There's an anonymous walled-in façade in front of this 1970s brick townhouse in Lakeview. Introverted, and anti-urban, it’s no wonder such high-walled front yards are no longer to code. But for the purposes of architect Gary Beyerl and Brad Lippitz, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff listing agent, this grandfathered-in feature was ideal—it let them tear out the front wall of the house.
“The original condition was a wreck,” says Lippitz. “It was dark and depressing. We opened it up as much as possible to natural light.” Did they ever. First, the front wall was replaced with folding glass doors. Inside, the interior finishes are all light-toned wood, tile, stone, cloth, and marble. Translucent moveable dividers, several skylights on the upper levels, and complex artificial lighting system keep the home as bright as possible.
In Beyerl’s layout, the three-bedroom home is actually best suited to a single person or couple. The redesign removed hallways and hard divisions on the first and third levels, making the first level into a uniform living and cooking area and the upper level a standalone master suite. “With small spaces and modestly proportioned rooms, we try and find bold solutions,” says Beyerl. “We didn’t want to get caught up in little moves.”
The living space is versatile if an owner wants a different configuration. With a slight shift in modular sliding doors, either of the second or third bedrooms becomes a family room or office. Closets also have high-quality sliding glass and are just deep enough to hide a desk or spare piece of furniture.
The sliding doors throughout the home are the key to the rebuild’s bright and modular concept. Other details amplify the effect, like the clean marble walls in the kitchen and both bathrooms, the master bathroom’s skylit soaking tub, and the transparent safety caging on an otherwise open stairway.
“In Chicago, everything seems to be predictable, so we channeled Scandinavian or maybe even LA design sensibilities,” says Lippitz. Indeed, this place is one rain shower bathroom away from total transcendence. Credit also goes to one of Beyerl’s recent works, a transformed pied-a-terre in the Gold Coast, for instructing him on maximizing modest spaces.
Price Points: Beyerl and Lippitz have collaborated as architect and realtor on a few small projects, but this has been their most involved and rewarding experience. All told, nearly $500,000 went into the project. With a $799,000 asking price, you get a sense for how total the renovation must have been. The home, while part of a loose-knit townhouse cluster, has no assessments. There’s also one surface parking space at back.