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List Price: $1.595 million
The Property: When Stacy Nigrelli and Ronald Berlind were building their home in Bucktown in the early 1990s, the neighborhood wasn’t yet a major hot spot, and the couple consciously tried to make their place fit in among the old-timers on the block. They retained most of the brick shell of an existing structure that stood on half of a double lot, and within it they created an open floor plan with a contemporary feeling.
“We wanted a traditional exterior that fit Bucktown,” says Nigrelli, who did much of the home’s design herself, “but we didn’t want the old [string of] rooms lined up like Pullman cars.” An avid gardener, she also wanted to ensure that the interior space would interface nicely with the big garden she would be cultivating along the south side of the house.
What resulted was a four-bedroom home that neatly blends old and new, indoors and out, subtlety and flourish. The front façade is made of brick, but with vivid blue windows with a wiggle in their wrought-iron railings that keep the front from being severe. The central flourish in the house is a curvaceous hanging staircase built by the now-defunct carpentry shop Gust Norberg & Son. The sculptural form of its white plaster underside and twisted wood handrails is an elegant counterpoint to the restraint in the rest of the main floor’s formal space—living and dining rooms divided by a large double fireplace wall.
Past those rooms are a kitchen and a breakfast room that make an el around a second-floor dining terrace. The terrace and the patio below (off the ground-floor family room) are outdoor rooms with pretty views into the garden—something that’s also provided by a row of large windows in the top-floor master bedroom.
The garden is splendid (although we shot our video a few weeks ago, when rain and lingering cold were suppressing its glories), containing more than 150 trees and shrubs and numerous perennials that the couple have planted. “It’s a little estate,” Nigrelli says. “When you walk in here, you don’t feel like you’re in a dense urban environment.” But neither are you in a walled-off garden that snubs the neighbors. A wrought iron fence protects the property but gives neighbors a chance to appreciate the lushness beyond. “Bucktown is a wonderful neighborhood,” Nigrelli says. “We didn’t want to close ourselves off to that.”
Price Points: The house went on the market in early May at $1.695 million; the asking price came down to $1.595 million earlier this month.
Listing Agent: Baird & Warner’s Robert John Anderson