Bestselling author, journalist, and critic Gillian Flynn is listing her 1890s Ukrainian Village house later this week for something near $750,000. Flynn, whose latest suspense novel Gone Girl is headed for the big screen this fall, and lawyer husband Brett Nolan bought their impeccably handsome 2,500-square-foot graystone in 2007. They paid $740,000 at the height of the market, and far more than ten grand has gone into the house in seven years. “Not too many of these houses survive in Ukrainian Village, with all the money spilling over from Wicker Park,” says listing agent Christine Lutz of Kinzie Real Estate Group. “Everything new is done to the nines, and the owners didn’t want that.”
Lutz sings the praises of this clip of North Hoyne Avenue as well. It’s a leafy block with decadent facades and apparently gets filmed a lot “when they’re trying to give a Chicago vibe.” The cache of multigenerational households is a Ukie Village thing—a phenomenon where people are not just invested in the block, but wed to it, and where they're out to befriend you.
Flynn and Nolan gave deference to this home’s old bones, adding nothing more obtrusive than new kitchen appliances and a library. Kitchen finishes and a roof replacement came right before their tenure. The library is the sensation of the second floor, with a circumference of built-in shelving, high ceilings, and a skylight.
Another endearing aspect of the house’s vintage are its decked terraces, organically embedded into the backside. Flynn and Nolan had plans to blow out the back of the house like both neighbors have, dramatically expanding living space in the process, but then Flynn’s career took off and took over. In another instance, they restored a detail to its archaic glory. Many of the houses on the 1000 block of North Hoyne are absent a garage, whether they were built without one or had them knocked down for grass and garden. The previous owner at the Flynn address laid a parking pad across the compact yard, and a future owner may well do the same. But for the moment it’s a lovely car-free zone.
Also included is a finished basement hideaway, which Flynn used as a workspace away from the kids, with its separate garden apartment entry, front and rear. The basement sleeps two and has a writing room, powder room, and living and dining areas. The finished portion ends abruptly at the laundry room. The house’s main staircase doesn’t penetrate to the basement, but easily could. If you value privacy or income-generating potential, definitely keep it as is.
Lutz wasn’t at liberty to say where Flynn and Nolan are moving to or their exact reasons for selling, and they weren’t available for comment. “They definitely enjoyed the house and the neighbors, and walked to everything in the neighborhood.”
Price Points: While $750,000 isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, it should still be considered a bargain for this much home in hard-to-breach Ukrainian Village. A single-family conversion of a two-flat on Rice Street, also with three bedrooms but 25% less square footage and ordinary interiors is asking $795,000; and a two-bed modern box on Augusta Boulevard with a one-bed coach house is a pretty nice combo for $739,000 except that a buyer gets heavier traffic and a parking lot to one side.