Architect Clarence Hatzfeld cut his teeth designing some of Chicago’s most expressive Park District field houses, and he also designed or co-designed some 20 houses in Irving Park’s tiny Villa District. Hatzfeld’s biggest, loudest work in the Villa is this one at the corner of Avers and Addison.
On the market for the first time since 1998, and built in 1914, today’s property is quite an eclectic place. Original coffered ceilings, elaborate hardwood built-ins like the dining room’s china cabinets, stained glass, a three-seasons porch, and vintage bathrooms join a shimmering new chef’s kitchen. “It has a bunch of pullouts, even Sub-Zero freezer drawers,” says @properties listing agent Connie Grunwaldt.
The home has such a sterling reputation in the area that interest has been immediate (and borderline obsessive) since the April 2 listing. It was, after all, picked as one of Chicago’s “30 most beautiful houses” by this magazine back in 2000. So there you have it!
Beyond that sensational kitchen and a retooled master bathroom, Merrigan and Wendi Bundy didn’t do anything too brash to the interiors, mostly keeping up with maintenance of original architectural details. The hardwood floors, built-ins, and many stained glass and art glass windows have been restored, and the space peppered with art and collectibles—cameras, fans, flashlights, you name it. The home does also sport a new roof.
The home is part of a Chicago Landmark District. But for those who chafe at the idea of owning a property that comes with bureaucratic oversight, seller Maureen Merrigan has only positive things to say. In her 15 years wrangling with the landmarks department, “I was surprised at what a sensible and responsive group they were to work with…As long as you don’t try and install glass block windows, there’s no problem.”
The Villa District itself was a planned community, four blocks by two blocks, with 126 single-family homes and a pair of small apartment buildings. Most of the homes date to the years 1907 through 1922, when prolific developer Samuel Eberly Gross, of Alta Vista Terrace fame, made good on the “homes in a park” vision of previous landowners Franklin and Henrietta Osborn. Built as a streetcar escape from hectic, sprawling downtown Chicago, it’s a minor miracle the Kennedy Expressway didn’t plow it under.
Price Points: With a seasonal home in Florida and a downtown condo, something had to give. And so, for $949,000, this brawny bungalow gets to be enjoyed by another family. Merrigan and Bundy paid $455,000 for the home in 1998. According to Grunwaldt the assessor has the above ground, finished square footage at 3,300. Annual taxes are $9,704. The double corner lot measures 48 x 114, and the home takes up much of that footprint. A one-car garage mirrors the house’s open gable walls and roof overhang and, rumor has it, was once a small horse stable.