The outside of the property at 3933 N Claremeont
More photos below

List Price: $1.25 million
The Property: A collaborative effort between the architect Nate Kipnis and a pair of clients dissatisfied with the houses they had seen on the market, this three-bedroom home has an abundance of environmentally friendly features and a distinctly family-style floor plan. The house, which has a green roof, thickly insulated walls and windows, and a layout that maximizes natural ventilation and daylight, was completed this past June in the Northwest Side neighborhood that is alternately known as St. Ben’s and Bell School District. But even before they moved in, the couple who had commissioned the home had accepted an out-of-state job transfer.

“We loved, loved, loved that house, but it was the only thing tying us to Chicago,” Angela North says by phone from her new home in Minneapolis, where Pricewaterhouse Coopers transferred her husband, Ed Foppe. The two-year process of building the house for themselves and their twins entailed shopping for a buildable lot, tailoring an existing house plan Kipnis had already created, and, eventually, opting to hold off on some features of the house in order to keep costs down. The basement, for instance, was left unfinished. “In four or five years, when we could afford it, we were going to finish that,” North says. (The eventual buyer will get the plans Kipnis drew up for a fourth bedroom and other living spaces there.)

Green features of the home include nonemitting paints and finishes, a side-of-the-house indentation that brings sunlight to the middle rooms, radiant heat, bamboo floors, high-efficiency appliances, and some flooring that was re-used from the 1880s house that had stood on the lot. Aesthetic plusses are the dining porch that indentation affords, a handsome central kitchen and fireplace, an open, daylit study or playroom on the second floor (where a fourth bedroom might have been), and a façade that fits right in with the century-old houses already on the street.

Price Points: Foppe and North spent $1.35 million to buy the lot and build the house. When they listed it for sale in October—they had spent their few months’ tenure in the house getting it completely finished and ready for resale—they initially asked the same amount as they had spent on it. In mid-November, they cut the price to $1.25 million, or 7.4 percent less than their investment in the property. 

Listing Agent: Michael Shenfeld, Koenig & Strey GMAC, 312-475-4563; See more about the house at