An ornamental Victorian mansion dating to the 19th century can be yours for the stately sum of $7.9 million. Emblematic of Chicago’s gilded age of architecture, the 10,000-square-footer at 1432 North State Parkway, also known as the Charles K. Miller House, has been fully renovated over the last decade, imbuing the historic home with new life. After a three-year period off the market, the home listed again last week with Jennifer Ames of Engel & Völkers at a $1.6 million price cut.
Designed by Chicago architect A. M. F. Colton and completed in 1884, the mansion’s exterior blends Queen Anne Victorian elements with the elaborate masonry of the Chicago School movement. The AIA Guide to Chicago describes one particular flourish as a “florid Sullivanesque ornament appearing to spew from a flaming brazier.”
In the 1980s, the mansion played a starring role in the television sitcom Webster as the home of the fictional Papadopolis family.
The home’s current owners are Steven and Randy Fifield, the couple behind development firm Fifield Companies. The Fifields paid $4.985 million for the home in March of 2011, public records show. After closing on the property, they initiated an extensive renovation to restore the home's exterior and reimagine its interior and side yard with 21st-century finishes and conveniences.
The home had sat vacant for five years and was in desperate need of rehabilitation, according to Randy. Still, she didn't even consider replacing the home's original interior finishes.
“When you walk in, you have this entryway with 11-foot ceilings and all of this quarter sawn wood,” Fifield says. “People just don’t develop homes like this anymore because it’s so expensive — this house is literally not buildable [today]."
Outsdide, the Fifields had the front facade reconstructed with all-new color-matched brick and limestone. Meanwhile, inside, they stripped and refinished the master staircase and railing. The Fifields also integrated the rear coach house and garage with the main home by building a mudroom to connect the spaces.
Perhaps the most extensive undertaking was excavating the lower level to create additional living space. The Fifields had six feet dug out from the basement to match the 11-foot ceilings found elsewhere in the house. They then added modern amenities such as heated flooring and a home theater to the lower level. The Fifields also installed a heated driveway and sidewalk system to keep them clear of snow and ice.
The costly renovation didn't just earn the Fifields goodwill from neighbors, who Randy says would slip notes through the door commenting on their progress. It also caught the attention of former Bulls star and Chicago native Dwyane Wade, who rented the house from the Fifields in 2016, shortly after they'd listed it for $9.5 million.
There’s even a possible connection to Al Capone, Fifield says. Per an urban legend, the home was used as a speakeasy by the infamous bootlegger. When police came around, Fifield says, Capone's henchmen would hide out in the horse stables behind the home, where the coach house and garage stand now.
With grown children who have moved away, the Fifields are now empty nesters, though they remain active with their business. And in many ways, Fifield says, she and her husband see renovating the historic home as an extension of their legacy as Chicago developers.
“A lot of people used to think that you retire when you’re older and the kids are gone, but we’re living a very vibrant life and we’re running a business,” Fifield says. “We have deals in LA, DC, and Miami. [We're just] traveling and trying to simplify.”