In Humboldt Park, the developer Tsultim Ngabtak has found a use for 64 identical wooden doors salvaged from old buildings. They have found a second life inside the eight new homes at Ngabtak’s Shangri-La Condominiums—but only after the doors had been hand-stripped of their chemical-based finishes and then refinished with products that contained no volatile organic compounds. Ngabtak is also using a fire-retardant insulation made from old newspapers.

Humboldt Park

From: $300,000
To: $750,000

Designed by Florian Architects, the Shangri-La also has an energy-efficient elevator, sustainably grown bamboo flooring, and green roofs at three levels. Decorative touches reflect the cultural heritage of the Tibetan-born Ngabtak, who has been building homes in Chicago since 2002. The lobby doorways are trimmed with Tibetan-style carved woodwork whose lotuses and inverted pyramids signify beauty and good fortune. "[The symbolic images] go back 1,000 years," notes Ngabtak.

Five of the eight units at Shangri-La, at 1555 North Talman Avenue, are still available. Ready for occupancy, they start at $300,000—for a 1,200-square-foot unit—and top out at $750,000, which buys a 1,900-square-foot two-level, three-bedroom unit with a private rooftop deck.

Illustration: Florian Architects