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List Price: $879,000
The Property: Stately older homes line several blocks of Humboldt Boulevard, one strand of Chicago’s “emerald necklace.” Notable among them is this brick house, distinguished by a tall parapet emblazoned with scrollwork and porch columns with detailed stone capitals. Many other original features of the 100-year-old house can be found inside, such as the stained-glass window and richly appointed wood in the foyer. Even many of the doorknobs date to 1912.
That’s not to say the home is preserved in century-old amber. It has been updated in important ways, from combining the small front rooms into one large dining room to creating a large eat-in kitchen in what may have been a small, dark space. A previous owner did much of the work—and did it sensitively. For example, original crown moldings and the window and door frames were all removed for rehabbing; while they were down, workers opened up the old plaster walls, tucked air conditioning inside, and then extensively rebuilt the walls.
For the last eight years, several Franciscan friars, including Father Chuck Faso, have lived in the house. Now the order is reducing the number of residences it owns in Chicago, Faso says. Because it’s being used by a religious order, the house is not laid out like a traditional home. Where the big living room is currently furnished as a prayer and meeting space, the next owner might want to transform it into a living/dining or living/media area. The friars dine in a large breakfast room open to the kitchen, which has tall cabinets, high-quality appliances, and a back porch. The basement has been largely refinished, but as one huge room; a new owner could divide it into two or three spaces.
On the bedroom floor are four bedrooms and a small office, all sharing a single bathroom in the hallway. New owners who want a master bath could install it in the office, which is adjacent to the double-sized master bedroom that, subdivided by bookcases, serves as Faso’s bedroom and office. But as you can see in today’s video, with the bookcases removed, the space could become a big master bedroom.
The master has a large porch of its own, perched over the roomy backyard. (Given that this is the home of a religious group, it’s apt that the backyard has the solitude of a cloister.) The house stands on a lot that’s extra deep and wide (40 by 164 feet, compared to the city norm of 25 by 125). That means it has room for a four-car garage in the former carriage house, with ample room left over for tall trees and gardens.
Price Points: The Franciscans paid $860,000 for the house in 2004, when the renovations were only about a year old. During their time there, they did extensive tuck-pointing and other maintenance work, says Ed Jelinek, the listing agent. The list price is based on the generous size of the house and lot, as well as on its finely tuned condition. The order is asking 2 percent more than it paid for the home.