Outside the River North home

List Price: $4.475 million
Sale Price: $4.025 million
The Property: A four-story, six-bedroom River North house that a couple built for the fun of it in 2008 sold on April 2 for the highest price paid in the neighborhood since June 2007.

In 2006, Elena and Mark Zahorik—he’s an investment executive at Keeley Asset Management—bought a lot in the Kingsbury Estates district, south of Chicago Avenue between Orleans and Larrabee Streets. As veteran renovators and builders, they were attracted to the then-obscure location. “It was a completely new neighborhood, up and coming, where 30 years ago it was a series of industrial buildings,” says Mark Zahorik.

The Zahoriks paid $1.18 million for the lot, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, and worked with the architect Brian Millbury and the builder Crescent Rock to realize the “vision that my wife had for the house,” Mark says. While name-checking the professionals, he gives full credit for the design to his wife, who even taught herself to use an architect’s CAD-CAM for the project.

Elena Zahorik’s concept for the home revolved around windows in every room facing onto a central courtyard, about 25 by 20 feet. “You wouldn’t be looking at the concrete wall of your neighbor’s house,” Mark says. In the photos below, provided by the couple’s agents, you can see that many of the rooms are filled with natural light, unlike what you would expect from a home on a tightly packed street. “When you walk in, [the home] feels like one of those big mansions on the North Shore built 80 or 90 years ago,” says Nancy Hearon, one of two Jameson Sotheby’s agents who handled the recent sale. “You would never know this was new construction.”

The Zahoriks finished the home in 2008, and the neighborhood grew up around it. Once the domain of little more than the restaurant Scoozi!, the district got a new park, several new condo towers, a market, and a water taxi stop, among other amenities.

The Zahoriks listed the home for sale in April 2011. “It was always our plan to live in it just a few years and sell it,” Mark says. “It was something we enjoyed doing, and now it’s on to the next project.”

Price Points: The Zahoriks listed the home in April 2011 at $4.475 million, and it went under contract in January. Hearon would not reveal what they spent above the price of the lot to build the house, but says that “they were very realistic about pricing it to sell.” Four homes in Kingsbury Estates have sold for between $3 million and $4 million between 2007 and 2009. Another two homes besides this one have sold for more than $4 million. They are the neighborhood record-setter, one block north, which sold for $4.6 million in 2007, and one on the Zahoriks’ block that went for $4.46 million in 2007. That house has been on the market since last June at $5.9 million.

Listing Agents: Jameson Sotheby’s Nancy Hearon (312-867-2252 or nhearon@jamesonsir.com) and Janet Fitzpatrick (312 -867-2271 or jfitzpatrick@jamesonsir.com)