List Price: $1.4 million
The Property: In the early 1980s, the modernist sculptor Ruth Duckworth converted this former pickle factory into her home and studio, with work space on the first floor and living space above. Now 91 years old, Duckworth is retiring and moving to England, where she has family. She listed the building for sale last week.
When she bought the building, Duckworth was an urban pioneer in this then-dowdy part of Lake View (along the Metra tracks on Ravenswood Avenue). With its many new and rehabbed houses, the neighborhood has since gone upscale. Duckworth’s space still has its original “hard loft” look: brick walls, antique wood floors, and exposed beams of wood and steel. During her renovation, Duckworth cut away a chunk of the second floor to open up a two-story workspace; skylights provide natural illumination, and there is a second-story walkway around the perimeter.
Duckworth has the second floor configured as two bedrooms, a kitchen, a storeroom (that could be a third bedroom), and a big open living area, with intimate nooks off on the edges. A working artist might keep that layout, but other buyers could either split the place into two condos—on the video, Duckworth’s agent speculates about whether to put one condo on each floor or to divide the building down the middle—or keep it as one large living space. Either plan would entail some rehabbing; a first step in keeping the property as one home might entail relocating the kitchen to the first floor.
While her countless works-in-progress will leave with Duckworth, the many tiles she crafted—for around the bathtub, as the TV area’s flooring, and as the kitchen floor and backsplash—will remain behind. They may not qualify to join the artist’s other works in museums and galleries, but they are an integral part of this building’s legacy. “You’re going to want to reuse them here in their home,” insists Anton Kerner, Duckworth’s agent.
Price Points: The building’s hard-loft setup means that a buyer could treat the space as a shell within which to create an entirely new home (or homes)—but that layout also made it difficult for me to find a similar property with which to make a price comparison. Currently the home has 7,000 square feet, but restoring the second floor to its original dimensions would boost that to 7,500 square feet.
Listing Agent: Anton Cermak Kerner of Prudential Rubloff; 312-771-4646 or email@example.com. Not that it impacts any potential sale, but Kerner is a descendant of both the Chicago mayor Anton Cermak and the Illinois governor Otto Kerner, Jr.