Photography: Chris Guillen
Barrington Hills
list price: $1.6 million
sale price: $1.4 million

When Tom and Joanne Mitchell first toured this 9.2-acre Barrington Hills property, they considered splitting it in two, building themselves a new house on one half, and selling the other half along with the existing house. Then they took a closer look at that pyramidal hilltop home. “We got hooked on it,” Joanne Mitchell says. “It’s rustic and beautiful, with such unusual spaces.”

That might have something to do with the house’s designer and original owner, Edward Dart, the architect behind Water Tower Place and several landmark churches and houses around Chicago. After Dart’s death in 1975-he was only 53-his wife, Wilma, remained in the 5,700-square-foot house until moving to Florida a few years ago. In 2005, she listed the property as two separate parcels totaling $2.3 million with Suzy Keating and Pam Weinert of Re/Max of Barrington. She later reduced the asking price for the entire property to $1.6 million.

Dart built this house in 1964 atop the foundation of an old barn. His studio, a platform suspended beneath the roof, has no walls, only waist-high handrails, and a bank of windows. The Mitchells, who are also Re/Max agents-they recently represented another Dart design that sold as a teardown-have made that their master bedroom. They plan eventually to expand the small kitchen and add a garage. “But that’s later,” Tom Mitchell says. “Right now we’re just going to enjoy what Dart built.”

In the Paint
A beautifully renovated Victorian sparks a bidding war in a historic neighborhood

Photography: Rob Goodwin
list price: $1.035 million
sale price: $1.2 million

That this charming 107-year-old house sold in just ten days-following a bidding war that pushed the sale price to $1.2 million, a record for the neighborhood-scores a victory for old houses. Or so says Pam Ball, the Baird & Warner agent who represented the house’s seller.

A second-generation resident of the Lakewood-Balmoral neighborhood-which sits near the lake between Foster and Bryn Mawr avenues-Ball is a devotee of the many pretty Victorian houses in the 12-block historic district. This colorful five-bedroom house reflects 11 years of careful renovation by the seller, Dan Berland. “It was in good but incomplete condition when we [Berland and his late wife, Zora Rolny] bought it,” he says. “The colors were the same on the exterior, but there were layers of paint and rotting wood underneath. We had all that stripped and redone.” They also transformed the attic into a master suite, replaced the existing porch, and added another porch.

Berland, a doctor, listed the house for sale in late May when he accepted a post at the University of Michigan. Ten days later, C. Graham Gerst (a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis) and his wife, Christy, trumped another bidder to get the house; the deal closed at the end of July.

Wait Watcher

Photography: Chris Guillen

There is no data indicating the longest a Chicago-area house has taken to sell, but here’s a contender for the record: a 30-room, 17,500-square-foot mansion on a Burr Ridge cul-de-sac that sold in July, five years after it first hit the market. Builders Bob and John Kay listed the house for $7 million back in 2001. They had cut the price to $6.45 million by the time it sold in May for $6.2 million, a record for Burr Ridge. “The irony is that after all that time, in the end we actually had two offers on it at once,” says Beth Burtt, the Brush Hill broker who represented the Kays.

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