List Price: $2,575,000
Sale Price: $2,350,000
The Property: When this new Bucktown house at 1801 North Hermitage Avenue was under construction two years ago, the Chicago Reader’s Ben Joravsky denounced it as “a four-story behemoth that dwarfs the surrounding cottages.” But once the house was completed, in August 2008, the logic of its design became clear, at least to me. Here was a house built to take maximum advantage of its site next to the planned Bloomingdale Greenway, a linear park that will replace a defunct raised rail line.

At the top of the house a pair of decks flank a “penthouse room,” and all three spaces look out over a three-mile strip of open land. Also part of the view are the city skyline to the east and St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church to the west.

Joravsky used the house as an example of the oversized new homes permitted by the neighborhood’s then alderman, Ted Matlak (who lost his 32nd Ward seat in April 2007 to Scott Waguespack). But while the 13-room, 6,500-square-foot house is definitely big, it’s only four stories tall if you count the basement; the roof peak of the older home next door is higher than the top of this house. And I would hardly call it a behemoth; slender because of the lot’s width and notched in a few places to break up the massing, the house fits into the neighborhood better than many other new Bucktown/Wicker Park structures.

The house was built by Cronin-Dekker–a development company that has built half a dozen homes in Bucktown–and designed by Osterhaus McCarthy Architects, whose contemporary structures dot the North Side. The finishes include a fancy kitchen, a fully tricked-out media room, and a sleek master suite lined with built-ins that make dressers unnecessary. But key to the whole project, says Bob Dekker, was the lot. “We loved having that location and those views,” he says.

Price Points: The developers initially listed the house at $2.85 million, but eventually dropped the price to $2.57 million. The sale closed April 13th (to a buyer not yet identified in public records) for $2.35 million. “Getting anything sold for over $2 million in this market is an achievement,” Dekker says.

Listing Agent: Emily Sachs Wong of Koenig & Strey GMAC, 312-475-4599;