Today's luxury home shopper has more options than ever when it comes to style, building materials, and aesthetics. But for some high-end buyers, nothing tops the craftsmanship and charm of turn-of-the-century homes. In early 2013, when Gretchen and Scott Matzelle first saw a Victorian mansion on Lincoln Street near the heart of Hinsdale, the building's grandeur and beauty drew them in. (A major price reduction several months later helped seal the deal.)
"We had been in Hinsdale for several years and owned three different homes," Gretchen Matzelle, a former real estate agent in the suburb, said of the couple's decision to buy the house at 307 South Lincoln Street. "We were coming from a new construction home that just didn't feel right. We were looking for something unique."
Matzelle says that details like original crown molding, tall ceilings, and a grand stairwell make the home special, but a coach house addition completed shortly before the house was listed for sale greatly expanded the total living space and flexibility. The couple paid $2.217 million for the property in November 2013 and immediately set out on a major renovation and restoration.
The couple spent about a year on the renovations before moving into the home. According to Matzelle, one of the biggest tasks was expanding and modernizing the upstairs master suite. Before the renovation, the master bathroom only had a single sink, and no bathtub.
The Matzelles also hired a craftsman from Baker Furniture to completely restore the grand staircase, refinish original pocket doors, and skim coat the plaster walls. "We wanted to make sure that the investment and improvements we made would last another 100 years," Matzelle said. "When you run your hands over those walls, they're like velvet — you can't get that with drywall."
The couple also updated the plumbing and wiring, and transformed part of the basement into a walk-in wine cellar. The cellar boasts custom walnut cabinetry, foam insulation, and vintage Chicago brick pavers. On top of that, there's a Crestron smart home system that controls house-wide speakers.
Sitting on half an acre, the property boasts a large, lush yard that Matzelle says should not be overlooked. The home is far from remote, though. "The house is just a block from town, which is unique for a lot of that size. If you're moving from the city, it wont feel like you're stuck out in the suburbs."
The Matzelles are looking forward to warmer winters (they're moving down to Florida, near St. Petersburg) but Gretchen concedes it will be tough to leave their dream home behind. "The house is just a special place and has a special spirit," Matzelle says. "To me, the house has a personality: She's a Victorian grand dame — a statuesque, confident woman."
The 8,000-square-foot home is listed for sale by Anna Fiascone of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff for $3.39 million.