably with later additions, such as deep crown moldings and those columns.
The first floor also has a very nice but slightly dated DeGiulio kitchen. The second floor is all master suite, with a bedroom (with antique porcelain mantel) and bath at one end, and a very large family room or study at the other. Two bedrooms share the smaller third floor, with roof space behind them that, although it is now empty, almost shouts that it wants to have a terrace built over it. Out back is an unusually large yard for the Gold Coast; the house is on a rare 150-foot-deep lot, which accommodates both a nicely landscaped garden and a full-size garage.
Tom and Karen Phillips bought the house 20 years ago, when ATT transferred Tom from New Jersey to Chicago. (In New Jersey, it turns out, Tom was the boss of my uncle, whose name is also Dennis Rodkin, although Tom and I didn’t figure out the connection until we met in the house.) The Phillipses had always lived in suburban areas, but they decided to try city living for once. Two decades later, still smitten with the neighborhood but ready to downsize, they are looking for a place “where Karen can still be within walking distance of Bistrot Zinc,” Tom says. The couple listed this house for sale with Nancy Joyce of Koenig & Strey GMAC in December, with an asking price of $2.45 million.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, this was the home of Benjamin Baldwin, an interior architect who rose to national prominence after he moved to New York and collaborated with the architects I. M. Pei and Edward Larrabee Barnes. Baldwin left behind the stone sphinx he had installed on the front steps (it’s still there), and in his autobiography, he left behind a tribute to the house: “It was a great treat having this quiet refuge in the heart of the city.”
Price Points: Sales are slow on the Gold Coast these days. The number of sales in the past 12 months in the $1 million-plus range is down 59 percent from the 12 months before that, according to information from Midwest Real Estate Data.
Listing Agent: Nancy Joyce of Koenig & Strey GMAC, 312-339-4949; firstname.lastname@example.org